Category Archives: Writing

Earthlings Film

You simply cannot unwatch something, no matter how hard you try, right? Well, try watching Earthlings (2005) and see how its images haunt your every waking moment. That maybe doesn’t sound like the best invite to a film, but hopefully it will have stirred at least a bit of curiosity in you. Described as “Horror/Documentary” on the Google box thing that appears to the right hand side of all the web listings, that just about sums it up. Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix.

For a gentler, yet no less horrific tale, see Simon Amstell’s Carnage (it’s very good).

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Gender Trouble, and the recent case of Laura and the V1

Just what sort of crap do you have to put with on a daily basis just because you are a woman? That’s probably something the women reading this have had cause to ponder on a regular basis, whereas the men reading it may not be quite so attuned to the annoying and unnecessary stuff that goes on in everyday life. Three things happened today to inspire this post. The first was booking on to Dr. Lucy Jackson’s lecture on “Gender trouble / troubling gender” at University of Liverpool @livuni. The second was sitting on the V1 bus between Manchester and Leigh @FirstBusNews, just prior to travelling into Liverpool to hear Dr. Jackson’s talk, listening to the “banter” directed at Laura from two young men – both under the influence of alcohol, and showing signs of poor, socio-economic upbringings (but none more so than my own, as it happens), and perhaps a good deal of substance abuse, judging by the state of their teeth (which Laura herself commented on, btw (the state of the teeth, not the substance abuse)). And the third, which came prior to the second, as I travelled on the V1 into Manchester from Leigh in the AM, reading the Metro @MetroUK and an article about how staff at Stevenage FC @stevenagefc subjected female supporters of Grimsby Town FC @officialgtfc to public bra checks by male security attendants (in front of fans of both sides, the police (who were present, but did not intervene in what, effectively, was a mass sexual assault), and Stevenage officials) #BraGate.

Dr. Jackson’s talk touched on such things as #GenderPayGap, #ReproductiveRights, #EverydaySexism, #PoliticalGenderDisparity, and stuff (why are more people not up in arms about such things?).

Laura, a woman in her mid to late thirties (she said so), and her mum, who was sitting separately until the woman sitting next to me alighted the bus so that she could join her daughter, had to endure around 50 minutes or so of “harmless” banter in front of everyone on the top deck of the bus (the young men were quite drunk and very loud): you’re beautiful; you’ve a lovely smile; the way you bite your lip; she likes a bad boy; can I have your number; I’d love to share a bed with you; and on, and on… On the face of it, not all that extreme, nothing too vulgar, and probably far tamer than many women experience on public transport, but really irritating for Laura, I imagine, who, given the situation, kept her cool, played along with the “banter” (because sometimes it’s just easier to), and eventually got to leave the bus with the two drunks still on board, to her relief, again, I imagine.

So, ask yourself: how annoyed are you by all of the above? And then ask yourself: what do you plan to do about it, moving forward?

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Vegan Schmegan: Three Huge Reasons (Reason Three)

The flippant nature of comments around the subject of animal consumption, whether the meat of an animal or products made from its lactations, can be interesting to hear. I’ve had conversations with people telling me they’ll continue to eat meat just because they don’t like being told what to do by others, and still others telling me that they really don’t care about the implications of doing so. And to a certain extent you have to think, well, okay, it’s a free world, and all that, but then, if you choose to turn to three huge reasons for giving up not only meat but all animal derived products, it turns out that you’d have to be something of a sadist not to give it up.

Huge Reason #3: Animal Agriculture is Animal Genocide

By eating meat, fish, dairy, etc., you are condoning genocide on a scale heretofore unknown. It’s like turning a blind eye to the Holocaust. It’s allowing the agriculture industry to operate like a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Genghis Khan, without actually caring about the billions of deaths that occur each year. See Yuval Noah Harari’s article, here.

To remain unaffected after learning this fact means that you are prepared to allow billions of living, sentient beings to be slaughtered in unimaginably horrible ways: because you like the taste of meat/fish/dairy.

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Vegan Schmegan: Three Huge Reasons (Reason Two)

The flippant nature of comments around the subject of animal consumption, whether the meat of an animal or products made from its lactations, can be interesting to hear. I’ve had conversations with people telling me they’ll continue to eat meat just because they don’t like being told what to do by others, and still others telling me that they really don’t care about the implications of doing so. And to a certain extent you have to think, well, okay, it’s a free world, and all that, but then, if you choose to turn to three huge reasons for giving up not only meat but all animal derived products, it turns out that you’d have to be something of a sadist not to give it up.

