Your Humble Blogger Is Harassed for Being Injured

It is very cold today. I wore a down parka with a fur-trimmed hood. Fur-trimming is functional because it helps keep snow out of your face. And coyote trim is not ethically problematic if you regard eating eggs and wearing wool as acceptable, since coyotes are killed by farmers for preying on their flocks and herds.

Nevertheless, at 79th and Lexington, at night, a woman came up to me to yell: “Did you know you are wearing a dead dog?” I should have had the presence of mind to tell her she was right, it was a former pet.

I had tripped on my shoelaces in the Atlanta airport on January 1 and landed so hard on both knees that I am surprised I didn’t break anything. But it made a hip problem that was well on its way to being fixed by physical therapy vastly worse. I’m in pain a fair bit of the time1, an operation is not warranted, but no one seems to have an answer.

The woman noticed I was favoring one leg and proceeded to follow me down the street to taunt me. I’ve blanked out precisely what she said since it brought back memories of how I was often verbally attacked by other kids when I was a child, but she yelled about my limping and was clearly trying to make it into some sort of curse.

Needless to say, it ruined my evening and was counterproductive, since I’m not going to let someone bully me into complying.


1 Please don’t offer suggestions. I know you mean well, but they are not helpful and are depressing on top of that.

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  1. tony

    Compassion is a convenient camouflage for those desirous of power.

    – Jordan Peterson

    Their higher levels of compassion may cause them advocate for those who are vulnerable, sympathizing more with an in-group at the bottom of a dominance hierarchy.

    In terms of the other dimension of PC, the linkage between moral disgust and PC-egalitarianism suggests that this dimension of PC may be more tied to liberalism. Indeed, researchers have argued that the motivating force of liberal belief is moral outrage, or anger on behalf of someone else.

    Indeed, there is an emerging literature on “pathological altruism”, suggesting that extreme compassion can have downsides such as difficulty passing judgment of right vs. wrong, and forgiving all transgression and failures of those in the in-group while acting highly protective and aggressive toward those in the out-group, even sometimes in the absence of actual provocation and injustice.

    The Personality of Political Correctness

    The modern left is full of people with pathological compassion. Compassion is primarily meant to protect the children, and once that instinct is applied to other groups it becomes pathological. She saw you as an oppressor of those at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy (dogs) and proceeded to attack you punitively.

    You see this stuff all the time. This video made rounds on the net, and seems to have similar dynamic playing out:

    Hugh Mungus

    I hope you’ll feel better soon.

      1. walt

        natural selection by survival of the fittest: those who do not protect their children have fewer survivors

        1. jrs

          perhaps but then infanticide is also a very old practice, especially in cases of overpopulation. So as far compassion, nah it seems historically people have routinely killed babies when it was considered better for the tribe. One only needs so many survivors and without birth control there can be a surplus, and even nieces and nephews will do as far as genes are concerned, and if this is all the land can support then … gene survival is better helped by infanticide in such cases than not.

          I’m not advocating it but then I’m not advocating “survival of the fittest”.

          1. IDontKnow

            Meh, infanticide outside very small group cultures was mostly about protecting “select” infants – ie: those that the human activated environment determined were most fit — the Paris Hiltons of history for example, gag. Birth control is a nicer, more ethical way to the same result as war on the poor and 3rd world. Occasionally, as in Sparta, the rules were enforced across the entire society, but elsewhere mostly, like Athens, it was the poor who dumped their infants on the hill side and compost heaps.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wow, that video is wild. It did make me feel better. The woman who had a go at me wasn’t as bad as the woman in the video but I think she could have escalated into that register if I had engaged her by saying something like, “Yes, and I eat burgers too,” rather than a minimal response and trying to keep moving.

      The thing I don’t get is displays like that (borderline or actual fury directed at a person over a definition of conduct that is not universally shared) would have been seen as a sign of mental illness 20 years ago. Part of why it would get serious social disapproval is that the level of rage looks an awful lot like what you get from people who engage in physical violence. Now it seems not to be outside the pale.

      1. Moneta

        Your injury probably opened the door to a predator… meaning that without a weakness she wouldn’t have dared.

        The worst part is that everything we wear can be offensive in some way and nudity is not even an option.

        Try to let it go and just file it in the things that make people go mad folder!

        1. Foppe

          One of the reasons why the institutional animal movement / the welfare orgs picked “fur” (as opposed to leather and wool), is because it’s mainly women (and minorities) wearing it. Imagine, if they’d picked leather, some shouty person talking to bikers about how their leather jackets proved they were monsters, or whatever ad hominems they use. Not going to work, right? Also, when the targeted people are female and/or PoC, it’s much easier for other women to “participate” in these horrible, dysfunctional, useless, experienced-by-them-as-“cathartic”, episodes.

          1. Moneta

            I don’t even know if it was “picked” consciously.

            All I know is that there is a pecking order which you do not feel when you are healthy and part of the dominant group.

            People will come up to me and ask me how my son, with an apparent disability, is doing when he is standing right there beside me.

            It has taught me that many of us while compassionate can suffer from an utter lack of empathy… can’t really put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

            So compassion can turn into a disorder.

          2. jrs

            Well also except for cloth shoes maybe, the alternatives to leather are probably destroying the world much faster than leather is, all pleather made out of plastic. How green is that really.

          3. Quade

            One of the reasons why the institutional animal movement / the welfare orgs picked “fur” (as opposed to leather and wool), is because it’s mainly women (and minorities) wearing it.

            This is my assessment too. If you harass a man, you can expect some retaliation. If you harass a woman by and large, they’ve been trained not to fight back. You see it in Karate classes where some men will spar harder with a woman than they will with a man.

            Honestly, you could probably say the same thing about the anti-abortion movement. If men were the ones getting pregnant and needing an abortion, the protesters would probably worry about getting shot. They feel free to harass women.

            Even women would rather pick on women.

              1. notoriousj

                And ugly, IMHO.

                *I’m sure that Yves’ Coyote fur trimmed parka looks great – my wife has something similar. But the aesthetic of the full-length fur coat? Its like the aspiration of the older, mildly affluent.

      2. cocomaan

        It IS mental illness. I have yet to meet more than a handful of vegans/animal ethicists that actually practice what they preach. For instance, some of my family are vegetarians, but they feed their cats cat food, which has horrific ethical implications (that ain’t grade A, cage free, grass fed anything – the animals in those situations are treated horribly).

        You did the right thing by disengaging though. There’s no point in arguing with an idiot

        1. Arizona Slim

          Thanks for saying that. I have yet to meet a vegan/animal ethicist who is of sound mind. And I don’t think that veganism is a healthy lifestyle.

          1. cocomaan

            Agreed, and not to mention the gall of screaming about animal rights as you stand in the middle of one of the largest urban areas in the world, built on an estuary, the product of a ridiculous trade with a virtually extinct tribe of Lenape, which has to pump millions of gallons of poisons into the sewers just to keep the rats from taking the place over!

            My other post about coyotes was eaten, I think, but the gist of it was the coyotes are in no way threatened by humans. In fact, they are thriving from their original ecosystem on the great plains (aka prairie wolf by Lewis and Clark) because they can fragment their packs into loners, pairs, or reform packs in ad hoc hunting groups at will. They will be here long after we’re gone. See also: Dan Flores, Coyote America.

            1. jrs

              and yet actually (your do mean NYC right?) the most sustainable place to live in the entire U.S. in terms of resource use per person.

              1. cocomaan

                All the figures about urbanization being more efficient I’ve seen, and I’ve read a few hours on the subject, rely on the per capita figures but ignore tons of externalities, like the pumping required to keep NYC above water, waste processing and transportation, the aforementioned rat poisoning (check out the documentary RATS on netflix, it’s amazing), steel and concrete and silicone imports, the energy imports, the food imports, and so on.

                There’s plenty to learn about efficient living but I haven’t been impressed with urbanization reporting to date, it tends to focus narrowly on a few factors.

                In any case, the point wasn’t to have a pissing contest over who is more or less efficient, the point is that someone complaining about coyote slaughter in the middle of a city is a moron.

                1. Marina Bart

                  And yet that deep alienation from the natural world is probably a factor in why she did it.

                  I doubt any virtue-signaler in Los Angeles would do this, because the more affluent parts of the city are rife with coyotes, killing and eating people’s pets. Her lack of exposure to coyotes probably plays a role in her transforming them in her mind to adorable doggies.

                  I’m not saying she would be a nicer person in Los Angeles. Just that she would have picked a different cause to project her rage and righteousness on.

            2. Eclair

              I can speak of coyotes only in our small area of front range Colorado. We live in a suburban development, by a small river, a reservoir and a former irrigation canal that has been turned into a walking trail. When we moved here 10 years ago, we routinely saw coyotes on our walks/bike trips. We also had neighborhood foxes who made daily tours through our tiny back garden … hopping over, or under, the 6 foot high fences.
              Now, I have not seen a coyote in our neighborhood for over two years; the foxes have disappeared also. They have been replaced by rabbits … brazen rabbits who stare at you with a ‘make my day’ sneer. Our local park rangers say that an epidemic of mange has killed both coyotes and foxes.
              Our small city now has an infestation of rats. I was standing in front of our local library one evening last week, talking on the phone, when a large (well, there are no small ones) rat ran down the sidewalk then, as I let out a small scream, ran back over my foot.
              We did see a coyote last week, as we drove under the Interstate; poor thing was lurching by the side of the road, great hunks of fur missing and a raw wound on its hind flank.
              Everything is connected.

                1. Eclair

                  Yes, brazen. They are bold and totally unashamed of their reproductive choices. Even as I chide them on their lack of self-control and immortality.

                  1. Eclair

                    That should be ‘immorality.’ Although, producing hordes of baby bunnies is a kind of immortality.

              1. Adams

                Jimmy Carter was first to discover brazen waterborn attack rabbits. Fortunately, as a Navy man, he was able to defend himself while maintaining control of his craft.

                BTW, rabbit fur is stylish and warm.

                  1. Marina Bart

                    After everything we have now been through that reveals the extent and determination of the corporate media’s role in picking our presidents, what strikes me now is how amazing it is that people swallowed that bilge and pointed and laughed at Carter, instead of at all the Squealers making fun of him.

                1. Eclair

                  Yes, rabbit fur is lovely. I believe the cliff-dwelling peoples of Mesa Verde and the surrounding areas wove strips of rabbit fur into soft, light and warm cloaks and blankets. Serves those brazen rabbits right.

          2. Dogstar

            Alternatively, how about- I have yet to meet someone from AZ that isn’t an old, uptight, midwestern transplant, racist. (I used to work on the telephone, our reps from AZ were nasty old women with filthy mouths) And I don’t think 5 million people living in a barren desert, draining Colorado River water, is healthy.

            Now.. of course I know there are all kinds of people in AZ, good and bad, but like you I’m just making a ridiculous opinionated exaggeration with no real evidence other than my own limited experience.

            1. Arizona Slim

              And, if we ever meet in person, we’re going to have a lot of laughs. Especially when it comes to ridiculously opinionated exaggerations.

          3. jonboinAR

            I’ve sometimes thought we should all go vegan just to remove the cow farts component to global warming (I really mean that whole eating-meat-is-much-more-energy-intensive-than-eating-vegetables component), but that’s the only reason.

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            I know some vegans who are perfectly OK but they don’t proselytize. As long as you eat their vegan food if they are cooking and give them some sort of veggie dish if you have to feed them, the ones I know are of the “live and let live” school.

        2. Quade

          It IS mental illness. I have yet to meet more than a handful of vegans/animal ethicists that actually practice what they preach.

          By an large we all lead empty little lives. If you’re not curing cancer, your job is probably a pointless paper mill. There’s little to be proud off. Then you croak and hopefully you haven’t bankrupted your family from the medical expenses before you die.

          I look at these protesters and see people trying to find something meaningful to live for. It’s the one thing religion was good for. Giving some people meaning. Now that something like 30% of the population is essentially non-religious, they’re looking for something to fill that empty spot.

          I don’t agree with how they go about it but I understand the motivation I think.

          1. cocomaan

            It’s a fair point. People are definitely alienated from their labor and even from taking moral stands themselves – you have to step over homeless people or become homeless yourself.

            However Yves said it best: accosting others over moral stances not agreed upon is antisocial behavior. To me, this event was just as bad as the Saudi religious policy tapping their canes on women’s bare ankles. The event definitely hit a nerve for me.

            1. Quade

              However Yves said it best: accosting others over moral stances not agreed upon is antisocial behavior.

              Understanding why they do something and agreeing with what they do is two different things. I understand why these people are assholes but it doesn’t mean I agree with or justify their methods.

              Reading Yves story made me think she needs to carry pepper spray and needs be liberal with its application.

              1. different clue

                I had been thinking the same thing. By the way, what kind of spray is used in “bear spray” for repelling grizzly bears surprised or angered while hiking in parts of the West? It seems like that might be the kind of spray to carry for using on Social Justice Warriors like what Yves Smith encountered.

          2. jonboinAR

            Watching my grandchildren grow makes my life feel pretty rich. I spent the last 2 days convincing my 5 year old grandson to let me take the training wheels off of his bike. We took my 7 year old granddaughter’s training wheels off a couple of months ago. Till last week she couldn’t ride it. Suddenly I had an epiphany (a real one). I realized that part of the problem she was having was trying to make the pedals work at the same time she was trying to learn to balance. It was too much. So I dropped her seat all the way down (It was where it’s “supposed to be”, which wasn’t working.) I told her to forget about pedaling for how. Just push yourself along with your feet. Both feet able to reach the ground at the same time and not having to worry about pedaling took away her anxiety. She was balancing in an hour. Yesterday she showed me how she could ride down to the end of the driveway, which is down hill, using her brakes to control her descent, and back up the hill, standing up to pump. Her dad and I have been secretly, slowly raising the seat back to where it’s “supposed to be”, where you have more power while pedaling. Now I can’t wait to get my grandson out on his little bike without the training wheels. His parents say he’s too young, but I say bullshirt! When he saw his sister pumped up with pride, us all admiring her skill, he wanted to ride like a big kid too. Me and him, we’re gonna it!

            That’s all the meaning I need right now.

          3. Carla

            @jonboinAR — Wonderful to see you here! Great story about your grandkids. Thank you.

            @Quade — I found religion pretty empty, myself. Also extremely misogynistic, hypocritical, irresponsible and immature. But that’s just me.

            1. jonboinAR

              (Little off-topic, y’all. Hope I don’t violate form.) Thanks Carla! I finally saw one of your replies to me! I read your cogent and graceful remarks often. Trouble is, as I may have told you before sometime, I tend to be a day or two behind in the reading. (I don’t know how y’all keep up, especially our illustrious bloggers.) So there doesn’t seem to be a reason to comment as all have moved on to other topics.

        3. Cujo359

          It IS mental illness. I have yet to meet more than a handful of vegans/animal ethicists

          Hogwash. Most of us don’t know more than a few vegetarians or vegans, and certainly not enough to make a broad-reaching statement like that. Thanks to having worked in amateur theatre for several decades, I’ve probably met more than my share. Most display no more ethical paradoxes than we omnivores do.

          Two of the sanest and kindest people I know are vegans. They don’t make a big deal of it, and they’d never do the sort of the thing the woman mentioned in the original article would do to anyone. They’ll talk about why they’re vegans if you’re interested, and otherwise they let others live their lives how they want without judging. Some vegetarians can be insufferable, especially the recently converted, but I’ve met very few such people.

          Each one of us exists at the cost of some other life forms. My dwelling displaces trees. My neighborhood could probably host deer, bears, and even a mountain lion or two if it weren’t covered with grass, asphalt, and houses. It seems to me that the best we can do is try to minimize the carnage our own existence causes. Complaining that vegetarians don’t save the lives of cat-food chickens strikes me as no more sensible than demanding that someone not wear the fur of creatures that are being shot wholesale anyway.

      3. Jane

        Yes. It started years ago with smoking bans, perfect strangers suddenly felt empowered to harangue anyone they saw smoking in public; over the years it has morphed into a license to harangue anyone who’s behaviour displeases.

        Hope your hip improves soon.

        1. Ed Seedhouse

          I support your right to suck burning poison into your lungs as much as you like. But I deny your freedom to make *me* suck in that poison against my will. Go somewhere where no one else has to involuntarily inhale your smoke and suck all you like.

          But smoking where I have no choice but to breath your poison is just simply assault.

          1. perpetualWAR

            These kind of comments always make me laugh. “Virgin” lungs, yet you walk through traffic, sit in traffic and every day probably get more in the way of carcinogens from the poisons spread on our food supply.

            Life comes at you fast.

            1. jrs

              as a non-smoker, I don’t want to be around smoke because it causes physical pain in a way smog seldom does (well smog did 40 years ago but it has improved some since with air quality regulations). Anyway it bothers me little if someone is smoking in a city park or something, it’s the enclosed areas where smoke burns the throat and lungs etc.. And people used to do that stuff at work, good grief!

            2. Marina Bart

              Yeah, I side with Lord Koos on this. While your point that there are already toxins in the air are valid, I can tell you as an asthmatic that adding drifting cigarette smoke to that can trigger a life-threatening attack. I don’t think that means I should get to bully and physically threaten a smoker on the street. But I do think it means that laws restricting public smoking are a legit public good, and some social stigma around lighting up indiscriminately in public spaces is valid and protective.

              As a reminder, in the not so recent past, we had laws restricting car and factory emissions, because it was considered in the public interest to limit toxins being pumped into the shared public atmosphere.

              What this woman did to Yves was reprehensible.

            3. different clue

              Cigarette smoke has the unusual and unique ingredient Polonium 210. Apparently tobacco plants are heavy phosphorus users and are often phosphate fertilized with phosphate rock powder or its derivatives. Much of the phosphate rock contains some Polonium 210, and tobacco apparently just loves to preferentially uptake and accumulate any Polonium 210 it can find in the soil.
              Or so I heard in a lecture once.

      4. casino implosion

        “The thing I don’t get is displays like that (borderline or actual fury directed at a person over a definition of conduct that is not universally shared) would have been seen as a sign of mental illness 20 years ago. Part of why it would get serious social disapproval is that the level of rage looks an awful lot like what you get from people who engage in physical violence.”

        Yeah, there’s something weird going on in this country right now. It must have felt like this in 1859.

    2. Nameful

      I strongly suspect your first quote is the relevant one. Actual compassion means a shared feeling (usually suffering, but not only), and the ability to feel that (empathy) is notably absent from this sort of behavior. To wit, verbally abusing a limping woman on an empty street at night is as far from empathy as a coward’s thirst for power can be.

      Some people simply found a socially acceptable (for small values of acceptable) way of framing a behavior that would otherwise be morally reprehensible.

    3. Ignacio

      I wouldn’t say it is compassion, or at least, real compassion. It is just anger that manifests in an morally appalling way. “Pathological compassion”, “pathological altruism” or “extreme compassion” are definitions that do not make any sense in my opinion.

      1. Sam F

        Exactly. Tony is expressing hatred of compassion, using the incident of misplaced compassion to claim that all compassion is false. Nothing could be more hypocritical.

        He confesses his amoral pathology in saying that “once that instinct is applied to other groups it becomes pathological.”

        1. tony

          All out straw man there. I never expressed anything like that. I argued that there is a pathological side to compassion which often expresses itself in punitive and sadistic anger. It can also express itself in the belief that all people mean well or are good people. Or that dominance hierarchies should not exist, because they are ‘oppressive’.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve spent a little time in the past working with a variety of environmental/human rights/animal rights groups and unfortunately I’d agree with that New Scientist blog you link to that there are sometimes very nasty personalities attracted to some very good causes. I’ve tended to think that there is a type of narcissistic personality who gets validation from being more ‘right on’ than others, but obviously thats a non-professional diagnosis from me. It can be very damaging, and very upsetting when good people get on the wrong side of that sort of person. Spend long enough with that type of group and its almost inevitable that at some stage someone will decide to call you a racist/homophobe/sexist/puppy killer or whatever, simply for not appearing to be fully in line with someone elses agenda.

      Anyway Yves, I’m really sorry to hear of that – I know how deeply upsetting it can be when something like this happens, even when you know full well its not your fault and the person is either mentally ill, or just so utterly in the wrong there is no point in giving them any thought. It can happen anywhere, but in my limited experience there does something very New York about getting harranged on the street for some real or imagined indiscretion. The first month I was in New York, as a very innocent 19 year old, it happened to me, and its still burned in my memory.

          1. IdahoSpud

            I view both left and right behaviors as pathological. Just pointing out that the left doesn’t have a lock on moral outrage. Neither side is wholesome

    5. Vlad the Barbarian

      Thank you Tony for posting that video. Social justice warrior insanity. What you have to worry about when you run into these crazy people is where the line is between threatening behavior and actual violence. Yves made the right call in not saying anything, as much as she wanted to. I’m reminded of an experience I had about 10 years ago when a neighbor, without provocation, assaulted me in the middle of our suburban street. He was 10 years younger than I was and he lifted weights. I think he was on a steroid jag. He was screaming at me, was right in my face and wanted me to rise to his level of anger I believe. His face was cherry red with rage. He put his hands on my chest and tried to shove me to the ground. I stayed very calm throughout, just as Hugh Mungus in the video did. I had an absolutely blank expression on my face, which confounded and confused him. I could see that in his expression. A neighbor yelled, asking what the hell was going and he backed off.

    6. Lisa

      That seems like a leap. From one, perhaps mentally unstable person = example of modern left, which is pathologically compassionate (which is reserved for children???). What ever makes you link this person to the modern left, I don’t know. Is it because she is vegan (I am too and am absolutely not a part of the “modern left”), because she harassed our humble blogger? I know this is a bit of nit picking but it is this kind of thinking that informs those who apply one example of bad behavior to a whole group. I would say it is more likely that this woman was just mentally ill.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        She hopped into a cab, so she wasn’t the sort of “mentally ill” person that is on the streets by virtue of not being institutionalized, which became an issue in New York 20 years ago.

        It used to happen often that PETA people would stand outside department stores and verbally abuse women wearing fur coats and put paint on them, so this is within the PETA playbook.

    7. Katharine

      Why ascribe that behavior only to the left? I think it’s a merely human flaw: look at all the people righteously protecting embryos and foetuses, or the ones who have come out of the woodwork “protecting” their country against brown-skinned people whose national origins are not even what they think.

      I think in any case it is a bit previous to talk about pathology. Words mean things, and both compassion and other aspects of human emotion and behavior are highly complex. I can think of plenty of adjectives that are more accurate, like rude, insensitive, ignorant, belligerent….

      1. tony

        Because people tend to pick their political leanings based on their temperament. So the left has different sort of people and tends towards different pathologies.

        The right wing stuff does not come out of compassion, it comes from orderliness and is associated with the need for clear borders and stable hierarchies. Both views have value, but they can both be pathological.

  2. Mike

    Best wishes for your recovery, Yves!

    I have friends who are recovering from major medical procedures, and the stories they tell about how they are treated by strangers who observe their vulnerabilities can be just awful. I hope your good encounters with strangers outweigh your bad ones.

  3. Nameful

    It’s in the dogs’ nature to bark and in a caravan’s nature to go on. Be well, Yves.

  4. John k

    My aunt, crippled from polio, once fell getting off a train. Some locals laughed.
    Most people are decent, unfortunately some are jerks. Best wishes for a rapid recovery.

  5. Dead Dog

    Truly terrible. Feel for you and those experiences last.

    Hope to see you blogging again soon.

    1. Dead Dog

      Sorry just realized your antagonist said Dead Dog. So off topic, here is the story.

      Dead Dog was a personal choice, when thinking of something that would mean something in this place, even if only to me. I thought it was appropriate as the Tasmanian Rundle government (20 years ago now) thought it was a good idea to put an image of the Thylocene on every government webpage and document. (It had, apparently, a triangular looking head, like the apple isle itself, and fit within the island logo perfectly.)

      This was done despite the history of the Thylocene, which was abundant on both southern mainland Australia and Tasmania a few centuries ago. The gist of it is , when the Brits brought over their sheep to Australia, they ‘suspected’ they were predated by the striped dog. So, a bounty was put on the Thylocene (which was actually a marsupial and preyed on smaller animals, birds and fish and was unable to prey on sheep) set its extinction in motion.

      ‘Nuff said in this space and on this topic. Best thoughts to everyone who reads this

  6. Ruben

    In my book, the only moral dictum is: mind your own business. I’ve come to understand that all good and civilized behaviour derives simply for being concerned with your own affairs and leaving other people alone to their own devices. My affairs include many people and other animals I have direct contact with, it’s not just me and myself. But people interested in what is good beyond their own personal environment, those people are the source of most evil, from harassment of intelligent women walking the streets of NY to large scale evil in far away places.

      1. Jo

        Mrs. Jellyby was never mean. She was distracted and rather a forgetful mother, but she was trying to do good.

        By the way, very few animals who are killed by farmers become clothing.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Coyotes are not raised commercially and they have become intrusive predators. Talk to people in Los Angeles, where they regularly kill small dogs. My father took up trapping in his retirement because a friend had a farm and coyotes were getting his lambs. My father used humane traps and snares.

          1. From Cold Mountain

            “Intrusive predator” as true of the humanity as it is of coyote. To say that coyotes are the problem and so it is OK to kill them lacks a comprehensive view of the ecosystem. Re-wilding cattle is just one practice that takes natural systems into account which benefits cows, humans, and the coyotes. But the livestock, they are in the middle of all this aren’t they. The one thing I will say about coyotes though, they do not have a need to justify their actions.

            And “humane trap” is a term that irks me, because it seems to link compassion to humanity. When I was a kid I saw a raccoon struggling to get out of one of my brother’s hav-a-hart traps. I did not see anything compassionate about it.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Would you rather have it in a steel trap?

              I doubt you’ve actually seen any of these traps in use.

              My father once caught a Rottweiler in one of his traps, by the back leg, so he was pretty worried about getting bitten while trying to free the dog. She not only bounded out just fine but tried to go home with him.

          2. jrs

            Someone saw a coyote eat their pet cat alive on their front yard around here (greater L.A. area). That has got to be traumatic.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Coyotes have benefitted from habitat destruction. Wolves used to keep coyote numbers in check, but with few/no wolves, coyotes, which do fine with smaller hunting areas, have flourished, to the detriment of foxes. The only ones that have maintained their numbers are grey foxes, which can climb trees to escape the coyotes.

        2. Mel

          They hunt, here in the village I’ve moved to. It’s, at the very least, extremely bad form to waste a carcass. I don’t have my textbook to verify, but it may be a crime. Though I think the supply isn’t regular enough to be of any use to the clothing industry as such.

          1. IDontKnow


            and she was mean, cruel even, to the people she was driven to help, because she was intent on forcing her solution on to them.

    1. Moneta

      The amount of people who go out of their way to lambast me for not always wearing a helmet when I cycle leaves me speechless every time.

      I could list a bunch of their activities and habits that are more dangerous than mine…

      1. divadab

        Maybe they had a head injury from a bike accident and really wish someone had told them of the dangers. I started wearing a helmet at the age of 47 when I witnessed a car-bike accident and helped the cyclist, who had hit his head on the road and could not remember his name or the accident, sit in the shade and wait for an ambulance.

        Please wear a helmet. Protect your noggin – it’s the only one you have.

        1. Foppe

          Maybe. Problem is, car drivers become more reckless when they see bicyclists wearing helmets. (And in NL, where almost nobody wears helmets, head injuries are very uncommon.) Doing something about that will probably be much more useful wrt overall safety than agitating for helmet use.

