Culture and Society
The wheat is starting to turn, flashes of deep gold streaking through all that tall, waving green. Before we moved to Colorado, I used to think wheat grew golden yellow, like in all the photos I’d seen. I suspect most city folk think that. They don’t realize that wheat grows up green and living and then dies, and that’s when it becomes useful.
An Interview With John Robbins On The Great American Food Machine
We call some animals pets and other animals dinner because our culture says that some animals are part of our circle of compassion and others are not. To some extent, an animal that is destined for human consumption is exempt from the laws restricting cruelty to animals. In other words, you can do anything you want to an animal as long as you’re going to eat it. There are Filipino communities in the United States whose members carry on their cultural tradition of eating dogs, and many people who don’t think twice about the treatment of veal calves find it very objectionable to see a dog treated that way.
“ ‘Black rage’ — it’s a new defense for the Long Island Killer, sort of like an insanity plea,” my dad says as he drives us toward Brooklyn from La Guardia Airport. I have just arrived with my daughter, Rose, from northern Idaho for our annual week-long visit and I’m anxious for news.
Many days Ann took the coat out of the front closet, placed it over her arm and stroked the white fur. She imagined herself standing at the North Pole surrounded by clean white snow as far as the eye could see in all directions, snow sifting from the colorful flickering sky and falling softly around her in the antiseptic cold, falling and collecting smooth and without footprint to the horizon. In the frozen wastes of her imagination, under the aurora borealis of her wounded central nervous system, she could achieve numbness.
Winter in Dallas, Chuck and Morgan and me all tucked into an efficiency apartment with a murphy bed, smoking marijuana in a large walk-in closet that also doubles as my writing space because Shorty the landlord says if he catches you smoking pot he’ll throw you out. Shorty is king of this straight baptist red-brick apartment and square lawn in the middle of a block of black chicano low-riders and jesusfreak vans with holy fire painted in orange running off the front fenders, gunshots at night and sirens in the alley behind the supermarket, taxi driver asking on the corner have you seen that blonde hooker that’s always here, flat brown bottles on the sidewalk when I walk to work past the park in the morning, everybody asking me are you sure you should be walking to work?
As a child — until the age of 29 — I put more trust in my animal friends than I did most People. Long ago, this made very good sense: my mother was cold, distant, and formal, my father was loving, but unsure of how to express his affection. I got little from either. I was the youngest of 5 children and my older brothers and sister were usually away, playing with their own friends or attending boarding school. I was alone.