Friday, October 15, 2010

Jonathan Safran Foer: Eating Animals

In Person...Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

George Ignatieff Theatre

Ensuring the interview started on the right foot, interviewer Brent Bambury (currently of CBC radio one fame) sported a fantastic pair of green and white sneakers that (coincidentally???) matched the book-jacket colour of Jonathan Safran Foer’s most recent literary endeavour – Eating Animals. As Foer explained in the interview, this non-fiction work explores the stories we are told about where our food comes from (particularly as they relate to animals and animal by-products) and how these stories have changed over time.
An eloquent and engaging speaker, Foer answered Bambury’s – and for that matter, the audience’s – queries knowledgeably, politely, and without hesitation, throwing in the occasional fact in support of his points. I think even the most ardent of meat-eaters in the audience would have been encouraged to reduce the number of times per week meat is included in their diet, especially when Foer presented the staggering figure that giving up one meat-inclusive meal per week is equivalent to five million cars off the road (with respect to environmental impact).
There were no uncomfortable, “I’m right, you’re wrong,” moments, however, and I believe this stemmed from the fact that, at the outset of the interview, Foer pointed to the issue as being not a moral one, but rather a common sense one – a reduction or elimination of meat in our diet is simply a basic, human decency, and an increasingly significant reality, required for a functioning society.
The discussion was not all serious either – Foer’s story-weaving capabilities ensured that, as in any good narrative, there are moments in which the tension is eased and laughter can ensue (think of Foer’s comments about his dog, George, and his comparison of her...yes, George is a “she” a hairy human, like an older brother).
To look forward to...
Currently in the works is Foer’s next project, a fiction novel. There was also mention made of a potential documentary version of Eating Animals.  Foer pointed out that, with the book version of Eating Animals, pictures were strategically omitted, as he felt that to include images would have been too aggressive and would only emotionally deepen, rather than broaden, the conversation. So a documentary, should it actually be produced, would have to serve this broadening. In any case, we will certainly be keeping our ears open for news of any further output from this intelligent and well-spoken author.

This post was written by the newest Jennifer on staff at the cookbook store (not to be confused with the eminently more knowledgeable and much longer-serving assistant manager, Jennifer Grange). The Jennifer of this blog is vegan (and has been for almost 2 years). Not to animal activism or environmental politicking here; just an openness to sharing my vegan experiences with those of an inquiring or curious mind.

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