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Why Kids Don’t Know What the Titanic Is

There is a page quickly making its rounds on Facebook, consisting of tweets from idiotic tweens who didn’t know that the Titanic was actually a real ship.  If there is any justice in the world, when these kids apply to college and jobs in the future, those with the power to make decisions will pull up the tweets, shred the applications, and send these kids on a spaceship headed far away from this planet.

How did this happen?  That’s what everyone wants to know.  How did we get to the point where people are so stupid that they didn’t know the Titanic was a real ship?  In my mind, the answer is pretty simple.  There’s too much technology related crap taking up kid’s time and because of that, they’ve stopped reading books.  So I’m making an argument here with two clauses, so I guess I have to *prove* them.

Okay, you’re a 12 year-old.  Your life consists of getting up in the morning, going to school, maybe doing an after school activity, eating, homework and going to bed.  So what do you do in your spare time?  You could go upload pictures of your cleavage to Facebook, show everyone what you like on the Internet via Pinterst (I spelled it wrong and I don’t fucking care), you can play Angry Birds for 5 hours straight, you can watch the world collectively make fun of people who just want to try and sing on American Idol, you can watch 16 year olds whine about their birthdays on MTV, the list goes ON AND ON AND ON.  All this crap that is basically looking at some sort of screen, reading/watching some sort of crap that does nothing to educate you.

You know what I did at that age?  I fucking read books.  I didn’t have cable, so TV was basically pointless to watch.  There weren’t cell phones and there sure as hell weren’t games on them.  The Internet wasn’t invented (or maybe it was, but it wasn’t fast enough to even load Gmail) so I didn’t waste time on a computer.  I walked to the fucking library in the shopping mall nearby and I read books.  You know what I learned from reading before I was a teenager?

-all about Steven Spielberg and the making of Jaws
-how an early special effects technician pasted cutouts of sailors onto ants and had them run around a burning model ship to film a disaster sequence
-that the “crash of 1929 didn’t involve any vehicles
-that there was a chemical leak in India that killed a LOT of people and one guy saved a bunch of people on a train by not allowing it to stop in his station
-that there are things called space shuttles and one of them exploded in 1986 and it was a national tragedy
-that there was a series of children’s books involving a kid named Fudge
-that King snakes could eat other snakes
-that there are a lot of blurry photos of UFOs

AND YES, THAT THE TITANIC WAS A REAL FUCKING SHIP


Stanley Cup Predictions – First Round

Alright, time to put my hockey knowledge to the test.  My NCAA basketball bracket was a total bust, but with fewer teams and 7 game series, there is slightly less chance for upsets.  Nothing too in depth here, but my predictions for the first round of the playoffs, starting with the Western Conference:

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (8)

On paper, this is a pretty easy choice.  The Canucks boast one of the best offenses in the game and no matter what you think about Roberto Luongo, he should be able to stop a Kings offense that has failed to live up to its potential and if he can’t, Cory Schneider is set to take over with his sparkling numbers.  While the Kings defense has been stingy and goalie Jonathan Quick could steal a game or two, I don’t see them beating the Canucks in a best of seven, especially with Daniel Sedin set to return.  Even without both Sedin’s, Vancouver’s going to take this one.  Prediction: Vancouver in 5.

St. Louis Blues (2) vs. San Jose Sharks (7)

The Blues come in giving up less than 2 goals per game.  Their transformation under Ken Hitchcock has been simply miraculous.  They have 2 strong goalies and an allow about 26 shots per game, compared to 33 for the Sharks.  The Sharks took it to the wire to even make the playoffs and they have struggled so badly on offense that I don’t see them beating the Blues in goals output.  However, I see a potential for a few OT games in this series.  The worry for the Blues is on the power play, as they are only running about 16%, while San Jose has a 21% conversion rate.  But, factor in that the Sharks have an atrocious penalty kill (2nd to last in the league) and I see those factors cancelling each other out.  I see the Sharks getting two wins, but that won’t be enough to save the team from getting blown up in the off-season as ownership realizes there is no grit/leadership in the dressing room to carry the team to a Stanley Cup.  Prediction: St. Louis in 6.

Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (6)

Man, I had to think about this one for a while.  The problem is that Phoenix simply lacks the offensive weapons to take over a series.  The Coyotes play strong defensively, and Mike Smith sure has been hot coming in, but they have a hard time coming back after going behind.   But I wonder if Chicago get it together on defense enough to actually get a lead.  Offensively, they are having some issues Their powerplay is atrocious and another potential issue for Chicago is their penalty kill, which is under 80%.  Part of this has been due to inconsistent goaltending, which is not a problem the Coyotes have.  This series could probably go either way, but Phoenix did own Chicago during the regular season.  I see a few OT games in this one.  Prediction: Phoenix in 7.

