The American Scholar and Animals

» March 26th, 2014

It is one of the sublime pleasures of blogging frequently and seriously that I can wake up to enjoy a debate in the comment section over hog testicles. I’m not being facetious here. As The Pitchfork evolves, as readers become more entrenched in the discussions, the quality of the site’s content ages like a fine wine. This year in particular I’ve started to realize that The Pitchfork is no longer “my website.” It has become a community effort. I’m humbled to be part of such a smart and ongoing discussion about animals, ethics, and veganism.

Reflecting on my recent piece in The American Scholar, I’m made aware of how many of the ideas in it have roots in this blog, how many formulations owe a direct allegiance to my readers. I’m also made aware of how the argument put forth in the piece has so far been conspicuously ignored by the food reformers who it critiques. I’m fairly certain that it has reached the in-boxes and twitter accounts of leading Food Movement figures, but I’m equally certain that, under no pressure to do so, these figures will probably treat it like an apple sold at Walmart. That is, not worthy.

This is all savvy backdrop to a crass request: please push the piece. Tweet it. Facebook it. Etc. And so on. Rarely do I write something that I think really deserves to hit the bullseye of a discussion. But this is one of them. The arguments in it are designed to incorporate animal ethics into larger policy discussions about food reform. What can hope from the future of food if the core interests of animals are ignored? I’m never thrilled to come to this blog and ask readers for a promotion, but every now and then I feel compelled to do so.

Thanks so much.

-James

12 Responses to The American Scholar and Animals

  1. Deborah S. says:

    Given Mark Bittman’s op ed column in today’s New York Times (3/26/2014), I was especially reminded of your timely blog on the Food Movement. In “Butter is Back,” Mark refers to the recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine about how saturated fat can now be eaten. While many have refuted the original article (including editors of the Annals of Internal Medicine) because the authors accept money from the dairy industry (see Dr. John McDougall’s response), the Bittman article made me sad. We have so far to go and mainstream media is not helping. I don’t understand why such authors, such as Bittman and Michael Pollan, don’t really get this issue. Is it all financial interests?

    • Maire says:

      In answer to the question: “is it all financial interests?” The short answer is yes !! It is sound strategy to always “follow the money”.

  2. EponaSpirit says:

    I certainly try most if not all the time to put your work out to the various sites that I subscribe to. It truly is important work and needs to be read by all. Thank you for the enlightenment, it is greatly appreciated.

  3. Great story. I am happy to spread the word on the Veg Society page and on my own.

  4. robin says:

    Done! No need to apologize for the “crass request”…it’s a privilege to share your work. Thanks for all the blood, sweat, and tears that likely went into creating it.

  5. Alexander Zatko says:

    Thank you for writing the piece – I share your point of view. Couple of brief comments:

    1. Cognitive dissonance – so eloquently illustrated in your article – is unfortunately the humanity modus operandi. We are all affected by that “disease” and our own suffering, as well as the one we cause to other living things is a consequence of this condition.

    2. The problem you write about will go away when people figure out how to produce meat in vitro. It is coming, it will be inexpensive and will eventually be indistinguishable from the real thing.

    The real problem I mention in point #1 will remain though and that is unfortunate, because that one impacts everything. Focusing our attention to increasing awareness about this fundamental shortcoming of human existence should be our priority in schools, in our communities and other venues where people’s mindsets are forming. You did your part by pointing out a manifestation of the problem and I am “eating my dog food” in this comment (and elsewhere). :-)

  6. Elaine Livesey-Fassel says:

    And talking of Scholars – I introduced your blog to Maria Armoudian, a woman I admire who hosts the Sunday KPFK-FM ‘Scholars Circle ‘discussions from noon-1pm. Her guests are smart and savvy, the topics serious and she asked me, after I complemented her on her worthy efforts, if I wished to recommend any likely guest, hence that introduction. Hopefully you two can connect and I look forward to hearing you on her program.

  7. Karen Harris says:

    A wonderful piece – I will definitely pass it along and thank you for it.
    It came at just the right moment for me – I spent the last two hours reading Michael Pollan’s book COOKED at my local bookstore, and was absolutely despairing about the Food Movement he has spawned. Any concerns about the ethics of eating animals seems to have left him at this point – there does not seem to be an animal on the planet he will not eat without compunction – as long as it is raised “humanely” of course. He expressed an objection to eating meat only once in the book when he went to a Safeway with his family to conduct an “experiment” for one night eating processed microwaved food. The meat there was not good enough for him, so he settled for a frozen vegetarian meal!!
    I could go on but I will spare you. I also had just read Bittman’s article – again, the ethics of eating animals no longer an issue at all.
    I think it is such a shame that the Food Movement has so legitimized the eating of meat, and almost elevated it to a transformative practice like a ritual.
    Wonderful to hear about the pig farmer in Upstate New York – a courageous man.
    So, again, thanks for your article!!!

  8. Dave Wasser says:

    Great article! I’ve sent it to a few people, and I want to post it on Facebook, but right now The American Scholar’s server isn’t working. When you try to click on the link it goes to a page that says “Error establishing a database connection.” It was doing that for a time yesterday too.

  9. Bea Elliott says:

    Shared once. Shared twice. And still yet again. It’s a brilliant piece. One of the best you’ve ever written. It certainly deserves the largest audience possible.

    • Jennifer Greene says:

      What Bea said—it’s BRILLIANT. I will be sharing this again and again. Thank you so much for writing it.

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