Thursday, February 05, 2009

On lobster

A while back, Whole Foods stopped carrying live lobsters in tanks due to customer outcry over the "cruelty" of the practice. It's totally ridiculous, of course. No one was complaining about how the lobsters were treated, or even that they were being eaten. As far as I could tell, the objection was solely that the customers' vision was sullied by the offensive sight of a living creature in captivity, waiting to be eaten. How dare Whole Foods jar their fantasy of a world where food is born in pretty packaging, far removed from any messiness like killing?

This story is just another shabby example of how far we've fallen from our roots. Removing the lobsters is window dressing, useless window dressing to placate the whiners who want to pretend that eating other creatures doesn't carry a cost or a moral responsibility. It does. I'm not saying no one should eat meat, but everyone who eats meat should be able to look its cost straight in the eye and say, "Yes, I'm willing to pay that." Beef and pork and lobster are living things, folks --- and if you can't stomach that most of us kill to eat, then stick to vegetables.

It reminds me of this poem:

Grace Be Said at the Supermarket

This God of ours, the Great Geometer,
Does something for us here, where He hath put
(if you want to put it that way) things in shape,
Compressing the little lambs into orderly cubes,
Making the roast a decent cylinder,
Fairing the tin ellipsoid of a ham,
Getting the luncheon meat anonymous
In squares and oblongs with all the edges beveled
Or rounded (streamlined, maybe, for greater speed).

Praise Him, He hath conferred aesthetic distance
Upon our appetites, and on the bloody
Mess of our birthright, our unseemly need,
Imposed significant form. Through Him the brutes
Enter the pure Euclidean kingdom of number,
Free of their bulging and blood-swollen lives
They come to us holy, in cellophane
Transparencies, in the mystical body.

That we may look unflinchingly on death
As the greatest good, like a philosopher should.

-Howard Nemerov


Churlita said...

That also goes for wearing leather. Cows don't just naturally shed their skin.

Michael5000 said...

Now that is an awesome poem.