One of the stars of "Food Inc."
Today, I took a break from studying to see "Food Inc," a documentary that purports to expose the dark side of the American industrial food complex, and does a decently good job of doing so (particularly when it comes to the plight of illegal immigrant laborers). However, though I thought it admirable that the movie explores the problem from a range of socio-economic positions and tries not to be too judgmental of the people inside and out the system, there were some points when my jaw-dropped at the totally glaring omission.
Here: I can sum up the problem very simply. Our first introduction to the narrator features him (Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation) sitting at a diner counter, thoughtfully perusing the menu before finally landing on a cheeseburger and french fries. Let me just pause to have you think about that for a moment.
This is the guy who exposed the fast food industry. The guy who is going to spend the next two hours touring the nation's biggest producers of meat to expose the disgusting conditions, health risks, and human rights abuses caused by our food system skewed towards mass meat production. A guy who is going to quote The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. And he opens the movie chomping down on a burger? WHY?
This was my issue with the movie in a nutshell. They overview the major issues with the food system, and examine a few possible solutions and potential areas of improvement. But never, once, does anyone mention the word "vegan", "vegetarian", or "plant-based diet". (The word "herbivore" is thrown in there- in reference to an animal.) And believe me, after watching this movie, your decision to go vegetarian is going to be the #1 thing on your mind. The lack of ANY reference to vegetarianism as a viable solution or even step in the right direction isn't just an oversight, its outrageously bizarre given the context and, I think, offensive.
As a matter of fact, I struck up a conversation with a guy leaving the movie theater, who immediately brought up the fact that his first reaction with the movie was revulsion at the treatment of animals throughout the film. "I'm an athletic guy, and I always thought I needed protein... but you look at those animals, and how sick they are, and loaded up with crazy chemicals and think: I need THIS to stay healthy? There's got to be a better way." Couldn't agree more, movie-guy. Just wish "Food Inc" would have thought to mention that.
Did anyone else see the film and think differently? I would encourage others to see it, just take it with a grain of salt since it clearly equivocates on animal rights.
At any rate, the movie did make me thrilled to be vegan. And I was even more thrilled when I got home and, in no time at all, threw together this scrumptious little curry from the fabulous Swell Vegan's line-up of delicious recipes. I made her "Lower-Fat Rama Spinach Curry," subbing green beans for spinach and seitan for tofu. But it was perfectly lovely, and made a sweet background to me ranting at my parents about the industrial food complex for a few minutes.
You make people dinner and they'll forgive a lot of things. :)
Song of the Day: Fugazi- Merchandise