Monday, June 28, 2010

Interview With a Vegan: The Director's Cut

The following interview with New York-based Max Hodes (see "Not a review of the Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus") was conducted via Gchat for the purpose of an article on urban American vegans. The interview was slated to appear in a Cairo-based magazine in which I have already been published. 

I submitted an edited version with comments from another vegan in LA. I have not heard back from the magazine.

hodes: This is the new chat. Out with the old chat!
me: Hello Max Hodes.
hodes: Hello Vanessa Carlisle
me: I need your permission to "record" this conversation/reprint/edit for the purposes of publication
hodes: You have it.
me: Great!
So you're a vegan.
hodes: I hereby bestow upon thee absolute permission to print this and anything else, true or false in perpetuity forever and ever amen.
me: Excellent. I will be listening to M.I.A during this interview. What are you listening to?
hodes: whoarfrost
I'll stop for now
me: Let's say you're at a bar somewhere in NYC. A cute girl asks you what you "do." How do you answer?
hodes: I'm a musician, audio engineer, and music producer. I make money as a bike courier
if they are interesting I tell them my plan to meta-program the human hive mind
me: When the tray of cheese comes around, do you decline with or without mentioning that you are a vegan?
hodes: depending on how insecure I feel at that moment, it's a 50-50 shot
me: insecure= not mentioning?
hodes: when I'm desperate to have a personality I'll mention that I'm a vegan
me: ah, I had it backward
what personality traits do you think are associated with being a vegan?
and do you think you have them?
hodes: Discipline and compassion clothed in punk rock
I think I do exhibit those personality traits, but I wouldn't call myself a punk
nor, for that matter, a vegan
because I take whey protein these days as a quick to up my overall protein intake
but I just ordered ten pounds of soy/gemma pea mix
and I'd like to get back on the wagon
me: Let's just keep calling you a vegan. Shhhhhh.
Actually--let's follow this train. How many vegans do you know, and do they stay on the wagon? Or do you think vegans "cheat" regularly?
hodes: I don't keep in contact with a single person who is still a vegan that I know of
me: Do you think it would be easier to do it if you did?
hodes: no
me: Because?
hodes: I lost a great deal of weight when I first became a vegan, and times when eaten creatures with hearts for a week or more I've seen the gain and didn't like it
me: M.I.A. is stressing me out. I'm changing to Beta Band. Tell me if the interview tone changes.
hodes: you were very magazine for a minute
me: I'm writing for a magazine, dude.
You will represent all of NYC punk vegans to them
bwa haha
hodes: we all like tank-tops
that's what I can say for sure
me: and my friend Cassandra will represent all Hollywood glossy vegans to them. bwa hah a ha.
hodes: I think I should be listening to the Byrds.
Ah wait: FUgazi!
now I've got it
me: Ok. When did you decide to become a vegan, and why. In like, four sentences or less.
hodes: the ease of being a vegan is, to me, the same ease of working out, practicing my guitar, riding my bike a long distance: I anticipate benefits
I decided to become a Vegan when I read "No More Bull" a book my ex-girlfriend asked me to read.
the book is a sacred-straight style text
about the potential diseases in meat and lack of nutrition in dairy
me: So you made the decision for health reasons primarily?
hodes: entirely
me: because I remember you eating a lot of ribs one time.
hodes: I have compassion for animals, but it's never stopped me from eating them

there is a line of reasoning present that at one time led me to believe that I SHOULD be eating people if I also ate cows and chickens
me: aside: go here and scroll down to the Laker parade. I took that picture.
hodes: but then I found, through further reading, that animals consuming their own species usually produces a brain-degenerating disease
LA looks particularly radiant in victory
I was going to say like a pig that knows it will never be eaten, but it looks nothing like that
me: LA looks like a pig that knows it will never be eaten? 

hodes: nothing like it
that would look like welling black pools reflecting a country spring
me: Tell me something about veganism that you don't like
hodes: LA in victory looks like UBER-LA without so many class distinctions
what I don't like about veganism is on the one hand people bending over backwards to accomidate me, because that usually leads them to talk as if I'm part of a new religion that EVERYONE else has already accepted but they've only just heard of
and also when people tell me why they themselves are not vegan
and the lack of cheese
 Sent at 9:20 PM on Tuesday

