On Memes (what are they good for)?


An friend texted me a meme the other day accompanied by an exasperated, “Augh.” I was pretty busy, but I always try to respond to texts from people I like, so I sent a question mark and that little emoji guy that looks like he’s wondering about something.

She replied very quickly “Oh great! NOW we have to defend ourselves against Kevin Costner and Yellowstone fans.”

“We?” I thought (but did not say), “Do you have a mouse in your pocket?”

I don’t watch much television, but I am aware of the popularity of the series Yellowstone, with Costner and some other actors I don’t know. The show is discussed among my co-workers and is all over social media. But, having never watched, I didn’t recognize the quote on the meme.

Being naturally curious, I Googled “Kevin Costner Yellowstone” and the first line of the quote. Low and behold, quicker than you can say “It’s Iowa,” I was presented with multiple sites touting similar memes as the one my friend sent:

  • John Dutton Drops Hard Truth on Vegans
  • Vegans Get Shut TF Up By Cowboy
  • 15 Best Dutton Yellowstone Quotes
  • John Dutton Slams Vegetarianism

Plus, YouTube had a TiKTok video clip of the part of the episode from whence the meme sprung, complete with a voice over claiming, “You know, he makes a pretty good point.”

Uh, no he doesn’t, Helen. Perhaps an argument could be made against commercial farming, but good gardeners know that worms and frogs and snakes and most of the other critters he mentions (I’ve never seen a quail in my garden, not once) are important parts of the eco-system and there is no malice toward any of them. Instead, we try to share our bounty with them so Mother Nature blesses us. No Till gardening is trending big time (for which the topsoil is very grateful) so really nothing needs to die in the wake of garden.

But all that is beside the point. I’m not going to convince anyone of anything, especially those folks who take as fact something uttered by a fictional character in a television series. I’m not even going to try. Except to say this: You know, folks, Kevin Costner didn’t actually say that. The character he plays did. Also, while Kevin does an excellent job capturing the mannerisms and speech of a conservative rancher (at least on that TikTok video), John Dutton is not a real person. He is a puppet created by some writers in Hollywood or Austin or wherever they are these days. Yet, people are sending this meme around like it is the actual gospel. “Vegans kill voles and stuff, thus sayeth the Lord.” The Book of Carnivore, 12:15.

I don’t really understand why my diet bothers some people. Most vegetarians don’t make a big deal about our personal choice to not eat meat. Our reasons vary from health, environment, religion and just can’t eat something with a face. I have never taken issue with anyone about their food choices. My husband is an omnivore and we co-exist like Mowgli and Baloo. I eat what I like, he eats what he likes (and he also eats what I like). Nobody’s business but our own.

The point is… well, I have two points:

First to my friend, we don’t have to (and I will not) defend my dietary choices to anyone. No, not even Kevin Costner and Yellowstone fans. If someone is curious, that’s fine, I’m happy to discuss. But come at me with memes and quotes from a television series to prove I’m wrong, or worse, some kind of evil and stupid, then conversation over.

Second, what the hell, people? Open an actual book or something. Watch a documentary and get your facts from someone who may have some actual information. Better yet, get off your butt and go outside, the sunshine will do you some good maybe you’ll meet a vole or a quail. But, mind your own business, and let me eat my salad in peace.

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