Jonathan Safran Foer keeps it real

One thing that Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer does really well in this debate about vegetarianism with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is to keep bringing the discussion back down to earth from Bourdain’s hyper-idealized view of meat-eating. Safran Foer’s not interested in arguing that meat-eating is always, everywhere, and under any conceivable circumstances wrong; he’s more interested in making people aware of the horrors of modern factory farming, which, after all, is the method by which upwards of 90 percent of the meat consumed by Americans gets produced. Bourdain waxes poetic about meat-eating as a convivial celebration of human commonality, but Safran Foer keeps presenting the listener with the stark reality that makes all that cheap meat possible–an industry that wreaks havoc on animal, human, and environmental well-being.

(Incidentally, the quip attributed to Bourdain at the beginning of the show, to the effect that humans were designed to chase down “smaller and stupider” creatures makes me wonder how many of his meals Bouradain has personally chased down.)

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4 thoughts on “Jonathan Safran Foer keeps it real

  1. Lately I have been reading mysteries set in Shaghai by Qiu Xiaolong, an immigrant to the US living in St. Louis, MO.

    He delights in depicting Chinese cuisine of an astonishing cruelty, much of it involving the cooking or raw consumption of live animals.

    A particularly memorable choice was live monkey brains scooped out of the open skull of a live monkey in a cage sitting beside the table of the diners.

    The skull is opened and the brains scooped out right there as they watch.

    The monkey is alive and awake, apparently.

    I have no idea whether or how it might be anesthetized.

    You don’t suppose that was the secret inspiration for that scene in Hannibal, do you?

  2. Pingback: Ethics and isolation « A Thinking Reed

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