hodes: on those moments when I've had extraordinary cheeses: last year, end of June, country jamboree in Conway, MA I had an unbelieveable brie; two years ago we ate some 7000 year old Vermont cheddar that produced a zen state and mild hallucinations because my brain flooded with all the chemicals I like, mostly cheese; those time make me think that cheese might be the second greatest human achievement after music
unfortunately it's not really food the same way a yam is food
it's more food than a twizzler
but not by much
me: You are the best interview subject anyone has ever had. I can't wait until you are a slight bit famous and I get to interview you for BUST.
Tell me something you love about veganism
hodes: I can't wait for my playgirl spread
what I love about veganism is the clean feeling it leaves in my body
it's hard to remember that I used to feel sluggish, bloated, and always like sitting
veganism and excorcise makes me leap about like a spring lamb
me: can you try another metaphor?
hodes: I feel a bit more like I'm always on a trampoline
me: also, did you mean exercise? or are you exorcising on a regular basis now too?
hodes: good call
I do that too
and that makes a huge difference
the other day I projectile vomited in heavy rotations for fifteen minutes!
my roomates were pissed and the cat was soaked!
but after a night of Bible verse and a stern talking-to from the Rabbi the demons moved on
I have to say as well, admit rather, that there is a degree of ethical convenience I feel
in proportion to the ethical stance of "it's bad to eat animals, but fuck it 'cause I love cow fat"
I feel a certain uplift knowing that I'm not bowing to my craving for easy fat sources
and in the process saving some cute lives
me: What do you mean by "ethical convenience"
hodes: it's trite bullshit
I think I need to reverse it
conveniently ethical
me: So you're selfishly vegan?
hodes: as in "isn't it great that I'm a vegan for health and also living up to an ethical standard I didn't really care about in the first place?"
me: ah. great. this is really great.
by that I mean hilarious.
hodes: I think I met some punks once who were vegans and it wasn't a sham
me: meaning?
hodes: they run a restaurant in Boston
and asked me not to wear my leather jacket
because it hurt them in some way I could not understand
me: So you are not opposed to animal products like leather, honey, etc
hodes: hell no
as far as I can tell
me: I think you should start calling me honey
hodes: is produced in a symbiotic relationship between humans and bees that is mutually beneficial
okay Honey
me: not capitalized. that's the name of the Babe in Boinkland.
hodes: but you should listen to the mariah carey song of the same name on repeat for the duration of the interview
me: no
hodes: okay honey
whatever you say honey
incidentally I found out that there is a type of honey from the black forest that is made from sugar sucked off of some insects' anuses
it's spicey and delicious
me: what about products like soap made from animal fats? Do you check ingredients on everything?
hodes: fuck!
I forgot to do that
all this time
fortunately I almost never use soap
I mostly use detergents
and bathe infrequently
me: So if you were asked to list five characteristics that identified you, would "vegan" feature among them?
hodes: no
nor would "punk"
me: have you ever convinced anyone else to stop eating animals?
hodes: I've gradually worn on my sister
but she read "The Omnivores Dilemma" and I think that did most of the work
me: Any favorite recipes?
hodes: I become an evangilest about it when I see someone teetering on the edge but their habits hold them back
favorite recipes: for a throwback junk-crave satisfactomatic
I bye TVP beef
and vegan cheese
as orange as I can find
saute green peppers and yellow onions in olive oil, add the cheese and beef until it's a hot mess and slam it in a shitty white hogey
cheese steak!
me: sounds positively delicious
hodes: for breakfast I like to blend raw kale, filtered water, and a vegan protein powder into a thick sludge and drink it as fast as I can
me: you are disturbingly masculine in this regard.
hodes: you should see me drinking it
head tossed back as if by the wind
me: you should have called me honey then
hodes: adam's apple heaving up and down
you are right
I'm bad at pet names
me: but you're good at not eating pets!
badum bum!
hodes: I really enjoy green salads with walnuts, avacadoes and tofu
I like to make sauce and I count salad dressing as a sauce
olive oil, chili oil, garlic salt and pepper and whatever dried green leaves I've got around
over kale and spinich with roma tomatoes red onions or shallots
me: Could you fall in love with a non-vegan?
hodes: yes
I could
but I might resist it
and I would certainly be really turned off if I ever tasted meat in her mouth
me: And, scene.
hodes: unless twer mine
me: that goes in the director's cut, I guess.
I need you to send me a picture of you now.
hodes: hmmm
let me who has a digital camera
me: you and the Beta Band are making the same noise
hodes: no one has taken a picture of me in months
except for security guards in midtown
me: Let's end this interview. Take one with your phone.

hodes: got it.


  1. Best interview I"ve read in awhile. It's a lost art form. You should explore it more often.

  2. The interview did, actually get published in its edited form, btw. It's here: