Letters to The Atlantic Monthly
Written by Patti Breitman:
I was simultaneously delighted and discouraged by Hard to Swallow by B.R. Myers. Delighted to read the truth about how animals are raised for food and how food writers, Michael Pollan in particular, but not alone, ignore the moral component when focusing on the taste of animal flesh. Discouraged to realize through my tears as I read, that it is so rare to see anything in the media about the cruelty involved in breeding, confining, and slaughtering animals to satisfy human habits. Thank you for printing this much neglected point of view. There is a reason that class trips are never to slaughterhouses or factory farms, and a reason that only vegetarians are willing to bear witness to the horrors perpetuated by the billions each year. I am indebted to B. R. Myers for pointing out how “foodies” make light of and a living from the suffering of other living beings.
Written by Me (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau):
I cannot thank you enough for publishing B.R. Myers’ wonderful article (“Hard to Swallow”) in your September 2007 issue. It is a powerful truth-telling piece that finally sheds light on the spurious claims and specious arguments of Michael Pollan and other “excuse-itarians,” whose romantic depictions of something so ugly belies a pathological denial of reality. I’ve been writing about this for years, likening the public’s response to his justifications for eating meat to Hans Christian Anderson’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In Anderson’s morality tale, it takes a child to say what everyone knows is true but nobody would admit. The child’s declaration that the emperor is wearing no clothes at all makes the public feel as duped as the emperor feels naked. Myers is the child in our own very real morality tale and skillfully reveals the gaping holes in Pollan’s logic and the troublesome degree to which Pollan makes poetry out of pig slaughter. I have been waiting for a very long time for just one reviewer to take Pollan to task, and I am very grateful to Myers for doing so.