*Last Chance* to Read My Prison Memoir Excerpt & WIN FREE PRIZES!

This weekend or early next week I’ll be sending out my very first monthly e-newsletter–which will include the opening 20-ish pages from my soon-to-be-published memoir Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to Prison. The excerpt is emotionally resonant, intense, funny, and intriguing, and includes the wild, infuriating scene in which I was first arrested for marijuana after an illegitimate traffic stop and illegal search & seizure. This will be the first and only place I’ll be sharing the excerpt any time soon.

The next few days are your last chance to get yourself on the list and receive the exclusive preview! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP. If you don’t like what you see, unsubscribing only takes a click or two; but I vow to try my very best to provide entertaining, interesting, informative, funny content every single month. I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

My first email newsletter will also feature an EXCLUSIVE CONTEST that involves no purchase of anything . . .

TWO LUCKY PARTICIPANTS WILL WIN $15 GIFT CARDS TO AMAZON!

Don’t miss out–sign up now! Thanks.
~Love & Liberation~
Jan @ www.JanSmitowicz.com

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Telling Kids About Veganism

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Do you realize how badass this beach-work is?! My new wife Andria and I spent over an hour–and if you know my physical limitations, that’s some heavy shit–using shovels to make this. Picture taken from about 200 feet above! Each letter 8-10 feet high and 4-5 feet wide.
While we were making it, a couple little kids–both probably 6 or younger–asked us what it said. I told them, then said, “We’re both vegan. That means we don’t eat meat, because it’s made out of dead animals! Animals are our friends, not our food.” I smiled as they ambled off, clearly thinking deeply. I think children are the most susceptible to the message that animals have feelings, awareness, experiences, and that because of this we have no right to kill and eat them when it’s perfectly healthful, or to be more specific far more healthful, not to do so! Most kids just understand compassion; they haven’t been brainwashed into accepting the Death-Cult that is the dominant culture, into thinking that what we do actually does matter, especially when it comes to nonhumans.
I’m sure their parents had some explaining to do–quite possibly some excuses to make, some lies to tell. But hey–I’m not here to let you sleep, I’m here to wake you up!

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Enjoy this piece? I’d love for you to CLICK HERE and sign up for my monthly e-newsletter. I’ll be sending the first one out within a couple weeks, and it includes an EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PREVIEW of the first 20 pages of my forthcoming memoir, Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to PrisonThe monthly newsletter will feature exclusive content, fun stuff, and monthly prizes!

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The Gorilla Hirambe’s Killing Unsurprising, Emblematic of How We Treat All Animals

Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo

Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo is pictured in this undated handout photo provided by Cincinnati Zoo. REUTERS/Cincinnati Zoo/Handout via Reuters

The murder of this magnificent nonhuman-person, whose western lowland gorilla species is critically endangered, with fewer than 200,000 individuals left in the wild, has been discussed at length already. I just wanted to make a couple points, and reproduce a pertinent quote from the book I’m reading.

The only logical conclusion that this tragedy should engender is that zoos are fucking terrible, *inherently.* No exceptions. They are nothing more than prisons for those who’ve committed no crime. Kidnapping animals from the wild; breeding and then keeping captive animals; unnatural, toxic, pitiful facsimiles of the real nature these animals should be in, even at what most people consider the best zoos; and at the end, the most harmful aspect of them all regarding zoos–they treat, view, teach, say, and demonstrate the idea that nonhuman animals are/as property. The glass windows through which humans crowd around to stare at zoo animals and their “habitat” should more appropriately be seen as mirror that reflects back at those attendants some of the most awful characteristics of humanity; industrialized humans’ hubris, vanity, greed, sociopathic selfishness, denial of facts, cruelty, stupidity, and ludicrous, baseless worldview that humans are superior to all nonhuman life in any way or form that truly matters. The most brilliant, scathing analysis about the innate atrocity of zoos also comes from–not suprisingly–Derrick Jensen and photographer Karen Tweedy Holmes‘s gorgeous, heartbreaking coffee table-type book, Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos.

