Friday, January 14, 2005

Sushi as a Metaphor and the Boycott of Beef

"Sushi, sushi, sushi..." Yes, that is what we are having for dinner, but I am also having a Karen Finley moment and am recalling a very weird little rant she put to music on said subject. I like Karen and had the luck of seeing her about a decade ago. Back when extremism was still fairly new to the art world, and performance art was still misunderstood.

Karen's song uses sushi as a metaphor as she mimics the pretentiousness and wealth of the US elite, particularly the California PC who made their fortunes in the eighties.

But that's a different topic...

I had a brief run-in with a guy on a message board regarding the plight of wild horses in the US West. Someone suggested a beef boycott as a way of making an impact and to protest the slaughter of "older" wild horses, which is happening to date.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the guy got uppity about the idea and advised against mixing our issues.

I find this very frustrating since it is largely the cattlemen who have complained and called for the relocation and slaughter of the wild horses. They have over-grazed much of the prairies of the West and have made sure other, larger mammals were eradicated from the plains as not to compete with their income (i.e. cattle). The thinning down of elk, the elimination of bison, and the hunting of cougars and wolves all have been on their agenda from day one.

I am pretty irate because a lot of the horse lovers are also ranchers - hence, they may derive profit from cattle or have friends in the business - and refuse to take a stand against the industry.

Further to that, the idea of not eating beef is outlandish to them, a sacrifice their palates are not willing to make. Even if for the short term.

While I am not a beef eater, it is not vegetarianism I am advocating. I stand firm on my belief that a boycott is a useful tool. I believe the wild horse cause is directly linked to the issue of the beef industry. It isn't tough to make the correlation.

David Suzuki made a statement about how our media gives us limited bits of information and news, with no connect to broader issues and meanings. I think this is also true in the way some non-profits operate. Rather than finding the similarities in the issues they are working on, they remain polarized and short-sighted.

I realize we can't do everything - and focus should be on the central mission. But it is possible to achieve objectives without putting on our blinders for fear of being asked to make our own changes, like not eating beef for a period of time.


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