Doug Responds to Things Spotted on the Internet: Someone maybe doesn't get banned book week and just one point about meat-substitutes

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Summary: Banned Books Week gets some flack, but at least one piece of flack feels weird. Also, while I get what some people are saying about meat-substitutes, let's be honest for a moment.

BLOT: (01 Oct 2014 - 08:27:08 PM)

Doug Responds to Things Spotted on the Internet: Someone maybe doesn't get banned book week and just one point about meat-substitutes

As a person who is a) a librarian and b) majorly anti-censorship, Banned Books Week is something I am entirely behind in principle. In reality, though, I am not 100% behind how it is handled. I am all for bringing awareness that some people think we still need to censor or ban books, and I all for bringing to light that most such activity is for "a good cause" ["That book has a sex scene! Kids don't need sex in their lives!"], and I am all for solidarity that comes from letting librarians know that people support their keeping books that have been complained about, but in some ways it feels like encouraging students in one state to read Harry Potter because a parent in another state complained about it misses some vital mark. I'm not sure what, because I understand that spreading the word of, "This is what someone considered offensive," is a good way to show that just because someone else does not like something, even for "a good cause", that it does not mean they are entirely correct. I don't know. In some ways I feel like it promotes the books where they are already promoted but maybe does not focus quite enough on promoting the books where they are actually banned. Maybe I'm wrong and I'd be glad for counter-examples.

With all that being said, this Banned Books Week "advice animals" response feels really wrongheaded:

I think the person might be agreeing with the major tenet of Banned Book Week, that we shouldn't stop people reading from what they want to read, but by staging it as a apathetic negative, they seem to have missed the postive, proactive aspects of the whole thing.

Bonus response! While I was getting ready to post this, I found an article for something pitched as "gluten-free seitan", which is kind of like saying "iron-free steel", seeing as wheat gluten is by far the major ingredient for seitan. I mean, you can make other hard-metal alloys, and you can make other protein-rich food blobs, but let's not muddle the terms so much they are without meaning, please. "Try our peanut-free peanut-butter!" I feel like I'm being cranky, here, but what I'm more-so responding to is a comment I saw about that article which I have seen elsewhere: "Why do veg*ns eat so many damned meat-substitutes?! Aren't they just proving they really miss meat?"

Ok, as a note, let's have some real talk here. You know what doesn't come in slices, nuggets, patties, ground-anything, on-a-stick, sausage links, stews, steaks, cooked, seasoned, or anything outside of raw hunks, strips, hocks, and bits? Meat. All of cooking is transforming the product-as-is to the product-as-delectable. Just because you consider a disk-shape of ground protein on a bun to be somehow indelibly tied to beef does not mean that it's not a ridiculous, arbitrary distinction. Crapping on someone for taking slices of plant protein and eating it on bread is not some knock-out argument just because you spent your whole life eating waste-meat in a phallic shape on a bun and have justified it because some added salt and condiments to it to make it taste like food. Much if not the vast majority of meat is consumed in false shapes designed to enhance taste, mouth feel, visual attraction, and convenience. Claiming that veg*ns shouldn't engage in similar behavior is silly, at best, ranging all the way to delusional.

libraries, food


Written by Doug Bolden

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