Posted by: 4pack | November 25, 2009

“Ideal Diets”: The Book “Eating Animals” By Jonathan Safran Foer Provides Insight Into Conflicts Facing Vegetarians, Including “Savory Meat Envy”

“Let the stoics say what they please,” wrote Emerson, “we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen.”

THIS BOOK IS WHAT MAKES LIFE INTERESTING…VEGETARIANS ARE VERY DISCIPLINED AND HEALTHY PEOPLE…FOUR PACKS WILL NOT QUESTION THIS…BUT ATTAINING IDEAL SHAPE ALSO INVOLVES FINDING JOY IN THE DIET AND FITNESS LIFESTYLE…AND EXCLUDING “ANIMAL MEAT”, INCLUDING FISH AND FOWL, JUST REMOVES THE JOY FROM EATING…AND THUS FORCES MANY VEGETARIANS INTO A “RESENTMENT” MINDSET….

There aren’t any vegetarian recipes in Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book Eating Animals. It’s intentional. Eating Animals is a book for meat-eaters, or more precisely, meat agnostics like Jonathan Safran Foer. It is, as its title implies, about eating meat, yet also makes a case for living without it. The book includes grotesque factoids about the factory-farm meat industry. Even as an informed vegetarian of 24 years, I finished Eating Animals headachy and a little depressed. I can’t imagine the pain it will cause those hapless agnostics. For all the effort, I really could have used a good recipe, something to get me jazzed up about being vegetarian. Something that might get a meat-eater jazzed up about vegetarian food.

Eating Animals reminds us that vegetarianism is a diet of intellectuals. Which is to say, it is eating intellectualized. Vegetarian thinking thrashes against itself, rattling between intention and action, between “animal nature” and “human nature,” reason and desire. Vegetarians can seldom just eat. They justify, apologize, rail, denounce, weep, cajole, entice. At the end of Eating Animals, in the closest we get to a recipe, Foer describes the menu for the no-turkey Thanksgiving of his dreams: “…sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, green beans with almonds, cranberry concoctions, yams…” As vegetarians intellectualize, they start to believe that people will find rolls and casserole so inspiring as to turn their backs on Thanksgiving turkey.

“Let the stoics say what they please,” wrote Emerson, “we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen.” I agree with Emerson here, as would Foer. People eat meat because they desire it and make their excuses after the fact. We don’t know for sure if it is more or less natural for humans to eat meat, if eating meat or vegetables made us the awesome, complex animals we are, made our brains larger, our thumbs stronger or whatever. We do know that it’s now perfectly possible to live a meaningful and healthy life without meat and without suffering for it. Even an extraordinary life, as demonstrated by da Vinci, Tolstoy, Kafka, Shaw. Foer thus appeals to our nobler sense, reminds us that we need not be ruled by the flavor of meat, that we are animals who recoil from unnecessary cruelty; who can enjoy simplicity; who strive to raise ethical, gentle children that will go on to promote a better world. The old internal mantra of the reformer, “If they only knew, they would change,” beats throughout Eating Animals.

http://thesmartset.com/article/article11210901.aspx

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