Presentation on Eating Animals by Foer; Linden, Steffen

  • Author: Johanthan Safran Foer

He began as a vegetarian at age ten, but would be unsure of his loyalty to the practice of vegetarianism. He is known for his modernist style of writing, fiction and non-fiction, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Some consider him overrated, and his use of illustrations create an inane thought process reflected in his writing. He was born and raised on the Eastern Coast, and many of his references are inner-city related and his religion of Judaism.

  • The Structure

His structure of beginning with storytelling and concluding with storytelling was a very organized, more meaning, easier read that the majority of individuals would understand, much opposite of difficulty of reading the theories presented by Bruckner in Fanaticism of the Apocalypse.

In the chapters in between the storytelling sections, he uses contrasting words like Hiding/Seeking he is using the rhetorical strategy to make more people aware of the desperate situation while at the same time remaining hopeful. Showing both sides of the argument.

  • Storytelling and Grandmother/ All or Nothing or Something Else

“If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save” (17). Even in a desperate situation taboos still matter in terms of the food industry. He keeps bringing up the critique and juxtaposition throughout to show how irrational the food taboos are. For example dogs, and Knut the polar bear, and right outside the cage was a man selling pork.

  • Words/Meaning

Like Brukner, Foer likes to use definitions of common word used in agriculture and food, and his definitions are full context, revealing, and sarcastic. For example, the three Anthro definitions (46): anthropocentrism, anthropodenial, anthropomorphism. These definitions resonated with previous reading we have had. Brukner, Coates, and Abbey.

  • Hiding/Seeking

Began with Foer and the animal activist breaking into a factory farm story.

The monologues of a worker that used to work on a factory farm, a factory farmer, and a poultry farm factory worker. Ending with the the poultry farmer’s monologue has a connection with the pig farmers mentioned in Slices of Paradise/ Pieces of Shit. He makes reference to “ecological innocence“, he uses the myth of a past age of innocence more than previous authors we have read from.

  • Influence/Speechlessness

In this section he mostly discussed influenzas and disease effecting swine, birds, and other livestock. The idea that the animals are being bred in one direction and that is for consumption, therefore there was a lack of assurance that the animals would be immune to illness and disease.

  • Slices of Paradise/Pieces of Shit

This section utilizes the ideology of hope using an example of one of the last network of small hog farmers, and family slaughterhouses (Mario and son). This further establishes Foer’s balance of hope and fear. “In 1967, there were more than one million hog farms in the country. Today there are a tenth as many, and in the past ten years alone, the number of farms raising pigs fell by more than two-thirds” (162). The decline in jobs involving the agricultural industry, and the concentration of property into fewer hands.

Pieces of Shit covers the problem with excrement and excess pollution in our waterways (179). We have been using a system of production that has had little no interference in its potentially. RFK Jr. says that we haven’t made more efficient in fact we have made it less efficient.

  • I Do

The section of monologue in agreement with Nicolette’s treatment of livestock, also disagrees with the level of treatment given to the livestock differs from our raising of dogs and cats. They argue the animal may have a had joyous existence on the farm but they still experience the inevitable slaughter (214). “The gathering, preparation, and consumption of food in our family involved time, care, and ritual” (216).

  • Concluding Thoughts/Ideas

He seems like a modernized present form of Karl Marx, optimism of a revolution, jabbing the food production industry, and its heinous crimes against animals, and the curtain over the eyes of the human/ consumers race. He further adds that the industry will be taken down if not now then in the future inevitably; due to the involvement of individuals who agree with the wrongness of this food production process. However, he says that the individuals that continue to support this corrupt organization will have the guilt and are responsible for the cruelty bestowed on the animals being turned into meat for consumption at these factory based farms and fisheries. Example sushi.

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