Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pointless Satire

This JSF op-ed about how we should eat dogs is pretty silly. I think anyone who's ever really thought about the taboos surrounding which animals we'll eat and which we won't has come to the same conclusion, that it's to a large extent arbitrary with very little basis in reason or any kind of absolute ethical standard. But who cares?

Foer tries to imply that the meat of all the animals euthanized in shelters goes to waste, but then he immediately acknowledges that in actuality a lot of those bodies are turned into feed for other animals. He calls that an "inefficient and bizarre middle step," but of course it isn't: our pets and livestock have to eat something, after all, so why not give them the stuff we don't want?

And it's not like if someone found an unidentified cow wandering along the side of the highway, turned it over to animal control, and nobody claimed it, that it would then be chopped up into hamburger and sold at the supermarket. We're not nearly as careful about monitoring the health of the animals we eat as we should be, but we certainly don't consume "strays" of any species, and I doubt any (perfectly legal!) puppy mill comes anywhere close to satisfying the standards for farms raising animals for human consumption.

Finally, Foer avoids the almost obligatory "Chinese restaurant" jokes, but only just barely. I have no idea what I'm talking about and will gladly retract if I am wrong, but I am going to go ahead anyway and call bullshit on this little factoid: "the Sino-Korean character for 'fair and proper' (yeon) literally translates into 'as cooked dog meat is delicious.'" Sure it is. The Filipino recipe for dog stew that begins with slaughtering instructions is also way out of line, again for obvious reasons.

But yeah, anyway, retarded essay. The old rule of thumb, that any piece of satire that has to include the phrase "modest proposal" in its title or subtitle is not worth the reader's time, holds up once again.

No comments: