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Showing posts from August, 2011

I'm a vegetarian, but I'm not so foolish to think Michael Pollan trumps Julia Child

Following my recent column about vegetarianism, I received a wave of hate mail from meat eaters. This came as no surprise -- as food has finally become a political issue in America (as it should), some carnivores have become increasingly aggressive toward anyone or any fact that even vaguely prompts them to critically consider their culinary habit. Although the stereotype imagines vegetarians sententiously screaming at any meat eater they see at the lunch counter or dinner table, I've found quite the opposite to be true. In my personal life, I go out of my way to avoid talking about my vegetarianism while I'm eating with friends, family or work colleagues, but nonetheless regularly find myself being interrogated by carnivores when they happen to notice that I'm not wolfing down a plate of meat.Having been a vegetarian for more than a decade now, and having been raised in a family of proud meat eaters, I'm going to use this space to publish a brief primer for both veget…

Reading lists, and all they entail

While there's no way to know whether Hillary Clinton would have hung tougher than President Obama with those recalcitrant Republicans, here's a safe bet -- her summer reading list would have included a few more women authors than his.
Obama opened his Martha's Vineyard vacation by purchasing Daniel Woodrell's "The Bayou Trilogy" and Ward Just's "Rodin's Debutante." He'd already packed novels by David Grossman and Abraham Verghese, along with Isabel Wilkerson's "The Warmth of Other Suns," a nonfiction account of black migration from the American South. (Some reports also had Obama carrying Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" and Emma Donoghue's novel "Room.")That would make Obama's reading 70 percent male -- which is actually a better male-female ratio than the past.
[. . .]
Now the fact that the president of the United States apparently doesn't read women writers is not the greatest crisis fa…

Good times, and turkey dinners

But before any of these inquiries are but a twinkle in Isaac's eye, I know I'm going to face an interrogation about vegetarianism. At some point soon, he'll ask why our family doesn't eat this stuff called "meat" that's everywhere.I have my substantive answers already lined up, so I'm not worried about what I'll tell him. (We don't eat meat because it's unhealthy, environmentally irresponsible, expensive and inhumane.) With this question, I'm more concerned about the prompting. Why is he almost certainly going to ask at such an early age?I think I know the answer -- and it's not the ad campaigns that make meat seem like a rational choice ("Beef: It's What's for Dinner"), a healthy alternative food ("Pork: The Other White Meat") or a compassionate cuisine decision (Chik-fil-A's billboards, which show a cow begging you to spare his life by choosing chicken). No, Isaac's going to have questions beca…

When progressives fail just to mind their own business

There is a shadowy group of malcontents in America today, plotting a grand takeover of our political institutions in order to completely remake the country according to their wishes. Despite the fact the members of this group are a small minority of the population, and an unpopular one at that, they seek to infiltrate the courts and the government at every level, in order to replace our long-standing system of law with their own extremist, undemocratic religious code. These true believers are especially dangerous because they think they're doing God's work, and you ignore them, or play down the threat they pose to America, at your own risk. This tiny band of fanatics is largely distrusted and despised by regular Americans, but a terrified media coddles them and pretends they're harmless. I am speaking, of course, of the Tea Parties, a group now officially less popular among Americans than Muslims.Professors David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam have a column in today'…

Not exactly seeing it in its best light

Since you all abandoned the other thread"Starkey racism row: It is the political elite's ceaseless denigration of white working-class culture that has 'turned kids black' "
(Link:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100101050/starkey-racism-row-it-is-the-political-elites-ceaseless-denigration-of-white-working-class-culture-that-has-turned-kids-black/)
What changed is not so much that blacks, followed by whites, immersed themselves in the lingo or outlook of their ancestors, but rather that white working-class culture has in recent years been denigrated to an extraordinary degree. From the way the white working classes speak (un-PC, foul) to what they eat (”junk food”, which makes them “obese”) to what they wear (the girls dress like “slags”, the boys like “scum”), virtually every facet of white working-class life has been subjected to the ridicule of the political and cultural elite, finding itself mocked on TV shows and tut-tutted over or legislated ag…