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Mar 21 2009

Non-Radical Feminist Patriarchy-Blaming Blog of the Week

Raccoon skull (adult); providing me with these is one of Chuck's chores

Raccoon skull (adult); providing me with these is one of Chuck's chores

El Rancho Deluxe employs, part-time, a strong-willed, eccentric rancho hand named Chuck. Chuck’s job description is “do chores.”

To my mind, “chores” are activities like splitting logs, making piles, digging holes — pretty much anything involving backbreaking labor that is not directly related to spinster aunting. In Chuck’s mind, “chores” means arguing with me about every little goddamn thing and then doing whatever the hell he feels like doing until it’s time to kick back with a Miller Lite tallboy, which daily sacrament he refers to as “beer-thirty.”

Once I arrived home from a trip into town to discover that, in my absence, Chuck had taken a sudden dislike to some opuntia cactuses that were minding their own beeswax in a field near the bunkhouse; he’d ripped out about 20 of’em before I could, after much vituperating, intervene and stop the madness. Another time, for no discernible reason, he spent hours scouring the environs for 20-pound rocks, which rocks he repurposed as weird little Stonehenges here and there, ignoring completely my warmly and oft-expressed antipathy toward the wanton erection of weird little Stonehenges.

It is with a shudder that I recall the Great Straw Bale Debate of Aught-Eight. In that harrowing episode, which endured for the entire month leading up to Christmas, I prevented only by the narrowest of margins Chuck’s unilateral implementation of a nauseating Yuletide decoration scheme. The scheme involved festooning the front gate with giant, cutesy, ornamental “presents” made of straw bales and oversize red ribbon, objects with which Chuck had become unnaturally obsessed, having espied with an increasingly envious eye similar creations embellishing a ranch entrance down the road.

We had daily arguments about it, Chuck yearning for straw bale presents like a kid begging for his first puppy, me explaining that I would never in a million years sanction gunking up the countryside with tacky Christmas crap, particularly tacky Christmas crap copied from godbag neighbors. The arguments always ended with Chuck scowling and sighing heavily in such a manner as to express his opinion that my failure to comply with Christmas Spirit on a straw bale level was an affront to Truth and Beauty. I never succeeded in impressing upon him the wrong-on-so-many-levelsosity of his horrible idea, and in the end was only able to quash his Tex-imental outburst of xmas-induced nostalgia by consenting to stick a dumb wreath on the gate.

Thus it is that my relationship with my rancho hand has been compared to the 60′s sit-com Green Acres, where I am the stodgy killjoy Mr. Douglas who doesn’t get it, and Chuck is Eb, the liaison from a fun-loving alternate universe.

But I digress.

In addition to being wacky, Chuck is also considerate, and often brings me wine, tacos, pretty rocks, animal bones, pizza, and newspaper clippings on such riveting topics as power washers and tool shed shelving. The article he brought yesterday, from the Austin American-Statesman, was about the sad plight of one of my favorite wild birds, the Rio Grande turkey.

Drought is the defining issue in Texas right now [...]. Not only do months without rain mean there’s nothing to eat for the turkeys living there now, they also mean that turkey hens can’t find suitable thick cover for nesting and hatching eggs.”

You might surmise, based on the excerpt above, that the author laments these conditions because of the suffering they impose on the endangered turkeys. But you would be wrong. Instead, the article focuses on the drought’s tragic effect on turkey hunting. The author suggests that hunters bait starving turkeys with feeders, lest they (the hunters) altogether “miss out on the thrill of calling to and interacting with a hot gobbler.”

Indeed. “Interacting with” is apparently a bloodsport euphemism for “blowing the head off of.”

At this juncture I will take the liberty of awkwardly segue-ing from the practice of killing animals for fun to the practice of eating animals for fun, with today’s link to the Non-Radical Feminist Yet Still Patriarchy-Blaming Blog of the Week. Blamer meerkat suggested it a propos of yesterday’s discussion on women and food. The website is Suicide Food, which focuses its deadly charm on marketing imagery that portrays food animals as joyful, accommodating, and thrilled to sacrifice their lives to ghoulish human appetites.

We are all accustomed by now to the coarsening of our culture, the cheapening of our history, the defiling of our profoundest yearnings. It has happened so often, many of us no longer know the difference between authentic lives lived and the greasy speeches and grimy lies of the advertisers, the hypnotizers, and the bamboozlers. [From this post]

Primo stuff! Smiling cartoon pigs throw themselves onto flames, anxious to become palate-pleasing morsels; beer-guzzling crawfish contentedly paddle a soup-pot down a river of broth with celery oars; libertine barnyard animals yuk it up pre-mortem in a full-blown debauch. And yes, blogger Ben addresses one of the most repellent TV commercials ever aired, the one where a couple of talking pigs, seated at a restaurant, tuck into an enormous plate of ham and toss off one-liners about enjoying the “flavors of a fallen friend.”

The parallels between the myth of the happy hooker and the myth of the self-sacrificing meat animal are legion. Both prostituted women and livestock are the creations of a culture of domination. Both are controlled by organized systems of oppression. Both are ostentatiously and gluttonously consumed by a privileged class. Once consumed, both are left to rot with last night’s garbage. Both represent the privileged class’s celebration of itself and its contempt for anything it happens to debase in the course of its daily pillages. And the myths about oppressed individuals choosing to serve the vulgar interests of their oppressors have been created to allow the dominant culture’s beneficiaries to sleep at night.

80 comments

5 pings

  1. Laughingrat

    Yes! This is what I was hinting at, barely formed and kinda nebulous as all my thoughts seem to be, in the comments on that last post! Thank you for bringing it all together and making it clear! My little rat brain is pinging madly from all this high-quality blaming; I may need to read a few pages of a shitty romance novel just to come back down to earth. (Then again, if that’s what it takes to live on planet earth, screw that noise.)