          1. TheCatSaid

            Great point about adding knowledge. Add knowledge, then drop the subject! Let everyone make their own informed choices without pressure from me. An ongoing learning process.

      2. a different chris

        >I could list a bunch of their activities and habits that are more dangerous than mine…

        Fair enough, but pls consider that if you get a head injury, at that particular moment you become the immediate problem of people who don’t know you and had different, better plans for their day than dealing with a stranger’s frightening in-capacitance.

        divadab said it better but I felt it should be repeated (lordy, I am a scold this morning maybe it is the loss of an hour of my weekend?)

        1. Moneta

          I could also tell all the ones entering fast food restaurants that they should not eat such food… if they have a heart attack, they’ll bother my daily routine… or those wearing shoes on icy roads to put on their boots because if they fall and break something, I’ll have to stay there until the ambulance arrives.

          Those who die in their sleep are quite rare. Whether I live a risk free life or not, I will be encumbering someone at an importune time sooner or later.

          Did you read the articles I posted? They do change our perspective on risk.

      3. Stupendousman - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

        I ride a motorcycle. Frequently strangers, upon learning I ride, inquire whether I wear a helmet, or even worse state, “I hope you wear a helmet.” My retort to them is “I hope you don’t consume too much, salt, sugar, or fat.” That usually terminates the conversation, and given its beginnings I’m not disappointed by that.

  7. Propertius

    Nevertheless, at 79th and Lexington, at night, a woman came up to em to yell: “Did you know you are wearing a dead dog?” I should have had the presence of mind to tell her she was right, it was a former pet.

    Perhaps it was a sibling of hers?

  8. ewmayer

    On reading this, the following quote came to my mind:

    “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    — C.S. Lewis

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Actually, we’d be better off without both. Injuries are not less harmful than insults, no matter how much worse insults feel when they’re experienced. People who steal my future from me politely are not less offensive than nutjobs who harass me on the street.

      1. jrs

        I wish we could have the kind of robber barons whose cruelty might sometimes sleep or cupidity was satisfied, but judging by their behavior it never is. No amount of riches satisfies them until even the poorest of the poor are denied medical care (what is cutting *medicaid* afterall). No amount of power satisfies them until the corporations have absolute dictatorial power.

        At least there is the chance that tyranny exercised for one’s own good might occasionally do some one good, which is more than we can say about rule by plutes.

    2. Sam F

      This kind of quotation is primarily used to attack virtue under false pretenses. Obviously only a robber baron would argue that we should prefer robber barons to “tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims.”

      While there are those who torment under the guise of doing good (such as the Puritans), in general they do not bother with the disguise of doing good, except to denounce their victim as bad, to make themselves seem good, which they cannot otherwise prove.

      This is the conduct of the ignorant, fearful of the irrational judgment processes of their own kind. It means nothing else.

      1. TheCatSaid

        “tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims” like one family member who was caring after another family member and imposed her own extreme standards of “healthy eating”. The person who was being cared for was vulnerable (because grateful & guilty and knew they needed help) and yet further disempowered by the experience. They felt more unhappy than if their own preferences had been sought and respected.

        Isn’t making choices how we evolve?

      2. Katharine

        So you’re saying a medievalist and lay theologian who spent most of his life in Oxford and Cambridge was really a robber baron?

        I have often disagreed with Lewis, but I would prefer to see the quotation in context before I judged it, much less him.

    3. a different chris

      That’s pretty rich coming from a guy (CS Lewis, not you!) bound so tightly to the oppression of Christianity.

  9. Wade Riddick

    I’ve had severe neuropathic pain for the last fifteen years – ever since I was poisoned with dental mercury. I know quite a bit about non-narcotic pain relief. I had to smarten up when I found out how many people were killed by the Vioxx I was on (not even the first deadly NSAID the medical profession threw at me; I was on feldene as a kid).

    I spent that time reading the pain literature. I looked for anything cheap, effective and low-risk – you know, the exact opposite of what doctors and pharma companies do. Most of the time I feel almost normal again. I’m sure you’re not as bad off as I am. Drop me a line, I’ll give you some tips. I was once a National Science Foundation Fellow, so I’m not a kook. I’ll even provide your doctors a bibliography in their own literature – if they’ll read it.

    In the meantime, put on some relaxing music for the dopamine jolt, soak in a hot bath of Epsom salts and baking soda and think over the offer.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the offer re the pain but the real issue is that it is a sign that Something Is Still Wrong after over 2 months. And it’s not as if this is straightforward, as in “do X, get sharp pain at Y point”. There’s a diagnostic challenge here and no one has gotten to the bottom of it.

      1. clarky90

        Hi Yves. You are a heroine, You can heal yourself.

        Rudolf Virchow wisely said “To pathology we owe the realization that the contrast between health and disease is not to be sought in a fundamental difference of two kinds of life, nor in an alteration of essence, but only in an alteration of conditions.”

        I just bought another 25 kg of epsom salts at the Farm Supply Store. Put 500 grams in a hot bath and soak yourself. I also buy 20 kg bags of Himalayan Pink Salt there. They sell it as a salt lick for stock. Delicious, nutritious food.

        I make bone broth and use it as stock. Get soup bones (fish, pork, poultry, beef, deer…) and put in a slow cooker. Cover with water. Add cider vinegar or lemons to taste. (The acid helps dissolve the minerals, glucosimine, gelatin, connective tissue, and marrow from the bones). Simmer for 36 to 48 hours and pour through a strainer to get the bone broth. Use BB as a soup base, for general cooking or just drink it as a delicious drink. The bone broth will provide much of what your body needs to repair itself.

        Also Natto– a fermented soybeans that can be bought cheaply at any Asian Market.

        “One of the richest food sources of vitamin K2 is a traditional Japanese food called natto. Studies have found that Japanese women who eat two or more servings of natto a week have higher levels of menaquinone in their blood, and significantly fewer hip fractures than European women who do not eat natto.”

        Also, love the sun (our precious sun) and bask in it regularly. Notice that our skin is NOT covered in fur- but designed to catch the sun’s full spectrum of light, ROY G BIV! (We are solar collectors- , by design) The sun hits our skin and Vitamin D is manufactured (bone repair)- But there are a myriad of other benefits that have not been identified. Like the health giving benefits of organic food, clean water, fresh air? We were created to worship (swim in) sun, rain, food, air, dirt

        Yves, your good health and good comfort is very important to ALL of us!!!!!!!!!! All the best wishes to you.

        If you do lots of healthy things, all together they will “alter the conditions” to allow you to heal.

          1. different clue

            The little I have read about natto and the few pictures I have seen lead me to understand it as being a kind of rotten soybeans embedded in soybean snot. Would that be a fair description?

      2. AbateMagicThinking but Not money

        Try cycling. I got over a twisted ski knee by cycling around Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. I’ve been told that it strengthens the muscles around the joint. It changed my life; I biked to work and then went off for months cycle touring in France and Spain.

        On the verbal assault side ot it: Move Back to Australia.

        See you around Brisbane!

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I know you mean well but I said above: Please don’t offer advice. My body is not yours and I already have lots of limits on what I can do. I have misalignments and cycling is not at all good for my knees. All a lot of this does is serve to remind me that I am basically borderline crippled, which is not pleasant.

          1. freedeomny

            Again Yves – so sorry. As someone who was an athlete and is now…well, as you say, borderline crippled, I can empathize (I’m probably in worse shape than you). I still continue on with my journey towards wellness, which will most definitely include More major surgery. I think mobility issues really take a toil on a person’s psyche…especially if they are used to being active. Personally, It made my world much smaller…forcing me to find other avenues to compensate. But I have and I remain optimistic…

            Be well!

      3. c_heale

        Hi Yves,

        I don’t know the details of your problem, so I hope I’m not speaking out of turn. Have you thought about trying acupuncture/moxybustion to try to try to resolve it? I’m currently having it for various medical conditions, one of which is joint problem and I have felt a lot more relaxed and comfortable after each session.

        Hope you feel better soon anyway.

      4. vlade

        Hi Yves,
        I assume you saw a physio (probably a few times)?

        Kiwi and Aussie ones are IMO best trained in the world (they get to see a lot of different injuries in Oz/NZ that are not that common elsewhere), and helped me few times when doctors were just clueless.

  10. Alex Morfesis

    Maybe…just maybe…well…there was a guy who used to live above uncle georges in astoria @ 34th & bway…he would do the crazyguy act in public during the light hours, like clockwork, trying to get his “disability” claim approved(we imagined)…he was greek…it was amazing…a group of us would make an outing of it on a regular basis…we seriously doubt he had any real issues…since at night we might see him at monikas cafe across from Kaufman studios (figured this out by chance as a fellow film student worked there and so a small group would swing thru on occasion)…and he was quite lucid and calm there…

    We speculated he had been tagged as some disability fraud and did the big show to support his claim…

    I could be talking nonsense as this may not be anything like what you experienced…but I do miss the loud crazy fakes on the streets of new york…public theater at it’s finest…

    Get weller queen bee…

  11. The Rev Kev

    So sorry to hear that your fall set you back to square one again with your hip injury. Bugger! Forgetting about the heavy duty medications that doctors seem fine to give out, may I suggest something more mild? Say a steaming hot bath lit by candle light and a good box of chocolates? It may not help much but if it feels good, who cares?

    I would not think any more on that self virtue-signalling women if I were you. You will likely never see her again but her troubles are that she will always go home with herself. And there is no escape from that. One final piece of advice if I may? As our British cousins say; “Never let the bastards get you down!” That’s good advice that.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I’m not getting any meds nor did the doctor give me any. It’s that walking what are not long distances at all by NYC standards hurts (or alternatively, I get all bound up in weird places and hurt later). And sitting and sleeping aren’ t comfortable either, so it’s not as if I get any relief.

      1. H. Alexander Ivey

        First, sincere sympathy on your being accousted on the street. An experience I certainly wouldn’t want next week when I’m in NYC. (And just walking away first, and then later asking “What the F was that all about?” is the best way of dealing with it, I say.)

        Second, this and $2.50 will buy you a coffee, somewhere…, I just can’t resist recommending chiropractic as a possible course of treatment for your chronic joint pain – full disclousure, my wife is a chiropractor and I’m a company director of the clinic so I may be pre-disposed. But chiropractic is only as good as the chiropractor so just saying “Go to a chiropractor.” really means go to a chiropractor who can tell you what is the source of your problem and who can offer you an effective course of treatment.

        And futher, Az/NZ physios, while not operating with the same model of treatment as chiropractic, are, IMHO, better trained and focused on chronic pain and functionality problems than physios from other schools.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I have a chiropractor who is very good (as in she winds up with patients who haven’t gotten results from other chiropractors) and she hasn’t been any help. As a result of having a bad knee injury in 1992, I have seen everything from orthopedists to witch doctors, and in several other cities too, so trust me, I’ve already made a very extensive search of practitioners.

      2. roxan

        Sorry to hear about your discomfort. I’m in the same boat with bad knees, back, etc. So far, the best pain relief I’ve found is PT in a warm water pool. It’s good exercise, too, since moving around is a chore anymore. Also, positioning in bed with pillows under my knees, or up against back. I don’t think joint ailments, arthritis, etc. have a ‘cure’ unless one wants surgery but we can certainly reduce the misery.

  12. Kalen

    Yves Smith, simply has been a victim of identity politics. And here is why.

    The promoted by the establishment and oligarchic elite under phony leftists and less often right-wing label so-called identity politics or single issue politics like feminism, animal welfare, environmentalism is all politics of division mostly a class division within all identity groups, that enables emerging of new, subservient to rulers elites within each identity group to usurp a voice of the rest of their group.

    In that way society sliced and diced into razor thin conflicted pieces of split Identities overall weak and manageable by the establishment elites.

    So Black elite usurps voice of all blacks, Hispanic elite usurps voice of all Latinos, white-supremacist elite usurps voice of all whites, religious elites usurp voice of all religious people, trade union elites usurp voice of all workers, native American casino elites usurp voice of all Indians, progressive elite usurps voice of all progressives citizenry, conservatives elite ususrps voice of all conservatives, LBGT elite usurps voice of all LGBT community, NRA elites usurps voice of all gun owners, environmental activist elite usurps voice of all people who care about environment, animal right activist elites usurp voice of all animal lovers etc., while a “rainbow coalition” of ruling oligarchic elite usurps voice of us all.

    The sole purpose of all of it is so poor and ordinary working people have no voice at all, insidiously gagged by their own kin, brothers and sisters who sold out cheaply for a silver coin to ruling oligarchic class as a repugnant slave master surrogate within their own flash and blood communities.

    It is all aimed to conduct clandestine vicious and brutal class war between defenseless working people i.e people who work for living in any shape or form and armed to their teeth oligarchic class under guise of cruel joke of a slogan “we are all together in it”, meaning they are masters and we are slaves in the corporate entity of the USA.

    We must cherish peace and resist any identity divisions since their are being fueled in order for us to easy controlled and politically exploited while living us with no voice in governance of our country while we are fighting one another senseless.

    1. BeliTsari

      Yep. If you work out-of-doors all day (or wait in vain for underfunded mass transit) you’d best adopt WL Gore laminates, PrimaLoft or PolarTec. Never you mind, these come up fracked wells & have poisoned poor rural communities for decades & clog gills forever. I remember seeing Marmot’s brand name replace The North Face & Patagonia in NYC, after kids started attacking folks for their parkas. Rich pepul am nutz!

  13. Foppe

    I’m sorry to hear that you had the misfortune of running into someone who thinks of badgering and shouting as “activism”/”education”, Yves. :/

    I’m sad to say that most of the animal movement is indeed promoting morally inconsistent positions by promoting single issues (mostly fur, foie gras, seals, whales, apes). This because of how foregrounding of specific types of use, coupled with silence about other types of use — which are, morally speaking, equally problematic, but which humanity has taught itself to think of as utterly normal — raises the suggestion that the types of use they’re “raising awareness” about (often by badgering, heckling, shouting, as though that’s a way to reach people) are morally worse, when they’re really not, as all use is equally unjustifiable, given that all use presupposes the right to use others as living property, whose interests we may (de)value how-/whenever we feel like (it).

    This is partly caused by the animal welfare and “rights” orgs, whose business model depends on the creation of arbitrary distinctions so as to motivate people to give them money, when what they should be promoting is the message ‘if you care about animals / are bothered by abuse, the only consistent response is to go vegan, because all animals — including humans — have an equal desire to live free from domination, other-inflicted exploitation, death, and other harms, by virtue of our all being sentient’. But they don’t, because nobody would be giving them money if they did, whereas torture porn does result in $$. And it’s partly caused by animal people, who are by and large equally resistant to that thought, because of our constantly-reinforced, spoon-fed species privilege.

    1. Ruben

      You do understand that if we go vegan those animals we cultivate, exploit, eat are not going to be “… free from domination, other-inflicted exploitation, death, and other harms, …” they would just never be born in the first place.

      1. Foppe

        Of course.?
        Point is, just as we understand that we don’t have a right to create humans for purposes of killing them to harvest their organs (or whatever) at age 18 — no matter how “happy” their lives until then — we also don’t have the right to decide for other animals for what purpose they live, and when they die.

        The consequence of that of course is that there will be fewer (non-human) animals around, but the only reason are brought into existence in the first place is because the economic cost of feeding them is thought to be outweighed* by the benefit of being able to use and kill them, to sell them as commodities. If we would decide to stop participating in the latter, do you really think we’d still be producing all that food and (shitty) “shelter” and pasture for them to live (on)?

        * ignoring externalities, that is — as AGW is not counted as a ‘cost’ of animal agriculture; nor is societal ill-health, to the extent that this is caused by the consumption of animal products.

        1. Ruben

          Maybe if you ask the animals that are born to be eaten by us whether they would rather never be born, well they might just prefer to have been born and to know what life is, don’t you think? In addition if we kill them in humane ways, what’s not to like?

          1. Foppe

            I can only ask human animals whether they would appreciate being killed because someone would like to use their body for some purpose or other; thus far, nobody signed up for it. I would point out, furthermore, that you’d also need to ask the mothers whether they want to be impregnated to mother offspring who are to be killed.
            We assume that we may decide for them that they would prefer living at all, but morally, that’s just vacuous, because thinking you are in the right, then acting on (without checking) our (by definition unverifiable) belief, doesn’t fly, and is just another case of using words to obfuscate the fact that we are deciding for other animals how they are used and when they die / when they are destroyed, just as we do for anything we consider our “property”. Sentience has evolved to increase our chance of continued existence, and it allows us to choose our actions. So why choose to use/harm other animals, who want to (continue to) live just as much as we do, when we don’t have to? It makes no sense to me anymore, since I found out that animal use for food is nutritionally unnecessary.

            As for “humane killing”, it is an oxymoron, which moreover (again) evades/ignores the central issue — why do believe we have the right to decide when another animal dies (without it being a case of self-defense in which there are non non-lethal alternative courses of action available) in the first place?

            1. Stephen Gardner

              Three points:
              1. Animals are not humans so asking a human how they would feel if treated as an animal makes no sense. There is no moral equivalence. Pretending otherwise is mere moral one-upsmanship not morality.
              2. Virtually all animals, including humans, depend on other animals for food. Even cute little birdies eat bugs. It’s just nature. Why do humans not realize that they are part of nature?
              3. I realize I am part of nature and I love burgers. I am no more likely to allow a vegan to deprive me of that pleasure than I am to allow a Saudi cleric to deprive me of the pleasure of pork in hot garlic sauce. One pleasure hating moralist is equivalent to another.

              1. Foppe

                1. Humans are animals, it’s just that we use “animals” as short-hand for nonhuman animals. We are all equal in that we all desire to live our lives, and to not be harmed. Sure, we all experience that differently, but that’s a separate, and morally irrelevant issue, as I’ve tried to explain above. (If you feel I failed to do so, and are willing, please indicate why you feel I haven’t.)

                2. This is not the way I would phrase it. Alternative: we are human. we are part of nature. We are able to reflect on our behavior and choose our actions. Hence being able to choose is not “unnatural”. The question then becomes is who to count as part of the moral sphere. When it comes to sentient beings who we classify as humans, possession of ‘sentience’ is a sufficient reason to include them in the moral sphere. Sentience in large part refers to having a desire to continue to live, to evaluate one’s surroundings, and to avoid dangers. Other animals also possess sentience, and also subjectively experience these desires, even though they experience them quite differently from us. So what reason do we have for excluding them from the moral sphere, other than that we feel we have the right to exclude them, which is a wholly circular “justification” for doing so?

                3. why are you talking about others not “allowing” you to do things? The only person who decides what you allow yourself to do is you — no law can stop you (hence all the problems we have with violence even though we have laws).
                As for your remark about “pleasure-hating moralists” — I am sad that you choose to characterize any/all vegans that way, not least because as I have tried to explain, the question whether we derive pleasure from eating animals is besides the point.
                To offer an analogy: would you also characterize someone who argues for an end to sexual violence a “pleasure-hating moralist”? (Note that I am not equivocating these — merely trying to explain via analogy why I think that unnecessary — and animal use for food indeed is wholly unnecessary, distribution issues (which are political choices) aside — violence towards other animals is morally indefensible.)
                As for your other worry: I have found out in the past 3 years that vegan food can taste as good, and as bad, as food that contains animal products. It’s just a matter of allowing others (via cookbooks / the internet / restaurants) to help you with the ingredient combinations. (And I’d be more than happy to point you in the direction of a decent site or cookbook, if you want.)

                1. inhibi

                  Foppe –
                  No one, absolutely no one, living in a current 1st world country has any right to claim superior morality. I find any action in claiming superior morality for life choices like vegan/vegetarianism hilarious. Do you really think you can remove yourself from affecting the environment, negatively, by a mere choice of food? You would have to live in a hut, built by your hands; eat food grown by yourself; weave textiles into clothing, etc. It simply doesn’t exist except in areas like Africa – yet the African tribes eat meat! So are you claiming environmental superiority vs. Africans simply because they eat meat? Animal testing is what let the likes of you live above the age of 35. How do you think we develop drugs? Do you think mining is less invasive than nurturing animals on a farm? What about pesticides and fertilizers used on vegetables? You think growing corn and soy monocultures is less detrimental than cows? Maybe so, maybe not, but believe me when I say that no one has the right to claim any sort of superiority when they are part of the system.

                  1. Foppe

                    I really don’t understand why my comment led you to unload like this. Where am I talking about, let alone (personally) claiming moral superiority?

                    All I did is 1. say that we have the ability to not use animals for food, and 2., ask why we would then choose to continue to use animals, given that they are also sentient, also desire to live, and, most importantly, given that we — and especially those who live in the ‘west’ — unlike other animals, have the ability to choose what we eat. (And to preempt another common objection: no, a diet that consists of starches, legumes and greens plus some fruits is not ‘elitist’. Animal ag is many times more resource and water intensive.)

                    As for your statements about monocropping: see below. As for ‘African tribes who eat meat’: some do, most don’t, and certainly not to the degree that we in the west do.

                    1. inhibi

                      ‘Most don’t’ – no, actually, most do. Show me an African tribe that doesn’t eat meat. I’ve yet to see one – and the reason is obvious: when it comes to survival, meat is the king food to prevent starvation. Its chock full of fats and proteins.

                      Do we really have the ability to choose what we eat? In 1st world countries, sure. In most other places, you eat what is local, whether that be beef, pork, legumes, sweet potatoes, etc. I don’t think raising animals, responsibly, is by any means so harmful as to dictate a completely meatless diet.

                      Veganism merely substitutes one thing for another. For example, vegan cheese uses tremendous amounts of soy. If we were to look at soy and corn from a environmental standpoint, they are by far some of the most detrimental crops as they need tremendous amounts of potash, which is derived from petroleum byproducts, and nitrates derived from the Haber Bosch process. So you cant just get away from it by pretending that by not eating meat, your some sort of modern day Buddha. Should we raise domesticated animals more responsibly? Sure. Should we look towards permaculture farming? Of course. But should we try to convince others that domestication of animals is wrong? No. Its too easy to sit in the Ivory Towers of the Western world and make these sweeping morally based arguments of how humanity should act. Meat/domestication of animals has been an integral part of human society, culture, technology, diet, since we first stood upright in the plains of middle Africa.

                      What I agree with you about is the fact that the US is too heavily reliant on meat products. But nature will fix that up quick: when water rights get more and more expensive, meat will likewise grow more costly. Eventually, only the rich will be able to buy farm bred beef (possibly). I still don’t see how by not eating meat will do anything to save the environment, as the human race is almost as entrenched in exploiting the resource rich earth as they are in breathing.

                    2. Foppe

                      Sure, most eat some meat. Why wouldn’t they, what with it not being seen as a moral issue by the majority of the people on the planet. But that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. Namely that, for most people, and with very few exceptions, the vast majority of the calories and micronutrients people eat come from plant foods.

                      As for the rest, adding to/repeating what I said below: animal agriculture is hugely inefficient. One important reason why it is nevertheless big in the Global South, is that the World Bank started touting meat exports as “a great way to become part of the global economy” starting in the 1960s, but especially since the rise of fast-food industry, which of course required huge amounts of cheap (low-“quality”) meat. Animal-ag-connected land-grabs played a huge role in the repression of “communists” in middle america (including the Contras), South America (and Amazon deforestation), etc.

                      So while I appreciate your concern with non-westerners (who, I would note, I am not trying to reach here …), I would recommend that if you care about food security, you look at this issue critically. But since I’m also highly aware of the fact that this history isn’t really told, because everyone’s blind to it, what with our belief in the desirability/necessity of animal use (for food), I will suggest a (well-sourced) starting point: David Nibert’s Animal Oppression and Human Violence (Columbia UP, 2012).

              2. nycTerrierist

                re: ‘moral equivalence’

                Speciesism is an ideology. In my view, normalized violence does not pass for ‘morality’.

                In Animal Liberation, philosopher Peter Singer writes:

                “Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater weight to the interests of members of their own race when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race. Sexists violate the principle of equality by favouring the interests of their own sex. Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species. The pattern is identical in each case.”

                  1. inhibi

                    Talk about redundant philosophy. Without weighing ones interest over others, how would life exist?

                    1. Mel

                      I don’t know, but it would have to be very cooperative. Maybe something Ursula LeGuin’s Hainish could fix up. :)
                      Which reminded me of her novel Always Coming Home, which studies people living the traditional Southwest lifestyle in some kind of Retrotopia (loosely connected to a higher-tech society outside) in what we might call California. An older attitude to the non-human world is threaded through the whole story.
                      (“Retrotopia” I’ve stolen from the Archdruid, just to be candid.)

                    2. tony

                      It wouldn’t, or more accurately, it would be outcompeted by life that does look out for itself first. My point was that there is nothing wrong about favouring ingroup. Now you might argue that there is something wrong with racism using other arguments, and sex relations are simultanously competitive and cooperative, so that argument is too simplistic to be taken seriously. Nor would I respect anyone who unironically writes stuff like that.

              3. shargash

                Drive through the Midwest and look at those endless fields of corn, wheat, and soybeans and ask yourself how many animals live in those fields now, compared to how many animals lived in those fields in the past. Modern mass farming is the most ecologically damaging form of food production and requires the literal extermination of all other life forms to make room for it. There is nothing ethical about modern vegetable food production.

                1. Foppe

                  Could you clarify who this is in response to?
                  In any case, while I don’t necessarily disagree that mass farming is an ecological disaster, please keep in mind that a very large part of US and worldwide soy, corn and wheat (and alfalfa, other grains) production is for use as fodder. In the case of soy (per the WI Soy Association figures:

                  The livestock industry is the largest consumer of soy meal. In fact, 98 percent of U.S. soy meal goes to feed pigs, chickens and cows.

                  The figures for corn and wheat are somewhat lower (IIRC it’s about 70% of corn, 25-33% of wheat), but still, an enormous amount of acreage is dedicated to the production of nutritionally unnecessary “food”, in the form of animals and animal products such as dairy, eggs.

                  1. shargash

                    It was partly in response to you, but also to the general conversation. I thought about including the bit about grain production going to meat production, but I left it out in the interest of brevity. In any case, it doesn’t change my point. Modern mass meat production is bad, but it is chiefly bad because it depends on modern mass agriculture.

                    Mainly I was responding to people who won’t eat a bison burger but support the genocide of the bison to make room for their cereal crops. And I don’t believe it is an advance to exterminate the black angus so we can cram in a few more billion people.

                  2. inhibi


                    its almost like you don’t understand equations. If everything moved from meat to soy, then that “96% soy production is for feed” would then read “96% of soy is for meat substitutes”. You cannot get away from man being a heavy consumer of food products.

                    1. Foppe

                      I don’t get it, all this worldliness (and hostility, presumably because you have it in your head that I want to harm other humans to “save animals”, or whatever?), yet at the same time you don’t know that any animal will need to eat many times their “slaughter” weight in feed to attain that weight, just like we humans need many times our adult weight in food to grow and continue living? And the efficiency case is even worse when it comes to dairy / eggs.
                      If you have worries, I would appreciate it if you could express them clearly, rather than asking me to distill the worries from a response in which you impute all kinds of thoughts to me that are inaccurate or besides the point.

            2. Ruben

              I hear you Foppe, but still I can’t help finding you so cruel for wishing all those piglets, chicken, what have you, not to be born, not to experience life, the tenderness of their mothers blossom, the running and squeaking and pickings with siblings, the staring at the moon and the night sky, the feeling of a full stomach, just because they were born to be eaten by us.

