Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is there something wrong with me?

This article in today's issue of The Independent is an expose of the sordid 'Secret life of the sausage'*, revealing that ' beneath the skin, many are an unappetising cocktail of fat, filler and gristle'. A vegetarian sent it to me, in the forlorn hope of getting me to change my carnivorous ways, but it just makes me want to eat more sausages.

*One thinks of Bismark's immortal remark that 'The people should know as little about the business as government as they know about sausage making'.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you eat meat you are a CANNIBAL.

If you drink milk you are a BLOODSUCKER.

As Bob Marley said when he performed at Western Springs, 'take the flags down - we are all one'.

I am yours etc
Sanjay Wells

10:48 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

Food for thought:

"And what about the pigs themselves? If the packaging doesn't say 'reared outdoors' then it is likely to have come from pigs reared in crowded factory conditions, sometimes around 2,000 to a shed on concrete floors. Their teeth are clipped and they are regularly fed antibiotics to treat the respiratory diseases they contract from the lack of fresh air."

"These sausages can contain only 25 per cent real meat with the rest being made up of an unappetising mix of water, pork fat, rusk, potato starch, soya protein concentrate, sodium, guar gum, antioxidants, sodium metabisulphate and cochineal - all finely minced together"

Charming! If you want to put that crap into your body and support the torture of pigs - let it be on your conscience.

11:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say: maybe yes, maybe no.

11:58 am  
Blogger maps said...

For the sake of argument let's accept your point about the 'torture' of pigs. Why do I support this or that treatment of pigs just because I consume a product which is produced as a result of such treatment?

You are using a computer to read this comment. Some of the materials used in the lining of your modem probably come from minerals found in central Africa, where multinational companies tolerate appalling human rights abuses by warlords who get the minerals out of the ground. Does this mean you support the torture of Africans whenever you use your computer? I could use thousands of other examples to make the same point.

Your whole worldview is informed by moral individualism. You think of yourself as an autonomous individual who constructs the circumstances of her life by making a series of moral choices. The solution to injustices, as you perceive them, is to make the right choices. If something is bad, then you will choose not to partake of it.

If meat is murder then you won't eat meat. If coke kills trade unionists in Colombia you won't drink coke. If China tortures Tibetans you won't buy Chinese products.

But the fact is that capitalism is a totality, a total system, into which you were born and from which you cannot opt out. Perhaps, though, I'm wrong, and you'll reply to this message via carrier pigeon instead of a computer?

12:12 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

The problems in the world are so big let’s just do nothing? The system’s rotten so we may as well partake in it?
Yes, there are many injustices in this world. Yes, we need to change the system and work on a macro level collectively. But, it is also true that making individual choices can make a small difference. E.g. if the demand for cheap sausages wasn’t there there would be a move towards healthier and more humane sausages (this is already happening).

It’s not a situation of one view working in opposition to the other (macro vs. micro). We need to work with both at the same time. Do as much as you can as an individual (for example it’s not hard to give up sausages but it may be harder and less useful to give up using computers altogether) while working at the same time with others to change capitalism as it is today.

Aren’t you fond of dialectics?...think about it.

1:19 pm  
Blogger maps said...

The trouble is not that you advocate small steps towards a larger goal but that youy advocate stepping sideways, or even backwards, because you ask us to think and act on the basis of a completely false understanding of the world we live in and a completely counterproductive strategy for changing that world.
You think like an atmoised moral consumer, and advocate action at the point of consumption. That's the modus operandi that got us The Body Shop, instead of an environmental movement, and the Woman's Bookshop, instead of a feminist movement. Nice shops, I'm sure - in fact I've bough stuff from them occasionally, I think - but completely ineffectual as a way of changing capitalism. It's necessary to think collectively and look towards action at the points of production and distribution, not consumption.

Seriously, why are you still using your computer? If you can use it can i eat meat?

1:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Taylor has cleaned up his act.

