Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#235 / My Year Of Meats

One great reason to take a trip is to see those famous places you've only read about (Mount Fuji, for instance; here's how it looked when I visited last year). Another reason to take a trip is to get some time to read, period!

On this trip (Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia), I finally got around to reading My Year of Meats, by Ruth L. Ozeki. This is a book that my wife teaches in her "critical thinking" classes at De Anza College, and so every quarter I hear about it again. But I never made the time to read it, till now.

The story Ozeki tells (as much about the media as it is about meat) is an affecting story, and it is actually a very funny story, as it dramatizes how industrial food production ends up destroying the foods that ought to be nourishing us, converting them into something more like poison than sustenance.

My favorite observation was on page 154 in the well worn copy of the book I brought in my baggage. Ozeki is commenting on a book called Frye's Grammar School Geography, the central purpose of which is to dramatize "the earth as the home of man." Here's what Ozeki says:
It isn't Mr. Frye's use of the generic "man" for "human" that I'm interested in. Other women might object to his choice of words, but as far as I'm concerned, that's an intraspecific quibble. The conflict that interests me isn't man versus woman, it's man versus life. Man's REASON, his industries and commerce, versus the entire natural world. This, to me, is the dirty secret hidden between the fraying covers.
When we set "our" world against the "entire natural world," a world we did not create, and upon which we are ultimately dependent, we take a toll on the world of Nature, but we are the biggest losers.

It's a good book. Recommended!

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