30 July 2013

2 eaton

so's there was a little post over here about eating ethically, which hits upon something i'm gradually coming around to: the idea that maybe we can define what eating ethically means to us.

maybe that's a cop-out. or just terribly american. but, much as i can't get down with psychoanalytic theory because it's usually presented as THE ONLY POSSIBLE READING OF THIS IS THAT THE PROTAGONIST WISHES SHE HAD A DICK, so i struggle with the uni-lateral no meat movement.

which, just writing that sentence makes me feel unethical so maybe this really is a cop-out. or, at the very least- as is, no doubt, becoming increasingly obvious- something about which i am in deep conflict.

but yes.

i think it's important to define what ethical eating means for one's self.

not for the whole freaking world.

just you for you and me for me.

about a month ago now, i went to an evening of random fun lectures at a friend of a friend's house and one of the random fun lectures was on ethical eating. and while i would argue that the structure of the argument was somewhat lacking (heavily reliant, as it was, on the notion that al gore's an inconvenient truth altered the course of history and opened the eyes of the world [in my experience, it did not]), it did frame the matter of meat in terms to which i could relate.

pigs are stressed.

like, really really stressed.

that sounds like i'm making light of it. i am not. and the lecturer's statement of this fact was far more eloquent and impactful, but the fact remains...

pigs and chickens and cows are stressed before slaughter.

and, after the lecturer made that statement, we all giggled and there was an immediate rush on the organic, grass-fed sausages prominently featured on the buffet but, as the days passed, i found i was kinda haunted by it. by that image. of all those stressed animals.

because i get stressed. psychological duress is not fun, like, even for a minute, much less a lifetime, and i would not wish that on any person or any pig.

seen in that light, suddenly i found i did not want to eat meat.

but this came with provisos.

i am, as i've been before a bœufaterian. beef- specifically, BURGERS- is/are allowed.

there are also environs (ie. memphis and mississippi) wherein my bœufaterianism is trumped by a higher power- namely, southern manners. ain't no way i'mma look at burvil and say 'i don't eat that.' southern manners will beat bœufaterianism every single time.

so yeah, except for that one saturday where we went to brixton and the owner of the ethiopian restaurant opened for us and- in the interest of avoiding international disharmony- i accepted gursha from a random dude and wound up ingesting random chicken bits, i've not been eating meat for the last month or so.

this all comes back to this post over here, because it's the idea of forming parameters with which you can live. so you're a pescetarian for a month or you only eat meat in restaurants or you only eat beef and then meat when you go home or you do meatless mondays. it doesn't have to be all or nothing. which isn't to say that it's wrong if it is all of nothing for you, it's just to say... dear god, the only obvious ending to this is here:


Amber said...

That is the only obvious ending to a vast majority of things I write!

I'm a huge proponent of the "it doesn't have to be all or nothing" in pretty much everything, which probably shows some privilege I have and should be aware of, but I think it really, like you said, comes down to living a life that makes me happy and healthy and proud, not to subscribing to some label or system. One part of that is enjoying going out, and, another, that I didn't really even think of, is my manners - even if I don't eat something (except beans, but we all know about that anyway, or if I was like deathly allergic or something) I'm still going to eat it just to be polite. Because that's a choice I can deal with.

Also, I want to get some more burgers in London. If only it wasn't so many hours and dollars away...

oline said...

thank you. PRIVILEGE. the obvious aspect of this that i couldn't pin down whilst writing and yet what was making me internally cringe because i knew something was missing.

but, yeah, the manners bit is a huge part of it for me- not so much in the UK, but definitely in the US, because southerners put so much emotion into food. i am shamed for turning down a third helping, so the family disappointment that would result from my forgoing an entire layer of the pyramid (or quadrant of the plate) would be unendurable.