Let’s talk about meat

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Just awhile back when I was on the Toronto subway I saw this ad that said, “Why love one but eat the other?” It showed a picture of a dog and a cow, and listed some traits of cows that were similar to dogs. The poster was promoting a vegetarian diet, and persuading viewers to not eat meat. As an owner of a dog, the message from the poster really spoke out to me. So I decided to choose a different type of diet, and I became a vegetarian. Unfortunately, being surrounded by a family that constantly eats meat affected my vegetarian course, so I soon went back to eating meat. Well, not all meat. That is to say, I don’t eat beef anymore, I eat less pork, and I’ve turned to organically farmed meat.

Meat is the easiest and fastest way for people to gain protein and iron (Yates-Doerr, 11). Meat is in so much demand that the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to get meat on the market is to kill animals in inhumane ways, to add antibiotics to increase the meat portion, and factory farming. As Emily Yates-Doerr says, “when meat is depicted as an amalgamation of nutrients, the nuances of human/animal relationships and the variations between the specific animal bodies that are eaten, drop out of relevance” (Yates-Doerr, 14). For us, it only seems natural that we buy and eat the meat that is set out for us at places like grocery stores and restaurants. Where it comes from, where it’s been, how it’s made, all fade into the background.

“People everywhere –even those suffering from malnutrition- make decisions about eating on the basis of taste or tradition and not solely on the basis of nutrients, greatly complicating a nutrient-focused notion of what is required to sustain life” (Yates-Doerr, 14). For example, eating a hamburger at McDonalds has become a sort of tradition for many families. Their parents ate there and it’s convenient, so now the children eat there. Taste and tradition continues to overshadow health conscience.

We value our meat but we don’t seem to value the animals we obtain the meat from. These animals are degraded and afflicted continuously because most of us choose to ignore where our meat comes from or how it’s produced. Now, I’m not saying that all meat is factory farmed with inhumane practices. Indeed, there are many farms that value their animals and don’t use antibiotics. Yes, they’re named organic or even halal meat. These words may seem scary, not cool, non-prestigious or not modern. But when you put a little time aside to make this small difference, then, you start making a big change.

Industrial meat that is packaged, branded, and advertised often consists of ingredients that are made from a variety of places and is sent around the globe more than once (Clark, 2004, 4). “We might, then, say punks consider industrial food to be extraordinarily cooked. Punks, in turn, preferentially seek food which tends to be more raw; closer to its wild, ‘organic’” (Clark, 2004, 4). So the next time you want to buy that steak for tonight’s barbeque, take a stand, choose healthy, choose organic, and become a punk because in the end it all comes back to you, the consumer.

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References

Clark, Dylan. “The Raw and the Rotten: Punk Cuisine,” Ethnology (2004): 19-31.

Yates-Doerr, Emily. “Meeting the demand for meat?” Anthropology Today (2012): 11-15.

Let’s break banal realities; a little game called Braid

I must admit, I’m a sucker for games, movies and other forms of entertainment that follow conventional themes and genre. I value them because they allow me to live within my bubble of expectations which then allows me to garner a sense of control over things. For example, when I want a happy ending kind of story I will go watch or play something that allows me that experience. However, I am also someone who seeks that which will break conventions; something unique and innovative, something that goes against my expectations and surprises me enough to allow me to process it and think about it. Because let’s admit it, the conventional can be boring when you’re seeking to become vibrant and different in a world of human robots. Therein, I put down SkyrimFable, Super Mario and etc. I decided to try some new games and movies I would not usually play or watch…

A game which seeks to tie gaming to older literary traditions:

In the article, “Fabulously Procedural: Braid, Historical Processing, and the Videogame Sensorium,” Patrick Jagoda brings up Henry Jenkins’ idea of “spatial storytelling.” In relation to Johnathon Blow’s game Braid, I think this is central to analyzing the game in relation to its unique, yet distorted ending. Braid’s game-play and ‘enacted narrative’ allow the player to believe that Tim is truly on his way to save the princess, as is the usual convention of these types of games. However, I call the ending distorted because this game distorts the usual expectation of the player as Tim turns out to be the villain (and a psychopath).

Jenkins’ idea of enacted narrative is one way to take apart Braid’s ending because there is a wide range of features in the game’s environment which advance or delay the narrative. The features reinforce the fact that Braid is not a typical puzzle-platformer, which is essential in realizing that saving the princess was never the game’s motif. For example, as Jagoda points “despite the initial left-to-right placement of the lecterns, the player has the option of reading these texts in a right-to-left order that produces a different kind of narrative—another liberty that the game takes with temporal sequencing.” (Jagoda 750) When I read this, I thought to myself that if I had taken my time with the game instead of trying to achieve all the rewards, I could have grasped a better understanding of the game and would have even enjoyed it. With Jagoda’s specific breakdown of such a feature in the game, you could clearly see that Braid turns away from the traditional Western form of reading and promotes the form of reading in other traditions such as Japanese and Hebrew (especially with the way a manga is read). Blow’s game was never about rewards or a conventional narrative where the hero saves the princess. In reality, Blow’s Braid is a brilliant game which challenges conventions and print expectations while uniquely connecting digital games together with older literary traditions.