I’d like to mention a few things about this tragic (though all-too-predictable) event and its resultant media and social media firestorm. The number of people outraged by it is of course a great thing. Everybody should be angry. We should be calling for the sterilization of the boy’s mother😉 But we also need to realize that–similar to oil spills, like the 20 thousand gallons of crude oil Shell just leaked into California’s Central Valley (which itself was just two weeks after Shell spilled 90 thousand gallons into the Gulf of Mexio!)–zoo animals being murdered by their captors is simply an inevitable cost of doing this kind of business! Toxic chemicals and carcinogens get “accidentally” released into the air/water/soil by giant multinational corporations that deal with toxic chemicals, and animals will be abused in industries that rely on their exploitation!

The answer is not to reform this genocidal culture; the answer is to destroy it!

Finally, there’s a certain moral schizophrenia, in the words of animal rights attorney and professor Gary Francione, within anybody who is upset about Harambe but has not yet gone vegan. What happened to Harambe is incredibly MILD and UNCRUEL compared to what the BILLIONS of nonhuman individuals trapped in the meat, dairy, egg, vivisection, fur, leather, and other industries. If you’re not vegan, you’re literally paying people to torture animals, keep them sickeningly confined to the point where they can hardly move their entire short, pitiful, miserable lives, and slash their throats in unspeakably savage, barbaric slaughterhouses. If you care about Hirambe, GO VEGAN!

And now, the passage that motivated me to write this blog. From THE MYTH OF HUMAN SUPREMACY by Derrick Jensen (who called me “One hell of a writer.” How amazing is that?!)

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“Regret the extirpation of a species? Not on your life. Regret our not being able to exploit them further? Now we’re talking.
“This is one reason nearly all news articles about an endangered species must include reference to this species’ financial value to the economy. From the perspective of human supremacists, financial value IS value. The inherent value of the other–the value of this other to itself [sic] and to its [sic] family or community or larger biotic community–is either going to be ignored, or at best, grossly undervalued.”

This passage made me think of Harambe, who was murdered by his prison captors; as the above passage draws to mind, his “property value” was lowered by the event’s inevitable media coverage, and so, even though he wasn’t going to hurt anyone, and even though his kidnappers could’ve stopped Harambe by using nonlethal means, they were better off simply killing him. This is business as usual in a culture of human supremacists. I’d frankly be more surprised if they HADN’T murdered Harambe the gorilla!

And that says more than all the articles combined.

 

thumbsup jesus

 

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Comedian Stanhope’s New Memoir Unsurpassably Funny, Weirdly Touching

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Many of longtime standup comedian Doug Stanhope’s lazy-ass fans, like my wife, will want to know if his new memoir Digging Up Mother: A Love Story from Da Capo Press is as funny as one of his standup performances. The answer is no. It’s much funnier.

I should confess—this review, while 100% genuine and inevitable, is first and most importantly a cheap ploy to try convincing Doug to read my forthcoming memoir Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to Prison and hopefully provide a blurb and maybe even a little review if he likes its dark, depraved, shameless humor as much as I think he will. Maybe we can even do some readings/book signings together!—if you’re not gonna dream big as a writer, might as well quit now. Also I took (prescribed) Ritalin to help me concentrate enough to write this—if you’ve taken ADD meds you know why this matters.

With that out of the way, Digging Up Mother is fantastic. The humor lives up to Stanhope’s reputation for brazen, even blithe twistedness. The book describes his hilarious lifelong penchant for schemes, scams, pranks, and general tomfuckery, detailing literally dozens of them. The biggest laugh-out-loud sequence for me had to be his wedding day. His bride Renee got so hammered beforehand that her friends gave her ecstasy just to keep her standing. The best man was selected using video poker. Stanhope hired a “graphically obese” Elvis impersonator called Extreme Elvis. After the ceremony, most of the band stripped naked while performing, including Extreme Elvis—who urinated into a pint glass then guzzled it down, and plucked a backup singer’s tampon from her vagina and then chewed and spit it toward the fleeing audience. “The quality of the musicianship was being overlooked,” Stanhope writes, “people focusing more on Elvis jamming two fingers up his own ass, then sauntering through the crowd, crooning while he gently swirled those fingers in their drinks” (234).