  2. Joy

    Twisty, have you read Carol J. Adams’ book The Pornography of Meat? It is the last paragraph you wrote, expanded into an intelligent book — with pictures.

    I love the book and would send it to you if it was an email.

  3. Twisty

    “Twisty, have you read Carol J. Adams’ book The Pornography of Meat?”

    No I haven’t, but I certainly will. This topic begins to interest me strangely.

  4. rootlesscosmo

    Ruth Ozeki’s novel My Year of Meats is also a very good read.

  5. Beth Younger

    Twisty-never before have I read a blog so fucking sharp. Anyway, thanks for writing about Chuck–he sounds hilarious and kind. Also–thanks for your thoughts about animals and food. I like Carol Adams, too–and I also recommend her book The Sexual Politics of Meat. I have not yet read the Pornography of Meat–but I will now! And yes, that commercial with the pigs eating ham is not only sad, disturbing, and just plain wrong–but really representative of our cultural denial of what we eat.

  6. birkwearingblamer

    I recently ventured into Houston County, where I ate more BBQ in five days than I had eaten in the past five years. Even the gas/convenience store served BBQ exclusively. It doesn’t go over well when you ask for something other than meat (or even decent coffee for that matter!). There were veggies–greasy, fried inedible veggies. And gummy, nutrient-free, white bread. This is why I don’t normally hang out in rural Texas. The pig on the BBQ ads is way overdone in Texas, too. One place has a “pig mobile.” Talk about tacky!

  7. mj

    im a vegetarian (who loves meat) as a protest to the way animals are treated in this country. im a feminist mama who is just learning a lot about my own feminism. i love your blog & your writings & always look forward to your posts (though don’t often comment as i can’t figure out how to work my shift key)…thanks for being so brilliant.

  8. yttik

    Great writing. You sure captured the parallels between the way we view animals and the porn culture.

    Forgive me for mentioning the bible, but I think it all started to go wrong in genesis when it says, man shall have dominion. Some of those who study ancient languages have said the translation is all wrong, it was originally a word that meant “tend”. “Man shall tend to the Earth and all the things on it” changes the whole meaning. I think of this a lot because so many of our problems seem to come from men who believe they are entitled to have dominion over people, animals, everything.

    That said, it still frustrates me that we can rally so much compassion for endangered species, for neglected animals, for livestock, but we can’t quite seem to tap into the same enthusiasm for caring about women. In my town we really needed a battered women’s shelter, instead we built an animal rescue shelter. I suppose it’s always been like that, women often rate somewhere below the family dog. If I remember right, in the US we got our laws against animal cruelty long before we got any against domestic violence.

  9. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    #1. The Humane Society, which of course was originally purposed to save the family dog, got involved in a child abuse case in New York and wound up proposing and writing the first child protection laws in this country. I don’t know that they ever got involved in helping save the little woman. I would offer you a cite but this is something I learned half a lifetime ago as a neophyte child protection worker and I don’t remember the source any more.

    #2. Twisty, I really thought, starting out reading your Blame, that you were going to compare the little animals on the cartons to the happy housewife.

    #3. Please note that nobody gets called a heifer in this comment.

    Non serviam!

  10. Jix

    I second the recommendation of Carol J. Adams’s The Pornography of Meat. She came to speak at my college when I was an undergraduate and gave a presentation on the subject (I believe she has written more than one book on the topic, but I may be mistaken). It was enlightening to this nascent radical feminist, to say the least.

  11. Beth Younger

    Hey YTTIK: you say
    “it still frustrates me that we can rally so much compassion for endangered species, for neglected animals, for livestock, but we can’t quite seem to tap into the same enthusiasm for caring about women.”

    This argument never ceases to frustrate me–it’s not about women needing help so why should we help animals! It’s about recognizing that women and animals are subject to oppression, objectification, and cruel treatment–death, even. So if an animal shelter is built it means women are out of luck? No. Animal shelters are needed–patriarchal violence shleters are needed, too. It’s not either or. It’s also because many idiots still blame women for being battered.

  12. meerkat

    I’m famous! :D

  13. Fat Angie

    I’d be more disturbed by that commercial if pigs weren’t cannibals.

  14. Orange

    Here’s my submission to Suicide Food:

    http://suicidefood.blogspot.com/2007/04/rosarios-italian-sausage.html

    If you’re too lazy to click over, it’s an animated neon sign depicting pigs leaping head-first into a giant sausage grinder.

  15. fsteele

    Nothing new about ‘suicide food’. Charley the Tuna. George MacDonald’s flying fish that flew into the stewpots in PHANTASES.

    I figure MacDonald was struggling with a clue about human guilt vegetarianism.

  16. Sabayon

    The Humane Society, which of course was originally purposed to save the family dog, got involved in a child abuse case in New York and wound up proposing and writing the first child protection laws in this country.

    In my experience the Humane Society is pretty good about linking human and animal oppression, and they don’t throw women under the bus for the sake of animals. PETA on the other hand is always willing to abuse women (or POC, or anyone else) in the name of cute widdle animals, and they can just go to hell.

    Fighting the oppression of animals and women is not mutually exclusive, but I do think sometimes animals (well, pets, not food animals) get more broad-based sympathy than women. For instance, if a dog is beaten by it’s owner does anyone ever say “that dog was asking for it”, or “he shouldn’t have barked like that, when he knows how irritating it is”, or any of the other subtle or otherwise ways women get blamed for their own abuse? No, because we recognize that pets are innocent victims, but women are often blamed for their own abuse or the abuse of their children by their husband.

  17. Boudicca

    Has anyone else been reading about the recent efforts in Florida and Alaska to criminalize bestiality? After some horrific incidents and an inability of the current laws to adequately address them, law-makers have had to step up. Seems to me that rape-culture is rape-culture, regardless of who is getting raped. And, needless to say, IBTP.

