Nuggets and Aphorisms
Food for thought. These first appeared in Amit Varma's blog, India Uncut
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Madame, your chicken is ready!
In a way, the most morally troubling thing about killing chickens is that after a while it is no longer morally troubling.Michael Pollan, in "The Omnivore's Dilemma." The quote reminds me of the anecdote about how Leo Tolstoy's aunt once visited him for dinner and found a live chicken on her chair, and a carving knife besides it. "We knew you wanted chicken," Tolstoy said, "but none of us would kill it." (I wonder what Tolstoy would have done had the lady wanted beef, but you get the point.)
That anecdote formed the basis of an essay I wrote around three years ago called "Two chickens." (The one that we eat and the one on the chair, as Tolstoy's aunt found it.) I had just turned vegetarian, and wrote the essay to explain my reasons for it; I resumed eating meat a year later. Well, I just opened the Word doc with that unpublished essay a few moments ago, and it seems so naive to me, both in terms of style and content. Who the fug was I fooling, I wonder, but myself? And who, indeed, am I fooling now?
Anyway, on that note, an email from Kind Friend just rolled in, with a link to Julia Keay's review of "The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times" by Tristram Stuart. I shall write more on the subject when I'm in the mood to berate myself, instead of merely bemoaning my existence, a pleasurable activity I find myself performing frequently these days. As Marquis de Sade famously said, "Why pity others, motherfugger, when you can pity yourself?"