Mark Bittman, Peter Singer & Jay Keasling on The Colbert Report

March 15th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

I’ve been a little lazy in blogging the animal-related segments on The Colbert Report lately – mostly because the guests haven’t much impressed me. But, seeing as Peter Singer appeared on Thursday’s episode, it’s probably time.

First, there was Mark Bittman, a food critic and “vegan” advocate – but only before 6 PM. Yup, you heard me right; Bittman is vegan – for a variety of health, environmental and animal welfare reasons (though methinks non-human animals rank very low on Bittman’s list) – but only up until dinnertime. Then, anything goes.

That’s like a dude saying that he’s kind and respectful toward women, but only until the nighttime – then he beats and rapes them with glee. (Or rather, he hires a third party to do so, and enjoys the hunt through a vicarious thrill.) Hey, one can only be expected to exert willpower and behave ethically for so long, then something’s gotta give, dontchaknow!

Next up is Peter Singer, promoting his latest book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. The interview contains nary a mention of non-human animals. Which isn’t shocking in and of itself, as The Life You Can Save isn’t really about non-human animals, but…


…I was hoping that Stephen might mention Singer’s promotion of animal-unfriendly charities, such as Oxfam, when he’s supposedly the “godfather” of the animal rights movement. (Hint: he’s not.)

After all, Stephen always does his homework; for example, when Singer appeared on the show in December 2006, Stephen broached the bestiality issue:


Finally, though not directly related to animal rights, this interview with microbiologist Jay Keasling is rather interesting. I like how he skirts around the possibility of using bodily waste to power vehicles – though probably not for the same reasons as I (i.e., not so much because he’s hesitant to find ways to excuse factory farming by offsetting its environmental costs, but because he’d rather avoid the poop jokes).

Videos included in this post

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 – Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman says we eat without thinking about what is good for us, and what’s good for the planet. (06:00)

Thursday, March 12, 2009 – Intro – 03/12/09
Guess where Stephen’s face is showing up now — besides your grilled cheese sandwiches. (00:36)

Thursday, March 12, 2009 – Peter Singer
Peter Singer urges Stephen to give money to poor people rather than enjoying it himself. (05:15)

Monday, December 11, 2006 – Intro – 12/11/06
Stephen questions Congress’ five-day work week, and discusses the biggest threats in this year’s war on Christmas. (0:35)

Monday, December 11, 2006 – Peter Singer
Stephen and Dr. Peter Singer discuss whether monkeys should vote. (6:37)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 – Jay Keasling
Jay Keasling says the same yeast that we use to produce beer and bread will soon be fueling our cars and planes. (04:57)

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