Archive for food

Robyn O’Brien @ TEDx in Austin

Posted in Cinema Reviews, Vegan and Vegetarian Lifestyle with tags , , , , on May 8, 2012 by Verge

Please take a look at this video.  It’s only 18 minutes long, and explains what’s wrong with the food industry in this country today.  I know I’ve posted movies before.  Some of you might not want to see slaughter houses, or sit through 90 minutes of slanted documentaries.

I can understand why.  But this one is very different.

Robyn O’Brien was just like every ordinary American eater and mother.  She wasn’t a health food nut, or a vegan, or an organic non-GM eater, and never thought there was a problem with food in America.  Then something terrible happened which lead her down a path of discovery about the truth of modern food in America.

I highly encourage all of you, but especially the skeptics who think genetically-modified is fine, organic is expensive and un-needed, and kids with allergies are the result of paranoid parents, to watch this video with an open mind.  It doesn’t come from PETA, but instead, someone just like you.

Please visit her webpage to learn more.

Viewing Pleasures

Posted in Cinema Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Verge

I’ve added a new Category of Links to my blog today.  It’s called, as you may have been able to surmise, “Viewing Pleasures.”

Here I will add links to movies that I find interesting.   Of course, Monika and I like to watch movies, and especially as a result of us not having cable in our house.  But, these links won’t necessarily be movies that are great cinema or simple fun to watch.  More so, they will be links to documentaries that, at the very least, have made me think.   In addition, there is a “Type of Verge” called Cinema reviews, which are just some thoughts on movies I’ve watched.  If they’re good enough, they get a link in Viewing Pleasures.  If not, screw ’em.

I won’t say that everything I will list here I automatically have swallowed whole and taken as a definitive viewpoint.  I will say that most of them must have at least struck a chord that is in some significant harmony with my current views.  They may have bolstered my opinions.  I list them only for your consideration, not as prognostication.

I will also add that the links are to the direct websites that often times will allow you to watch the films in full.  However, Netflix also often offers them as streaming movies, and YouTube often has them broken into parts for your not so conveniently packaged but still completely free viewing pleasure.

Tonight, I briefly introduce my first three recommendations:

The first links to a movie called “Fast Food Nation” based on a book by the same name by Eric Schlosser.  It is the only movie I’ve listed tonight that is a work of fiction, based on the factual evidence in the book.  Directed by Richard Linklater, it takes a look at how our current fast food culture values the bottom line far more than animal ethics  and worker safety.  Instead of generically describing the machination of the fast food industry, it instead tries to strike a more moving note by assigning actual characters as embodiments of the roles all sides of the industry can take on.  One of his more indie style films, it walks a delicate line between the raw truth and an uncomfortable humor, thus making it a bit more palatable for the skeptical, pessimistic, meat-consuming viewer.

The second is a documentary called “Food, Inc.”  I just finished watching this one and haven’t fully digested what I think about it.  In general, it takes a look at the way our agricultural life has morphed from a once pastoral lifestyle to an ugly, manipulative, big-business monopoly.  It focuses on some of the hottest topics in the current food debate including corn, factory farming, pesticides, mass-production, label manipulation, genetic engineering, the FDA and government oversight, and of course, fast food.  Because it does not push an overwhelming vegetarian lifestyle, but merely tries to show the direction of food delivery in a modern culture of “cheaper, faster and instantly gratifying,” I think it gives a more neutral portrayal than PETA could ever give.

The final selection is “King Corn.”  This entire movie takes the singular subject of the corn industry in modern American agriculture.  It documents how government subsidies dictate the cost of food that farmers produce, and therefore, what ingredients are included in the food we consume, regardless of nutritional value or consumer desires.  It also documents an interesting experiment that the filmmakers stretch through the duration of the film:   what is it like to be a modern corn farmer?  As diabetes takes our youngest generation of Americans by the throat even before they’ve ever had a chance to make a different decision, I would highly recommend this film for anyone who want to know how the hell we got ourselves into the deplorable debacle of obesity in this country.

You can always find my recommended movies in my Links, currently on the right near the bottom.  ENJOY!

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