Wednesday, May 10


Michael Pollan is an engaging and obviously thoughtful writer on issues of food and ethics. His Omnivore's Dilemma, of which I've only read excerpts, looks to continue and extend his quest to find the perfect tightrope to walk between giving in to cultural pressure to be unconscious about food and the imperative to consistently eat consciously. But his titular quandary is a classic false dilemma: The choice isn't between gustatory pleasure and ethics - veganism offers both. The "dilemma" really is, will you or won't you live according to the ideals you actually believe in? Will you allow your comfort in the familiar to trump your reluctance to participate in needless cruelty and environmental destruction?

Pollan is good enough at philosophy and logic to work out the fact that there's no real justification for continuing to breed and eat animals. Yet blinded by his desire to excuse his own comfort level, even he falls back on utterly ridiculous arguments such as "domestic animals owe us one because we're responsible for their existence," which Peter Singer pretty handily demolishes in this Mother Jones interview, and maybe-if-I-eat-organic-chicken-that's-good-enough wishful thinking.

That said, Pollan does a good job of bringing a lot of facts to light about the excessses of the Western lifestyle, and with every piece he seems to be inching closer to making that crucial connection between honesty and action. So we eagerly await his next opus on this topic!

No comments: