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In Support of Ricky Gervais, or, A Brief Essay on Meat

I originally posted this on Facebook, in the middle of a comment thread, so it’s not a stand-alone essay (too disjointed for that, especially the bit about ostrich meat, which was a direct reply to 2 other Facebookers)… still, I liked most of what I said, and I’m sharing it with you folks:

I eat meat and I expect I always will, but I wish we’d abolish slaughterhouses, adopt more humane dairy-farming practices, etc.

Since I *do* eat meat, I absolutely agree with what I’m going to call “American-style hunting”… I realize Americans do go around the world shooting things up, but I’d like to think those are just assholes, which you find in any country, and I’m using “American-style” to differentiate from, say, fox hunting or other types of hunting for “sport” (I was just sick in my mouth a little, at the idea of killing another living thing for “sport”). I digress, moving on.

Being more specific, I’m talking about what some of my own family members do: during regulated times of the year, in the appropriate season, my Uncle ___ goes off into the woods, shoots 1 or 2 deer (fully grown bucks only; I believe it’s illegal to shoot a doe, fawn, or whatever a teenage deer is called) skins the deer and takes the meat, and sticks it in the deep freezer, and my Aunt ___ basically doesn’t buy beef all year (or buys it a handful of times in a year, rather than weekly or monthly).

I’m not saying shooting a deer is a nice idea, it’s obviously not fun for the animal (or my uncle, really–he does it because humans eat meat, he’s getting the meat, it’s just another job that he does to provide for himself and his family) but it’s a damn sight…. cleaner? more humane?… than raising animals for a much more drawn-out slaughter, and taking no notice of how they’re kept, their quality of life, etc.

I genuinely don’t know enough about wild ostrich populations, etc, to know whether or not I think it’s okay to kill and eat them. I’d rather eat something with less of a brain (a bird, a fish, etc) than something with more of a brain (a cow, a pig) as a general rule, though. I mean, I still *eat* the animals with brains, assuming there’s a stable population of them, but I feel icky about it. Eating a (non-endangered, obviously) bird? Not so much, because I can’t see how most birds could really be self-aware (they don’t have the mental capacity for it, as far as I understand such things). Also, I just like the taste of flesh, and I’m going to keep eating it, to be perfectly honest. I mean, I hope that a massively-advanced race of extra-terrestrials doesn’t stumble upon Earth and feel that way about me and my relatively limited intellect; but if they do, eh, well, how many cows have I eaten in my life (even knowing they *do* have proper brains)…? Fair’s fair.

To return to what I feel is the main point of all this, though: I can’t see any reason to brag about killing any animal, even if you did eat it afterwards. That’s just a dick move.

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So, I’m A Liberal

Which basically just means that I agree with things liberals tend to say: misogyny is not cool, punishing the poor for being poor is not cool, entrenched systems that favour white folks for being white are not cool, etc etc etc.

The other day, I got into an argument (debate? I wish) with a family member (middle-aged, somewhere between working-class and middle-class) and she kept saying things like, “you choose to see things from a decidely liberal standpoint and choose to hold everyone elose responsible. I choose to view things from a conservative standpoint and expect people to be accoutable for their choices.” and also, “I am a product of my choices. Did anyone ever hold a gun to my head and make me make the choices I’ve made? The answer would be no. Conversation over.” (sic)

She didn’t manage to give any concrete examples of the choices she’d made, and how they were truly her choices (as in, the choices she would make in a fair society, rather than a series of Hobson’s choices and/or dilemmas) but I did make an attempt to illustrate how sometimes, the choices we are given are rubbish:

“I’m not sure we’re talking about the same things, then. I’m talking about a system in which my Prime Minister–a multi-millionaire from a wealthy background–claimed roughly $600 a month off the government for his disabled son, for the entirety of his son’s life, and then the government he’s in charge of has been reducing those welfare programmes and removing said benefits from equally disabled people who are *not* multi-millionaires from wealthy backgrounds (as well as adding on various sanctions for people who are in need of government assistance–while continuing to suggest that the wealthy should get *more* tax breaks).

I’m also talking about a system in which ______ (this relative’s adult daughter) suffers from a debilitating illness, yet had to file for the American equivalent of disability living allowance numerous times, because it is standard practice to refuse first-time claimants–who can’t work, who are unable to support themselves–and hope they just go away and/or starve. Maybe we have a different perspective on this; if my daughter had been forced to fight that hard for government assistance she was legally entitled to, after working and paying tax for decades, I’d feel that she’d been crapped on (and if you crap on my kids, you crap on me, in my eyes).

I’m also talking about a system in which working-class individuals are “held accountable” for having to make terrible choices, but corporations aren’t; like when corporations give their workers unsafe, pollutant-filled conditions to work in, which results in diseases like pulmonary fibrosis, just as an example. Papa died from PF–I suppose no one put a gun to his head and *forced* him to work for Union Camp, so I suppose the choice was all his–work in an unsafe environment, or let his family do without, or find another job… but since Union Camp never told him he was working in unsafe conditions, how was he to know that getting a different job might have prolonged his life by 20 years? (And paper factories were still causing workers to develop PF when I was a teenager–it’s not like they don’t know, they just don’t care and no one has the power to make them care.)

THAT is the system I think needs an overhaul. And you are never going to convince me that you think THAT system is a good one, or that it should just continue as it is. As a society, we can do better than that.”

What is interesting to me, is that you were the first person to explain anything about business ethics to me, when I was a kid. You explained very clearly some of the unethical things you had seen, and how to avoid making those mistakes. There is a serious discord between expecting better of small businesses/local business owners, and not expecting better of governments, corporations, and society at large. Isn’t there?”

I’d like to say I’ve received her response to my question, or even that I’m still waiting for one, but I’ve given up hope on her, really; on the other hand, I had a much more productive conversation with the oldest of my younger brothers (11 years my junior, and a college kid, at the minute) and people *his* age are the future… so, y’know. There’s still hope where it counts.

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163 Children Healed From Autism? Nope.

For my babies, who are perfect just as they are, inside and out (but won’t be, if I start giving them bleach enemas…):

No More Bleach

Dear Internet,

The bleach people claim they gave healed 163 kids from autism,  but have they really? After spending months in their forum,  you begin to wonder. Every so often,  a new story pops up and the bleach people rejoice.  The latest was #163 from France:

image

As it turns out, there is no #163. This child, the one who was miraculously healed,  does not exist.  This story was fabricated by someone questioning the authenticity of Kerri Rivera’s claims.  As suspected,  Ms. Rivera took credit and used this story as further “proof” that CD can cure autism.  You can read the entire account of how this went down here:
http://saulniercamaut.tumblr.com/

And when you’re finished,  share it with your friends. These kids are being abused and the parents are being lied to.  Kerri Rivera belongs in jail, along with anyone else recklessly promoting this dangerous snake oil.

Until Next Time,
#nomorebleach

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Perpetual Writer’s Block?

I’m just not very good at this, am I?

I used to write regularly (very regularly, daily, 4-5 times some days) up until I was… well… uhhh…?

When it goes, it just leaves you, doesn’t it? You don’t get much warning, evidently–one day, you’re writing 3 times a week on a slow week, and then, you realize you’re in a place where you’re lucky if you write 3 times a month.

Maybe I simply don’t have anything to say, anymore. Maybe even *I* am so tired of the sound of my voice, I can hardly *bear* the sound of it.

I’ve spent a lot of time these last couple of weeks, pondering the person I used to be (say, at the age of 16 or so) and I’ve come to some unhappy conclusions (which are for myself, not you, thank you for listening all the same). Mostly, though, I wonder if I’ve never been clever–at all, even a little bit–and I just had so much time alone, that I managed to think (seemingly) deeper thoughts than some of my peers.

That would certainly explain why, now that I’m relatively busy (and not quite so unsociable, maybe, as teenage me could be) all my best ideas have dried up: because, newsflash, Manda–you never had the capacity to think great thoughts in the first place, you just had a shit-ton of time on your freakishly unburdened hands. As the people around you–your mom, your little sister, your tiny circle of friends–took care of you, as people have always had to do, you spent all that extra time musing over things until you twisted them into something superficially interesting.

What a depressing thought.

Or a depressed one?

I’d say that’s food for thought, but as above, I’m too busy–or something–to think about it.

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