  18. speedbudget

    Boudicca: Wait. You mean bestiality is occurring in states where gay marriage is still illegal? How could that possibly be? We all know that gay marriage causes bestiality. Hmm…

    /sarcasm

    A question. I will admit I eat and like meat. I will also say that I am willing to pay more (much more) for humanely raised and killed organic meat. I will also buy eggs and such from local farmers whom I know care for their animals very well. Is this okay? Or is it just on the continuum of evil?

  19. Twisty

    Is this okay? Or is it just on the continuum of evil?

    Sorry; continuum of evil. If it were possible to have a conversation with a beef steer, how likely would it be that it would tell you, “Sure, I’m just fine with you killing and eating me”?

    But since you can’t ask it, you have to use your giant human brain and hypothesize. Based on the observation that the primary occupation of all animals is survival, it is reasonable to assume that, given the choice, even beef cattle would be reluctant to stroll over to the chopping block of their own accord. And have you ever tried to catch a chicken?

    In other words, these are sentient beings, and they are being oppressed, even if they’re dining daily on organic micro arugula salad and Mr Green Jeans sings them to sleep every night. The mice in my attic have more agency than even the best cared-for beef cow.

    Unfortunately.

  20. Coco

    I am NOT pouring boxes of beef broth down the drain and I think I like Chuck. But otherwise, yeah. And what Laughingrat said first about high-quality blaming causing mad pinging. Straight and slow sparked-up by twisty fast.

  21. slythwolf

    The problem I have with the Humane Society, at least in Michigan, is that they euthanize anything they suspect of being a Pit Bull. This is because they have decided that Pit Bulls are by nature evil, even though in real life the nickname of the Pit Bull used to be “the nanny dog” because they will basically babysit your kids for you.

  22. incognotter

    Personally, I wish the mice in my attic had a little *less* agency. But I see your point, Twisty.

  23. Shaping Youth

    Speaking of ‘agency’ and choices and sentient beings…

    Could I borrow your pithy prose-laden viper tongue readers and a few brain cells to land a few comments on my blog to this PhD doing the ‘bait and wait’ troll tactic to ignite my tail on fire?

    I flamed the tactics of the tobacco industry marketing nicotine as breath strips and mints with kids in the ads here: http://blog.shapingyouth.org/?p=5614 and was met by a counter-post by one who thinks I have my undies in a bundle and ‘too much time on my hands’ because “kids don’t die from smoking” until they’re much older…

    I know, I know, you don’t have a dog in that fight…
    (which, btw, brings up horrific HSUS visuals, as adages go!) but just sayin’…Thanks for your ongoing evidence that intelligent life forms still exist on the planet. Kudos to all…(that Mr. Green Jeans reference still has me rofl, Twisty!)

  24. Twisty

    “Personally, I wish the mice in my attic had a little *less* agency.”

    That’s kind of what I meant. It was my little joke.

    Sadly, I’m gonna have to oppress a few mice soon. I bought these supposedly humane live traps with the idea that I would release the captives into the fields, where the hawks and owls and snakes can oppress’em instead of me. But so far, not a single capture. They’ve really got it goin’ on up in that attic. They’ve built a nightclub, and somehow managed to get a 4 o’clock license.

  25. Comrade PhysioProf

    And the myths about oppressed individuals choosing to serve the vulgar interests of their oppressors have been created to allow the dominant culture’s beneficiaries to sleep at night.

    I see no evidence that in the absence of such myths, the beneficiaries of privilege would have trouble sleeping.

    Chuck sounds like a really interesting and endearing dude! Keep up the Chuck stories!

    Hugs,
    Comrade PhysioProf

  26. Twisty

    Dear Shaping Youth,

    You seem nice, so I’m not deleting your comment even though it is off-topic, ellipsisitic, and contains the phrase “ignite my tail on fire.” I’m sure that before you post next time you will read the Blamer Terms of Use Agreement, which states that by clicking the Blame button, you affirm that you have read and agree to follow the Guidelines for Commenters.

    That’s right, blamers. I’m cracking down before things get out of hand. Already the anti-Capitalites are gaining a toehold, and many of the commentariat are still stuck in “I” mode. Analysis before “sharing”! C’mon! You can do it!

    Oh, and Shaping Youth, my recommendation is not to engage your troll at all.

  27. zooeyibz

    “It’s about recognizing that women and animals are subject to oppression, objectification, and cruel treatment–death, even. So if an animal shelter is built it means women are out of luck? No. Animal shelters are needed–patriarchal violence shleters are needed, too. It’s not either or.”

    All to often, it is ‘either/or’. Unless you live in some magical land where endless public funds are available for alleviating oppression. If you live where the goons in charge of the cash have other priorities (they usually do) women/children/dogs get the dregs. And as long as the dregs are finite it’s “women and children first”.

  28. wiggles

    zooeyibz: Here in San Francisco, the SPCA shelter is state of the art. The battered women’s and homeless shelters here however, not so much. Not that homeless animals don’t have a right to comfy, state-of-the-art accommodations, but it’s pretty clear that homeless women and children aren’t put first.

  29. otoc

    The Humane Society builds shelters where women can go with their pets. It may not be the exact solution needed but it seems relevant: http://www.americanhumane.org/human-animal-bond/programs/pets-and-womens-shelters/

    They say it “eliminates a significant obstacle to women leaving abusive relationships.”

  30. TheLady

    So if an animal shelter is built it means women are out of luck?

    In the period of 2007-2008, the great British public donated more funds to one (1, single, singular, nonplural, no zeroes, just one little one) donkey sanctuary in Dorset than to all the (rapidly disappearing) women’s shelters in the country.

    I think in terms of awareness, priorities etc., it can be and either/or type of deal. Because in order to fight oppression you have to recognise that there is oppression, and more often than not internalise the message that you are contributing to that oppression in some way shape or form. When this involves the oppression of your sisters, friends, neighbours and coworkers – or more challenging still, your own – people would rather look away and pretend it’s not true, that there are other, more deserving problems that they can contribute towards solving.

    So they find it more congenial to donate their money (or have the government spend it) to animal sanctuaries, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Oxfam, or Amnesty International. It’s all somehow over there, either culturally or biologically, and not so scarily in your face.

    After all, who ever heard of a tennants’ association protesting the erection of a RSPCA shelter? When it’s a rape or spousal violence crisis center though, the letters to the council never touch the sides of the postboxes, they come so fast.

  31. Squiggy

    This is one of my favorite topics ever. Maybe because it addresses behaviors that one can personally hone or change to make direct impact on a day to day, moment to moment basis that undermines the patriarchal agenda. I held my breath when our beloved speedbudget asked Twisty about eating well-treated animals and that which exudes from orifices of well-treated animals. I half expected her to endorse degrees of cruelty so everyone could feel okay. The fact that Twisty holds us all to high standards is the ultimate comfort of all.
    Including no ellipses plus decent grammar and spellcheck for all.

  32. Margaret

    Sitting in a courtroom up north and looking at what the penalties are for the guys who go hunting out of season and the guys who beat up women, it is easy to conclude that the animals are better protected.

  33. Laughingrat

    OK, Margaret: what are the penalties for each crime? How often do cases for either situation actually come up? What is the social context for each case? What is the language used to describe them?

    The idea that we can and should only care about one kind of oppression is a pretty tired one. If society in general seems to care more about animals than women, it’s partly because animals are *so* far down the power chain that it doesn’t subvert the dominant paradigm as much to care about them. Funding women’s shelters, on the other hand, is a much more direct slap in the face of the patriarchy. It openly acknowledges that not only does the brutalization of women exist, but that it’s *wrong*. The biggest, dumbest, most macho chump around would probably think twice before hitting a puppy, but quite possibly not think at all before whaling on his wife.

    Besides, animals we see as “destined” to be eaten are hardly part of the mainstream animal protection movement. Oh, nobody really wants to think that some poor cow had to suffer in order for a steak to appear, sure, but it’s amazing how quick they can forget about that cow when the prospect of dinner’s a-looming.

    Laws against poaching, incidentally, are rarely about protecting the precious creatures–if that was the case, the associated behaviors requiring such “population control” in the first place, such as habitat destruction and the slaughtering of predators, probably wouldn’t be happening. No, laws against hunting out of season are about making sure there’s enough animals to kill next year. When someone else’s property–and wild animals are, in a sense, considered the property of the State–is concerned, the law is quite stern indeed. “Domestic” violence, however, is usually perpetrated by a man against his own “property”–the women or children he’s living with–and the law doesn’t give a red-hot tinker’s damn about that. That’s why, incidentally, a person can get away with abusing an animal that’s been designated as their property, but might get into trouble for taking the State’s animals at a time when the State has forbidden it.

  34. kristin

    “Sitting in a courtroom up north and looking at what the penalties are for the guys who go hunting out of season and the guys who beat up women, it is easy to conclude that the animals are better protected.”

    Well, duh. Women are *always* in season.

  35. Hedgepig

    It interests me that all the Chuck-related comments here have been positive. He sounds like one of those arrogant, “I’m a bloke so I know best what to do around here” men who believes that even if a woman is paying him, he’s still the boss. I mean, it’s nice that he brings Twisty presents but how about listening to what she wants?

  36. Squiggy

    Reading about him brought out even more of of my antipathy for men. Much like Hedgepig commented, he seemed, well, awful to me. I had great worries about Twisty’s safety before I read the part where Twisty likes him. Then I figured that Twisty’s so smart and intuitive I’d stop worrying. But I haven’t completely. Yet.

  37. Orange

    A friend of mine hired a Scott to do household maintenance work for her (insulation, painting, lawnmowing, planting, porch building, etc.). She isn’t crazy about Scott, but she adores his dad Warren, who also helps out. Twisty needs a Warren, not a Chuck/Scott type.

    Found out yesterday at a family event that my Republican aunt has intervened at least twice to stop a man from beating his wife in public. Both times, the men thought to excuse the hitting by explaining, “She’s my wife.” (Oh! So sorry! Thought she was human. But she’s your chattel? Then have at it.) I love it that my anti-taxation Republican aunt is a bad-ass who confronts abusers and calls 911 on them.

  38. undercover punk

    @ Hedgepig, I agree! Chuck seems like a typical misogynist. What are the chances that he would continue to push Christmas decorations on a male boss after being told no?? I like to hear stories about the ranch and I’m sure it isn’t Chuck’s *intention* to be an asshole; he just chooses not to realize what he’s doing (ignorance). It’s really no comfort to my view of misogyny that someone doesn’t “mean” it.

    About the animals, I love it when feminists talk about vegetarianism! Fast Food Nation changed my life. Actually it changed my partner’s life & she showed me the light. But I don’t think that killing animals would only be OK if they consented to it. Different species naturally prey on each other, so I think that if you can kill it with your bare hands, enjoy eating it! And finally, the compassion we show to old, suffering pets with the widely-accepted practice of euthanasia is a mercy that we deny humans of all genders. It’s absolutely maddening.

  39. Laughingrat

    Undercover Punk, the euthanasia for pets thing is an interesting subject. The best and most conscientious of us would only employ it as a last resort, true, but in a way that is still treating a pet like property, like its life is ours to give or take. It’s something I feel obliged to acknowledge, and I say that as somebody who has chosen euthanasia for a suffering pet before and probably will have to again someday, life being what it is. And for the people who aren’t so conscientious, how many of *them* have pets euthanized before it’s truly necessary, simply because it will be easier for the humans that way?

    I could go on, but won’t, because I suspect I’ve taken up too much space in this thread already!

  40. Jezebella

    As a point of cultural comparison, Beer-Thirty is a sacrament also observed by the handymen/rancho hands/building superintendent contingent here in Buttcrack, Mississippi.

  41. Kuleana

    The parallels between the myth of the happy hooker and the myth of the self-sacrificing meat animal are legion. Both prostituted women and livestock are the creations of a culture of domination. Both are controlled by organized systems of oppression. Both are ostentatiously and gluttonously consumed by a privileged class. Once consumed, both are left to rot with last night’s garbage.

    Yes, this does all sound very Carol Adams-esque. I’ve only read the Sexual Politics of Meat, but I really need to get my hands on the Pornography of Meat one of these days. It’s newer, I think, and might be more relevant to what’s going on in animal rights today, what with all the PETA-sanctioned misogyny. That part of your post actually also makes me think a little bit of Riane Eisler’s the Chalice and the Blade, which talks about how we currently live in a dominator society and if we’re to survive will need to work to create a partnership society. There’s a whole book waiting to be written on how all abused groups are linked and victimized under a dominator society. Well, I take that back; there’s an entire library waiting to be written on that.

    PETA on the other hand is always willing to abuse women (or POC, or anyone else) in the name of cute widdle animals, and they can just go to hell.

    Ha. I could not agree more, Sabayon. And, if I might share since it seems relevant to this subject, I have even started a blog whose goal is to send them to hell that much faster. My personal favorite so far is the one on Beauty and Blasphemy and how women cannot even possibly begin to live up to society’s (and PETA’s) standards for beauty without engaging in animal cruelty; it may not be particularly revolutionary, but it’s an argument I’ve not seen advanced elsewhere that also has connections to over-consumption and environmentalism. I mean, seriously, their flagship Poster Girl/Object Pamela Anderson has had two separate breast implants, despite the fact that breast implants are tested on animals! Jesus H. Toothbrushing Christ! Someday I hope to get in a face-to-face screaming match with a PETA minion in which I will use this argument to make them cry and renounce PETA. (Oh, and I’m looking for ideas and contributors!)

  42. mearl

    Yttik wrote: “I think it all started to go wrong in genesis when it says, man shall have dominion.”

    I just plowed through Republican writer Michael Scully’s “Dominion,” the thesis of which is based on the same quote. Scully is a Republican godbag, and he is appealing to other Republican godbags. However, in terms of research (the fact that he could move freely amongst the most sickening of Republicans at their conferences and observe them in their natural environment and take note of it all), his book is worth a look. I do see a few positives in Scully’s writing, not because I believe what he believes, but because some religious meat-eating sport-hunting nuts might just listen to him since he speaks their language.

    My other perusal of late was Peter Singer’s revised edition of “Animal Liberation.” I found myself agreeing with 95% of his view of things. And I have gone vegetarian again, for good this time. I am ashamed to admit I fell off the wagon last time. I wanted to know if anyone else has read Singer and if so, what their thoughts are on him?

    I’m going to check out Carol J. Miller. Doesn’t surprise me that it takes a woman to make the connection between oppression of women and oppression of animals. Thanks, Twisty, for this post.

  43. Sabayon

    I love it when feminists talk about vegetarianism! Fast Food Nation changed my life.
    Yeah, reading that book (at a 4th of July barbecue in East Texas, oy) is what made me go vegetarian. I’ve since backslid and am now starting to realize I need to go back to it if I want to a fully committed patriarchy blamer. le sigh

    @Kuleana
    Have you seen this: http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/02/peta-and-racism.html

  44. Margaret

    Dear Laughingrat,
    “No, laws against hunting out of season are about making sure there’s enough animals to kill next year. When someone else’s property–and wild animals are, in a sense, considered the property of the State–is concerned, the law is quite stern indeed. “Domestic” violence, however, is usually perpetrated by a man against his own “property”–the women or children he’s living with–and the law doesn’t give a red-hot tinker’s damn about that.”

    And that pretty well says what I did (minus comments about property rights). So, it really was unnecessary to get into attack mode over my comment.

  45. speedbudget

    Okay. I’ve ordered The Pornography of Meat and My Year of Meats. Nobody in my family has ever been a vegetarian, but I’m willing to at least give it a shot. Does anybody have anywhere I can go to get some good advice about making this switch? I know one has to be very careful of what one eats as a vegetarian (amino acids and such) but I don’t know where to begin.

  46. Dicey Venison

    Here in Wisconsin, it’s the same.
    I live in Madison, where there is a large vegetarian presence.
    Get outside of Madison, however, and highway billboards abound, with cartoon pigs dancing in bacchanalian swagger towards their doom on the rotating spit.
    For a lot of people here, vegetarianism is seen as an affront.
    They’ll start quoting the Bible, or they’ll give you a kind of confused look and say,
    “Well, that’s what animals are raised for. Animals are delicious. That’s why they’re made out of meat.”

    Speedbudget, there are lots of sites out there in The Interwebs that you can look up for information on vegetarian nutrition.
    Depending on where you live, there are natural food stores and co-ops that can help you get started.
    Proper food combining is important for getting balanced proteins.
    Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”), is a wonderful grain, in that it has a unique combination of amino acids that form a complete protein.

  47. Beth Younger

    Hey Speedbudget!:
    Being vegetarian is very easy, in my view. “Proper food combining” is not something you need to worry about, really. That went out in the 1970s. Most americans eat too much protein–the SAD (Standard American Diet) will tell you that. If you need some resources on being vegetarian, just start googling. There are tons of free resources on the interweb.

    Also, being vegan (no animal products at all including eggs and dairy) is a bit more complicated, but really being veg is quite easy. It may seem daunting at first, because you may miss the “main” part of your usual meal, but you’ll get used to being the one who orders side dishes at restaurants and saves money!

