Thursday, March 24, 1994

Vegetables; And Other Assorted News

Originally published in Le Provocateur,
the Official Newspaper of Assumption College

by: Slacker
Contributing Writer

Greetings, once again from the wonderful world of being perpetually five minutes late for class. I realize that I haven't been around much, but it's tough being me. I have collected a few things to discuss for this month's news from the world alternative: the biggest bit is about vegetarianism. It turns out that I have to give an informational speech for class on this topic soon but I wanted to let more than my classmates know about what there is to know about vegetarianism.

First of all, there are a few kinds. There are those who don't eat meat for dietary reasons, personal or animal rights reasons, socio-economic/environmental reasons, or feminist political reasons. All are good reasons, but each is very separate and distinct. The dietary vegetarians are usually those who are either allergic to meat, aware of their fat intake, or have to because of doctor's orders. These people are not usually following strict vegetarian diets, but only avoiding red meats and some times the other white meat, pork. Normally, chicken, fish and dairy products are allowed and are used as alternative sources for protein.

There are many people who believe that animals should not be exploited in any way. You might be familiar with the example of veal; young calves kept in doghouse sized "living areas" not allowed to move so that they don't bruise and toughen the meat they will produce. There are other examples of this kind of poor treatment of animals which prompt many people to either choose not to eat the specific animal that is being mistreated in their eyes, or to not eat any animal product at all in protest. The latter, those who do not eat any animal products whatsoever, are called "Vegans." The vegan diet does not allow any red meat, milk or dairy products, poultry, eggs, and rarely fish but allows for any kind of grain, fruit or vegetable you could think of. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stay healthy on a diet like this, but the lack of iron, calcium, protein and other essential nutrients are made·up for by the intake of vitamin supplement pills.

There are also serious economic reasons that people decide to become Vegetarian. A great deal of the world's natural resources are wasted by being spent maintaining the civilized world's habit of eating meat. According to John Robbins, author of "Meat Kills," over 50% of all the water used in the' U.S. is used for raising animals for food. 25 gallons of water is needed to produce a pound of wheat. 2500 gallons of water is needed to produce a pound of meat. The length of time the world's oil reserves would last if humans ate a meat based diet would be approximately 13 years. The length of time those reserves would last if humans ate a plant based diet would he about 260 years. 250,000 pounds of animal excrement is produced every second in the U.S. and there are no sewage systems to treat the wastes. In 1989, over 40% of the world's grain supply was fed to animals going to slaughter. If the same grain was fed directly to human beings, there would be more than enough grain to feed the entire world. Over 20 million people will die as a result of malnutrition this year.

Finally, there are feminist reasons for vegetarianism. In times long ago, and in other cultures today, it is only the men who are allowed to eat meat. Women were only allowed to eat the grains and vegetables. This dominance over women by men in dietary matters reflects the themes of the patriarchy. In corollary, if meat is a symbol of male dominance then the presence of meat proclaims the disempowering of women. In order to assert their equality and power, some feminists believe that eating meat reinforces patriarchal values in modem society and that becoming vegetarian in diet demonstrates their refusal to recognize those beliefs of inequality.

And that's vegetarianism, as I understand it. So when you are in the Junction considering how good that burger would go with those fries, think twice. There is an excellent salad bar available, daily, and Taylor usually offers meatless entrees. An interesting and tasty addition to the Junction's menu called a "Veggie-burger" or "Grain burger" would be an appreciated alternative if ever offered.

By the way, the new Nine Inch Nails album is now available in your local record and grocery stores, so you can stop holding your breath (And for my next segue...). After a year and a half, Trent Reznor has brought to our attention the evils of drug abuse in his new album, "The Downward Spiral." If you liked his earlier accomplishments, beware; this is not like the other stuff. If you like NIN's first album because you like Trent's voice, don't buy this album, you cannot hear all that much of it over the screeching' guitars, the pounding synthesized samples, and his own screaming about how much he hates the world. It’s not a bad album by any means, just be ready for the harder side of Trent's psyche. Stylistically and thematically, the album keeps together as a whole, but I think that the entire Nine Inch Nails project would benefit greatly if Trent gave up the heroin. As a sidebar, I also picked up the maxi-single for the single "March of the Pigs," which is great for the collector or the remix fanatic. It also contains remixes of his song "Reptile" which also deserve merit.

If you don't get the Phish update in the mail, you need to know about a few Phish phacts (ha). They have a new album coming out March 25 called "Hoist" and a single that should hit the radio on March 15 called "Down with Disease." (The video for this song should be out about the same time.) And according to Trey himself, and my sources are pretty reliable, Phish is planning on releasing a live album which will contain such greats as “Suzy Greenburg,” “Possum” and “Weekapaugh Groove” which could previously only b heard at the shows or on your bootlegs. Phish’s spring concert dates are out; the closest one to us at good old A.C. is at UMASS Amherst on Saturday April 16. Tickets are only $18.50 so they will sell quickly. If you want to know other dates, either stop by 6T and ask me or call TicketMaster.

Other quick bits: The new Beastie Boys album is worth buying if you are a die hard fan. It has old tracks from their formative puck years and a formerly rare track called "Cookiepuss." From the world of alternative dance, the new single released from New Order's "Republic" album is called "Spooky" - it's worth the money. Also Enigma's new album is out and you can hear some of it at Assumption College's first rave dance party, which will take place after hours at 6D. The time and date have yet to be decided so keep your ears to the ground for the specifics. Morrissey is releasing an album on March 22, Live is releasing a new one on April 12, King Missile (one of my personal favorites) on April 19, and sonic Youth on April 27. Save Your Money and remember… Meat is Dead.