Huge Reason #2: Animal Agriculture means one-seventh of the world’s population remains hungry and under-nourished

All of the resources that go into feeding livestock so that humans can eat meat and dairy, results in there not being enough food to feed the world’s current population. If we fed humans what is being fed to animals, in order to kill the animals so that they can be eaten, then none of the one billion malnourished people living today would remain so. See Humane Society International’s assessment, here.

To remain unaffected after learning this fact means that you are prepared to allow people to starve to death: because you like the taste of meat/fish/dairy.

See Huge Reason #1


Vegan Schmegan: Three Huge Reasons (Reason One)

The flippant nature of comments around the subject of animal consumption, whether the meat of an animal or products made from its lactations, can be interesting to hear. I’ve had conversations with people telling me they’ll continue to eat meat just because they don’t like being told what to do by others, and still others telling me that they really don’t care about the implications of doing so. And to a certain extent you have to think, well, okay, it’s a free world, and all that, but then, if you choose to turn to three huge reasons for giving up not only meat but all animal derived products, it turns out that you’d have to be something of a sadist not to give it up.

Huge Reason #1: Animal Agriculture is the leading driver of climate change (and it’s also the thing that’s easiest to rectify)

Methane, not CO2, is the biggest problem we face in terms of artificially altering our climate, according to a whole host of experts. Animal agriculture, and the 70+ billion livestock currently living on the planet, leads to methane levels that are heating up the planet, but, unlike CO2, this is easily rectified because methane levels diminish much sooner than CO2. See Andy Vrbicek’s assessment, here.

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To remain unaffected after learning this fact means that you are prepared to allow the younger generation to suffer the consequences of climate change: because you like the taste of meat/fish/dairy.

Huge Reasons #2 and #3 coming soon…

 


Not the #F or #C Word but the #V Word!

Something of a shift has occurred in a matter of days, following a number of months pondering the effects of Simon Amstell‘s Carnage (2017). For 23 years I lived happily, and healthily, as a non-meat eater, without giving thought to the continuing habit of consuming dairy produce. And then I watched Carnage. Milk became a no-no immediately–the notion of “cow rape” had never occurred to me before (have you ever asked yourself how it is that cows can produce milk endlessly?), but having watched the film (described as a comedy, a “mockumentary”) I found it hard to look at a bottle of milk without feeling disgusted.

Yet I continued to eat cheese, eggs, cream, custard, and other such products. I grew up being told about the health benefits of milk, in particular, and that it does wonders for teeth and bones and stuff. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are a number of experts who believe dairy products to be a major contributor to all manner of illnesses and diseases–see Food Choices (2016), Forks over Knives (2011), and Cowspiracy (2014). And then there are the ecological issues related to animal agriculture, which state that raising animals primarily for reasons to do with eating them, and the stuff that comes out of them, is the number one driver of major climate catastrophe (not CO2, as we are told, endlessly). The problem is to do with the Methane (amongst other things) that is produced as a by-product of the 70 billion or so cattle that inhabit the planet. Methane levels can change relatively quickly, and so unlike CO2, which takes decades for its levels to fall, there is the opportunity to make drastic changes to our planet’s future: but that requires people to stop eating animals and the by-products that come from them.

And finally, there is the thought, though many people won’t want to consider this, that on a daily basis, for decades and decades, we, as a species, have committed genocide, sending cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other animals to death camps to die horrible, inhumane deaths: just like Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka…

And that is why I have made the full leap into a wholly plant-based diet: or Veganism, if you will (the V word aforementioned).


David Foster Wallace and Repressive Taboos

David Foster Wallace’s use of disenfranchised voices in Infinite Jest (1996) receives little critical attention. Clenette Henderson and yrstruly’s narratives raise issues of taboo subjects: child sexual abuse, drug-addiction, and prostitution. A close reading of their voices aims to break over twenty years of critical silence by exposing such taboos.
“Ooh… that sounds like fun!”
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“Saturn Devouring His Son,” Francisco Goya, c. 1819-1823

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