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Collapsing The Binary: HipCityVeg to Offer Vegan Escargot


Photo from Pickpik, edits by Mallika Tatavarti

I’m so scared. What could be in it? What is substance? A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. When does it stop being the rose, though? You can put a block of tofu on a plate, market it as vegan escargot and charge me $14.99. How far can we stretch this idea? What if on this plate, or rather brown cardboard packaging, was a single white rose, labeled vegan escargot. Would the price change? I fear not. 

Form equals function. What is the function of vegan escargot? To nourish? I scoff at that. If you wanted to be nourished, eat a burger, you sick fuck. The form can hardly be imagined. I bet that fucking shrimp on the bottom of the ocean who can see every single color that we cannot knows the form. I bet if it knows, it wouldn’t even tell us.

For what is existence if not the awareness of that existence? What is truth if not acceptance of that truth? “You create your own reality,” they say. “Skeleton” in French is skelet. If I did not know that piece of information, then in essence, it would not be true. Ce n’est pas vrai. That could be Turkish. You wouldn’t know. Unless you did know. That dumb shrimp knows.

I have a very loose grasp on this situation. It’s hardly a grasp, more of a tender caress. I have a tender caress on this situation. I’m exhausted at the idea of this vegan escargot. It takes all my bodily activity, channeling it into frustration and contemplation of this dire subject. I am at peace with my place in this world. Frustration, frustration, frustration. Frustration is active. Peace is inactive. Or is peace active, and frustration inactive? Either conclusion posits its own unique claim about the natural state of the human psyche. Is an active state of being tangible? Existence/lack. Substance/emptiness. I feel the presence of both. If I feel the presence of both, then perhaps both states are, in fact, active. Both states are substantive. Where is the binary now? Perhaps this is what the shrimp sees and understands.

My heart burns for the ancestral plane, from which our innermost carnal desires emerge with the ferocity of a thousand – nay, three hundred thousand – stampeding boars through the great plains. They trample the trees and the insects that stand in their way. If you could not tell, the trees and insects in this metaphor stand for the walls in our hearts and minds that bar us from seeing further than this black or white, this or that, here or there binary. Escargot or not? (Aside: How can you pronounce that to make it rhyme? You’ll say one of the words wrong either way.) Vegan or not vegan? The ancestors tell me it does not matter. What matters is that you say it is escargot. That is what the boars believe. That is what the shrimp believes. That is what I believe.