I was trying to grab some free time to send a couple comments about your "Simulacrum Republic" (powerful article!), when you handed me this whammy of your "Revenge of the Mutt People" today. I say "whammy" because, among others this article did this for me: first, I cried. Especially at the beginning paragraphs.
Then presto! I got put off chicken for good tonight. You can take the "credit". I already had not eaten any pork for some twenty-five years or more now (quite a few very cogent reasons, and you no doubt can summon most of them to your mind. I have not eaten any beef for more than thirty years. And I cannot walk past the meat section at Safeway without revulsion and a great feeling of pity and anger at the waste for all that pitiful animal life terminated in these ways. I've learned to plan my grocery trips so I don't go past those counters. But I still KNOW they are there, with their awful offerings, and my insides twist.
So you did it for chickens for me, now. I will stay away from chickens from now on. And I'll survive very well, and no doubt will be the healthier for it, away from the saturated fats, the hormones, the antibiotics, contaminated meat, etc. etc., and barf on the whole damn stinking meat raising process.
And if people restrained themselves, and ate sensibly (not those huge sickening slabs of meat) the whole damn process could be so diminished (looking for the right word here), and even made unnecessary. But I guess that would cost/take away jobs, and people need to do some work (as you say, no matter how ghastly), and anyway, I am a realist, and this ain't ever happening here no way, no how.
When I started reading your stuff tonight, I almost decided to stop, because I know the horrors that go on with great regularity and you were so obviously heading that way. But, I was not aware of anything as horrible as your description of the hog butchering -- and I'll say no more, for I still feel very upset. I feel upset a lot about animals, have for years and years. This is NOT a one-time reaction. Just more piling on. I am NOT reproaching you. Reality is reality, and often it is just plain horrible.
Now, for the Simulacran Republic: I feel very grateful that there are those of us who are not in the least influenced by all the electronic flickering, especially the commercials. I observe that you yourself know exactly when Lenny Briscoe (who he? oh, I see -- a detective, whoopee) comes on on your TV and may I point out how easily you seem to have summoned that name? Tee hee, Joe. To me, the name does not ring a bell.
To me, the United States has become a grotesque distorted artificial monstrosity. I too dream of going somewhere else. I might yet sell my house (it's all in MY name and paid for, except for a reverse mortgage -- I maneuvered well at the divorce -- long story; and the housing market is still pretty hot) and take off. But I am getting on (72 as of December last, and that neuropathy I have), and there are my two dogs, still young, whom I will not abandon for anything -- so that's a problem. I can't see a quarantine for them, if such is necessary, for months and months. It'll kill them, and maybe me. I have shared my life with some 14 dogs so far -- two-thirds of them strays who adopted me. (They showed extremely good taste, smarts and discrimination, n'est-ce pas? In other words, they sure spotted a sucker when they saw one. That is, yours truly.)
George W. Bush is indeed the worst terrorist of them all -- along with this country he is reshaping into this monstrosity (well, further along the road to that. It had well been on the way already, for a long while, but things are getting worse all the time.
I have many observations about what "life" has become here, especially from my perspective of having gone through World War II "over there". Belgium, Nazi occupation for four years; being a stateless Russian refugee, an extremely precarious political way to be. Scary as can be. My having to shift from speaking Russian to French in school very abruptly -- almost brutally, as I had not been taught French at home. Some home! The whole family was a typical straight out of a Chekov dysfunctional Russian family. Like my mother telling me after the war that we had been scheduled to go to a concentration camp (at the time when the Russian front was going badly for the Germans) and she had talked the local Kommandatur out of it. She spoke fluent German, Russian, French and English.
I found all this from a book written about my family (my mother talked about these things very little) -- mostly about my grandfather, a Russian writer with some 140 books. (This book I found, in Dutch, by a Russian literature professor in Louvain, Belgium, who somehow glommed onto granpapa and his works, such as they were. I first saw the book in 2001; another long story). But grandpapa was a hack, sold little, and died a pauper, and senile. He had for a short while been in Tolstoy's entourage, in the dacha and country estate -- Iasnaya Polanya, or something like that -- where Tolstoy played at being the quintessential Russian peasant, and grandpapa wrote a book about Tolstoy. I have it here, along with some of his other books, but I can hardly read them. They are in "old Russian", and anyway, I'm rusty.
About how my perspective on the US has changed 180 degrees over the years, I still remember the feelings of hope and awe when I arrived in New York (some of the awe at the filth in the streets, unlike where I had lived in Brussels) and I feel the urge to write it all out. I feel I have quite a few things to contribute, but then I hesitate. No confidence in my writing. But confidence in my opinions.
I could go on and on, but this is long enough, and I have no doubt you get one whole bunch of emails -- so I'll quit. I wonder whether you and I might talk sometimes, but it'll have to be on your dime (heh heh) for I have no cell nor long-distance service, despite considerable pressure having been applied by the local phone company and others. I resist sales pressure in the most marvelous efficient way. For example, the way I went about my purchase of the cheapest dryer in the Maytag store here, followed by the purchase of a ditto washer. The poor salesman knew when he was licked. When I came in for the washer, some months after the dryer purchase, he took one look at me and took me straight away to the cheapest washer in the store, no questions asked, no pressure, nada. Oh, I'm GOOD. I do not need a washer that looks like the deck of the Starship Enterprise, all blinking lights and different complicated stupid unnecessary cycles. All brainwashing, smoke and mirrors there also -- part of the simulacrum.
The now totally vegan me. (Thank you. Thank you very much.)