Nashville Predators (4) vs. Detroit Red Wings (5)

This is the year for Nashville, in that they must produce if they want to convince Ryan Suter and Shea Weber to stay.  They are the elite shutdown D-pairing in the league and with Hal Gill added to the backline (although he is questionable as I write this), the Predators look solid defensively.  In my mind, it really depends on if the Predators can take advantage of home ice and if Alexander Radulov shows up to bring the goods.  Detroit has an AWFUL road record so I can see them dropping the first two games on the road.  They have struggled lately and will be facing the best powerplay in the league.  I feel like getting the first goal will be key for games in this series.  Prediction: Nashville in 7.

And now for the Eastern Conference:

New York Rangers (1) vs. Ottawa Senators (8)

Quite a few people see a potential for an upset, but I don’t buy it.  The Rangers have a lights-out goalie and the 3rd best defense in the league.  The Senators have been a surprise team, led by a superb defenseman in Karlsson.  They actually score more goals than the Rangers as well, but I see that trend ending this series.  The Rangers just have too much talent and momentum to get upset.  The Senators could steal a game or two, but goaltending is going to be an issue for them compared with King Henrik.  Gaborik is obviously going to have to produce, as is the Ranger powerplay which needs to get a LOT better to win the Cup.  But the Rangers do well when scoring first and can protect leads.  I see them winning this round pretty easily.  Prediction: New York in 6.

Boston Bruins (2) vs. Washington Capitals (7)

Some experts are picking an upset here, but I’m no expert, and I think it comes down to Tim Thomas outplaying whoever is in goal for the Caps.  Washington snuck into the playoffs with some help from Buffalo, so one could argue that they’re peaking, but I don’t see the lack of commitment disappearing suddenly for the playoffs.  The Bruins have a scary good offense when it is clicking and the Caps have been plagued by defensive issues since well, since forever it seems.  Special teams seems like a washout, so it comes down to drive.  Boston wants to repeat and expects to make it there.  Washington thinks they can surprise, but I think their surprise came when they performed so poorly all season.  Prediction: Boston in 5 with at least one blowout of the Caps.

Florida Panthers (3) vs. New Jersey Devils (6)

I’m not sure if I would pick the Panthers to beat Ottawa if that was their matchup.  Martin Brodeur has been too good the Devils and their offense is getting strong seasons from Kovalchuk, Parise and David Clarkson.  Florida is going to need to score a lot of goals and I don’t see that happening as they lack a 30-goal scorer.  Too bad though, as they are a promising team that has gotten strong goaltending all around (I think Jakob Markstrom is going to be a solid #1 in a year or so for someone).  New Jersey has the best penalty kill in the league, so I don’t see Florida winning the special teams battle.  Better luck next year.  Prediction: New Jersey in 5.

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (5)

The matchup I love to hate.  As a Penguins fan, I’m confident we can beat any team 4 out of 7 times, but the Flyers are such a huge rivalry that it makes it a simply brutal first round matchup.  Whoever comes out of this is going to be hurting, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the playoffs, unless say they match up against the Senators (unlikely).  What’s left to say about these teams?  The Penguins have the scariest offense in the game with an absurd power play.  When they are firing on all cylinders, they are a Cup team.  However, the Flyers are strong, nasty and have plenty of talent.  Scott Hartnell has taken his game to another level and is poised to take over the first round.  My hope is that we avoid any injuries to key players and win the battle on special teams and that Philadelphia’s goaltending playoff woes continue here.  Here’s to possibly the best series we’ll see this year.  Prediction: Penguins in 7.


A (questionable) study on barefoot running…actually it’s just dumb

*Note, if you’re pressed for time/have ADD, read the first few paragraphs and then go to my conclusion at the bottom.

I was reading Men’s Health and came across the following article on barefoot running.   I won’t rehash the article, but based on the study it cites, is proposes that that barefoot running is no more efficient (meaning the amount of energy you’re expending) than running in shoes and in fact, it might increase your energy consumption.  Based on what I read about the study, I was a little skeptical, so I pulled up this article, which goes into more detail.  Now, if you read that article, what it really comes down to is the following conclusion:

Running in lightweight shoes requires 3-4 percent less energy than running barefoot. 