              You wrote in cold blood “The consequence of that of course is that there will be fewer (non-human) animals around, … “. Let this sink in, you want to erase billions of sentient brains from the face of the Earth, just because someone will eat them once they are ripe for the serving.

              1. Vatch

                The lives of most farm animals are unending series of horrors in factory farms. Basically, the animals are tortured for their entire lives, and then they are killed. I’m not a vegetarian, although I don’t eat a lot of meat, but whenever I think about this, I usually end up having a meatless day. I recently discovered some products made mostly from soy that taste just like Italian sausage. So restricting my consumption of meat just became a little easier for me.

              2. Foppe

                I am confused. Are you truly arguing that raising an animal for the express purpose of using them until it serves us better to kill them, all so long as, and to the extent that, one can make money out of it (or otherwise gain status) is morally neutral or good, but pointing out to people that this is morally odious is “cruel” because they might decide to stop participating in the former? Forgive me, but that really makes no sense to me whatsoever, and I hope you can understand why.

                1. Ruben

                  I didn’t say anything about money. I said it is cruel to wish for so many animals not to be born, not to experience life, just because they are born to be eaten.

                  Consider that before they are killed and eaten, they experience many small and rewarding pleasures of life for months or even years, such as having a meal, interacting with others, sleeping together, and perhaps pondering abut the nature of life, yes including in those industrial factory farms, ignorant of what’s coming to them, in blissful ignorance shall we say.

                  You want to deny them everything, you want they were not born because you, having experienced life, judge their lives not worth living. Think about it beyond your preconceptions.

                  1. Foppe

                    Ruben: I do hope you realize that you’re now basically using the same argument anti-abortion activists make to argue for denying women the right to have abortions — who are convinced that the right to life of unborn, not-yet-sentient offspring-beings outweighs the right of the mother to decide what to do with her body? I.e., you’re arguing that one shouldn’t argue against animal use because the consequence might be that as-yet-unborn beings (who by definition cannot bear rights) would remain unborn, which “is” a “harm”?

                  2. Vatch

                    . . . before they are killed and eaten, they experience many small and rewarding pleasures of life for months or even years . . .

                    No, most of them don’t experience those pleasures, because they live on factory farms (CAFOs). Factory farms are Auschwitzes for animals.

                    1. nycTerrierist

                      Whoops, Vatch, just saw your comment.

                      Thank you. You put it better than I did!

                      Peter Singer described factory farming as ‘Eternal Treblinka’.

                  3. nycTerrierist

                    I suggest you look into conditions on factory farms where animals are born into lives of unceasing misery and radical sensory deprivation where they are denied the most basic bodily comforts, such as freedom to move – at all. (pigs who live their entire lives in gestation crates, chickens that can never spread their wings or even stand upright because they are so crammed in).

                    With all due respect, your comment here makes many assumptions about factory farmed animals that are not true.

                    1. Ruben

                      I’ve seen quite a few factory farms and also small scale traditional farms. In my childhood we used to kill pigs and sheep for festivities with family, in the case of sheep we called it the Crucifixion because we roasted them with arms and legs spread in a cross, standing upwards.


                      We didn’t enjoy killing them, some of them sheep and pigs and chicken had been with us over several summer seasons and they were part of our troop, but still we knew we were going to eat them. My grandpa gave me wine to drink, he said I was too brainy needed to tone it down a bit, and I asked him about all the animals that lived with us but that we eventually killed and ate. He was a wise man, and he said do you wish that they were not born? Do you think their lives are not worth living? How arrogant of you. Or something like that. I thought he was right. Even living in a crowded factory floor with no room to spread wings or to run around is better than not to be born at all, a meal or two per day, time to grow, seeing things, breathing, who am I to judge those things not worth the time they take before heading to the conveyor belt?

                      Besides, in the near future, factory farms will not raise individual animals, they will raise steaks, chicken breasts, ribs, etc, directly, by cell cultivation. The factory farm floor will be a thing of the past. Then this chicken Auschwitz cry will cease I guess.

                2. nycTerrierist

                  Thank you. Foppe, I appreciate the time you have taken on this thread to unpack these issues.

        2. JTMcPhee

          I guess what went on, maybe still does, in China and other places, has no bearing on this up-in-the-air morality play: “China to stop harvesting executed prisoners’ organs”,

          And remember how all us urban sophisticates just oohed and aahed at the wonders displayed in the artful presentation of flayed and preserved carcasses, branded “Bodies: The Exhibition”:

          Concerns have been raised about the provenance of the bodies[4] and the ethics of viewing human remains, especially for children and Catholics.[5][6][8][7] In an editorial, Lutheran Reverend Christoph Reiners questioned the effect on the values of children.[9] Prior to the 2005 U.S. premiere, the Florida Attorney General expressed the opinion that the State Anatomical Board’s approval should be required. The Board fought the Tampa exhibit, with its director expressing the opinion that the exhibit should be shut down. Premier Exhibitions officials disagreed, claiming that the Board had jurisdiction only over medical schools and not museums; the exhibit opened two days ahead of schedule at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry.[10][11][12][13]

          From 2006, the New York Times and the 20/20 television program have published reports on a “black market” in Chinese cadavers and organs,[14][15] sparking a Congressional inquiry,[16] an investigation by NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo,[17] and the resignation of Premier’s CEO Arnie Geller.[18] As the result of the Cuomo investigation and subsequent settlement in 2008,[19] the front page of the exhibition website displays a disclaimer about the presumed origin of the bodies and fetuses, saying that it “relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners” and “cannot independently verify” that the bodies do not belong to executed prisoners.[20] Both the human rights activist Harry Wu[21] and the director of the Human Rights in China advocacy group have objected to the exhibit on these grounds.[21]

          If only coyotes had opposable thumbs and a soft palate and 6-degree-of-freedom tongue motion, where would humans be in the great self-appointed positioning on the “food chain”?

          Does not matter — we individuals, whatever noises and motions we make in the direction of being better, seem to me to be pretty much by and large self-serving, self-seeking, self-justifying, condescending creatures, less able than termites to build social structures that survive for even decades.

          Speaking of the horrors of youth, when I was a kid in Cub Scouts, one trip was to the Field Museum of Natural History, just chock-full of skeletons and stuffed critters. One display was the body of a black woman who allegedly volunteered to have her deceased body, from the upper thighs up to the crown of her head, laid on the table of a band saw and sliced like beefsteaks into slabs about 3/4″ thick. These were then pickled in formalin and laid between panes of safety glass, all carefully framed in brushed stainless steel and mounted in order of separation, spaced out a foot or so between slabs, from a wall in the I think it was northeast stairwell. A total guilty pleasure to sneak away from the Pack and grab a peek at the corpse and the “parts,” the primary and secondary sexual-characteristic parts, laid out in what I thought was a totally perverse way, but then how dare one judge the dedication to science that brought this meat to the intellectual table in that bourgeois hall of science and high thoughts…

      2. a different chris

        Why do we have to go full vegan? My chickens live the life of Ryan, and we do joke about the soup we are going to make when they stop laying (and we are near the end now) but we know they are just going to die of old age or misadventure and get a half-decent burial.

        Sheep wool, chickens eggs, cows milk… not seeing the in”human”ity in that.

        Meanwhile we bomb the sh&t out of actual people that we don’t even intend to honor by eating…

        1. Foppe

          Hi Chris, thanks for the question. :)
          As I tried to indicate above, the main reason is that anything less is inconsistent, because any type of institutionalized use is guaranteed to involve harm, because it all happens in the context of satisfying human needs at the cost of others (whether human or nonhuman), and because people are just blind to the ‘harm’ issue, because we’re so used to seeing it. Even in mostly benign cases, such as that of backyard chickens, male chicks are generally killed because they can’t be sold (because people want eggs, and quiet). And while some people don’t, only very few people don’t out of a desire to respect their needs — mostly it’s only because they don’t feel comfortable with it. (Which is fine as far as it goes, but it makes for a terrible moral principle.)

          In the case of dairy, this means forcibly impregnating cows to stimulate milk production, removing the calves after birth (either to be killed or to be raised as the next-gen dairy cow) so that we can use their milk, and repeat (every year), because only then does the milk production stay at a level at which economic exploitation “makes sense”. Generally cows can stomach about 4-7 ‘cycies’ of this before their milk production drops below ~8000 liters/year, at which point keeping the cost attached to keeping the cow alive and in production becomes too high, so the cow is sold to a butcher, and replaced by the next generation.
          The figures for “happy” exploitation, and “organic” cows are marginally less worse, but the economic logic is the same — it’s all only and wholly about what suits us (even when we decide for sentimental reasons to keep an animal around — please understand I don’t mean this as an accusation, I’m just trying to make it clear how little our thinking has to do with actually taking seriously the interests of nonhuman animals who we consider our property).

          Similar things apply to our use of chickens for eggs, of sheep for wool — we keep them alive until it makes more economic sense to replace them than to let them live.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      My favorite example combination of animal rights activist arrogance and ignorance came when PETA wrote to the mayor of Fishkill (as in “Fish Creek,” and the Dutch presence in the Hudson Valley), NY and informed him that it was a morally reprehensible name, and that it should be changed to Fishsave, NY.

      True story. And, you know, these people are just plain superior to the likes of you and me; that’s just how it is.

  14. Joe Formerly of BKLYN


    I was born + raised in Brooklyn. Spent mucho time in Manhattan. I guess you are from elsewhere? The first lesson you learn in NYC is to ignore just about everybody and everything (except maybe “don’t walk” signs).

    What’s upsetting to me in your brief disclosure: Your physical pain. I have some, too (thanks to an auto accident that was my fault). It really, really sucks.

    I can make a host of suggestions of things to try that have not worked for me. The most concrete things that HAVE helped; A. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. B. You probably already “do” stretching of some sort (or maybe yoga?) — but be sure you stick to the routine.

    Don’t skimp on sleep. Don’t not stretch on a given day because you feel really good (or really bad).

    If this is worthless, I apologize. The part about ignoring other New Yorkers isn’t mean-spirited — you just gottta realize, in a city with 7 million people packed close together, odds are even on a good day a lot of them are dealing with something off-putting. AND: We New Yorkers do “verbalize” a lot of the time, don’t we?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’ve lived here for over 35 years, which means not long after the fiscal crisis, when the city was not considered to be very safe.

      For someone to get in another person’s face AT NIGHT, which is how this started (she stepping in front of me and got well within the normal boundaries, forcing me to walk around her) and follow them nearly a block harassing them, is not normal. I should have had the presence of mind to take her photo and tell her I was calling the cops.

      I am sleeping a lot but it isn’t making any difference in my comfort level and is actually adding to my stress.

      1. clarky90

        Hi Yves

        I was just at the Wanaka A an P Show (NZ). (Agriculture and Pastural). There was a couple selling inversion tables.

        “What You Need to Know About Inversion Tables & Back Pain”. by two PTs

        I like the inversion tables because the user is in complete control. I am going to buy one for myself. I went to horizontal on the table and just rocked myself back and forth. Very soothing and fun.

    2. neo-realist

      Sorry to hear about your encounter Yves. Encounters for the purpose of harrassment on the streets of NYC are not all that uncommon, but the close up contact certainly is a bit more uncommon. The city may be a little cleaner, but freaks and time bombs are still all over the place. Hopefully you haven’t exhausted the specialist options for treating your chronic pain, maybe a Mayo Clinic visit if you’ve got the time and you’re curious enough about your condition.

      @Joe Formerly of BKLYN
      Speaking of street encounters as one who was also born and raised in Brooklyn, I recall back in the mid 80’s walking back to the subway after a visit to a rental housing broker in Gravesend and a middle aged white male followed me for about a block or two raging at me with racial epithets and curses. You just gotta keep moving without acknowledging the presence of the crazy all that much to keep safe.

  15. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    I wish you better Yves, which is about all I can do, except send you a link to this video which on bad days often comes to mind & except for the days of the truly tragic, has me smiling despite myself.

    On the off chance it might work for you too :

  16. ex-PFC Chuck

    Best wishes on getting a solid diagnosis of what’s going on with your hip and a recovery of pain free more or less normal life. Don’t let the a**holes get you down.

  17. flora

    Sorry you were accosted by a crazy person. Wonder if she was wearing leather shoes or carrying a leather purse. (no inconsistency there. ha.) Coyotes are so numerous here that wearing a coyote trimmed coat is no big deal to most people, no more so than wearing rabbit fur lined gloves. Synthetics just aren’t as warm or as good at keeping the wind and snow off ones face.

    As for crazy lady sjw bullying you while you limped down the street because she didn’t like your coat, that’s crazy.

    1. flora

      Also: Cold always seems to make pain worse. So please stay warm as you can during this week’s big chill.

    2. susan the other

      Agree. That woman was nuttier than a fruit cake. Which makes her dangerous. Always best to walk away. Even though it would feel really good to grab her by the face and stuff her ass-first into the nearest garbage can. About hip pain, of which I am an expert, I’ve got a combination of arthritis and bursitis. Bursitis is the most painful. Also sounds like you’ve got a pinched nerve in that mix. Take your D3. Drink red wine or tequila. ;-)

  18. jackiebass

    I live in a rural area in upstate NY. The coyote population has exploded to the point that they have become a big problem. Since they are animals that prey on other animals for their food, they aren’t selective about what they kill. The range is from mice to newly borne deer. Also they prey on dogs and cats. Most hunters hate them and don’t hesitate to shoot them if they see one during a hunting trip. In many areas they have devastated the deer population by preying on new borne deer. It amazes me the the DEC supports a closed season on coyote hunting. I wonder what that person would think if a coyote killed her tabby or fido? I have no problem with people using animal hides for clothing. The woman probably doesn’t realize what the environmental impact of producing fake furs is. Unfortunately some people live in their own surreal world and don’t understand how mother nature really works.

