Acutetarianism: FAQs
1. What is an Acutetarian?

An Acutetarian is someone who doesn't eat cute things.

2. How does one become an Acutetarian?

Easy. Stop eating cute things.

3. So an Acutetarian can eat chickens? Cuz chickens are pretty damn ugly; at least, they're definitely not cute. Cows are pretty ugly, too, if you think about it.

No. An Acutetarian cannot eat chickens. This is because an Acutetarian will not eat anything that WAS, IS, or WILL BE cute. In other words, if there is any span of time in something's life in which it is cute, an Acutetarian cannot eat it. And chickens, no matter how ugly they become when they're older, are totally cute as baby chicks. (This is why, incidentally, "chick" is an awesome nickname for we women--we're totally cute, too.) As for cows, they're super cute when they're little as well.

4. Well, geez! If you're counting things when they're babies, what isn't cute?

Fish aren't. And most seafood isn't. This is because fish just go from being an egg to being a smaller version of their bigger selves. Being a smaller, similar figure of your older self doesn't make you cuter--especially if you're as non-cute as older fish are. The same thing goes for most shellfish--mussells, clams, oysters, scallops, etc. They're all definitely not-cute, and therefore permissible cuisine according to Acutetarianism. Not lobsters, though. They're way cute. And maybe not crabs.

5. All right, so bunnies are cute, as a species. But what if we find a really hideously ugly bunny? Can an Acutetarian eat it?

No. An Acutetarian's cute-tracking goes by the generic traits of something, not by individual traits. To see the difference consider the generic statement "Bunnies have four legs". Notice that this statement is true even if there are several unfortunate three-legged bunnies around. Similarly, "Bunnies are cute" is true even though there may be several unfortunate really hideously ugly bunnies around. So if the generic statement "Xs are cute" holds of a certain group of individuals, then an Acutetarian won't eat any of the individuals that make up that group.

In addition, however, is the following consideration: the hypothetical ugly bunny we are imagining is already ugly, do we really need to throw her in a pot and eat her to make her fate in life any worse?

6. So cockroaches aren't cute...does an Acutetarian eat cockroaches?

Acutetarianism is only concerned with that which makes something impermissible to eat--i.e., if it's cute, don't eat it. So, sure. Cockroaches, being near to the most un-cute things in existence, are totally permissible to eat by Acutetarianism standards. But there might be other principles guiding one's dietary habits like: don't eat the most vile and wretched things on earth. Or: don't eat anything that can survive being sprayed by two tons of Raid (I swear there was one of these suckers in my kitchen a couple of weeks ago). But, again, Acutetarianism per se is silent on whether one should eat cockroaches or not.

7. I was eating animal crackers the other day and I noticed that some of them (like the ones shaped like monkeys) were pretty friggin cute. Is an Acutetarian prohibited from eating animal crackers?

Luckily, no. An Acutetarian is totally able to eat animal crackers. This is because there's an important distinction between the aesthetic properties of something and the representation of the aesthetic properties of something. Animal crackers are merely representations of cute things, they aren't cute themselves. In fact, it's even a bit of a category mistake to call a cracker cute or ugly--crackers just aren't the sort of thing that can be cute or ugly. They can, however, represent something that is cute or ugly, but this of no consequence to the Acutetarian.

8. I saw a head of cauliflower once that looked like it was winking at me. Pretty cute, I'd say. But forbidden by Acutetarianism?

No. Again, it was just a representation of something cute; not cute itself. Also, you are counting a the individual traits of something, not the generic ones.

9. Do you have to be an objectivist about cuteness in order to be an Acutetarian? I mean, does adopting this diet commit you to being a realist about aesthetic properties?

Yeah, totally. But not to worry. Being a realist about cuteness has the theoretical advantage of being true. It's also bad-ass.

10. What's the difference between you and a Vegetarian...who eats fish...but not lobsters...and maybe not crabs?

Acutetarianism has the advantage of not being ad-hoc. I actually came up with the idea when I was trying to find the underlying principle that was guiding my dietary habits. So, like, I wanted to figure out why I had a hard time eating cow or chicken or pig (oh lil' piggies! so cute with your curly tail and all!), but had no problem eating fish or oysters or even (in principle) cockroaches. I'd heard of the sort of non-meat eaters who refused to eat anything with a face--I guess you'd call them Afacetarians--but fish seem to have faces, and so do eel, and I'd seen Afacetarians eat both of these. Plus, I don't think I (or anyone else for that matter) has a real grasp on what exactly counts as a face. I mean, watches have faces, and so does the moon, and I guess I feel that in principle at least, watches and moons are permissible to eat. In any case, I have a much better grasp on what's cute or not-cute than I do on what has a face or doesn't. Besides, my way's funnier.

Page Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2004
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