Vegan Revolution: Cheap and (Disgusting) Lunches
In Patricia Lockwood’s novel, No One Is Talking About This, the narrator describes her experiences in the “portal” through almost poetic imagery that leaves readers feeling like they experienced fever dreams. Her use of modern-day meme references blurs the lines between the fantastical reality of the book and our current reality on the Internet. It is very interesting to see how real-life meme references fit into this bizarre world Lockwood has written for the narrator.
On page 18, the narrator revels in being able to understand sentences from Twitter memes that only a select proportion of people on the internet would be able to understand. In italics, the narrator references “that’s the cost of my vegan lunch” among other phrases that are references to other Twitter memes.
To give more context into the meme, in April 2015, a pro-veganism Twitter account called Vegan Revolution tweeted a picture of their lunch and cited how much it cost them to make such an incredibly cheap and “delicious” meal. The irony is that the meal looks absolutely unappetizing, since it is just plain toast bread with baked beans poured on top, followed by thickly sliced cucumbers scattered all over the dish. Upon further inspection and painstaking research, I have come to the conclusion that the dish that sparked the meme could potentially be not vegan. This is due to the possibility that the Twitter account user who made and ate that lunch used Wonder Bread, a cheap white toast bread commonly sold in many supermarkets and is a cheap pantry essential. Wonder Bread contains vitamin D3 which is synthesized with a precursor which is derived from lanolin, which is sheep’s wool grease. Any bread that contains vitamin D3 is not vegan, since vitamin D3 is animal-derived (Is White Bread Vegan). Another thing to look out for when consuming bread as a vegan is whether the bread contains any milk products.
Regardless of its questionable status as a truly vegan lunch, this tweet sparked a lot of controversy on Twitter and became a meme where others posted spin-off versions of disgusting or completely inadequate meals with the exact same caption as the original post.
Here are a few examples taken from Twitter:
“That’s the cost of my vegan lunch” appears in the narrator’s list of obscure meme sentences only once and is never referenced again. One can say that this small detail in the book is a commentary on the fleeting fame that memes get on the internet. One moment, everywhere you look, Twitter is saturated with memes about people showing the cost of unconventional and (mostly) inedible vegan lunches, and another moment it is simply a sentence “that no one would be able to decipher at all in ten years” (Lockwood 18).
Davis, Drew. “Is White Bread Vegan (Generic, Wonder Bread, Etc..).” Your Vegan Journey, December 31, 2020. https://yourveganjourney.com/is-white-bread-vegan/.
Lockwood, Patricia. No One Is Talking About This. Penguin USA, n.d.