    1. Vatch

      All good points. Coyotes are not endangered species — they’re not wolves, nor are they like other species that are killed for frivolous reasons, such as tigers and rhinoceroses.

    2. IDontKnow


      The current apex predator has removed all the predators that once kept coyote, bobcat, (and feral dog/cats) population in check. It’s not surprising that the ecology gets messed up. What’s interesting is that cute has replaced fitness for the ecological system as the determinant.

      Took a class on-line university class run Pete Singer on morality, but found a lot of mushy thinking. The lecture mostly centered on justifying his own life decisions. While Pete is smart enough to not yell at people on the street, he does do a sneaky way of arming pseudo-intellectuals and people looking for some relief from their inferiority complex with a mindset that can get just such results.

    3. different clue

      Perhaps if enough coyotes eat enough rodents and deer to reduce the rodent-dear host population for Lyme Disease ticks to less then it is and will become, the Northeast might avoid the epidemic of Lyme Disease which I hear is in the Northeast’s near future.

  19. BeliTsari

    Look confused and repeat: “Onkwehonwehnéha satá:ti. Sa’nikonhraién:tas ken?” Lots of speciously oblivious nudniks who’ve slithered onto Manhattan Island, have this whole sneering, didactic, esteem issue thing going on? PR firms have capitalized upon this stereotype of sublimated, petulant, elitist rage to blithely denigrate all anti-authoritarian, progressive or egalitarian movements; since bourgeois kids co-opt poor folks’ struggles and media only ever presents their entitled, smug and vacuous perspective. So the working classes get disgusted and cling to reactionary plutocratic agitprop fed them from the pulpit, corporate media, boss or their teachers?

    For historically eugenicist Scientific American to say political correctness is exclusive to “the left” is just plain silly.

  20. Tinky


    I suspect that your hip issue is the result of a soft-tissue changes resulting from the initial fall, and resulting compensations. From your description, it isn’t likely to be orthopedic, as you fell on your knees.

    The quality of physiotherapists varies greatly, but I have an esoteric, alternative suggestion. Assuming that my premise is correct, I’d recommend that you try a Rolfer. I have vast experience with various modalities of serious massage therapy over the past ~40 years, and find Rolfing to be, by a wide margin, the most profoundly beneficial. Rolfers are also trained to be superb diagnosticians, and are often capable of identifying and unwinding complex soft-tissue problems that ordinary PTs wouldn’t have a clue about.

    I am nearing 60, have zero joint or back paint, and perform athletically as if I were 15 years younger. This isn’t due solely to Rolfing, but it has certainly contributed to my overall excellent health, and played a significant role in my having been able to overcome several specific, perplexing issues.

    I would add that there would be no downside to such an experiment, but bear in mind that this is a very deep form of massage, and, as such, can be uncomfortable at times. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you would ultimately find the experience to be very positive.

    If you are interested, feel free to contact me via email, and I would be happy to recommend an excellent, NY-based Rolfer.



    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No I fell in an all fours position, which meant the shock of the impact when right into my hips. Basically landed so both femurs were vertical. Both knees, then both hands.

      And I’ve tried Rolfing (trust me I have tried everything on this list as some point, which is why I discouraged suggestions, and the one I tried was trained by Ida herself). I have significant structural issues. My two feet are even very different from each other, with a way higher arch. One leg is longer than the other. I have mis-aligned legs. One is longer than the other too. And that isn’t even a full list.

      No soft tissue work will fix any of that.

      1. john bougearel

        Yves, seems like no one listened to your request. So I apologize in advance for this: One leg shorter than the other is a sign of adrenal insufficiency as part of an overall pattern of chronic stress response of the sympathetic neuroendocrine system that never shuts off.

    1. Dirk77

      Sorry too. A friend of my family was in the army in the mid-60’s. Drafted. He was in DC for some reason. His sergeant told them to be careful as there were a number of cases of anti-war protestors beating up servicemen.

      1. BeliTsari

        Jeepers, that’s right? Almost forgot, thanks sarge!

        Replace market driven Capitalism with police-state 3rd world collectivism… CHECK
        Spread lethal venereal disease through deviate sex with other races… CHECK
        Deny Christ and hook innocent little kids on hallucinogenic drugs… CHECK
        Overthrow the nation by force, giggle and listen to jungle, boogie-boogie… CHECK
        Loot and burn the cities, drink decent beer and coffee, eat Thai food… CHECK!

        Beat up buff proletarian guys, fresh out of advanced infantry training… Oops, must’ve been high?

        1. Dirk77

          The point was that people’s attitude toward you is often about them rather than you, or in this case what you represent (which may not be you at all). Your response in a way is an example.

  21. Etrigan

    When a person emphasizes they don’t want potential remedies they mean it, so please, don’t “help” by offering potential remedies, all it means is a failure of reading comprehension. It took me five years to get diagnosed and treated and I started to keep a running list of the well-meaning but tried, discarded or foolish suggestions offered constantly as a way for others to avoid sitting in empathy with another’s pain, and was guilty of doing the same many times in other contexts. Don’t.

    I empathize with your difficulty and hope relief can be found.

      1. Clive

        Plus another 1. Many of us I’m sure have some variety of long term health issue and only we know what we’ve tried, what’s not worked and what we wouldn’t entertain trying. I have an eye condition and am so reluctant to even mention it and don’t do so unless it is essential to make a specific point and personal experience is a useful adjunct to an argument for this very reason. If I had a £1 for each time I had to smile politely through yet another well-meaning but hopelessly ineffectual piece of advice — my pet hate is “have you tried (insert variant here) glasses?” — I’d be as rich as the Clintons.

  22. IDontKnow

    Unfortunately this isn’t all that new, I was part of a delegation meeting Greenland Inuit in 1988 visiting for a exchange on native rights in Canada. They (and we) were splashed with paint at the airport by animal rights activist, who one can rest assured drove petrol powered transport, and wore petrol based fabrics., and lived in A-frame built on the backs of PCB chemicals. The activist knew the police were looking for any excuse to dump us in jail and we could not afford to strike back. Ruining the quality of the furs was a double insult, as that’s one way the church use to break the back of Inuit who refused to come in and be civilized.

    However, as least once we got away from the airport it was over. What makes it more scary today is the power that technology has given to the ill to make lives of others hell. What if that woman had been able to look up Yves details via a photo search from phone camera/Google Glass, has no need to work, has nothing better to do with her day and decides to do an Oz Katerji (vis Rania Khalek).

    1. Paleobotanist

      Yup, this sounds familiar. I’m a small Native American woman (well Native Canadian woman) of a certain age who wears a down coat with a big hood trimmed in coyote fur in winter. I’ve had a large young white guy screaming at me over wearing fur from a car while I was walking.

      Get better Yves soon. Some people are looking for excuses to be angry without cause, ignore them.

  23. SteveB


    Sorry to hear about your encounter. It’s good you did not engage.

    re: your hip…..

    Dr Bryan Kelly ….. Hospital for Special Surgery (Hip)
    Dr Daniel Richmond (pain management But really an excellent diagnostician) also HSS

    It’s a long story, but they helped me after 5 years of failure elsewhere. You are welcome to contact me for detail.

  24. Theo

    I sympathize, Yves. I know what it is to live with chronic pain, including hip pain. For you, to be accosted like that who obviously do have a great deal of empathy for others is ironic. I hope you can soon get relief and an answer. Massage might not be a bad way to approach it first. Who knows what that woman is putting up with in her life. Such certainties may be her way of holding on to sanity in this bizarre and threatening time when we are all threatened with the death of the earth.

  25. Linda

    Yves, So sorry this happened. And I don’t have anything helpful to say about it. All that comes to mind is that there are some real a-holes out there. I had a similar encounter awhile back which left me not wanting to leave the house for days. Very upsetting and depressing. You did well to let it only ruin an evening. I was not as resilient.

  26. sd

    Yves, just curious, has anyone looked at your spine for compressed discs, etc? Wishing you peace wherever you go.

  27. PH

    It would make me angry to be assaulted like that, but I try to remind myself that bad people punish themselves, and move on. Does not always work.

    I am sorry to hear you are hurt. I hope you feel better soon.

    As for tormentors, don’t let the bastards ground you down.

  28. funemployed

    I find animal rights jerks virtually always tend to fetishize non-agricultural tribal peoples as being “one with nature” or some such. Mystifying how they can manage to overlook the fact every last one of those people is an omnivore who uses animal body parts for many things and food – because humans are animals – and animals kill animals – kind of a lot. Needless cruelty, however, is mostly (though not entirely) a human specialty.

    Best wishes and warm thoughts to you. You do wonderful work and have impacted my life in an unequivocally positive way, so much gratitude as well.

    1. Foppe

      I don’t necessarily disagree wrt animal people generally, but I would point out that they are far from unique in this — if I’d gotten a dollar every time I’ve heard the words “but inuit / masai”, or some variation on “lions/predators though” (or, worst of all, “broccoli is sentient too, y’know”), spoken by someone confused about the implications of our own claim to being a species that reflects on its actions and cares about morality, I’d be rich by now.

    2. Edward E

      Coyotes are the worst killers of dogs, birds, rabbits and fawns. They often rip up fawns as they’re born or shortly afterwards​. I don’t know what is causing the recent attitudes in people. My hip is beginning to concern me, after spreading three loads of gravel. But I have an already messed up leg. If you have real work that needs to be done everyone will avoid you like the plague. Hang in there, Yves.

      1. flora

        And calves, sheep and lambs. One of the reasons farmers/ranchers try to get cows and sheep close in and penned before they calve or lamb.
        Deer have started moving into more urban areas and the coyotes are following them. Not unusual to spot coyotes or hear their packs yipping inside the city limits.

      2. Ivy

        Our neighborhood has all indoor pets now, as the coyotes have thinned the population of the last true believers. The animals are quite clever and hunt in pairs. They are also athletic and can jump over higher fences than one might initially think. The rabbits still breed rapidly and provide more snacks. Such is life in a semi-desert.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I yearn for a neighborhood with indoor pets. Right now, mine sounds like a kennel. And smells like a litter box.

          OTOH, the coyotes have been seen in parts of Tucson that they used to avoid. I guess those outdoor doggies and kitties are pretty tasty.

  29. Anne

    I don’t know what it is about obvious physical injury, but much like when one is visibly pregnant, anyone and everyone – complete strangers included – feel compelled to treat one like public property. People mean well, and I suppose all you can do is marvel that apparently there are still some people who aren’t always looking at their phones!

    For what it’s worth, Yves, I had one of those falls like you did – had gone out to the garage to the fridge we have there to retrieve something or other, and going back into the house with my hands full, somehow misjudged the height of the step and went down hard on one of my knees. It was a combination of trying not to drop whatever it was I was carrying in, and trying to protect my shoulders. “My shoulders?” you ask. Yeah…in 2000, I slipped on cat vomit on the stairs going down to do laundry, reached out to grab the railing to keep from breaking my neck at the bottom of the stairs, and wrenched my arm out of the socket and fractured the rim of the socket. Surgery and months of PT followed. Five years later, I stepped off the sidewalk into a parking lot at night and didn’t see the storm drain, fell and did almost the exact same thing to the other shoulder. More surgery and PT.

    So, when I fall, I am hyperaware of those surgically-repaired shoulders, so don’t fall “naturally,” and end up allowing other parts of me to take the hit.

    So, I feel your pain. I probably should have had my knee x-rayed, but opted for ice and what-not. Got an enormous lump on it, and for the most part was fine walking – it was taking steps down that bothered me.

    I’m a firm believer that doctors don’t know everything, that our bodies do sometimes work in mysterious ways, and that our minds play a much bigger role in our physical health than we want to give it credit for. Scans can’t see everything, and nothing makes it all worse than a medical professional telling you they can’t see anything wrong, even as you know there most definitely is. And if no one can tell you what’s wrong, then you can’t even know if you’re doing something that could make it worse, or not doing something that could make it better.

    But really, the worst for me was the feeling of vulnerability that I became way more familiar with than I ever wanted to be; I am very much someone who likes to be in control and doesn’t like to ask for help – it was already exhausting dealing with the injury, so if I was to have any energy at all, I had to let go of the control aspect and let people help me. I pretty much hated it, I can tell you that, but I learned some things about myself that I needed to know.

    I hope your situation resolves soon, whether by the passage of time, or being able to connect with someone who can push the boundaries far enough to see what others haven’t, and come up with a plan.

    Snow and ice are not your friends, at this stage, so please be careful in the coming storm!

  30. /L

    I’m almost always quite passive and just try to evade when abused by idiots, but some rare times I go on full verbal retribution and let the person get all accumulated anger.
    It always makes me feel so good and splendid, makes my day totally, a great satisfaction.

  31. Pelham

    I’ll just add my sympathies to the many expressed above. And note that your tormentor is, unfortunately, all all-too-familiar type.

    Being male and a bit larger than average, I’ve found that enduring such abuse momentarily and then, quite suddenly, turning on the tormentor and unleashing an even louder, more unhinged and — importantly — utterly nonsensical verbal assault tends to scare the stuffing out of them. I’ve tried this only twice in my life, but it has worked each time and has proved oddly satisfying. However, I realize this isn’t an option for everyone.

    1. Linda

      Love this, Pelham. Similar to L’s comment above yours. As with a bully, fight back and they often run scared. The nonsensical part is important as you say – partly because most of us would not speak because nothing quite right to say comes to mind. This way, it doesn’t matter. Just yell – scream at the a-hole.

  32. SubjectivObject

    I think what bothers the most is an unconscious realization that people can act as chickens at a pecking party; when we have such high hopes for our species. Philosophically, if assholes are pissed at me, then there’s a certain positive reinforcement in there.

    To the extent your hip/joint sensitivity may be collagen or cartilage related, over the counter supplements of chondroitin + glucosamine + shark cartilage + vit C are useful for cartilage repair/maintenance; and over the counter supplements of proline + lysine + glycine (amino acids all) + vit C are useful for collagen regeneration [collagen supplements and eggs are also effective here). Cartilage is avascular (no capillaries) so nutrient transport is by slower diffusion. Collagen is vascular so nutrient transport is (within a day or two) fast. Start out at about 2-3 grams/day and modulate from there.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Thanks but the hip problem was due to exercise and underlying structural imbalances (I started having to see orthopedists as soon as I could start walking. The hip was getting annoyed, I kept ignoring it, and it got more annoyed. I have been taking collagen and vitamin C for nearly 30 years.

      2. I’ve tried glucosamine in the past when I had a knee problem and it did nothing for me.

      1. SubjectivObject

        From our experience, I would regard the glucosamine as secondary to the chondroitin/shark cartilage for cartilage therapy. Most the commercial supplement forms come as chondroitin/glucosamine combined, whereas we us them as separates. We are absolutely confident that chondroitin/shark cartilage are effective for “arthritic” symptoms; instances when we discontinued use or were using substandard potency the symptoms would start to come back. The therapy appears to work best in an anticipatory/maintenance context rather than a recovery/replacement one. Given the avascular nature of cartilage, the effectiveness of any supplement therapy should be judged over 3-4 months.

        Thanks for all you do here.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I said please don’t give advice and I meant it. It’s frustrating and not helpful. The tacit assumption is I can be easily “fixed” when I have had orthopedic issues my entire life.

          Sorry, but you are probably a placebo responder.

          The research done on chondroitin that found it reduces pain was on a completely different “chondroitin” compound than you get in supplements.

          As a result of having gotten to so many people over the years is that I am now plugged into the sports mafia, as in people who treat pro athletes. They read the scientific literature on dietary supplements like hawks and to see what might help in performance and recovery. They know what good and not good studies are (one of their pet beefs is all pretty much studies on herbs are bunk because no one controlled for quality of the herbs and on top of that, the dosages are low. So they’ve had to rely on their own experiments and anecdote there).

          They told me the chondroitin studies and related supplement were bogus a long time ago.

  33. craazyman

    Makes you wonder if she was from Calpers!

    OK, humor heals. :-) That’s the worst thing, is being attacked when you least expect it. And by a wackjob. It’s bad in three ways. 1) it’s bad period, it’s just unpleasant. 2) it’s bad because you (the universal, clever, intelligent, blameless you) could have mounted so many skewering comebacks that would have filleted the attacker like a fish, but the shock prevented it and you recriminate yourself for that, and 3) you realize how ludicrous it is to get upset about something so idiotic as a psycho on the street but you can’t help it. So the badness is multiplied by 3.

    We’ve all been there. I could tell of one work situation but it would take too long.

    1. craazyboy

      Yves probably had the good taste not to mention it, but I’m certain this attacker lady was wearing a pink pussy hat. Then played the “stronger together” card when she refers to a coyote as a doggie. Coyotes are NOT nice doggies. They are as close to rabid animals as you can get without actually having rabies. Worse than some humans! They pack hunt for fun too, not just for food. So your cute little 7 lb. Yorkie could be viciously ripped to shreds just for coyote entertainment value.

      Then she plays the animal rights, environmental card. While wearing a stupid, useless, polyester pink pussy hat. How many barrels of oil were used to make that hat? How many of our servicemen and women had to die in the Middle East for that oil? Fracking, you say? Really, there is no way out of that stupidity.

      It’s really bad in in college towns. Oftentimes, you find out they are one of the perfessers and are allowed to teach our kids nonsense. In my little city in vast AZ, we have rattlesnake rights. Apparently, they decided we can’t kill or relocate rattlesnakes too far from urban areas, because that is their “natural habitat” and that would amount to rattlesnake genocide if we expected that the rattlesnake race may survive just fine far out in the vast AZ desert. Of course we humans inadvertently feed the food chain that rattlesnake eat. Even Machiavelli knew if you feed ’em, they just make more babies. But we let these people run things around here. And our rattlesnake population is increasing. Then I’ve heard the anti-venom costs $90,000. Always good to follow the money.

  34. PQS

    Yikes. Sorry to hear it, Yves- both the incident and the hip problem. Take heart that perhaps you’re not as cynical as you thought….only those who think good of others are surprised and irritated by bad behavior. The rest just expect it.

    Stay warm in the upcoming snows. I’ve seen the weather reports and will be thinking of friends on the East coast.

  35. Stephen Gardner

    Check out Saturday’s People’s Pharmacy broadcast. North Carolina Public Radio but available on the web. They had a very good segment on chronic pain. It turns out there may be brain changes that linger beyond the physical trauma. The good news is that there are regimens for undoing the brain changes.
    It’s worth checking out.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Ah, yes. The new scientific version of, “It’s all in your head.”

      Eight years ago, I suffered a back injury at work and have never fully recovered, largely because an injury that was fairly serious but recoverable was aggravated during occupational therapy based on this new scientific “understanding” of pain.

      Because there was a question of whether the employer was negligent, I had to go to an “approved” (i.e., Western allopathic) doctor, who in addition to all the standard pain treatments recommended an occupational therapy program at one of the major hospitals in the area, which boasted a high rate of returning injured employees to work.

      The goal was to get me back to being able to lift 50 pounds in two weeks. By the end of the first week, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t able to meet their schedule due to the pain. That’s when I got the lecture about the pain not being “real,” that it was the changes in the brain fooling me into thinking I was in pain. I commented that it sounded a lot like, “It’s all in your head.”

      They assured me that wasn’t the case, that new research showed that chronic pain caused real changes in the brain, and that the program was designed to retrain the brain. Their approach, in a nutshell, was to “power through” the pain, the idea being that as the patient repeatedly performs assigned tasks and learns that pain isn’t an obstacle, the brain will be rewired – or something like that.

      The program was extended twice, with slow progress. If anything, the pain was getting worse. Stopping to stretch helped, but the therapist decided that allowing me to take a break was counterproductive, that is was in essence giving in to the pain rather than powering through it. I managed to lift 30 pounds, but at that point, the pain was so bad that I was in tears. It felt similar to when I was first injured.

      The therapist said there was no chance of re-injury, given that the various tests indicated I had injured only soft tissue – i.e., ligaments, and not a herniated disc. So I lifted 35 pounds … and felt the snap. The pain was blinding. I was dizzy and about to pass out. I ignored the therapist and took a break to sit down with my head between my knees, then told her I was going home.

      The next day, I couldn’t get out of bed and called to cancel. That was a Friday. By Monday, I was able to hobble to the bus stop but was late for my session. When I got there, the therapist sent me to the office of the doctor in charge of the program. He did an evaluation and immediately declared that I was done.

      Later, I joked that I was thrown out of back school. But it was no joke. The re-injury was worse than the original. I was pretty much laid out flat for two years. In addition to the physical trauma, there was psychological damage from being told to ignore what my body was telling me, because it wasn’t “real.”

      That’s what I think of the “new research.”

  36. PQS

    It is amusing that the first instinct among commenters here is to note the “liberal” propensity for nosy Parkerism. As if the conservatives in this country haven’t made a long career out of getting into everyone’s grille and insisting the rest of us play along.

  37. kj1313

    Yves, Kudos to you for not shoving that individual into oncoming traffic. Feel better and stay in the next couple of days.

  38. Stormcrow

    Very sorry to learn about your fall and your other dreadful encounters with unpleasantness. It does sound difficult to cope with.

    Perhaps you are aware of something called “gentle yoga.” I have ongoing back problems that arose from a whiplash accident that took place more than 40 years ago. I have found the following form of yoga to be not only truly gentle but also helpful over time.

    Peggy Cappy, Yoga for All of Us: A Modified Series of Traditional Poses for Any Age and Ability.

  39. ChiGal in Carolina

    Someone who is suffering however independent by nature needs support, not censure. I am glad you had the good sense to share so your devoted readers could provide what that woman couldn’t.

    And awful that it triggered childhood stuff. Sometimes there is a little part of us that still questions ourselves based on early experiences of being told we are “bad”.

    It needs to be said, emphatically, that in that moment the woman who accosted you was being CRUEL. And that whatever kind of fur you wear you do an enormous, outsized amount of good in this world. Incredible, really, for one person.

    I hate that you are in pain and hope you will find answers and relief soon.

  40. justanotherprogressive

    I’m sorry that you are still in pain after all this time. Hopefully you can find the right person to help you with that – soon!

    As for what that woman did: How dare she consider you a victim when you know you could have flayed every inch of skin off her body with your tongue and could have buried her head in the ground like a tree – if you stooped to her behavior. It makes you mad – it makes me mad when it has happened to me! But what I’ve found that helps is to show compassion for that woman. After all, she isn’t seeing you – if someone asked her 10 minutes later what you looked like, she wouldn’t be able to tell them. It isn’t about you – what she did is about some emotional pain she is suffering that she tried to transfer to somebody else. If you show compassion for her you really aren’t helping her – there is nothing you can do to help her – what you are doing is helping yourself. When you realize that you just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time and that her behavior really had nothing to do with you, you can show compassion for the emotional pain she must be feeling and you are no longer angry and what she did no longer affects your life.
    I know this sounds antithetical to what you want to do at the time, but it really does work!

  41. RobC

    Given the massive dumping on this woman, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, come out on the side of the “psycho” here and say that the openminded approach would probably be to consider the possibility that she’s right, or has some points, about this particular issue, if not right in her chosen method for dealing with it, and to say the topic needs proper treatment like anything else here.

    If you have nothing whatsoever against killing animals (or humans for that matter), or not concerned for doing so ethically, or do not consider that animals (or some people) should have rights or be entitled to even ethical treatment, then there’s a fundamental disconnect here between you and that woman. You could possibly both be right, or both be wrong, or somewhere in between. Better to just admit our biases/limitations as with most other subjects.

    The above discourse and comments don’t really amount to an honest treatment of the topic and departs from what I’ve come to expect from this blog and its followers. Seems everyone is able to do their usual critical incisive analysis when the topics are political or financial, not so much when the topic is veganism/vegetarianism or treatment of animals. :)

    1. Foppe

      Rob: I don’t disagree on the substantive issue, but the problem is that the anti-fur campaigners teach people to “educate” / “engage with” others in this (and worse) ways, and that people allow themselves to go along with it because it feels good, or because it seems to be the only game in town, when it comes to advocacy. It’s not, but it’s the easiest way, so a lot of people go along with it, then burn out once they admit to themselves it doesn’t work.

  42. freedeomny

    I am so sorry this happened to you. And, unfortunately I can relate re hip pain. Although I never experienced what you did (she sounds def mentally ill) I have had people say all sorts of inappropriate things to me. My old boss used to “joke” when it was obvious I was in severe pain, that they would have to take me out back and put me down….but then again, he is a right wing gun toting Republican.

  43. PhilM

    Everybody’s favorite blogger was just trolled. The perpetrator was apparently a histrionic personality who exploited the only source of attention available in an otherwise empty street. There’s nothing as potentially “sticky” as an assault on one’s personal morality; attention-seekers can hit the jackpot if someone bothers to engage. Bystanders, police–it can be hours of juicy attention.

    Just another bad day at the hands of the Cluster B’s.

    The only comfort is that the world would be a less interesting place without histrionic personalities.

  44. Patricia

    Ach, I’m sorry for that, Yves.

    That thing about not remembering what the person said is classic dissociative numbing from old trauma dumping into current time. It only means that it was hard on you and you might be feeling fragile for a bit. Be super kind to yourself, yes?

    I have found that it sometimes helps to lay back in a nice hot bath and yell back, loudly, at the abusive person. Have had both cats and dog coming in to see what’s up, when doing that. Which helped, all around.

    1. Okie from AK

      Yes, the portion indicating past taunting is what caught my attention as well. The pain cycle can appear rather imprecise, in the sense that it can be caused by non physical events as well as actual body injuries. Of course remembering a past painful event can cycle up current physical pain.

      When a person treats someone as an object while using the politics of emotion, which is what happened to Yves, it is as though they are an inveterate drunk puking against a wall. Unloading their poison. Very difficult to not take that personally, however it is all about them and not at all about the person they are objectifying.

  45. Heather

    I think the best answer to an out -of -control animal rightest was one I saw in a movie from the 80’s or 90’s. Jobeth Williams is walking down a street in NYC and a woman runs up to her and says, “Do you know how many animals had to die so you could wear that coat!!” To which the reply was, “Do you know how many men I had to f**k to get this coat!!” Best answer ever. I loved it!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, I SO love your blog! And I know how hard ir is to live with chronic pain, I really hope you are better soon!

  46. Jeff N

    oh, sorry to hear… whenever someone yells at me (thankfully, very rare), I just shut down and do/say whatever I can to make them stop, rather than defend myself.

  47. Altandmain

    It has happened to me too. In my case, the fur was fake.

    I always thought that it was because I was short and a minority, but I am sure that white people get picked on too. I thought the idiot who did it to me was going to punch me in the face. He never did, but still I am pretty ticked off.

    Pathological political correctness is out of control. Conservatives do it too. Look at some of the anti abortion protests and the pretty naked racism.

    When it comes to liberals though, they carry an air of implied moral superiority. It realistic disgusting. I mean politically, I wonder how many people voted Trump just to spite these types in the face? The tragedy is that they are socially extremely caught up in liberalism, but economically they push the neoliberal stuff. I once had a conversation with a feminist type that explained to me that they were ok with Clinton accepting money because she was a feminist. What next? I have heard people try to rationalise a Florina, the former Hp CEO who ran am already struggling company deeper into the ground.

    Another example a while back. I knew of an Inuit who came down south from his home in Nunavut. He got harassed because it was winter amd he was wearing a traditional Inuit piece of clothing, a caribou skin. It has gone to ridiculous lengths.

