Monday, August 27, 2007

Foodies are amoral creeps, including Michael Pollan, says Atlantic writer

Quick, read it while the Google cache still exists!

Atlantic writer B.R. Myers savages foodies, starting with Michael Pollan, for celebrating the joys of feeding while ignoring, even mocking, the suffering of animals:
The pleasures of the oral cavity are now widely regarded as more important, more intrinsically moral, and a more vital part of civilized tradition than any other pleasures ... This can be seen in the public’s toleration of a level of cruelty in meat production that it would tolerate nowhere else ...

This is a prime example of food writers’ hostility to the very language of moral values. In mocking and debasing it, they exert, with Madison Avenue’s help, a baleful influence on American English as a whole. If words like sinful and decadent are now just a cutesy way of saying “delicious but fattening,” so that any serious use of them marks the speaker as a crank ...
Agree with it or not, Myers' essay presents an intriguing argument about food and foodie culture that will keep you reading. It is presented as a review of Pollan's Omnivore's Dilmema, and presents that book in a unique new light.

The essay is supposed to be roped off only for Atlantic subscribers, but Google still offers the essay for free from its cache:

Hard to Swallow page 1 (google cache)

Hard to Swallow page 2 (google cache)
Hard to Swallow page 3 (google cache)
Hard to Swallow page 4 (google cache)

Lest you think I post this to bash Michael Pollan, I should note that Myers clearly admires his work and praises two thirds of Omnivore's Dilemma in no uncertain terms.

Myers, by the way, put himself on the map with the thrilling A Reader's Manifesto, an essay attacking literary pretension.

(Also in the same issue of the Atlantic, an essay on San Francisco's Camp Bread and the scones therein.)

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