as much meat as could be had
Friday, February 2 2007
Our friends Sharon and Doug came up in a bus from the City this afternoon to spend a couple nights with us. The idea was for Doug to come along with Gretchen and me tomorrow when we attend a graduation ceremony for students of Bard College's Prison Initiative at Eastern Correctional Facility, where Gretchen taught a class this past fall. Since getting a PhD in Russian Literature, Doug has been trying to get a good teaching job, but up until now he's found himself teaching various English classes at Columbia and Barnard. Perhaps, the thinking went, Gretchen could introduce him to the people who run the program and, if things went well, he could develop a little experience teaching his preferred subject matter to hungry prisoner minds.
First order of business, though, was to drink a bottle of wine in front of the fire. Actually, though, while Sharon and Gretchen were having a long conversation about not bearing children, I was fixing the power cord on Doug's laptop. Something had chewed it up at the point where the DC-votage wire came out of the brick. Unexpectedly, though, the brick was held together with screws and could easily be opened up. (I almost never encounter laptop power supplies so easily serviced; usually their innards have been dipped in epoxy.)
Inevitably we had dinner at the Garden Café, Woodstock's new vegan restaurant. Nearly an inch of snow had fallen by sunset, so not many people were out and about, though (as always), the Garden Café had a reasonably-full dining room. Gretchen also knew more than half of the other diners, and was immediately gobbled up by the black hole comprised of Woodstock's most photogenic vegan Buddhist couple.
Later in the meal, well after Gretchen had been coughed up by the binary vegan Buddhist black hole (in defiance of the contemporary theories of gravitation), Sharon said something about how this was the first time she'd ever seen Doug eating a completely vegetarian meal. But he was clearly unsatisfied, and he and Gretchen spent the entire drive home arguing over the morality of eating meat. Doug claimed he never ate beef or chicken, but then it turned out that he more than made up for this with his fondness for pork. Gretchen initially touched on the environmental and animal cruelty consequences of eating meat and then transitioned into more dubious territory: health. Vegetarians are quick to argue that humans aren't designed to eat meat, that our intestines are much longer than those of carnivores, etc. For my part, though I'm sympathetic to vegetarianism, such arguments always strike me as half-true propaganda, and I never find them convincing. Traditional hunter/gatherer humans have always eaten as much meat as they could catch, and in some parts of the world (notably the Arctic and certain coastal areas), the only way to support traditional populations has been through the eating of meat and fish. Widespread vegetarianism is a relatively new development in the history of our species. It's an economic consequence of overpopulation and intensive agriculture. Overpopulated societies that didn't become largely vegetarian suffered in relation to those that did, while elites in all societies have traditionally enjoyed diets rich in as much meat as could be had.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next