Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fight the power (with lentils!)

Anybody watched all of Earthlings?

EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called "non-human providers." The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR) and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby .

I watched the trailer and the 7 minute opening sequence, and I apologize to Joaquin, but it seems misguided to me. With the disturbing "disaster is looming" music in the background, the broad jump all the way into Peter Singer derived "speciesism" (which is a lot to confront someone with right off the bat), the references to rapists and child molesters and images of Hitler and the KKK, the focus seems to be on the perverted nature of humanity, rather than the life-affirming qualities of vegetarianism, which I think is a much more compelling way to reach people. However, everyone who commented on this You Tube video would say I'm wrong.

I prefer more playful stuff Vegetarian diet could help bail out the Big Three.

Detroit automakers - and all American manufacturers - are spending a fortune on health care because the workforce is so out of shape. Two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese. And as the Big Three employees get bigger, so do their health-care bills. Unfortunately, if current trends continue unchecked, almost 90 percent of American adults will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to a recent study in the journal Obesity. As a nurse practitioner specializing in the care of people with diabetes, I know that Americans' expanding waistlines bring unprecedented epidemics of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The point being that the veggie diet, with all its various health benefits (among these, consistently well-proven diabetes prevention) would make workers much healther and cut down on all these health-care costs that employers have to pay.

Can you imagine walking up to a picket line and telling UAW workers "you can save your jobs if you go vegetarian?"


klompengirl said...

I agree that it's a lot to hit people with right from the start BUT I would argue that the very basic notion of equality among species is the fundamental issue behind the veg/non-veg debate. I think it makes sense to explain your theoretical basis before going into a long description of all the way we use and abuse animals (the rest of the movie) because it's really the whole point... the rest of the movie probably makes more sense given this introduction. There are lots of movies that talk about how badly we treat animals, but few of them go into such a detailed explanation of equality and how oppression has the same structure no matter who the players are.... ALSO, as much as this film might be overwhelming for non-veggies, it's a great way for veggies to wrap their heads around some of the arguments...

Andie said...

I've been a vegetarian for about 6 months now and still am afraid to watch Earthlings, although veg message boards all over the net exalt its glory. Like you, I prefer a positive message when it will do the trick; unfortunately I think telling the automakers to go veg will prove fruitless.

Andie said...

Update: I finally did watch Earthlings today. About 20 minutes in I was crying my eyes out and had to take a break. I was able to finish watching it later on, though, so I can tell you that the Hitler/child molester references are restricted to the opening sequence and the rest of the movie is actually just focused on the animals. There are a couple of slaughterhouse scenes in there that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, though.