burning questions

Why Is Meat Loaf?

An evergreen mystery. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

Admittedly, I do not know very much about Meat Loaf, by which I mean the man and not the protein casserole. I know that he is a boomer rock personality, and I know he once coached a softball team. I know that he will do anything for love, but he won’t do that. I know he has a big sweaty stage presence. Basically, I do not think about Meat Loaf very often — but since seeing his name linked, in various headlines, to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s earlier today, I am thinking about Meat Loaf a lot.

On Monday, the 17-year-old tweeted about the singer, for reasons initially inscrutable to me. “It’s not about Meatloaf,” Thunberg wrote, relatably mistaking the spelling of his name. “It’s not about me. It’s not about what some people call me. It’s not about left or right. It’s all about scientific facts. And that we’re not aware of the situation. Unless we start to focus everything on this, our targets will soon be out of reach.”

Perhaps the premise also disoriented you, because why would climate change be about meatloaf when next to nothing else is? Is this a reference to the meat industry’s environmental toll? Turns out, no! Turns out, the artist known as Meat Loaf recently joined the ranks of Men With Unsolicited Opinions About Thunberg. In a recent, wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail — full headline: “EXCLUSIVE: ‘I got the best looking women when I was fat’: Self-confessed sex god, Meat Loaf, 72, on threesomes, losing 70lb and why he thinks Greta Thunberg has been brainwashed” — Meat Loaf noted that he thinks climate change is fake and Thunberg has been sold a lie.

“I feel for that Greta,” Mr. Loaf offered. “She has been brainwashed into thinking that there is climate change and there isn’t. She hasn’t done anything wrong but she’s been forced into thinking that what she is saying is true.”

None of that checks out, of course, but to my mind, the issue is more: Why is Meat Loaf starting shit with a kid? Or, that’s the question my brain began to ask, only to sputter and die on a more pertinent point: Why is Meat Loaf? Not why is Meat Loaf in the news to begin with (A: He, “Meat,” is promoting a vegan food line); not why is Meat Loaf called that (A: a nickname reportedly bestowed by his abusive father); not why is Meat Loaf out there spouting bad opinions about climate change, a demonstrably real thing (A: Who knows, maybe it’s the influence of his former boss, Donald Trump?); not any of the food-related prompts Google suggests when you type “why is meat loaf” into the search bar. Just … why.

I fear we will never know the answer.

Why is Meat Loaf?