1:35 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

You misunderstand old chap! Not sideways or backwards but just in reality in the moment. Capitalism and consumerism do exist (at the moment) so, in this moment I choose not to consume meat as its production is unethical. At the same time i'm trying to think of ways I can change the system. I agree you have to look for change at the point of production.
Putting all that all aside, those sausages are unhealthy!! Think of all the processing and E numbers!! Don't look at it as just a moral issue look at it as a health issue :-)

1:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, the picture looks a bit like you - especially when you had your mistache!

2:16 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

isn't that moustache?!

3:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and as a Pole said to me here (in London), if they tried to feed us your terrible British style sausages back home, there would be a revolution!

Now there's food for thought.

4:44 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

I eat meat. My father designed various parts of the Freezing works eg a (beef) slaughter house - conveyer belts systems etc, and pig farms - pigs were given special attention (by Hellabies on their pig farms) the method of killing pigs - because pigs scream when there throats are cut - they are electrocuted first (stunned). Cows etc are shot with gun - that knocks them out or stuns them and then they are carved up - when I worked at the freezing works I used to eat my lunch as I walked around the Slaughterhouse floor. I loved the freezing works.

I love meat. It is also great food. Bob Marley was weakling and a Willy Woofter.

Life is wonderful but also brutal - there is no progress - the Universe is oblivious to progress - things eat other things - the world gets hot or it doesn't - we just have to fight for ourselfves and our own... eventually we all die - everthing disappears. Let's get real. Sausages are real for example.

Down with Sanjay Wells!!

1:24 am  
Blogger Skyler said...

Nothing wrong with eating meat to survive. Killing an animal yourself or going to the local butchers but the mass slaughter of animals and the conditions they are farmed in is a sick condition of western "civilisation." At least Richard you know first hand what it means to kill an animal (sad that you became conditioned and hardened to the animals' deaths) but many people these days are so divorced from reality (kids don't know that the meat they eat from the supermarket was once a pig or cow or the milk they drink comes from a cow) - it's a sad situation.

Nothing wrong with sausages - if they are REAL meat sausages from a good quality butcher or supplier. What is terrible, and this goes to all overly processed foods, is the lack of nutrition in the food - so many e numbers, such poor quality etc..

1:55 pm  
Blogger Jim Jay said...

skyler, don't the statements

"Nothing wrong with sausages - if they are REAL meat sausages from a good quality butcher or supplier"


"If you want to put that crap into your body and support the torture of pigs"

contradict each other?

I used to be vegetarian but found it too difficult... you were just winning me back and then you said "Aren’t you fond of dialectics?...think about it." and you lost me.

Either you say something interesting enough to make me think or you don't - instructing people to think simply implies if I don't agree with you I'm not thinking.

Which may or may not be the case.

2:36 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Richard old boy, I'm taking a 'Third Campist' position on your feud with Skyler, but I can't resist asking:

what is a 'Willy Woofter', and how does Bob Marley fit the category?

3:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skyler - thankyou very much for demolishing Richard Taylor's infantile constructions on my behalf.

I choose not to confront the foolish man directly because

a) I do not believe in the personalising of impersonal and eternal debates

b) I believe that Taylor is an irredeemable fool, and probably suffers from some sort of mania, too

c) I am pressed for time, as a classicist in a non-classical age

d) I believe that polemic is a collective pursuit, and you have more than confirmedc this belief

e) I have somehow managed to contract hepatitis, and am thus somewhat 'under the weather'

I would however like to say that in order to be thoroughly consistent your position would have to be one of resolute opposition to ALL forms of CANNIBALISM AND BLOODSUCKING, including the consumption of dairy and goat milk and the abomination known as cheese.

(I could also talk about bonsai, the disgusting Japanese habit of torturing trees and stunting their growth, but if I did so I might be accused of crossing aesthetics with ethics. Ho!)

I do believe that the enslavement of bees and the harvesting of their wax is permissible. After all, everything that is true is permissible.

