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Interview with Dan Piraro!
Name: Dan Piraro
Dan Piraro was kind enough to spend some time answering a few of our questions!
Dan Piraro is best known for his syndicated cartoon, Bizarro
[See TODAY'S Bizarro comic: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
Previous books by Dan Piraro:
Celebrities for Health interview with Dan Piraro! (Posted 6/4/06)
"Thanks, Jeff, it's great to be here."
I understand you have a new book out! Please tell us about it!
"'Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro' is a retrospective of my life as an artist of various sorts. It inlcudes a 10,000 word autobiographical essay as well as examples of my cartoons, fine art, sketchbook art, early commercial art, and bits from my comedy shows. It's being published by Abrams books and I must say they did a wonderful job. It really does look good and I'm thrilled to report it's getting rave reviews."
Where can our visitors see your work?
"The best place is in your local newspaper, if they carry Bizarro. If not, you can find myriad examples of my work on the web, as well as in the 14 books I've published. For a daily dose of what I'm doing, you can subscribe to Daily Ink (dailyink.com) and get Bizarro in color 7 days a week, all year long. It's about $15, less than a third of the cost of a single bottle of good Tequila."
Are you vegan or vegetarian?
How long have you been vegetarian/vegan?
Why did you become vegetarian/vegan?
What benefits have you experienced since becoming veg*n?
"I was always prudent about my diet and exercised regularly, so I can't report any dramatic changes in my health or weight, except that I used to regularly suffer from intestinal distress of various kinds: too fast or too slow. Since switching to a vegan diet, those problems are nonexistent. I have also enjoyed an unexpected spiritual benefit to my new lifestyle. I now eat secure with the knowledge that my health is not being damaged and nothing had to suffer for the sake of my taste buds."
Are other members of your family vegan/vegetarian?
"My wife, and my two adult daughters are all vegan. My wife has been one since she was a child, it was she who brought me to the farm animal sanctuary. My daughters are as a result of what I've told them about factory farming."
What do you think it will take to get more people to move to a plant-based diet?
"Humans are such arrogant, selfish, ill-disciplined apes that I fear we will never see a major shift to plant-based diets until there is a major food-related crisis resulting in huge numbers of deaths. We already have that with heart disease and cancer and it does nothing to deter the average person. Sadly, I think it will take something indisputable and immediate, like massive outbreaks of bird flu or mad cow."
What would you say to others to encourage them to become vegetarian/vegan?
"Look at your pets and realize that "food" animals are no less affectionate, sentient, and emotional than your family dog. If you wouldn't subsidize cruelty to him or her, don't support it with other animals with your diet."
How and when did you first come up with the name "Bizarro"?
In your career, what have been your favorite projects or roles (or comics)?
"I have a lot of favorite comics, too many to remember. One of my favorite projects by far is my live comedy show, The Bizarro Baloney Show."
How much has your diet/lifestyle affected your comics?
When did you start including vegetarian/animal rights themes in your comics? Do you believe this helps raise awareness of such issues for your readers and fans?
Do you include these themes in your stand-up acts?
If one of the actual "Three Little Pigs" was president, what would the White House be made of and what would they serve in the dining room?
Would you like to see more vegetarian or vegan characters on television and in films and print media?
"Sure, but I'm not holding my breath. Very few mainstream performers, producers, directors, or writers are willing to take chances presenting material that may dampen their popularity."
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in life?
How important do you feel organic foods are in the diet?
There has been a growing movement towards raw food diets. Do you try to incorporate much raw food into your diet?
What are your feelings on vegan pet food?
What are your favorite foods/meals?
Care to share a favorite recipe with our visitors?
What is your favorite veg restaurant(s)?
What is your favorite quote or saying?
What are your favorite organizations/charities?
"Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. My wife and I are founding board members and have helped build the fences and barns, taken care of the animals, etc. There are tons of great ones, PeTA, HSUS, Sea Shepherd, COK."
Do you have favorite vegan advocates (authors/speakers/celebs)?
"Heather Mills McCartney and Alec Baldwin are awesome because they aren't afraid to use their celebrity to speak up. Two of my favorite speakers are Michael Gregor and John McDougall."
How do you feel worldwide veganism would affect our planet?
"Obviously many things would improve. Less pollution and less starvation spring to mind, not to mention the fact that billions of animals each year would not be tortured to death."
What are your thoughts on charities such as cancer organizations that do not promote a plant-based diet and even include animal products at their functions?
"This is clear and screaming evidence of the idiocy of the human race. I can't state that strongly enough. For cancer and heart disease organizations to recommend that people 'reduce' their consumption of red meat but not switch to a vegan diet is like telling lung cancer patients to 'reduce' the number of cigarettes they smoke. Can you imagine Mothers Against Drunk Driving encouraging people to drive drunk less often?"
Anything else you'd like to share with our visitors?
"I don't mean to be overly commercial, but my new book, Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro, which is a retrospective of my career, includes a large chapter and essay about my animal rights beliefs. The majority of the book is my artwork--cartoons, fine art, sketchbook art, bits from my comedy shows--and it's my hope that because it will appeal to a wide variety of readers, it will expose innumerable people to animal rights issues who might not otherwise have the benefit of this information. This is an excellent gift for someone in your life that you don't want to approach directly with animal rights or veganism. I've already heard from a number of people who have changed their diets after reading it."
I have to say, it's a great book! Every fan should have a copy! Where should our visitors buy your book?
Thank you for sharing your time with us, Dan! We look forward to more of your work, charitable and professional!
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