In the final scene of the 1979-1980 season of Dallas, the character J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, was shot by an unknown assailant. Viewers had to wait all summer and, due to the Hollywood actors’ strike, most of autumn, to find out if J.R. survived and who did it.
This unforgettable cliffhanger has remained unrivaled until recently when Larry Hagman announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. And that he is “whooping” the disease into submission by becoming a vegan. Once again, we are taunted to wait and see if he survives this latest bullet.
The hoopla has placed the efficacy of a vegan diet on display for public inspection. As a vegan, I am both apprehensive and elated about that. What surprised me was not that Mr. Hagman elected to take this route, but my reaction to it. To illustrate, let me replicate an email exchange between myself and two friends upon first hearing the news:
To: Janice & Paige
To: Teresa & Paige
Too bad he didn’t go vegan BEFORE he got cancer.
Depending on what kind of cancer he has, how far it has progressed and what his other treatments are (drugs, chemo or radiation), maybe he will beat it.
To: Teresa & Janice
That’s good news, but when he dies, they’ll blame veganism.
To: Janice & Page
Man, you girls are a little too "positive" for me.
Why were we so negative? We believe eating a plant based diet will keep us healthy and help us live longer than the Standard American Diet (SAD), yet we sounded as if it held little hope for Mr. Hagman. Here is why I think we reacted this way.