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Eating Plants

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James McWilliams is "a historian and writer who's books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong, How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer."

  • The Modern Savage (pre-order)
    Dear Readers, My forthcoming book, The Modern Savage, comes out January 6. The book attempts to expose the cruelty that prevails on small, non-industrial, “humane” farms much in the way that Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation exposed the cruelty that prevails on factory farms. Advance reviews have been optimistic. Peter Singer writes, “McWilliams (...more)
    20 Dec 2014 at 6:11am       

  • Happy Milk
    A few days ago I wrote about the connection between the pharmaceutical industry and animal agriculture. The gist of the piece was that there's so much animal flesh to keep healthy that eating animals is implicit support for an industry that already makes too much money over-medicating humans. Since then, I've realized there's another (...more)
    17 Dec 2014 at 7:33am       

  • Food Is Life
    I had an interesting conversation with my friend Bob the philosopher the other day. When I talk to philosophers, I realize how much I love philosophical thought. But I also realize that, much as you might rather coo-coo over someone else’s adorable baby rather than have one of you own, I’m glad I’m not an [...] (...more)
    16 Dec 2014 at 11:27am       

  • One Beautiful Sentence (December 11, 2014)
    “Along its quiet length white people in bright clumps moved churchward, under the windy bells, walking now and then in the random and tentative sun.” –William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, 362 –Photo: William Christenberry   (...more)
    11 Dec 2014 at 12:02pm       

  • The Animal Health Industry
      When you think of the pharmaceutical industry, animal agriculture is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But, in a telling reminder of how intricate the web of agribusiness can be, a recent report claims that the global animal health market is a multi billion dollar industry. With China on the verge of [...] (...more)
    11 Dec 2014 at 9:12am       

  • Kristof's Moral Wavering
    Nicholas Kristof has this annoying way of being the last gumshoe to arrive at the crime scene, writing about the incident as if he were the first on the scene, and delivering a completely inane verdict about what should be done to rectify the situation. This claim is especially true when it comes to his [...] (...more)
    5 Dec 2014 at 3:55pm       

  • Agricultural Fantasylands
    In the field of sustainable agriculture, there’s enough magical thinking going around to cause vertigo. I hear it from purveyors of humane meat especially. They’re going to provide “cruelty-free” meat from livestock cuddled with love, pastured pork from pigs who were never harmed before their trip to the slaughterhouse for that (...more)
    30 Nov 2014 at 9:02am       

  • Consider the Turkey
    Humans,” Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has written, “seem to take a perverse pleasure in attributing stupidity to animals when it is almost entirely a question of human ignorance.” This dictum seems especially apt with Thanksgiving arriving tomorrow. No animal, after all, has been more actively dismissed for its purported stupidity than (...more)
    27 Nov 2014 at 2:49am       

  • Cutting Through The Fat
    Food writers behave like a school of fish. The arrange themselves into a tight pack and swerve in unison, seeking safety in numbers. The newest bait is the idea that our food problems are not really food problems. They are poverty problems. I include myself in this school—note a recent column—and I join a pool of [...] (...more)
    21 Nov 2014 at 7:23am       

  • Food Snobbery
    Isn’t the fact that foodies feel compelled to write articles advising tribe members how not to sound snobby evidence that they are ipso facto snobs? I guess you could answer this question in the negative, suggesting that foodies get a bad rap, with their zeal for revitalized soil and apples picked by virgins being mistaken for [...] (...more)
    19 Nov 2014 at 9:46am       





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