    Also, if you do miss meaty type foods, there are tons of meat analogs available with which to supplement your diet. I recommend Morningstar Farms products, even though they’re owned by someone big, and also Amy’s frozen foods are yummy, healthy and veg.

    Be aware that becoming veg seems to some as if you are making a statement about their food choices–you are! Own it, I say. When someone asks me why I’m veg, I ask them why they eat meat. Just like being a feminist–it’s a slap in the face to the dominant culture.

  48. Sabayon

    @Speedbudget
    Protein really isn’t a big issue as most people in America eat far more protein than is necessary, as long as you don’t say. Just be sure you are getting a good amount of whole grains and bean-y stuff. If you decide to go vegan be sure your soy milk is fortified with B-12 as B-12 deficiencies make your brain melt, quite literally. A really excellent nutrition guide guide is Becoming Vegetarian (http://www.amazon.com/New-Becoming-Vegetarian-Essential-Healthy/dp/1570671443/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237813979&sr=8-1)

    Also recommended is Vegan with a Vengeance, wherein we learn how to make much amazing food and the proper way to hold and Anarcho-Feminist Vegan potluck, very important stuff that. (http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Vengeance-Delicious-Animal-Free-Recipes/dp/1569243581/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237814269&sr=1-1)

  49. Laughingrat

    Margaret, while I’m sorry you perceived my remarks as an attack, I do think that you were only partly right, or rather, only talking about the surface of the problem. You used fairly vague wording, but implied that you have some kind of personal experience in the courtroom with these cases; I asked for clearer information. You implied that people love animals more than women, and I replied that it may look like that on surface, but that the problem goes deeper than that and is more complicated, and I spoke to support my point of view. Disagreement is not a personal attack.

  50. Twisty

    “Different species naturally prey on each other, so I think that if you can kill it with your bare hands, enjoy eating it!”

    Ah, but not all species prey on sentient beings, which means that humans are not required by the laws of nature to do so. Besides, the modern megatheocorporatocratic dynamic and explosive human overpopulation has altered what is “natural.” Unlike the caveman days of yore, people currently eat meat for cultural reasons only: it is marketed to them by literal butchers who make profits selling sentient animals they have killed for this purpose. The meaty industrial complex has also successfully portrayed vegetarianism as risky, complicated, unhealthy, unnatural, unmanly, and ungodly.

    In a post-patriarchal society, killing sentient beings with your bare hands will not be necessary for survival.

    Also, speedbudget: don’t be daunted by all this doctrine about combining amino acids. Just eat different stuff all the time and you’ll be fine. Meat eaters who use “protein” as an excuse to keep eating meat don’t really know jack, and might want to reorient their concern towards atherosclerosis and heart disease.

  51. Kuleana

    Oh no, don’t tell PETA! Somebody’s thinking of going veg without having naked lady pictures foisted on them? You make patriarchy CRY, speedbudget! :)

    But in all seriousness, yes, there are a lot of great resources online for vegetarian nutrition. My argument is that most people should be looking at their vitamin intake anyhow, so being vegetarian really just encourages you to do that. The main one as a vegetarian I’d worry about is vitamin B, which has no naturally occurring non-animal source, so you’ll need to take a supplement, but research which type to take — I think cyanocobalamin is one of the best ones, but if you take the wrong one it basically doesn’t do anything. I also take Omega 3 and 6 in the form of flaxseed oil, since fish is a main source of that. I also always hear warnings about iron, but vitamin C about doubles your iron absorption rate, and I don’t know of any vegetarians who don’t get enough vitamin C. Every time I get my blood checked, I have the highest safely possible levels of iron, and everything else is right where it should be. So

    And yeah, Saboyan, I saw Renee’s post on that PETA KKK promotion — it’s abhorrent. I don’t even know what PETA is trying to do anymore, other than uphold the bigotries of the world.

  52. Jezebella

    I think this needs an edit:

    “Different species naturally prey on each other, so I think that if you can kill it with your bare hands,” and still enjoy eating it, you’re a sociopath.

    That said, one tactic for getting people off your case about being a vegetarian (as if it’s anyone’s business anyway) is to say this: “If you’re going to eat meat, you should have to kill it yourself.” The hunters nod smugly, and the non-hunters feel wimpy for not killing their own meat. It’s not the ideal rhetorical move, but it works for getting them to shut up.

    Finally, Laurel’s Kitchen was my cookbook/bible when I gave up meat 20+ years ago. It has good nutritional information, chapters on nutrition for different life stages, and good recipes. Meat-eating, like cigarette smoking, is a bad habit, and it seems enjoyable while you’re doing it, but once you kick the habit, you’ll feel a lot better.

  53. Comrade PhysioProf

    Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”), is a wonderful grain, in that it has a unique combination of amino acids that form a complete protein.

    Got any decent recipes? The few times I’ve eaten quinoa, it’s tasted like nasty fucking crap. And it was cooked by people who claimed to know what they were doing.

  54. otoc

    Quinoa pudding (as in rice pudding with milk, vanilla and sugar, but with quinoa) is edible. I prefer brown rice instead.

    My favorite vegetarian cookbook is Rachel Ray’s vegetarian 30 minute meals one. Yeah, yeah, Anthony Bourdain, the notorious feminist has pointed out she’s not a chef so no one is supposed to enjoy her food. She knows her stuff — it’s not that over-seasoned, “creative”, earthy-granola crap. It’s a definite recommendation for the new vegetarian.

    Another tip is to watch out for hidden animal products. Sugar is often made with bone, marshmallows are made with bone marrow, rennet (cow stomach) will spoil your appetite for cheese, etc.

    And as far as nutrition and protein goes, you can get all kinds of protein powders if you’re worried. As has been mentioned though, MorningStar stuff is tasty and has a good amount of protein and beans (and nuts/butters) are always good.