So we’re going to do a thought experiment, go through the study and see how they got to this conclusion and if it’s really anything you should be paying attention to (i.e. be featured in Men’s Health).

First, we’ll start with the research question.  Is barefoot running more efficient?  Well, more efficient than what?  The study envisions the efficiency argument as “how much oxygen people consume (and how much carbon dioxide they produce)” while they run.  That’s a fine measure for me.  However, let’s be clear about what we’re testing.  Barefoot vs. lightweight shoes, barefoot vs. regular shoes?  The point of barefoot/minimalist running is that it’s supposed to increase efficiency by encouraging midfoot strikes and good running form.  Advocates argue that having less support allows your foot to land less on the heel (which acts as a brake and decreases efficiency, and was advocated by Nike and other inventors of the popular running shoes with tons of cushioning) and more on the midfoot, which increases your stride and allows you to run more efficiently.  Basically, land on your midfoot=get that 180 stride goal.  So really, what I think the researchers first missed is that point of running barefoot/minimalist.  It’s easier to get to the 180 stride goal, thus is more efficient.

What I think they should have done rather was track the amount of energy spent maintaining the 180 stride goal in shoes as opposed to running barefoot or in minimalist shoes.  But they did not, so we’ll move on.

So they get a bunch of males who are experienced barefoot runners and have them run on a treadmill.  There’s the first problem.  The running mechanics for running on a treadmill versus running outside are totally different.  A treadmill forces you to keep up with the speed of the machine while running outside forces you to propel yourself forward while the ground stays in one place.  But we’ll move on.

They had the runners run in yoga socks on the treadmill, and counted that as “barefoot” running.  Then, they had them use shoes.  The shoes they wore were Nike minimalist shoes that clocked in at 150 grams.  STOP.  The shoes they are using as the “shoe” control are in fact, designed to encourage a midfoot strike and 180 strides, JUST LIKE RUNNING BAREFOOT.  This part of the study is poorly designed because the appeal of barefoot running and the barefoot running movement isn’t founded on being an alternative to MINIMALIST SHOES that weigh 5oz per shoe, but rather, an alternative to standard running shoes that weigh around 14oz per shoe.

But, moving on.  The runners run in barefoot and with the Mayfly shoe.  Then the researchers start to add weights to their feet, I assume in order to simulate the weight of wearing a shoe.  So what happens is, they have people running in socks, they attach weights to the socks equal to that of the Mayfly shoe, and they compare THAT to running IN THE SHOE!  It’s a ridiculous comparison.  Running with weights attached to your foot in equal amount to a shoe, does not equal the same mechanic/situation as running with the shoe.  From the article:

When subjects ran barefoot with an additional 150 grams of weight added to their feet, about the same amount of weight as a Mayfly running shoe, they were 3 to 4 percent less efficient than when they wore the Mayfly, according to the study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.  The reason why is the subjects of another study at the Locomotion Lab. The research has yet to be completed, but Franz said that he thinks the drop in efficiency may have to do with the need for barefoot runners to compensate when the cushioning of the shoe is removed.

NO.  The reason why is probably because attaching weights to a foot is not the same as having it run in a shoe.  This study really does nothing to solve the debate on whether running barefoot is *better* than running in regular running shoes and even if its methods were better, its findings are really insignificant to the average person who is thinking about switching from 14oz to 5oz shoes.

Really, the problem is that they are simply misunderstanding the barefoot claim.  The barefoot claim is really more of a midfoot/stride/form claim.  It says that in order to hit the optimal stride, you should run in a light shoe that encourages a midfoot vs. heel strike and 180 strikes per minute.  These researchers are trying to pull apart the mass vs. shoe impact, which is stupid because the barefoot purpose is not to make you more efficient than running with weights LITERALLY attached to your socks (like they did in the study).

Conclusion:

Pulling apart (studying) the weight vs. shoe mass effects is STUPID because the separation of the two NEVER occurs in real life.  Runners add shoes, then they add weight.  No one considering switching to barefoot running is going to add WEIGHT WITHOUT SHOES.  This study is dumb.


Wednesday’s What NOT To Watch – The Hunger Games

First, the hiatus from blog posts can be explained by a week long ’bout with bronchitis and a week long vacation in Florida.  Thus, while I was sick, I wasn’t drinking any beer to review or really doing anything fun, and while I was in Florida I was too busy to really type anything.  BUT, I did end up seeing “The Hunger Games” at a midnight showing (not voluntarily) and came away with some thoughts in general about well, how the movie really BLEW IT and basically ruined any hope for the kind of decent movie that the source material (and I mean that in the loosest sense of the word) really deserves.