    1. flora

      ” I thought the idiot who did it to me was going to punch me in the face. ”

      That’s the thing about being accosted by a raving person, especially alone at night. You don’t know if they’re going to limit themselves to words and yelling or if they’re going to amp themselves up into a physical attack. So your body pumps out a lot of “fight or flight” adrenaline with no release – you don’t yell back and you don’t run. You just pretend you don’t see them and walk on. After the encounter all that adrenaline is still in your system for some time jangling your nervous system.

      1. Altandmain

        Apologies for the typos in my first comment. Was on my phone.

        Sadly the incident I described with me encountering some moralizing lunatic was in broad daylight at the bus stop.

        Agree though with you on the fight or flight instincts.

  48. Juneau

    You support kindness towards animals and she was so wrong to treat you that way.
    I am embarrassed by her behavior, I spend a fair amount of free time and money on my pet causes and animal protection is one of them. I am ashamed for her treatment of you, you are an animal lover.

    She did the creature used for his fur no good. Once the critter is gone it’s gone. Even Peta uses furs for shelter animals.

    That said, animal abuses in the food chain are largely due to corporatization of the industry with assembly line practices that are horrid. It is very easy to find video evidence of this and quite traumatic to watch. So AR people have a kind of PTSD that makes us a little crazy too. Still, it is wrong to harm people and she risked losing a supporter who has done good for critters and loves kitties. It is terrible that she contributed to your injury. Awful.

  49. crittermom

    Yves, sometimes I also must just walk away from a situation involving another but have found something that helps to ‘dump the baggage’ (angry feelings) that person has evoked in me.
    Six simple words I think to myself about them following a confrontation that would have been useless to engage in:
    “It must suck to be you.”

    Hoping you find relief for your chronic pain soon.
    We need, & appreciate you.

  50. Ed Seedhouse

    Most people are prejudiced in some way. Most people at least can keep it under control in public. There are of course nasty or crazy people on all places in the political spectrum. Right now the nasty crazy people on the right are in power, so they are the main danger.

    Either way it doesn’t matter if you are a victim of a “left wing” nutbar, a “centrist” nugbar, or a “right wing” nutbar. You were assaulted verbally by a nasty, prejudiced and unthinking person. Having suffered the same fate on occasion I know it damages one and takes time to heal from. I hope you heal quickly from both your physical and emotional damages.

  51. dbk

    Very sorry to hear of both the encounter and the injury.

    It seems to me that even around Lexington and 79th, the human reaction towards another person who had fallen and was limping would be to reach out and offer assistance … what we used to think of as “ordinary human kindness.”

    Once when I was in an airport shuttle bus at O’Hare holding my fussy little four-year-old, a 20-something professional looked at my son and then said to me, “Aren’t you sorry you had one of those?” Talk about shocked speechless.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      From The Department of Snappy Comebacks That I Only Thought Of Later…

      “Well, if this child grew up to be a meddling, mouthy, sociopathic bastard like you, I would indeed regret it.”

  52. Montannie

    Yves, maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell you to get the hell out of NYC! If I lived there, I’d be so tense that I’d be in pain all the time – psychic, emotional, and physical. I know it would exacerbate symptoms of my autoimmune disease. .

    Can you get away for a peaceful, restorative vacation that offers the healing power of being close to Nature while enjoying legal, natural pain relief? Colorado is what I have in mind. Montana is good medicine too, but it’s restricted in terms of the options for legal weed.

    A permanent move out of NYC might be the right Rx for you. When we’re relaxed and at peace, everything functions better. Our bodies can’t get a fair chance at healing itself if it’s under constant assault. We sometimes get to the point the body can no longer make the adjustments they once. We need to accommodate to that reality.

    Please listen to your Mother (Nature). She’s trying to tell you something, but the city is drowning her out. I hope you feel better soon.


  53. earwig

    Funny how people can’t refrain from offering medical advice. I’m sure they mean well, but it conveys the insulting suggestion that you are not smart enough to consult the experts and available literature on your own in spite of years of suffering. Physical deterioration, much of it irreversible, is part of life. So be careful how you care.

  54. Pogonip

    No suggestions, just a wish–get well soon! And this seems like a good place to mention, Naked Capitalism is my favorite news site.

  55. RUKidding

    Good luck with your healing, Yves. Hope you feel better soon. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing coyote fur. Frankly, they’re everywhere (including my back yard sometimes harassing my roommate’s cat).

    I can’t get into this whole Vegan movement about “vegan” clothing. As someone pointed out, above, a lot of so-called “vegan” clothing options are way worse for the environment than using animal hides and skins, which have been used by humans for eons for clothing and shelter.

    I work in 2 jobs providing different types of public services to citizens. It’s been my anecdotal observation that people are ever more hostile and aggressive these days. I blame it on: a) our crumbing lifestyles in what is now a third world country, and b) more recentrly on Trump, who has endorsed and enabled abusing others that you don’t like or agree with or feel comfortable with.

    Unfortunate. We have to deal with this kind of aggressive hostility frequently. It ain’t pretty.

  56. Annotherone

    What a very unpleasant and quite undeserved experience, Yves! I trust that the memory of it will fade, and sincerely hope that your physical discomfort will soon ease.

  57. ChrisAtRU

    So sorry you had to endure this. I do hope you will continue to feel comfortable going out at night on the UES, and that you will find a solution to your injury in due time.

  58. Eowyn

    Oh dear. I recently bought a fur hat at an estate sale. It has a vintage Marshall Field’s label inside. It’s really pretty. Now I’m afraid to wear it.

    1. Rhondda

      I have an eye-popping flapper-era mouton coat that I bought in 1980 for less than $20. The last time I wore it — in perhaps 1996 — a woman got in my face and hissed at me. I felt very threatened and I haven’t worn it since. A good friend has suggested I “give it a decent burial.”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, morally there is nothing wrong with buying a used fur but the fur police won’t hear that.

      Tell them it’s fake if anyone bothers you.

  59. Bernard

    Gosh, do what you think will ease the pain and or solve the problem. i want you and Lambert around to keep this website going. You, Ms.Smith, are a treasure i look to almost every day. i do hope you feel better. i am in awe and in total respect for the work/this website/you do.

    Please take care. i want you to be around for a long time.

    thanks for all you do and a sincere hope things get better.

  60. Erika

    New York has much more of an in-your-face culture, which is what I’m inclined to blame for this, not pathological compassion. My former college roommate got that kind of harassment in NYC a lot, once she was harassed for wearing sneakers not made in the U.S., although she was harassed far more often for being Jewish.

    I now live in a city that has a great deal of pathological leftist compassion behind closed doors, but that never translates into public harassment because the culture here is much more restrained and passive-aggressive.

  61. Eileen Appelbaum

    You handled a difficult situation about as well as possible. I hope PT kicks back in and you get relief soon.

  62. Zamboni

    NYC is a shithole. It reflects the worst of America that the rest of the country tries to hide with gated suburbs and bubble living. I realize this all the time, but especially now when I’ve returned from overseas.

    The US isn’t a civilized place. Something very wrong here. I’m leaving and so should you.

  63. paul sv

    I hope you feel better in the coming days Yves. Thanks very much for all the work you do to make NC a place I look forward to checking in on every day.

  64. Sluggeaux

    Televisions have raised a generation incapable of empathy. Individuals without the slightest training or expertise feel entitled to dictate to others how they should live the most minute details of their lives. The Internet is far worse, save for the few places where comment is encouraged — such the 200-odd comments above.

    I’ve met Yves and seen her physical challenges with my own eyes. It pisses me off that some entitled know-it-all raised by a television set harassed her for simply trying to keep warm on a cold night in NYC in the same way that millions of others ward off the cold.

    Be well. We need you!

    1. Marina Bart

      While I agree with much of what you said, blaming television is ridiculous. I survived an incredibly traumatic childhood in an isolated environment by, among other things, watching a lot of TV. I watch very little now, but during my childhood, it was on all the time. And I’m so empathetic it can actually be a hindrance for me.

      In fact, some of the least empathetic people I have ever met were raised with no television exposure in childhood at all.

      Television is nothing but a communication machine. I presume you mean “broadcast American television.” If that’s what you mean, you should say so. Does that mean the kids watching Archer on their computers are not watching television?

      Consuming narrative fiction has been proven to enhance empathy. So one could argue that watching narrative fiction television programming — even cruddy, commercial-driven broadcast television narrative fiction — improves, rather than dampens, empathy.

      (I love your handle, though.)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It may be television then v. now. I watched some TV in the 1960s and 1970s when I was a kid and the story lines were much less cynical.

  65. Elizabeth

    I’m sorry this happened to you, Yves. Who knows what was going on in that woman’s mind/life who bullied you. There are so many mentally ill people both on and off the streets, and yes, it is an in-your-face culture these days. Compassion is in short supply. Please take care of yourself because we need you. Be well.

  66. ginnie nyc

    Yves, I’m really sorry to hear this. As I now have gray hair, and crawl around with a stoop and a cane, I’m familiar with being a target because I project weakness. The harassment about fur coats – one guy missed spitting in my face only because I saw him coming and ducked. This was at 56th Street and 8th Avenue. And my poor old minks have been dead since at least 1975! Now I don’t wear them out unless it’s below freezing – I figure it’s too damned cold for a harasser to stop and get in my face!

    1. flora

      A hundred years ago men in both their prime and older sported walking sticks as fashion, walking assistance when needed, and as a defense. Women sported rolled parasols even in fine weather for the same reasons + as a sun shade on occasion. Maybe it’s time for a fashion revival. Skip the lightweight aluminum cane. Get a stout walking stick. Something that can land a good crack on the head if necessary. ;)

      NYC is sounding a lot less civilized than the flyover states.

  67. Kim Kaufman

    At 250 comments when I’m posting this… I wonder if this has generated the most comments ever?

    At any rate, about 5 years ago, I pulled or tore a muscle in ballet class. Heard it snap. :( It was enough to leave ballet class but it wasn’t that bad yet. The next day I took it real easy but that night I drove 15 minutes to a meeting, sat there and drove home. The next day I could barely walk the pain was so intense in my hip/groin area. Whatever I had done, I think the sitting did it in. I did the barest minimum to take care of myself but mostly slept. After 3 days I realized it wasn’t going to get better any time soon. My instinct was not to go to a doctor and I called a couple of professional dancers. They concurred that a visit to a doctor would do nothing but affirm that I had torn a muscle. They recommended a low impact chiropracter. I went and… whatever with that. I don’t know if it did any good but it was reassuring to at least confer with someone knowledgeable and have her do something or other. I went a few times but it was really just a matter of it healing with time. The most uncomfortable position for me was sitting and it was the longest time in healing before I could sit comfortably. Mostly I had to lie on my side in a semi-fetal position or stand, when I finally could.

    At one point, she said that sitting was the worst thing we can do. I assumed she meant it was a very stressful position. So if sitting is uncomfortable, perhaps don’t do it until it’s comfortable. Perhaps get a nice bed computer table/tray and enjoy the pleasures of a semi-prone position in or on the bed for the laptop for a while.

  68. kristiina

    Amazing conversation, as I tend to carry some sort of meta-perspective most of the time. Someone said at some point that the level of conversation has sunk, and maybe it is the topic being other than the usual ones, so participants are performing: ” not so much when the topic is veganism/vegetarianism or treatment of animals.” Did this person read the original post? How and why did it become a post on veganism and animal rights? How absurd can absurd become? What is the name of the next level of absurd? Where is craazymaaan when we need him?

    So, my meta-perspective says the courageous admission of pain, vulnerability and inter-human hostility touches off interesting buttons in people. Yves’ genuine expression really touched many people in a sensitive place, and that is one of the things we humans are here for. Touching each other in parts that are sensitive, so that we can become conscious and then do something about it. So obviously, Yves had a therapeutic effect. Then again, there is that free choice. Do I dare to look at what is triggered in ME by the pain of another being? Or do I start to make stories and narratives that employ theories and structures that let me evade the pain, be it mine or another’s? Do I start the fixin’ and blamin’ game? That is one of those places where the roads diverge for us humans. I have always thought art is one of the things that can help humans see their true predicament here in this vale of sorrow. Yves’ simple post did that for her readers, so I give my deep gratitude for the post. Truly a gift to others in a moment that has been personally extremely hard and difficult. I can see the amazing courage of Yves opening and letting her pain touch the vulnerability that is in her and in all of us. We want to live life as if pain did not exist, but how true is that?

    And actually, since Yves seems to have inside information on the health supplement department, I would be interested in her take on those things, as we are all somehow trying to keep ourselves in functioning shape, the best we can. And also there seems to be a phenomenon of spreading of open hostility: it seems to be a universal phenomenon. What is happening? What is it?

    So, Yves, thank you for your great courage in this and many other things! Nowadays I find it extremely difficult to wish anything for anyone, as I don’t know what delights or torments they are coming from and what mysteries await them. So, May the force be with you :-)

  69. knowbuddhau

    Oy, sorry to hear, Yves. I know the frustration, of resetting the healing clock to zero when you were almost there, only too well.

    Yesterday I learned that the microfiber cleaning cloths I like are likely killing fish, which I like even more, among others.

    So I’d better keep them hidden, right? Lest someone accost me and accuse me of being an icthyocidaire.

    I admire the kind of vegans/vegetarians mentioned above, who just do it without making a big deal of it. Thich Nhat Hahn has said, it’s a goal, a pole star, toward which we strive but don’t realistically expect to obtain. I myself don’t even do that much. Beggars can’t be choosers.

    Many have mentioned that we eat and displace a great many animals. It goes even further. Would your tormentor be as concerned for the microbes that make her digestion possible? They die in their millions all the time. Or the micro-organisms we trod on with every step? Life lives on life; there’s no escaping that.

    One potential retort: “Hey lady: go Jain or go home.”

    Best wishes for your speedy and complete recovery.

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