So, I’m sitting here staring at my brand-new copy of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. In case you couldn’t guess, he’s not in favor of it.
There’s a long quotation on the inside flap from author J.M. Coetzee, author of The Lives of Animals that ends like this:
… anyone who, after reading Foer’s book, continues to consume the [factory farming] industry’s products must be without a heart, or impervious to reason, or both.
So, if you read this book and you’re a good person, you will become of vegetarian. (Or, one of those people who only eats meat the source of which they can identify as a-okay. Do we have a name for that yet?) There’s certainly ample evidence that the book is having a profound affect on many people.
I want to be a good person. If there’s a more righteous, nobler way to do something, I want to do it, even if it’s hard. So, if being a vegetarian is the better way to be, I want to be that. But I am having a hard time going whole hog, so to speak. Does that make me weak, or evil, or something bad? I dunno. I’m sure most folk would say not.
Despite the fact that I love J.S. Foer’s two previous books, and despite the fact that this is clearly right on topic for something that’s a big issue in my life right now, I’ve been putting this thing back on the shelf in bookstores all over America. I even read the big excerpt in the NY Times magazine, and then very purposefully did not order the book.
Well, now it’s in my home and my hands. It’s sitting on the table at the coffee shop right next to me, staring at me. And I KNOW it’s gonna be really good, and imagine several tear-stained nights ahead as I plow through it, and I feel consternation at my reluctance. I guess I figure by reading the book I’ll have decided to be a vegetarian, whether I like it or not. And I’ll have committed myself to a difficult path.
Oh well, at least I’ll still be able to eat Yorqshire pudding. I’ll just have to do it without the prime rib.