Created By: wanbli on May 28, 2011
Nuked

Nature Abhors A Vegan

Nature lover learns that nature is red in tooth and claw.

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Trope
Ah, the majesty of nature. Wait, what is that animal doing to that other animal? Well, I suppose he needed to eat to survive. Mosquitos! Ew. Get them off! Oh, I'll jump in the water. Leeches!

Nature is morally neutral. But many people, most of them living in suburbs and big cities, have an idea that it is pristine and innocent.

Not the writers of this show. On this show, the girl (usually a girl) gets to live in nature, and it's horrible. Expect her to have the preconceived notion that animals never kill each other. Then comes the humidity, the insects, and the leeches. In a twist of Unfortunate Implications, if in a jungle setting, the natives will also be nasty. By the end, she's ready to start spraying CFCs into the air faster than you can say "squamous cell carcinoma".

Often caused by Hungry Jungle. A deconstruction of Granola Girl or (sometimes) Noble Savage.

The trope is a pun on Nature Abhors a Virgin, which is itself a pun on "Nature abhors a vacuum."

Examples:

Community Feedback Replies: 55
  • May 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: Lisa organizes the rescue of a beached whale, which is then attacked by sharks. She wants to stop the horrible sharks from killing the nice whale until her efforts are blocked by Greenpeace. She learns An Aesop about letting nature take its course even if it seems cruel.
  • May 28, 2011
    Hadashi
    I think it is a bit harsh to Vegans saying that, the girl generally tends to be meat-eater who is so disconnected from her food that she doesn't realise where meat comes from. Vegans tend to be Vegans because they want to limit the suffering.

    Also: Horses, cows, gazelle, etc, are 'vegan'
  • May 28, 2011
    TwinBird
    • In Futurama's "The Problem With Popplers," a hippie says he wants to be closer to nature. Leela points out that animals eating animals is part of nature, and they show off a sickly lion they've fed on tofu.
  • May 28, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    While I'm your title is a trope somehow, your description doesn't really match it. Vegans are just people who refuse to eat any animal products whatsoever, not necessarily lovey-dovey nature hippies as in your description.

    I think this is definitely a Sub Trope of Break The Haughty or Break The Cutie, but it needs a better title. Essentially, this trope is a character who has naive love and respect for nature, but then upon experiencing it for themselves, they realize it's not all it's cracked up to be.

    I recommend Nature Sucks.

  • May 28, 2011
    TonyG
    ^The alien's name is Pleakley, and it's not just the mosquitoes; he also ends up in the ocean where he's attacked by sharks and an octopus.
    • In the episode "Nature Pants", SpongeBob SquarePants wants to leave civilization to live among the jellyfish. He changes his mind when said jellyfish attack him.
  • May 29, 2011
    bluepenguin
    The picture book There's A Hair In My Dirt (by Gary Larson, I think) has a rather extreme version of this, in which the naive nature-lover is not just disillusioned by the nastiness of nature, but killed by it.
  • May 29, 2011
    Koncur
    I get what you're trying to do with the pun thing, but I too think the title should be changed. What about something like Nature Is Not Idyllic?
  • May 29, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Hadashi: That's quite a double standard. Ignoring that this is a trope (and thus reflects how people are portrayed in fiction rather than reality) you complained about generalisations and proceeded to strawman every non-vegetarian as someone who's "disconnected". And furthermore, grazing animals are herbivores. They're physically only capable of ingesting plant matter. Vegans are omnivorous humans who decided to avoid meat and animal byproducts. Furthermore you don't seem to have heard of vegetarianism.
  • May 29, 2011
    Chabal2
    Animorphs: When in the rainforest, the heroes are attacked by bugs, heat, piranhas... Rachel, once out of danger yells out that if this is the rainforest everyone is going on about saving, they can raze it and pave it over as far as she's concerned. Later, once they've all acquired jaguar morphs (and thus are no longer in danger), they are amazed at the variety of life to be found and she takes it back.
  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    I am a Vegetarian, thanks. I'm just explaining that the trope tends to be about some dizzy city girl who is disconnected from where her food comes from - i.e. she doesn't really know where meat comes from. There is an actual, genuine, problem reflected in this trope. City kids often don't know where their food comes from.

