We Are Poop and the Peacocking Protest Song

I should like All the Blood.

It’s a song by a group with a ridiculous name – We Are Poop

It’s billed as pop-punk, a genre which I spent my entire youth obsessing over.

It’s a pro-animal rights song, and I’m a vegetarian who eats vegan with the exception of milk chocolate, Faye Greek yogurt, and Cool Ranch Doritos.

But despite all that, it just doesn’t click.

Screenshot 2020-01-23 at 08.40.36

We’ve spent a lot of time the past two years making fun of sadbois or, as they are known in 2020, Boys With Emotions. But we joke with seriousness behind it, because in these songs, women never really exist except as inspiration for male feelings, whether that’s longing, or anger, or sadness. Women are there to do things to men and then vanish once they are no longer required.*

All the Blood are a subset of this group – Sad Bois With Causes. These are bois who feel so, so deeply about a cause that they are going to make it a defining part of their personality. In this case, the pain experienced by animals is their raison d’etre – literally! The band was formed for this song!

Now, I want to be clear here – this critique is not saying that passions are bad. We wouldn’t have a fandom unless we were deeply, deeply obsessed with Eurovision! But our Eurovision fandom then doesn’t tunnel our worldview down to a binary perspective where Eurovision good/everything else bad.

And that’s the problem with We Are Poop. Their song (and video) takes the entire world down into two categories – the enlightened people, who have come to their senses, heard the pain of animals, and stopped eating meat – and everyone else, who are depicted as being LITERALLY blind. (With the exception of the one small child, because, remember, the children are wise and innocent and see things adults can’t blah blah blah.)

The reason I distrust Sad Bois with Causes is that their view of the world is one giant purity test. Do you eat meat? BAD. Do you not eat meat? GOOD. That’s it. That’s the analysis.

In the world of Sad Bois with Causes, an excess of empathy in one area means there’s none left for the rest of us. Because Bois with Causes have no interest in intersectionality. They have no interest in acknowledging that someone may need to eat meat because their family demands it, and not eating meat is easier than a huge argument. Or that someone may need to eat meat because they’ve got a severe iron deficiency. There are probably other reasons here, but I’m a vegetarian and can’t come up with them. But there are often multiple competing factors in a person’s life which govern their choices that none of us can know.

But to the Sad Bois with Causes, these are just excuses for not being smart enough to quit meat. For being too weak to change our diets. For disappointing them by not being sufficiently committed to the cause.

In the end, what disappoints me about We Are Poop is not their message, because I think vegetarianism is good. It’s their presentation of it – the assumption that this band of four white guys, who are naturally more enlightened than you, are going to show you the error of your ways with this song. And if you hear these three minutes, from the singer who is better than you, and don’t change your ways, then you’re blind. And wrong. And misguided.

I realise now that I’m sounding like a bit of a centrist dad here, and I want to make it clear that I don’t think that there’s moral objectivism. There are some things that are objectively wrong. Factory farming that creates needless pain in animals for the sake of profit is one of them.

Is the place to discuss that a three-minute Eurovision song? Maybe! Maybe there is some genius band out there that can make the arguments! But All The Blood doesn’t. It doesn’t even try.It is simply a blunt emotional appeal – animals hurt, I hurt, you should hurt, if you don’t you’re blind.

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So, ultimately, what is the purpose of this song? Well, aside from showing how awesome We Are Poop are for being such noble, selfless Bois with Causes, the whole song wants to create guilt in listeners.

We Are Poop are not serious about creating lasting change, or making a non-shame based argument for vegetarianism (better for the environment, better for your arteries, cheaper to cook, etc). They’re serious about peacocking (especially with the amount of time the singer spends with his shirt off in this song) and being visible for their cause.

*You could arguably say the same thing about Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande or Cardi B songs, but the difference between these artists is that we generally tend to know who women are singing about.

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