I am yours etc
Sanjay Wells

5:08 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

It seems we are moving away from sausages onto a discussion about vegetarianism. So, I will put up a new post discussing why I am a vegetarian shortly (probably tomorrow)

8:49 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Skyler - I saw first hand what it is like to be in a freezing works in fact I have never killed an animal in my life - except mice in a house I had in South Otara and I hated doing that.

My father by the way also hated cruelty to animals but he worked as an engineer/architect for Hellabies which is partly why I and my brothe worked there - after a while one just accepts it (the methods of killing are not THAT bad BTW - but see below) - now my first published work was a story - started as description - of the freezing works... Comrade Maps knows of this it was in Mate ca 1970.

Interestingly I am reading "An Anthroplogist on Mars" by Oliver Sacks which is a great book - now the last chapter (epynomous) - the last chapter concentrates on an autistic woman who was able to - somewhat - to overcome her disability or difference and eventually - because she had great experience with and empathy for animals (she was from a farm) - particularly cattle etc - became very important in designing slaughter houses (he had or has a PhD in science) and the handling of cattle in humane ways - in fact she designed extremely humane ways of killing animals - realising that freezing works wouldn't or wont go away (of course it is also her livelihood and she loves problem solving) - now this side of her is interesting - she failed mostly to develop social relationships with people and her two are of scientific work are in the field of meat processing and animal husbandry (she works as an engineer/achitect/scientist visualising the entire project in her mind and even testing it in her mind) - but she cannot understand what (most social empathic relations and certain social or 'phatic' 'rituals' (that most of us are relatively good at) and cannot understand love and had had or indeed has had no sexual relations throughout her life (her social life was almost non existent -she didn't feel or understand the need of it) - she empathsies with Spock or his replacement on Star Trek and so on; she also has, however, a very close feeling for animals - especially for cattle etc ...I just came to that chapter after I had sent my post last night* - now I don't want you to think I like the idea of killing animals but I acknowledge that humans come first - that said I can understand some poeple being closer to animals than people - it is sad but it happens. Autistic or Aspergers people - I have met both (kinds of persons with these differences or disabilities) can be in many ways similar to many people whose sensitivity is destroyed by a certain kinds of callous upbringing - this doesnt make them callous -it is more complex than that) and I am not really advocating such an (callous or indifferent (to animals or humans - for we are only "advanced" (large brained - or intelligent - another problematic area ( ! )) animals)) approach - in general I would rather people showed kindness to each other and didnt kill animals or harm them needlessly.

* I realise there are big issues with animals (treatment of) etc and her work-although she advises people from the US in NZ in the meat industry this would not extend throughout the world)

** Also if we are deliberately cruel to animals I think we are lessened as humans and are more likely to hurt other humans. We are less empathic. But I will still continue to eat meat!!

I was being a bit silly buggers about Bob Marley - his tape /record I had was one of my favourites of the pop music I do listen to...

(Sanjay is is clearly a dangerous man though.)

But I certainly don't think this is a trivial issue.

BUT I have noticed - and I cant resist this further digression - that while I eat sausages myself - I eat them in manner that is respectful and proper - and it is a tragedy that Maps - in contrast to my sophisticated and human self - eats (or he "tears into" - gnaws viciously etc) sausages with a kind of demonic, indeed cannabalistic macho jouissance and attavism - and this troubles me deeply. He has no feelings for sausages.

11:09 pm  
Blogger Jim Jay said...

To answer a question: a willy or woolly woofter is an English slang homophobic term for a gay man - although it's quite old fashioned these days and is usually used (if at all) in an ironic / humourous way rather than being a term used by full on bigots.

9:12 am  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

jim jay - thanks - comrade Maps knows me well he is just probing - but this Sanjay Wells is very dangerous.

Somehow he has made Maps think I endorse some Spanish fascist...all this because I ate my lunches in the slaughter house! And that was about 1968 or so..

You are right - the term was used in a jocular manner.

My view is that Jack Ross should be consulted on this issue (at this point).

12:43 am  

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