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Of Media, Meat, and Men

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

4:08 PM, Apr 1, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Of Media, Meat, and Men

Over at Washington Monthly, Kathleen Geier writes about how The Ethicist columnist at the New York Times magazine is promoting an essay contest where readers argue that it is, in fact, ethical to continue eating meat. Only it seems that Geier is not amused about who is judging the contest:

We’re hip-deep into a year that’s been overflowing with virulent antifeminist backlash. Another outbreak of the epidemic as occurred, but this time it’s in a most unexpected place: the New York Times’ Ethicist column. Ethicist columnist Ariel Kaminer has announced a contest inviting omnivorous readers to write essays about why it is ethical to eat meat. The problem? The panel of luminaries she’s selected to judge the contest are ethicists Peter Singer and Andrew Light, food writers Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, and novelist Jonathan Safer Foer. All, as you may notice, white dudes.

The lack of diversity of the panel has been pointed out to Kaminer. She has claimed that there aren’t any qualified women who have the name recognition of the men on the panel. It has been suggested to her that this is untrue, and people have identified a number of highly qualified, high-profile women who would make excellent additions to the panel, for example: chef and food activist Alice Waters, nutritionist Marion Nestle, novelist Barbara Kingsolver (who wrote a book on the ethics of eating), Frances Moore Lappe (author of the mega-best seller Diet for a Small Planet), scientist and activist Vandava Shiva, investigative journalist Tracie McMillan (author of the fascinating-sounding new book The American Way of Eating), and many others. But Kaminer has dug in her heels and refused to make any changes to the panel.

I can’t tell you how depressing and demoralizing it is to still, nearly 50 years after the dawn of the second wave feminist movement, be fighting for basic issues of diversity, representation and inclusiveness. And to have to be making the case for the value of women’s full humanity and participation in society to a so-called ethicist, yet!

We have to admit that Geier had us going. The very notion of a contest justifying the ethics of eating meat judged by hipster, quasi-vegan novelists (Jonathan Safran Foer) and sociopathic academics who think infanticide is morally acceptable (Peter Singer), is a pitch perfect parody of exactly how out-of-touch the elite media are. But the coup de grâce in this particular satire is that the biggest objection one could have to this onanistic nonsense is that even though the contest is run by a woman, all of the judges she selected are white males! "Virulent antifeminist backlash"? Lulz!

This is an April Fool's joke, right?

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