A few things first.  I have not read “The Hunger Games” or any of the sequels, nor do I plan to.  Also, I felt really FREAKIN old in the theater because everyone around me was a teenage girl complaining about detention.  Yup, detention.  But given that demographic, it makes total sense that “The Hunger Games” scored an assload of money and is well on its way to being a crazy successful franchise.  But the problem with “The Hunger Games” is that it was made to score an assload of money from high school girls.

What am I talking about?  Well, the plot of “The Hunger Games” is really nothing we haven’t seen/read before.  “Battle Royale” did it with a novel and movie adaptation, Stephen King did it twice with “The Running Man” and “The Long Walk” and there are countless action pics involving Ice-T and Jean Claude Van Damme that involve humans hunting humans for sport.  So it’s not offering anything new.  Example, here’s the IMDB logline for “The Hunger Games”:

Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.

Wow.  On its surface, that sounds like it could be really intense with the potential to be really deep.  Kids, killing each other on live television, at the behest of the government.  A ton of possible social commentary and avenues to explore.  The problem is that “The Hunger Games” takes a “Twilight” approach to it, which not only means that everything is watered down into PG-13 teenybopper format, but no one could really make a similar movie that provides an epic take on the “fight to the death” plot, without being compared to “The Hunger Games.”  The future of the genre has been ruined.  Here’s how “The Hunger Games” really screwed up.

1) It takes place during the 74th or 76th (who really cares) Hunger Games, meaning it’s been going on for years.  I understand that the plot of the series is to watch the fall of the Capitol (probably, seeing as I haven’t read them) but a really intriguing movie would involve the first ever Hunger Games, and chronicle the uprising that LEAD to the games.  I mean, someone had to come up with this as a way to either give money to the districts or keep them in check (it’s never really clear what the fuck the purpose of the games are) or entertain the rich ass populace.  I want to see the first games, how the public reacts, how the contestants react, if it really achieves what the government wants it to.  I mean imagine if someone were to institute that, what would the reactions be?  Protests?  More rebellion?  Which leads me to:

2) The government/capitol doesn’t really seem that oppressive.  Sure, they make allusions to them giving food for participating in the games, which I guess makes them dicks and sure, some of the districts basically look like they’re the setting from “Winter’s Bone,” but they are a pretty lame government for this type of movie.  The guards or police force are dressed in white outfits that make them look as unintimidating as possible, they don’t carry guns, and they never really do anything oppressive on camera.  They are SHITTY VILLAINS.

3) It’s not violent enough.  I understand that in this day and age, we are wary of kids killing kids (see, every school shooting ever).  However, if you’re going to make a movie about that exact subject, I think the best way is to really embrace it and say, if this were to happen, this is what it would look like.  If we DON’T want to eventually get to that point, then we should probably address it in a different way than “The Hunger Games.”  Like 8 kids die in the first minute of the battle.  I don’t even remember what they looked like, there was no blood, no screaming, no pain, and it happened in such quick cuts, you couldn’t really tell what was happening.  If you had a battle in which kids were killing each other with sharp objects, people would be screaming in agony, limbs would be all over the place, it would be hell.  Am I advocating that we really make a “Saving Private Ryan” version of “The Hunger Games”?  I’m not sure, but I feel if you are going to tackle the subject of a televised slaughter of 12-18 year olds, then fuckin man up and face it realistically.  Which leads me to:

4) There is almost no discussion of the televised nature of the games.  Sure, there are cameras placed all over the battlefield, but they seem to be more used for the mission control people to add crazy monsters and fireballs and stuff.  First, if you have 24 kids trying to kill each other, I feel like you don’t need fireballs or giant dogs.  Let the kids go at it.  It felt like “Jurassic Park” or something once they started adding the dogs/beasts.  As if the thought of getting killed by your best friend wasn’t scary enough.  But back to the televised aspect.  There is a commentator sort of in Stanley Tucci, but there are no reaction shots of anyone watching the games, we don’t get any sort of sense of who/how many/where people watch it.  Do people go to bars?   Watch them on their Iphones?  Have viewing parties?  There are references to betting, but no scenes of them.  There are references to sponsors, but so much more could’ve been done with them.  IF they had used the movie to explore the first Hunger Games, then you could really explore the reactions of people watching, like, what the fuck are the parents of these kids doing?  They are dying on national TV apparently, but they die, cannons go off, that’s it.  They missed a HUGE opportunity here for social commentary, but I guess when you’re trying to make money off of a movie about kids killing kids, you can’t really explore the “sick fuck” aspect of the people watching kids killing kids.

