CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.”

February 25th, 2010 by

Jorja Fox for PETA - Investigate Vegetarianism

One of the reasons I started POP! is because I felt a little odd discussing every little mention of vegetarianism, veganism and animal advocacy issues over at my main place. There are just so many examples that to address each one would quickly overwhelm a space with pop culture minutiae.

Seriously, once you get into the habit of actively engaging in media – viewing it with a critical eye, rather than passively taking it in – you start to notice animal-friendly (and, on the downside, animal-unfriendly) themes everywhere: vegetarianism is discussed in passing; characters talk about their “pets”; animal “evidence” is discovered at a crime scene; monsters and aliens act as stand-ins for free-living predators and conventionally intelligent nonhuman species; cyborgs and AI challenge our notions of what it means to be “human”; etc., etc., etc.

Anyhow, while watching a rerun of CSI on Spike this morning, I caught an unexpected – and insightful – example of the former: a short-lived character who just so happened to be a vegetarian. His vegetarianism – which seemed to extend beyond his diet, to his ethical beliefs – was incidental to the plot line; he could have just as easily been an omnivore. But his rejection of “meat” (as well as cheese – perhaps he might have better been described as a vegan?) provided the writers an excellent opportunity to slip in a sly piece of commentary on the intersectionality of oppressions.

Season 6, Episode 19, “Spellbound” – here’s the setup. A psychic was found murdered in her storefront. The fingerprints of one Reese Bringham – the self-described vegetarian – were discovered on her cash register, suggesting a murder committed during the course of a robbery. Warrick Brown and Captain Brass have brought Reese in for questioning:

[INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT – INTERVIEW ROOM – DAY]

(Warrick and Brass interview Reese Bingham.)

BRASS: The state has a law that murder committed during the commission of a felony buys you the death penalty. Do you understand that?

REESE BRINGHAM: This has to be a mistake. I don’t even eat meat. Or cheese. I won’t even hire an exterminator.

WARRICK: Your prints were found at the crime scene.

REESE BRINGHAM: I haven’t been to any crime scenes.

BRASS: You been to any occult shops lately?

REESE BRINGHAM: Yeah, I work next door to one.

WARRICK: You want to explain to me why your prints were found on the cash register?

REESE BRINGHAM: The owner’s my friend. Did something happen to her?

BRASS: You don’t know that she’s dead?

(He sighs, saddened.)

REESE BRINGHAM: No.

WARRICK: She was killed and then robbed, and your prints are on her cash register.

REESE BRINGHAM: Okay, yeah, wait … I can explain that.

BRASS: Start explaining.

REESE BRINGHAM: I work at a vegetarian restaurant. We make these soy burgers. Sedona was hooked on them. So, you know, she’d order, I’d deliver.

BRASS: So you’re a soy-burger-making, vegetarian delivery boy, hmm?

REESE BRINGHAM: Look, she’s always busy doing a reading or whipping up some kind of potion. She told me to take the money out of the drawer.

BRASS: Give yourself a tip?

REESE BRINGHAM: Soy burger and fries was $6.95 plus tax. I’d take a ten.

WARRICK: You delivered to her last night?

REESE BRINGHAM: (shakes his head) No.

BRASS: Was it your day off?

REESE BRINGHAM: Like most nights, I work until six and then I like … to go to the Stripperama.

BRASS: I thought you didn’t like meat?

(He chuckles unsure.)

WARRICK: Is there anyone who can confirm that?

REESE BRINGHAM: Well, yeah.

WARRICK: She got a name?

REESE BRINGHAM: Girls aren’t allowed to tell you their real names, but I call her Star ’cause she has these … blue stars tattooed on her hips. And it kind of looks like a meteor shower when she dances.

WARRICK: Would you stand up, please.

(Reese stands up slowly, unsure.)

REESE BRINGHAM: I can go?

WARRICK: No. You can strip down to your skivvies.

REESE BRINGHAM: Excuse me?

BRASS: You want some music?

The Sexual Politics of Meat, anyone?

Later on, when Sanders and Warrick visit with ‘Star’ at the Stripperama in order to confirm Reese’s alibi (spoiler: he’s innocent), the dancer dismisses him as “harmless” – even though he appears to be ever-so-politely stalking her. Also: she describes Reese as smelling like “nasty pickles.” I’m not sure whether this is supposed to be a jab at vegetarians (bean curd stinks!) or deli workers (bread and butter pickles stink!), but it seems to play into the stereotype of vegetarians as smelly hippies. Indeed, Reese himself – a young, white male, in his early-to-mid twenties, of average height and build, somewhat quiet and nondescript (“harmless”) – is perhaps the image many people hold of vegetarians.

So it’s an interesting juxtaposition of the expected (Reese’s appearance) with the unexpected (Reese’s behavior, as well as Brass’s reaction to it).

Thoughts?

(Transcript via TWIZ TV.)

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4 Responses to “CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.””

  1. Shannon Says:

    Ha, I just finished reading “The Pornography of Meat.” Nicely done.

  2. Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 18: My Bloody Valentine » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] (Me @) POP! goes The Vegan.: CSI on Spike: Vegetarians who consume “meat.” […]

  3. The Perfect Pizza Press » Blog Archive » Recipe: Veggie Lover’s Pizza With a Whole Wheat Flaxseed Crust Says:

    […] CSI rerun, I know I’ve seen you eight times now, but what’s once more between friends? Sexual Politics of Meat reference, holla! Share and […]

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