Q1. What is an Acutetarian?
An Acutetarian is someone who doesn’t eat cute things.
Q2. How does one become an Acutetarian.
Easy. Stop eating cute things.
Q3. So an Acutetarian can eat chickens? Chickens are pretty dang ugly. At least, they’re definitely not cute. Cows are usually ugly, too.
No. An Acutetarian cannot eat chickens. An Acutetarian will not eat anything that WAS, IS, or WILL BE cute. If there is any span of time in a thing’s life in which it is cute, an Acutetarian cannot eat it. Chickens, no matter how aesthetically unfortunate they become when they are older, are totally cute as baby chicks. Cows are super cute when little, too.
Q4. Well, geez! If we’re considering things when they’re babies, what isn’t cute?
Fish aren’t. And most seafood isn’t. This is because fish just go from being an egg to being a smaller version of their bigger selves. Being a smaller, similar figure of your older self doesn’t make you cute, especially if your older self is as non-cute as fish are. Most fish are just slimy Tylenol with eyes.* Similarly with shellfish: mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, etc. They’re amorphous snacks in a shell. None of them are cute. So, they’re completely permissible cuisine according to Acutetarianism. (Not lobsters, though. They’re kind of cute. And maybe not crabs.)
*Exceptions may be clown fish (Nemo), blue tangs (Dory), and pufferfish. There are likely other exceptions as well, but there’s no need to go on and on about it and make an exhaustive list. The strategy should now be clear: if some fish is cute, an Acutetarian won’t eat it.
Q5. All right, so bunnies are cute, as a species. But what if we find an unfortunate un-cute bunny? Can an Acutetarian eat it?
No. An Acutetarian tracks generic traits of things, not individual ones. Consider the generic statement “Bunnies have four legs”. This is true even if there are several unfortunate three-legged bunnies around. Similarly, “Bunnies are cute” is true even though there may be several unfortunate un-cute bunnies around (but I bet there aren’t because let’s face it all bunnies are super adorable). So if the generic statement “Xs are cute” holds of a certain group, then an Acutetarian won’t eat any individual members of that group.
In addition, however, is the following consideration: the hypothetical bunny we are imagining is already un-cute. Do we really need to throw her in a pot and eat her to make her life worse?
Q6. So cockroaches aren’t cute. Does an Acutetarian eat cockroaches?
Acutetarianism is only concerned with that which makes something impermissible to eat: if it’s cute, don’t eat it. Cockroaches, being near to the most un-cute things in existence, are permissible to eat according to Acutetarianism.
Of course, there might be other principles guiding one’s dietary habits like: don’t eat the most vile and wretched things on earth. Or: don’t eat anything that can survive an apocalypse. But Acutetarianism itself is silent on the matter. So, sure. Knock yourself out. Eat your bugs.
Q7. I was eating animal crackers the other day and I noticed that some of them (like the ones shaped like monkeys) are pretty cute. Is an Acutetarian prohibited from eating animal crackers?
Fortunately, no. An Acutetarian is totally able to eat animal crackers. This is because there’s an important distinction between the aesthetic properties of something and the representation of aesthetic properties of something. Animal crackers are merely representations of cute things, they aren’t cute themselves. They can, however, represent something that is cute, but this of no consequence to the Acutetarian.
And before someone objects “Hey wait! Peeps are cute!”, don’t be confused: peeps only seem cute because they represent something cute. An honest moment of reflection reveals: peeps are disgusting.
Q8. I saw a head of cauliflower once that looked like it was winking at me. Pretty cute, I’d say. Forbidden by Acutetarianism?
No. Again, it was just a representation of something cute; not cute itself. Also, you are counting a the individual traits of something, not the generic ones.
Q9. Do you have to be an objectivist about cuteness in order to be an Acutetarian? I mean, does adopting this diet commit you to being a realist about aesthetic properties?
Yeah, totally. But don’t worry. Being a realist about cuteness has the theoretical advantage of being true.
Q10. What’s the difference between you and a Vegetarian who eats fish, but not lobsters, and maybe not crabs or blue tangs or pufferfish, but certainly cheese or dairy, yet maybe not eggs?
In practice, not much. In principle, Acutetarianism has the advantage of not being ad-hoc. Having a unified reason for eating or not eating certain things is much more convenient and elegant than carrying around a long disjointed list.
I have heard of non-meat eaters who refuse to eat anything with a face – I guess you’d call them Afacetarians. But fish seem to have faces, and so do eel, and I’d seen Afacetarians eat both of these. Plus, I don’t think I (or anyone else for that matter) has a real grasp on what exactly counts as a face. I mean, watches have faces, and so does the moon, and I guess it seems that – in principle at least – watches and moons are permissible to eat. In any case, I have a much better grasp on what’s cute or not than I do on what has a face or doesn’t. Besides, my way is cuter.