A Vegan or a Pothead?
Nov 30, 2009
By Steve Cornett
At least two members of the cultural elite seem to be noticing some of the same things I’ve noticed about the anti-meat crowd. The no-meat message is going stale.
It’s rare enough to see ANY celebrity throwing thorns rather than roses at the animal rights movement that it seems worthy of mention.
The very popular singer-songwriter Norah Jones’ latest album includes a ditty in which she purrs that she would rather hang out with her dog than “a vegan or a pothead” partially because the dog eats meat.
You can hear the song on YouTube.
What a fresh approach in a world in which so many entertainers—most with far less talent than Ms. Jones—like to proselytize their meatless ways. They do it for the same reason they pierce and tattoo their body parts. It’s trendy. Or at least it has been. Could some of the trend setters be tiring of the shrillness?
Not to suggest any sea change in attitudes among the cultural elite, but none is more elite, culturally, than Ms. Jones. You can’t follow your wife into a nice department store without hearing her (Ms. Jones, not your wife)on the PA system.
And there was also last week—click here to read—the bemused tone of New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani’s take on Jonathan Safran Foer’s recently-published “Eating Animals.” Ms. Kakutani calls his effort “an earnest if clumsy chronicle of the author’s own evolving thinking about animals and vegetarianism.
“This uneven volume,” she says, “meanders all over the place, mixing reportage and research with stream-of-consciousness musings and asides.”
That is not exactly what an author hopes the Times review will say.
“Anticipating reader objections,” opines Ms. Kakutani somewhat uncharitably, “Mr. Foer writes that people might say ‘social-justice movements’ have ‘nothing to do with the situation of the factory farm,’ that ‘human oppression is not animal abuse.’ But he adds that in his view we interpret the legacies of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez ‘too narrowly if we assume in advance that they cannot speak against the oppression of the factory farm’…
“It’s arguments like this that undermine the many more valid observations in this book, and make readers wonder how the author can expend so much energy and caring on the fate of pigs and chickens, when, say, malaria kills nearly a million people a year (most of them children), and conflict and disease in Congo since the mid-1990s have left an estimated five million dead and hundreds of thousands of women and girls raped and have driven more than a million people from their homes.”
Goodness! Common sense rears it uncommon head.
Thanks, ladies. It helps us remember that not all the people in New York have lost their sense of proportion.
Steve Cornett is editor emeritus at Beef Today. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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