5) It doesn’t feel real enough for me to give a shit.  Because of all the stuff I listed above, it’s obvious that the movie really doesn’t take it’s subject matter that seriously.  The games are just a setting for a teenage love story.  The rich populace looks like extras from “The Wizard of Oz” crossed with Lady Gaga and the Oompa Loompas from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  They’re laughable and so they don’t seem human, so therefore, I don’t really care who they are and we never see any reactions of them even watching the games.  One of my favorite moments from “Gladiator” (a movie that I didn’t really enjoy overall) is watching Commodus react to the games, sticking out his tongue in an almost sexual enjoyment of the mayhem in front of him.  That guy enjoyed savagery, these lame asses from the Capitol, they’re just WEIRDOS.  And then we don’t see enough of the poor ass districts to really care that much about them either.

To sum it up, Michael Bay basically ruined the attack on Pearl Harbor by focusing on a love triangle.  “The Hunger Games” does the same fucking thing and ruins a really interesting/promising premise by Twilight-ing it up.  And just like no one is ever going to chance making a great movie about Pearl Harbor, no one is going to chance making a great/epic movie about oppressive governments ruling over televised battles to the death.  Maybe that’s a good thing, but shame on “The Hunger Games” for screwing it up.


A Quick F*** You to George Lucas

Dear George Lucas,

I remember when I first came across “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”  My friend Alex had a bunch of VHS tapes in his den where his father had recorded movies from the rental store onto VHS tape.  We constantly looked through these tapes for something to watch and one day we saw a tape that had the words “Star Wars” scrawled in blue pen across the label.  As I was a young boy, the word “war” was interesting, as was the possibility that it could happen in space.  So we popped it in.

I was hooked.  There was nothing like it.  The ships, the stormtroopers, the laser blasters, the battle high above the Death Star.  But perhaps most of all, I was amazed by the creatures.  The aliens in the cantina on Tatooine, the characters in Jabba’s palace.  They were amazing.  And most importantly, they were REAL.  Yoda was touchable.  The pit of the sarlacc had real teeth, they were gross and intimidating.  As someone who later became obsessed with all sorts of creature effects like Stan Winston’s creations in “Aliens” and “Jurassic Park” this was a great moment of movie magic in my life.  Your original trilogy, before the computer generated special editions, was MAGIC.

Then you had to ruin it.  You went back and added new effects.  Some of them were good, such as the snow monster in “Empire”, I liked seeing more of him.  But I didn’t enjoy seeing Jabba in the hanger of Episode IV and I didn’t enjoy the addition of the Venus Flytrap beak to the Sarlacc in “Jedi”.  You ruined something that was good, you ruined something that was tangible.

Then you went ahead and made Episode I, and you included the misguided character of Jar Jar Binks.  I think I know what you were trying to do, put in some comic relief, test your your computer generated technology, maybe appeal to a wider fan base.  But Jar Jar was horrible and this was the first indication that you’ve lost your magic.  The magic that got me hooked on “Star Wars” when I first watched it as a kid.

But what REALLY made me see how much you’ve screwed up, how horribly WRONG you went, was not another science fiction film, but a movie about a creator like yourself, someone who made magic out of creatures.  This film was “Being Elmo” which chronicles the journey of Elmo’s puppeteer, Kevin Clash.

Seeing Elmo, seeing the love put into this character, seeing Elmo in action, the way people can touch him, the way he can dance and adjust his eyes because someone is controlling him, it’s magic.  It’s the magic you once had, when you used real puppets, tangible creatures, when you didn’t even know about computer generated creatures.  I cried when I saw Elmo hugging a girl whose DYING WISH was to meet Elmo.  Tell me the last time someone requested to meet Jar Jar Binks?

So let me close by saying it’s really sad to see what has happened to you.  You started off with so much promise.  You made magic and then you took it away.  Your first films had the imagination of someone who truly cared, now it just seems like you’re going through the motions, making creatures just for the hell of it.  My kids will love Elmo, they won’t love Jar Jar Binks.

Sincerely,

A disappointed former fan.


A Post About Rich, Skinny, White People Masturbating

*so you’re probably wondering what the hell the title of this post means.  You’re gonna have to read on to find out.  At least it got your attention

I came across the following article on The Atlantic‘s website about eating animals and wanted to share some of my ideas on the meat industry and the “ethics” of food.  To quickly rehash the argument put forth by James McWilliams, he argues that the factory farm industry is actually gaining an endorsement from the “humane” and “sustainable” meat movement because inherent in the movement is the fact that people want to eat meat and the factory farm industry will always be able to provide it more efficiently and for a lower price.  To quote him, he says:

So long as consumers continue to eat meat, eggs, and dairy — even if they are sourced from small farms practicing the highest welfare and safety standards — they’re providing, however implicitly, an endorsement of the products that big agriculture will always be able to produce more efficiently and cheaply.

As someone who recently bought chicken breast from the Honest Weight Co-op for $10 a pound, who knows that I can buy chicken at Price Chopper for about $3 -$5 a pound (according to this week’s ad) I agree with this last statement.  My purchase of meat acknowledges that.

Mr. McWilliams says as much in his article, so I guess we agree on this.  However, he finishes by saying:

We’ll never beat Big Ag at its own game. Those of us concerned with the myriad problems of industrial agriculture will make genuine progress toward creating agricultural systems that are ethical, ecologically sound, and supportive of human health only when we pursue alternatives that are truly alternative. The most immediate and direct way to take a step in this direction is to stop eating animals.

So according to McWilliams, the “alternative” to Big Ag, is NOT eating humane meat.   But does he explicitly say what the “truly alternative” alternative is (WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?) or describe it in any way that makes sense?  No.  And I am so frustrated because I am truly at a loss to envision this “truly alternative” alternative.   Why?  Because here’s what it CAN’T be:

*a world in which no one eats meat, because that’s just fucking absurd, there are over 300,000,000 people in this country and there is a better chance of me growing to 7 feet tall before I die than this EVER happening
*a world in which there is NO factory farming and all local farms.  Because even places like the coop admit that they can’t stock only local meat because there simply would not be enough to meet demand (see, people WANT/LIKE to eat dead animals, plus, we all can’t afford $10 a lb chicken (let me state for the record that the chicken I am talking about was bought by my gf using a gift card, so it’s not like we really even paid for it)
*a world in which we all eat processed tofu that is engineered to taste like dead animals.  Because that really wouldn’t be ecologically sound or that supportive of human health considering what is added to tofu to make it taste/resemble real animal protein, plus these products are incredibly expensive

My point?  There is no other alternative.  This is the world we live in.  A world in which A LOT of people eat meat because there are so damn many of us and animal protein is a filling, healthy (let’s just agree that eating a piece of chicken won’t kill you and that eating a leaf of spinach won’t make you live forever), and CHEAP source of food.  It’s a world that has a mixture of factory and local farms because there are people who want cheap meat and there are people who can afford $10 a lb chicken.  A world in which people choose not to eat meat but then choose to eat products that TASTE like meat.

*speaking of meat, here is a great link where an editor from Serious Eats comments on the ease of meat, thus making my point that for most Americans who don’t have time or money, but have kids to feed, meat is the obvious choice.  The solution then is not less meat, but a change in social circumstance

So where does that leave the food movement?  Where does that leave Michael Pollan (a man who admits that when he gives talks on eating healthy he talks almost exclusively to people who don’t really need his advice) and Barbara Kingsolver (an author who had the luxury of raising her own food for a year and got a book deal out of it)?  A giant, rich, skinny, white person circle jerk.  That’s where.  It’s a world in which liberal haves (who are just as annoying as conservative haves) sit around and bond over causes that they have in common that they are fortunate enough to support.  It’s easy to pat yourself on the back because you shop at the co-op and it’s easy to write about your “perfect” agricultural world when your lifestyle allows you to essentially create a food bubble to surround yourself in.  But it’s all just masturbation.  These choices aren’t changing the social forces that created the “Big Ag” that you so despise and if McWilliams is right, then it’s only making “Big Ag” bigger.

Now, I’m not saying that if you don’t eat meat you should suddenly start.  I’m not saying that as a personal choice, the choice to not eat meat or eat “humane” meat is wrong.  Do what you wish, more power to you.  But PLEASE, PLEASE, can we stop pretending like this “food” movement is some sort of revolution that will change our society?  Stop with the books on how to eat in ways that will REALLY change the world.  Eat what you ant, but get rid of your bombastic dreams and rhetoric about its consequences.  Gay marriage didn’t kill the dinosaurs and the choices we make about what we eat won’t bring them back.