    And Yes, I am perfectly aware that herbivores don't have a choice over what they eat, that only makes them more Vegan than those who do. That doesn't change the fact that nature doesn't abhor a Vegan and that the characters affected by this trope wouldn't even know what one was.

  • May 29, 2011
    Damr1990
    What about "Not So Gentle Nature" or something like that as a tittle, may lose the pun, but it think it may fit better and it doesn't offend the vegans
  • May 29, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    Mercedes Lackey's short story "Last Rights" is about a trio of animal rights activists who try to "liberate" genetically-engineered dinosaurs from captivity, on the grounds that "there was no such thing as a dangerous animal; only an animal forced to act outside of its peaceful nature." (This after failing to learn their lesson from the outbreak of "mutant bubonic plague" that followed their liberation of several hundred rats from a lab.) One of them gets stepped on by an apatosaurus, one gets eaten by a deinonychus, and one narrowly escapes death at the horns of a very territorial triceratops.
  • May 29, 2011
    Ryusui
    It's a clever trope which needs a better name - the professed "nature-lover", perhaps even a member of an Animal Wrongs Group, discovers that nature is very much red in tooth and claw and does not see them as a friend.

    I want to say Chaotic Nature as a subtle nod to the Shin Megami Tensei series (where Chaos promises a "return to nature"), but that does sound a bit like an alignment trope - perhaps Nature Is Chaos, or Nature Is Chaotic?
  • May 29, 2011
    Rolf
  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    I wouldn't say Misguided Nature Lover since the character this refers too often reacts to animals as though they have never seen one before. In that Not So Gentle Nature is closer, but still not descriptive enough from the point of view of the archetype we are describing.

    City Slicker Surprise?
  • May 29, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    I don't think Misguided Nature Lover works because it seems to be referencing a specific character type (one closely related to Animal Wrongs Group) rather than a plot. City Slicker Surprise is a little better, but most of the people I've heard called "city slickers" are the type who have no interest in interacting with nature to begin with.

    Maybe Nature Is Not Gentle, although it doesn't indicate the rude awakening that is the key point of this trope.
  • May 29, 2011
    SilentReverence
    Nothing to do with vegas, really does this trope has.

    Nature Is Not Gentle sounds like a good name, although it misses at least two vectors of interpretation (one noted above) and may suggests things that are not this trope. Nature Is Shockingly Natural?

  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    "most of the people I've heard called "city slickers" are the type who have no interest in interacting with nature to begin with."

    Actually, that's kinda what made me think of it.
  • May 29, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    The trope isn't really about that kind of person, though; it's more about someone who has an idealized mental image of nature and is rudely disabused of it by interaction which the real thing. Your average "city slicker" knows they'd find nature uncomfortable to live in.

    Nature Is Shockingly Natural might do the trick. It's amusing and covers the key element of the trope. Or perhaps The Wilderness Is Shockingly Wild, which is a little wordier but "wild" has more of the right connotation than "natural" does.
  • May 29, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Wanbli, seriously, lose the title - ignoring the snowclone issue (for now), it has nothing to do with Vegans. As I said before, Vegans are not the same as people who have no clue about the true nature of nature. You have a trope, but you're killing it by defending a title which is counter-effective. Vegans, like any group of people, are a spectrum - the only commonality between them is a refusal to consume animal products - that does not mean all Vegans are Luddites (though I'm sure that could be a trope) or hippies. Some might even familiar with the true nature of nature and have wilderness survival skills, completely averting this trope. So you see, "Vegan" does not belong in this title. Kill it.

    We've given you a number of suggestions which are exponentially better. Pick one, so we can move on and develop the trope.
  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    Nature Is Shockingly Natural is better but it's still not that good.
  • May 29, 2011
    Maklodes
    I think this trope is fine so long as we recognize that it's about stereotypical portrayal of vegans, not most real vegans. Vegans and non-vegans alike can have ill-informed or well-informed views about the natural world, but for what it's worth, I bet if you gave a random sample of 40 of each a quiz on basic, value-neutral facts of biology (e.g.. "Which of the following elements is not widespread in living organisms? A) Nitrogen B) Phosphorus C) Silicon or D) Sulfur," not "Is nature gentle and nurturing, or is it red tooth and claw?"), I'd put my money on the vegans. Still, there are certainly some vegans who are full of nonsense, in the real world and on TV. Recognize that it's not a full picture of reality any more than Death By Sex is an accurate portrayal of the consequences of being a sexually active young woman, and it's fine.

    UPDATE: Re: Bisected8: I guess silicon actually does, albeit rarely, play a biological role. Aluminum would have been a better element as an example of one with no known biological role. There is, of course, no way of knowing the outcome of such a test without actually doing it. I'm just saying what I'd guess the outcome would be.
  • May 29, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^^ Oops, sorry - made the edit. Although, that's not my title - I suggested Nature Sucks.
  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    The main reason I'm against the vegan title is that vegans rarely feature in it.
  • May 29, 2011
    Hadashi
    0k then, I'll edit mine
  • May 29, 2011
    Damr1990
  • May 29, 2011
    SilentReverence
    ...And now I am liking Wilderness Is Shockingly Wild more. Nature Is Shockingly Wild could do for a pretty redirect, even (I mostly like how wit Wi SW the alliterative appeal does not cut from the trope).
  • May 30, 2011
    Frank75
    City Slicker? Sounds like from a western.
  • May 30, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Maklodes: I see no reason why vegans and vegetarians would know more about biology than those who make other lifestyle choices regarding their food. For example my mother (vegetarian) knows about the same as my dad (not vegetarian), about the same as my brother (also not vegetarian) and a little less than me (also non-vegetarian), except in matters of medicine since she trained as a nurse.

    And as I said; herbivores can not be vegans. Vegan and vegetarianism are practises invented by humans (who could eat meat if they chose to). A creature which cannot eat meat anyway can no more be a vegitarian than a carnivore can.

    Also that question is arbitary and rather foolish; if an element is found on Earth, every living think will have traces of it within.
  • May 30, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^ Except arsenic.

    edit: Well, with the exception of some weird lake bacteria.
  • May 30, 2011
    Game_Fan
    Pointed out in Grant Morrison's run of Animal Man when the Morrison admits to Buddy that the vegetarianism he forced on him (Buddy had argued that any animal he might eat was one he had experienced being) doesn't really make sense (since Buddy taps the powers of carnivores too) and speculates that the next writer will change it. The very first panel of the next issue of Buddy biting into a live deer in an animalistic frenzy.
  • May 30, 2011
    ladygem
    As an alternative to City Slicker, What about City Mouse Surprise
  • May 30, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    ^^ Not sure that's an example of the trope as described. Seems more like it's related to Carnivore Confusion.
  • May 30, 2011
    Hadashi
    The concept of 'herbivore' was also invented by humans (Nature isn't that neat) - animals just eat what looks or smells like food. Does not make them any less Vegan. I'd likely be violently sick if I ate meat now, lots of long-time Vegetarians and Vegans are if they eat meat accidentally. I can't drink cows milk either, it makes me feel ill.

  • May 30, 2011
    Bisected8
    While the word herbivore is a construct (all words are, after all), what it describes isn't. If they're offered meat they won't eat it and they lack the enzymes to digest it (not to mention their digestive system's optimised for vegetation). You may as well tell me that there's no such thing as a river on the basis that "river" is a term invented by humans and it's just a really long thin lake.

    And that's just a learned reaction. You're no more incapable of eating meat and drinking milk than I am incapable of eating dauphinoise potatoes (I can't stand the combination of lemon and potato) or someone from a predominantly Islamic country is incapable of eating pig biproducts (the choice is merely cultural, but many Jews and Muslims claim to feel nauseous if they knowingly eat non-Kosher or Halal foods).
  • May 30, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    May I suggest that the discussion about vegetarianism is, at this point, not relevant to the YKTTW? By all means continue it via PM if you'd like, but for the purposes of the YKTTW it'd be better to decide on a title and try to accumulate some examples, and it looks like the ongoing discussion is creating some confusion about the intended meaning of the trope.
  • May 30, 2011
    Hadashi
    "If they're offered meat they won't eat it"

    Much like Vegans.