Through it all, Stanhope somehow manages to touch the reader with surprising poignancy. Partly via his and Mother’s relationship and her supportiveness. Even when he was just the troublesome class clown: “Mother saw my humor and creativity . . . I was fortunate enough to have a parent . . . allow me the freedom to follow my own path” (29). Indeed, Stanhope makes clear that without her cheering him on, he may never have stuck with comedy. “She was my rock and my muse and my only fan that mattered” (162). Then there’s his doting affection for longtime girlfriend Bingo, a schizoaffective bipolar. Her mental illness—she once walked down the street naked in midday while talking into a banana, legitimately thinking it was a phone—doesn’t detract from his fierce love. “I wish my vocabulary held a better word than ‘love’ for all of the emotions I felt about her, how she made me alive. They don’t live in a thesaurus” (271). Digging Up Mother’s juxtaposition of the repulsive and the beautiful is exquisite.

The writing on a barebones level is top-notch. Dark little gems are peppered throughout the narrative, like “Anyone who says that suicide is never the answer hasn’t heard all of the questions” (179) and “Children are abhorrent to me and I believe abortion should be mandatory” (228). Though I’m sure he had a great editor, his narrative talents are abundantly evident. This is never a given—just because you can write an act that leaves audiences in stitches doesn’t mean you can write a book worth dogshit! If you’ve seen or heard his show Beer Hall Putsch, you know that Doug and Bingo helped guide Mother through her 2008 suicide as she quaffed Morphine and Black Russians, but his memoir fills things out superbly. Like how the mortuary people arrived the next morning and assumed Bingo, sprawled out on the couch in a Xanax- and booze-induced deadsleep, was the corpse—and went to take her body away. Nothing is sacred (nor should it be); Stanhope matter-of-factly writes of his limitations as Kevorkianist: “. . . the idea of holding up [Mother’s] deflated ass-cheek while she forces out a mushy yogurt turd . . . no” (4).

Doug Stanhope’s memoir is unquestionably one of the funniest books I’ve read. Its terrific writing and utterly unexpected emotional wallop make it that much better. I can only hope this isn’t the sole memoir he writes—I’m hooked. Read it with an unclenched sphincter and you will be too. Unless you’re a total pussy, of course.

Sitting front row at one of Stanhope’s shows at the Brea Improv in 2013, I offered him LSD during the show. I’m gonna go drop some right now to celebrate that I finally wrote this fucking review. I think Doug would be proud. Now he just needs to contact me about our epic mutual book readings!

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Hearing Update: Joseph sentenced to 2 years in prison

Joseph here is a really good fucking dude who was–get this–sentenced under a TERRORISM LAW, and referred to as a terrorist by the prosecution, for CONSPIRING TO OPEN CAGES & FREE MINK ON A FUR “FARM”!! How goddamn ridiculous and oh-so-Orwellian is that?!

Support Nicole and Joseph

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This morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Joseph Buddenberg was sentenced to two years in federal prison for Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The sentencing follows his signing a non-cooperating plea agreement in which he plead guilty to conspiring to free thousands of animals from fur farms throughout the U.S. and to cause damage to businesses associated with the fur industry.

“Today’s sentencing must be understood in the context of the complete illegitimacy of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act,” said Rachel Meeropol, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the lead lawyer on several constitutional challenges to the law.  “This is a law bought and paid for by corporations that profit from the exploitation of animals, in the service of nothing but their own bottom line. Prosecuting non-violent liberation of animals as ‘terrorism’ is a transparent attempt to…

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First Prison Memoir Excerpt!

Hello friends, new and old! In case you didn’t know, I served two years in Illinois state prisons from 2010-2012 for marijuana possession with intent to distribute. Just wanted to let you know that, for the first time anywhere, I’ll be sharing an exclusive 20-ish page excerpt from my memoir REBEL HELL: DISABLED VEGAN GOES TO PRISON, which is wildly entertaining and funny–but also intensely political, addressing numerous social issues, from animal rights to classism and misogyny, environmentalism to the inherent racism and unjust nature of the American “Justice” System.

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The excerpt will be featured in my first monthly author e-newsletter; to receive the sneak-peak and other great content, including opportunities to win free stuff, please sign up here:

http://eepurl.com/bWPogD

Thanks so much!🙂
~Love & Liberation~

Jan