    Finally, Shreese is a good cheese substitute for anyone interested, almond milk tastes better than soy, and egg substitute powder makes cakes moister, although I’m not morally opposed to any and all animal products per se. The end.

  55. Squiggy

    Protein Schmor-tein. Think of how much a newborn baby grows in the first year. Bones, muscles, brains, ad infinitum. Arguably the very best food for the entire first year is breast milk and nothing else. (even the pediatrics association (read Patriarchy) say ‘only breast milk and nothing else for the first nine months’ is the ideal. How much protein in breast milk? 6%.

    Like Twisty spake in the book of blog: Lo, ‘The meaty industrial complex has also successfully portrayed vegetarianism as risky, complicated, unhealthy, unnatural, unmanly, and ungodly.’

    Can I get an Amen?

  56. undercover punk

    Well, Twisty, AMEN to that! Eating meat is absolutely unnecessary. Vegetarianism has been bastardized by the food industry. And *I* personally have no interest in eating even those animals that I might be able to dominant to death with my bare hands. It’s just more of the same power-struggle bullshit. So, are ALL conscious beings “sentient” or would it be morally acceptable to eat, like, beetles and other insects, such as I have observed Adam Richman doing on the show Man v. Food? I’m not asking because I want to, it’s just hypothetical!!

    Jezebella, I’ve had success with that tactic as well. Hunters use tools to gain an unfair physical advantage over animals, that’s why I say bare hands! Most people don’t want to use their bare hands. And really, anyone who does IS a sociopath.

    Aspiring vegetarians, I highly recommend Vegetarian Times. The magazine is monthly food inspiration delivered to your door step and the website is a wealth of searchable recipes. Once you’re a member you can save recipes and rate them too!! ENJOY!

  57. undercover punk

    AND there’s a free pdf-download called Vegetarian Starter Kit!

  58. Orange

    At my college reunion, I had a side dish of quinoa salad. I think it had some pecans and some fruit in it, and it was maybe garlicky. It was delicious, Comrade PhysioProf. Alas, I have no recipe, only a vague recollection of ingredients and yumminess. Try it cold with yummy stuff added to it.

  59. ElizaN

    Before you give up on the humane traps, try dried cranberries. I’ve had success with those where everything else failed. (Then I felt guilty and left more cranberries, along with cotton balls for a nice warm bed, in the area where I released them.)

  60. Shaping Youth

    Mea Culpa, Twisty…Now I’m gonna beg you to delete the prior comment from me, as you’re absolutely spot on. (though if you’re gonna nit, I would’ve gone with elliptical constructs as ellipsistic is not really a word)

    Correct, I missed your amusing TOS/Guidelines, as that’s usually in my ‘ignore the legal beagles’ pile, which I should pay heed to in these ‘e-havioral’ advertising sell-your-soul to the cookie monster days. But as Kimberly Johnson said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” So delete both with a hearty mea culpa, please! Thanks! –A.

  61. speedbudget

    Okay. Thank you all for your input. I’ve been taking flaxseed as I have horribly dry skin, so I’m already on the road!

    I don’t think I can give up milk. I love milk. It’s my beverage of choice. So I’m glad I don’t necessarily have to. I will probably eat some shellfish too. I love scallops. But I am willing to give up most meats and fishes and I don’t eat too horribly much cheese to begin with. Or eggs.

    Anyway. I’m sure glad you all are here.

  62. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The addy that gives me a wiggins is the McD’s one with the weird, singing fish. I have vivid nightmares about it. Probably this is my guilty conscience, although I haven’t eaten a fastfood fish sandwich in a dog’s years.

  63. Kuleana

    The addy that gives me a wiggins is the McD’s one with the weird, singing fish. I have vivid nightmares about it.

    I actually have a friend who went vegan after seeing a chicken commercial of the cartoony variety that brought to her attention the fact that chickens are, indeed, living, breathing animals. I think they were dancing or something.

    Hey speedbudget, if you do ever give up milk, almond milk is a great substitute. I also think there are good social reasons for getting rid of dairy, as it’s totally a white person thing and most POC are lactose intolerant to some extent (and having all sorts of dairy products foisted on kids at school adds to the ever-growing list of obstacles to kids of color performing well, as many don’t know they’re lactose intolerant and don’t realize that’s why they feel sluggish or sick for a lot of the school day).

    I view quinoa as being kind of like tofu — if prepared correctly, it’s amazing, but if not, it’s an absolute disaster. I’ve had both amazing and terrible quinoa, and speaking of cranberries, the best kinds I’ve had often include cranberries.

  64. phiogistic

    I have had success catching mice in non-lethal traps baited with peanut butter. They walk into the back of the box to get the PB, the box tilts and the door closes. I pick up the whole thing, take it out into the woods, and dump out the mouse, greasy from rolling around in the PB.

    But – it might only be making them a better flavored snack for raptors, and it might give them salmonella these days, who knows?

  65. Twisty

    “ellipsistic is not really a word”

    Says who?

    Aw, I’m just yankin yer chain. But one of the reasons I have this blog is to let my verbefacience spread unchecked throughout the known universe.

  66. Twisty

    MOUSE UPDATE

    Just when I’d decided to give up and resort to less Buddhist tactics, there suddenly appeared 2 mice in my no-kill tilty-traps. You wouldn’t believe the size of these Hill Country field mice. At first I thought I’d caught a couple of Chihuahuas.

    Next time I’ll have to get up off my lazy ass and release them further than 50 feet from the bunkhouse, though. I expect those two will lose no time in hoofin’ it straight back for more peanut butter crackers.

  67. Jezebella

    You may have to drop them off in Houston if you never want to see them again.

  68. rootlesscosmo

    You wouldn’t believe the size of these Hill Country field mice. At first I thought I’d caught a couple of Chihuahuas.