    You are arguing semantics. I'm not even sure what your problem is with my comparison, beyond the pedantic.
  • May 30, 2011
    ShivaFang
    I like Not so Gentle Nature that was suggested earlier.
  • May 30, 2011
    Rolf
    ^ voting for that too.
  • June 2, 2011
    NetMonster
    In Madagascar, the animal protagonists, having lived their entire lives in a zoo, are quite shocked to discover what it's like in the jungle.
  • June 2, 2011
    TwinBird
    There are actually many fewer "true" herbivores than most people think; even ruminants will eat meat if hungry enough.
  • June 2, 2011
    Grain
    "Red in tooth and claw" is too obscure of a phrase for a laconic example. I'm not sure if laymen outside of Britain know it at all.
  • June 2, 2011
    Rolf
    I'm an American and knows it.
  • June 2, 2011
    BlackDragon
    This trope was brutally invoked in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. The main villains are a group of eco-terrorists who intend to save the planet... by wiping out 99% of humanity with a bio-engineered virus. After their plans have been foiled, Clark and the rest of the Rainbow-team corner the leaders of the group in their hideout deep in the Amazon rainforest. They can't drag them back to the states to stand trial since the whole episode was carefully quieted down to avoid a panic, but rather than just execute them on the spot, they herd them out of the hidden base-complex, blow it up, and then confiscate all their tools, weapons, electronic devices, and even clothes. Then they head home, leaving them to the mercy of the nature they fought so hard to protect. The odds of any of them surviving such a stay in the Hungry Jungle are vanishingly small.
  • June 3, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    I'm pretty sure "nature, red in tooth and claw" is a fairly commonly-known quotation, even outside of Britain.
  • June 3, 2011
    EternalSeptember
    How about Nature Is Not Nice?
  • June 3, 2011
    valbinooo
    I like Nature Is Not Nice as well.
  • June 3, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Nature Is Not Nice seems like a YKTTW I already have; namely, Nature Red In Tooth And Claw. Now that it was mentioned here, I would like to use it there. Would you people be okay with me using it there?

    As for this trope... Cant Handle The Truth About Nature? I have no idea...
  • June 3, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Nature Is Not Nice is perfect for this trope.
  • April 11, 2012
    Joubarc
    Mother Nature trying to ruin your life? Sounds like Stepmother Nature to me
  • April 11, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    The Wilderness Is Shockingly Wild. It's an Exactly What It Says On The Tin title, has no connotations with other tropes, and it hasn't the awkward phrasing of some of the others.
  • April 11, 2012
    chicagomel
    An even more obvious example in Animorphs is Cassie in The Secret. She says a version of the whole 'red in tooth and claw' thing flat out...something about 'the color of nature is Red. Bloodred" or something like that. And it stemmed from her killing the termite queen to escape the control it had over her morph.
  • April 11, 2012
    Chabal2
    The Far Side story Theres A Hair In My Dirt has this as its moral: the protagonist is a woman named Harriet who loves nature... but every single thing she thinks about it is wrong. Enjoying birdsong? They're telling each other to back off from their territory. Putting a turtle crossing the road into the pond? It's a tortoise, which can't swim. Cooing over the cute little squirrels? They're an invading species, taking over native species' habitats. Rescuing a mouse from an evil snake, kissing it to calm it down? It was carrying a virus, giving it to Harriet, who dies.

  • April 11, 2012
    aurora369
  • January 25, 2013
    redwine
    I think the vegan part of the concept is covered already by Straw Vegetarian, but be that as it may, the vegan and clueless nature-lover concepts don't really belong together (many vegans accept the reality of nature but decide not to personally add to the suffering that already exists, or to pursue their philosophy in the context of industrialized society where many products are factory farmed). Both these issues would be solved by removing the word "Vegan" from the title and description, and/or finding a new title altogether.

    EDIT - Just realised that nobody posted since April 2012, so I'm adding an Up For Grabs tag. I see Nature Is Not Nice has been launched already since the last reply and pretty much covers the concept discussed here, so I've also added an Already Have tag.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=se14kz15bmavehfaml55moyl&trope=DiscardedYKTTW