Monday, March 23, 2009

Factory Farming and Friedrich Nietzsche

Today I finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, which took me a total of four months to read (although, in my defense, I didn't pick the book up once during the entire quarter). It was a good book, but not good for my appetite, since it delves into great detail about the evils of the industrial food system in the US. I'm not sure which image disturbed me more: the one of hormone-injected chickens stuffed six to a shoebox-sized cage in a room filled with 3,000 other identical cages; the one of thousands of sardined cows milling around in a foot-deep lake of their own shit; or the one of spare cow parts being mashed up and used as chicken feed. The bottom line is that at dinner today I was unable to bring myself to touch the chicken chunks in my chicken and noodles. It sort of makes me want to go back to Chile, where at least I can rest assured that my food is not tainted with petrochemicals, hormones, and heaps of corn. I don't think the book will affect my diet in the long run, as my high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-junk eating habits are deeply ingrained. However, it did significantly disconcert me, so that each time I eat I ponder the long, dirty chain of industrial events that gave birth to that particular food item.

Now I am reading Nietzsche's
Thus Spake Zarathustra, which is considerably less entertaining than The Omnivore's Dilemma. It is written in Biblical form (a lot of thous, thys, and verbs ending in -eth) and contains a lot of allegory and metaphor, which are literary devices I have not come into contact with for quite some time, since I don't usually read literature. I'm more into nonfiction. But I think it's about time I read Zarathustra because it is supposedly Nietzsche's greatest work, and if I claim to be a Nietzsche fan, then I need to read it. I've already read The Antichrist, The Genealogy of Morals, and The Gay Science, so this one shouldn't be too new or different. I just hope I get through it quickly so I can move on to Guns, Germs, and Steel. But since I'm such a damn slow reader, I'll probably abandon Zarathustra halfway through and never finish it. Oh, the things I put myself through to try to qualify as an intellectual...

1 comment:

  1. Guns, Germs, and Steel is one of my favorite books of all time. I hope you get to it soon!