    Do we have the basis for a new Urban Legend here?

  69. otoc

    speedbudget, you might want to buy organic milk, making sure the dairy is a place where the cows are free to roam rather than live trapped in cages the size of their body where they can’t turn around, etc. (that milk isn’t usually healthy for people, either). Organic milk is a pretty safe bet but organic is trendy now so you have unscrupulous people getting in on the act. I have heard that Organic Valley is a good one but I’m no expert:

    http://www.organicvalley.coop/why-organic/organic-defined/humane-treatment/

  70. Squiggy

    The first thing about milk and cheese is that it comes out of cows who have their babies taken from them. The cows grieve piteously for days, weeks, months. Then they are forced physically (the more milk out of them the more they produce. Imagine how the factory farm milkers exploit THAT) and hormonally to produce milk to the absolute maximum. Remember capitalism? When they have completely ‘used up’ the cow they send her to the slaughter house. Most often cows are so exhausted they collapse on the slaughter house floor. Then physically shoved, while collapsed, to slaughter.

    Will someone else talk about the eggs?

  71. Squiggy

    “ellipsistic is not really a word”

    I’m certain that the dictionary/word famous (and fabulous) Erin McKean would uphold Twisty’s ‘words’ as actual, true Words.

  72. Twisty

    For some reason — maybe brilliant marketing by the Dairy Council — people don’t realize that cows are mammals like everybody else. Cows left to their own devices wouldn’t naturally spend their lives as milk spigots for human consumption. You’d be surprised at how many people are amazed to learn that the production of cow’s milk is dependent on the cow’s having brought a doomed calf to term. The fate that awaits both parties is unpleasant. Contrary to the Dairy Council TV commercials, milk cows don’t speak French, or frolic happily in clover meadows, or flirt sassily with Holstein dudes. They are forcibly inseminated and fed pelleted food, hormones, and antibiotics. Their offspring are killed almost immediately after being born. Milk and cheese both have a big-ass oppression footprint, if I may be permitted to appropriate such an obnoxious term. It’s all so gross.

  73. Mog

    Let’s not forget the role of meat in the hypermasculine, rapetastic culture of Dude Nation. See: many, many commercials for fast food, sausages, and other meat products which equate meat with MANLINESS! I’ve become extremely creeped out by this conflation of manhood and greasy, cheesy piles of meat. I guess real men die of colon cancer.

  74. Jezebella

    Y’all are killing me. KILLING. ME. Because, ugh, it IS gross, the milk and the cheese. Do you have any idea what’s gonna happen if I’m vegan in Buttcrack, Mississippi? I will never be able to eat outside of my home again, or at least for as long as I’m stuck in this stupid place.

  75. incognotter

    As a dairy state milk and cheese addict I buy organic and la la la try to not notice I have made a deal with the devil. You are making that stance more and more difficult to maintain.

    As for mice, the sophisticated Philly mice (who partied mightily in my apartment during my absence of many months) love peanut butter and chocolate. Bait with peanut butter, set a chocolate chip in the middle of it, and you will catch infinite mice. I use kill traps because I am not evolved enough to keep recatching infinite hordes of interchangeable urban mice, and dog has explained to me he is a herd dog, not a rat terrier. Mice are apparently too small for the patriarch to herd.

  76. speedbudget

    Honestly, the only eggs I’ve eaten are from the lady down the road who has chickens happily roaming around the barnyard and laying happy eggs. I don’t buy eggs from the eggmills.

    And yes, I know how we get milk. I also know that it can be done humanely, and the calves don’t necessarily need to be taken too early for their development, and there are ways to milk a cow and make it a pleasant affair. I try to buy milk from those farms.

    And yes, if you release the mice near the homestead, they will just come back in, probably with friends in tow. “Dude. You will not believe this joint we found. Free peanut butter! Come on!”

  77. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I’m not a big fan o’dairy because my temperamental digestive system doesn’t tolerate it very well, so I can’t claim any moral high ground. But I get on very nicely with soy stuff. I’ve found it to be perfectly interchangeable with the stuff from animals, in recipes, in coffee, and on cereal (which I usually eat dry anyhow. I’m weird, OK?)

    And no doubt I trap the same mice repeatedly. I simply carry the bucket I caught them in down to an empty field and set them free. I think I’ve heard them whispering (“Sucker!”) and giggling among themselves. I know it’s crazy, and I think no less of anyone who deals with them more mercilessly, but I used to have mice for pets and cannot bring myself to kill them – their clever little paws, their bright eyes and neat little ears, the quick flicker of their whiskers.

  78. Squiggy

    Oh Antoinette. ‘their clever little paws, their bright eyes and neat little ears, the quick flicker of their whiskers.’
    Your non-fiction expresses my own no-kill mice policy exquisitely.

  79. Zora

    Also akin to this, people posing with their kills as though they are hanging out all friendly like: http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/03/15/taming-nature/

  80. Kuleana

    You’d be surprised at how many people are amazed to learn that the production of cow’s milk is dependent on the cow’s having brought a doomed calf to term.

    HOLY CRAP, I know! I’ve even had people who grew up on farms be surprised by this! I mean, fuck, how else does every other mammal end up giving milk? It’s because they’ve just given birth, dumbshits! If cows weren’t forced to be baby machines, they wouldn’t always have just given birth and therefore wouldn’t be lactating, and if their babies weren’t taken from them their babies would be drinking their milk. WTF is wrong with people? That’s how it works for every other mammal on the planet! Geez! (Sorry, just ranting at the world, absolutely not at anyone here.)

    I also find that I’m far less likely to get colds since I’ve given up milk.

    Also, I love how open-minded everyone here is about veganism, even those who aren’t vegan themselves! A lot of other people who I’d think would be more revolutionary about this stuff get reeeeaally defensive about veganism, and even vegetarianism. It’s incredibly bizarre.

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