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Why I Eat Meat

I eat meat. This may seem an obvious and completely unnecessary statement, since more than ninety percent of the population consumes animal flesh. I am a man. An even more obvious statement, as very few women are six foot three and sport a thick full beard. Perhaps it can be attributed to post-traumatic stress that I need to defend my choice to eat meat and my masculinity; I am an Evergreen State College Graduate. Evergreen was perhaps a strange choice for a barbecue loving, football watching guy’s guy like myself. Their weren’t too many folks interested in my tailgate party invitations. It’s been more than a decade since I graduated from TESC, but I still find myself defending things I shouldn’t have to defend. However, in the college educated, liberal circles I move in, I find myself doing exactly that.

I eat meat because I’m a man. Before you scoff at this, or worse yet, let it inflame your sense of feminist outrage, let me explain. In a 2006 Vegetarian Resource Group poll conducted by Harris Interactive, women are almost twice as likely to choose a vegetarian diet. In my personal, very unscientific poll of vegetarian males, I’ve found that 95% of them hate football, unless they think you mean soccer, but they do love Frisbee. The other 5% became vegetarian because they were dating, or wanting to date, an attractive vegetarian female. I don’t like Frisbee. I also hate golf. In the words of the Rajah (Rogers Hornsby, for the baseball impaired), “When I hit a ball I want someone else to chase it.” To me, Frisbee golf is about the worst idea ever. So now it’s out. I love baseball as well as football. I loved basketball when it was still a team sport. And if I were Canadian, I’d probably like hockey. As long as I’m at it I might as well admit that I also love Schwarzenegger films and I think Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior is the best show in the history of television. For me a vegetarian diet isn’t possible. I’m willing to bet that the percentage of vegetarian, Conan-loving, Deadliest-Warrior-watching, football fans is zero.

I eat meat because I am a cook. I love food. Food is so much more than just fuel; food is art. To me, cooking without animal proteins would be like telling a painter she can’t use the color blue anymore. Could she still create beautiful paintings? Of course she could, but she’d always wonder what she could do if she could use blue again. If you told her it would cost an animal its life if she were to use blue again, it’s a price she’d likely be willing to pay for her art. The cost may be dear, but the end result is worth it. She would probably regret that an animal had to die for it, but the magnificence of a cornflower captured in perfect detail upon her canvas is worth it. Everything dies, but few things get to die for so noble a purpose.

I was, for a few years, a vegetarian. Returning to eating meat was, for me, a rapture. I was once again who I am, and not what other people thought I should be. The desire to participate in violence and consume the flesh of animals is part of who I am. God, evolution, or both, made me that way. I do my best to respect the vegetarians around me. I happen to be a very good cook. When I entertain vegetarians, I always have tasty vegetarian options available for them. However I do not like it when vegetarians attempt to convert me. I understand why they do it, but it really upsets me. For a vegetarian the consumption of meat is a kind of murder, hence the infamous “meat is murder” slogan. What it really is however, is killing, and killing isn’t the same as murder, and sometimes killing is OK. In fact in some of us, the primal need to hunt and kill is always there, just under the surface. That impulse isn’t unholy, or wrong. Our ancestors worshiped the animals they hunted. It is the nature of the great chain of being that one thing consumes another so that it can live. If it makes you feel better about yourself to not eat the flesh of animals, so be it. But before you get too upset about my choice, remember this: nobody painted blackberry bushes in the caves of Lascaux.

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Categories: Rants

Feel the Burn

May 10, 2010 4 comments

So it appears some evangelical leaders have figured out that maybe, just maybe, Jesus wouldn’t have liked Arizona’s SB1070. Good for them, but let’s face it, Jesus wouldn’t have liked anti-immigration laws of any kind. These evangelical leaders are dubious of their ability to convince their rank and file of the justice of their cause. This doesn’t surprise me at all. It seems that every racist anti-immigration e-mail I get is from someone who I know thinks of herself as an evangelical Christian. So, since evangelicals are fond of fire and brimstone preaching here’s some for you. God may or may not hate gay people. You may have a point about abortion, nobody I know thinks it’s a good thing, but it can get pretty complicated once you crack the surface. However, I can tell you with absolute Biblical certainty that those who are unkind to strangers in a strange land are going to burn for it. I think it would be appropriate to let them burn in a great vat of habanero spiked Yucatan style salsa.

Categories: Rants