Vegan = Icon? Maybe yes!
Ok, I should premise that, while not entirely British, there is quite a deal of Saxon blood going through my veins and the UK have indeed seen me growing up, at least for some time. No wonder I am vegan today with this heritage! Or not? Someone is actually out to find out. And polls are open!
The Icons - A Portrait of England website is not a style-file or fashion police kind of deal: no attempt in defining what's cool over what's not. In fact many of the entries listed, alongside us vegans, are historical monuments, works of art, natural beauties (quite nice to be listed alongside the Victoria Memorial, no?). And since it is England we are talking about, a bunch of oddities as well (think of three-wheeler cars, coin operated gas meters, roundabouts (on the behalf of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society), plimsolls and what not).
Icons.org.uk seems just to be wanting to hold a poll to discover what the currently best recognized British icons are. Rumors are that the result of this massive poll will in the future be used by the British Tourism Board to market better the British Island but so far, it is the respectable and super partes Culture Online to be running the thing.
Well, it turns out that Vegans are entry 26: there are nearly 700 recent entries!
But why are we there at all? Because veganism is a British product: the idea and the concept were both born and developed there, together with the idea of vegetarianism (as non related to religious practices) as well. They definitely have the copyright over veganism and it is rightful to wonder if our small little tribe is indeed a new British Icon. In a way is any vegan a child of Britain and owes something to it?
The current debate is whether vegans are an icon for the British islands. Are we? Or are we not? The submission for "British Icon" is presented in these terms (see the entry here):
The vegan movement was started by Donald Watson, who was born in South Yorkshire in 1910. He founded the Vegan Society in 1944, and lived to see veganism spread worldwide. Who would have thought that a movement based on compassion and healthy eating could have originated in the land of lard?
I voted and found out for you.
Suspance.... drum rolls...... and here is the result:
-VEGANS = Icons 21%, Not Icons 79%
What? Oh come on! We definitely are icons! British or not! We want our crown, our red carpet and our stamp!
As you may tell, I was pretty annoyed with the result. So.... since anybody can vote.... what about bumping up out numbers and become a bit more "iconic" than what we currently are? Maybe that way more canteens, schools and hospitals would take the decision to cater for us....
Maybe this number is justifued giving the spreading of vegans around the world, but the one and only vegan society, the only body giving guidance over what this word means has always been located in Britain! I actually have the impression there is either an evil meat-eaters complot behind this OR that people envious of our highly moral status are not willing to recognize the truth, that we are the coolest and most iconic of poeple (OR, but I am not into considering this as an option, I am totally crazy).
I must admit we are in good company there: the famous Rolling Stones tongue logo is considered an icon only for 42% of the people who voted. Yet it is one of the most recognizable logos on the planet! Britpop, still one of the most used definitions for music, is considered an icon only for 34% of voters and Abbey Road studious, of Beatles fame, are a 50-50 tie.
And if this is not cheering you up, the fact that Marmite (how could our friend be missing from this list? and they give a nice, historical description for it as well) has also been rated should, since these are the results:
-Marmite - ICON 80% NOT 20%
Exactly like Cambridge University, very close to British Eccentricity and doing much better than the very British instutional B&B (Bed & Breakfast)...