Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 27, 2016 Southfield Oil Drilling Town Hall

Southfield City Council Meeting January 25, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Pulling. Pulling.
Second to second
There is no convergence
Noise. So much noise.
Can't halt it.
The drums and constant banging.
There is no silence.

The voices are not still or small.
Left and right.
Up and down
At the same time being drawn


I need quiet

I can't make it slow.

Too fast

There is no order no structure.

It's just a constant stream. A constant song with no melody, no rhythm.


There is too much noise up there right now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Movies that Changed My Life 3: Finding Forrester (Writing Is Thinking.)

One of the points of writing is the record and sometimes the record of thought is messy, jumbled. And that's okay. Don't worry so much about being heard eloquently or even being heard. But just record. Write. I won't lie and say everything can or even should be edited later and that nothing said in haste has consequences, but the simple act of recording the thought has quite a bit of uses. The key to writing is the idea. Everything else comes after but without the idea there is nothing and so the first hurdle is always getting the idea out of the ephemeral world of the mind and somewhere where it can be accessed, and considered outside of a fleeting moment.

So that's why my Twitter account is such a mess.

Movies That Changed My Life 2: The Matrix (What is the Internet?)

The internet is and isn't real. You can describe all of the machinery, the servers, the routers and cables and that does not accurately describe what it is.

The internet is data. The infinite sea generated by humans as they walk through life. It is the flotsam we leave in our wake whether intentional or not, but it is not itself us. It is not itself reality, but merely a facsimile. An aggregate of all the other facsimiles of reality, the sounds, videos, images, words and numbers we use to make sense of all that we can not personally observe.

They create an image of reality, an image of reality we use to make decisions and communicate ideas as if it were reality yet that image is nothing more than a easily accessible representation, a constantly shifting shadow upon a wall.

Movies That Changed My Life 1: Fight Club (The Post-Modern Void)

Look at me. (Slap!) Look at me. You are not special. The universe does not know your name. God does not care about you. God will not save you. In time you will die and everyone you ever knew or rather who ever knew you will die. Nothing you do will be remembered. The footprints you leave won't fade in the sand because eventually there will be no sand. This is not an opinion. This is not some grim cynical outlook on life. This is the only truth that is objective.

You will die.

Eventually your consciousness will cease to exist

This little rock will go cold.

And you will be forgotten.

Stop fucking lying to yourself that you matter, that anything you do or think matters, that anything at all period matters because in the vastness of the universe it doesn't.

I was a pretty angry teenager.  To this day you don't want to meet my id stripped of all my inhibitions because I am a pretty destructive human being.  Which is a fancy way of saying when I first watched Fight Club I fully bought into what Tyler Durden was selling and took the movie a little too literally. Durden is nothing more than a spirit animal guide to the world of absolute nihilism.

As insane as Tyler Durden is there he speaks some truth. And what makes Fight Club significant to me is the question of so what?

Tyler Durden is a anarchistic nihilist, the real deal. And the movie is about exploring what, ironically enough, the lack of meaning means.

The movie, the book, are about exposing how much of what we attach meaning to is artifice. And then the third act of the movie is about turning itself on its head, exposing the artifice of itself. Tyler himself is nothing more than the narrator's coping mechanism literally another one of the lies he tells himself he so he can sleep better.

And I think that's kind of a clue as to what the movie is trying to do. Take the audience to their existentialist bottom. Destroy all of the mental tools they have to construct the world around them to leave them with a new all encompassing question that it can't and shouldn't answer, ending with a bang.

Now what?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fine You Win. Gamergate Actually Does Matter Goddamn Us Everyone

In September of 2014, I became the maddest I had ever been in my life. Even now if you search my Twitter account you might be able to find some of that insanity. It was during the middle of Gamergate which I strongly opposed.

I eventually backed off because I was angry about other stuff in my life and Gamergate made it so I couldn't just zone out and do one of the things I do to blow off steam when I'm about to blow my top and while I disagreed with Gamergate that had very little to do with the actual arguments being tossed around. In short I was mad but (mostly) not at the stupidity that was or I guess still is Gamergate.

That realization came when I was arguing about their use of ad-block to view content from writers without giving ad revenue to them. Although I shouldn't be I am generally ambivalent regarding ad-block. There are enough malicious ads on the internet that will screw up a computer that even I use it. I mean I white-list a bunch of stuff but I use it.

Nope what had me hopping mad was Gamergate's undervaluation of the work that writers and journalists do, and considering that yes I would like to make a career out of that, somebody telling me that no matter how hard I work at it or how good I get at it nobody should have to pay me for it hit a particular nerve especially since those same arguments have been made by people in my life who shall not be named.

I don't like it when people tell me that my life's work is joke.

Not only that but that realization made me believe at the time that spending so much time on what was essentially a big giant argument about the bleepy bloopy games was kind of pointless. There was a pretty interesting election in my district. I wanted to work more hours to save up for Christmas presents for my family. Why was I wasting so much damn time and brain power on a Twitter war.

As Trump comes closer and closer to the GOP nomination I can't help but feel I should have listened to the other less self-aware voice in my voice in my head telling me that Gamergate was just a front of a larger culture war that had somehow made it onto my front doorstep, right in my particular wheel house.

Political Correctness

I said some of this stuff in my Twitter feed but Bob (Moviebob) Chipman said it so much better in his videos in the immediate aftermath.  (By the way I forgot to say it during my Supergirl thingy but he also did a pretty impressive set of videos explaining her history)

That free speech is a two way street.

"My right to speak is also your right to tell me what I spoke was wrong, or stupid or offensive to you or to ask that I please not say it or reconsider saying it or even get a bunch of other people to shout about it until I've effectively drowned out."

That what is often called censorship in the political correctness debates is often nothing more vocalized disagreement, and sure it sometimes sucks that that vocalized disagreement can cause people to lose jobs or ruin relationships but it's also better than living in a make believe fantasy land where there is only one ideological, Marxian and political view point, where people who raise their hands and say, "hey this aspect of society bugs me" end up getting thier presses burned or worse are met with physical violence.

Particularly when it comes to Gamergate, and to a lesser extent the Sad Puppies we're talking about the age old argument that fictional media has somehow become a bastion of the left.  And that the tropes and messages of the right are being less and less heard. I don't know how to respond to that but on the other hand part of me feels the guys who would normally partake in this sort of culture war in the newspapers, talk shows and magazines may a bit out of their depth.

I grew up on video games, and fantasy novels and superheroes. These things have inherent meaning to me. I don't have to fake believing that Captain America is the American ideal, I don't have to fake believing that Game of Thrones shows incite into how politics actually work.  I don't have to fake believing that a video-game can be a political manifesto. I don't have to fake believing what anime manages to cross from east to west as hits says something about where the international community has cultural common ground.

I don't have to fake believing these things are or at least can be important in shaping how we think about the world we live in and as a consequence the decisions we make.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Let's See If I Can Turn A Day Wasted Watching Superman Cartoons and Marathoning Supergirl Into Something Meaningful

You know since WWII the span of time one spends in adolescence has been stretched. There are a lot of reasons for that, the increased wealth of the post-war era, the increasing amount of education required for employment, the commodification of youth culture. It's annoys me to do so but even I have to admit that, having wasted the day watching a bunch of Superman cartoons.

It's a topic that's been hit too death by a series of newspaper and magazine articles, but ironically enough I feel that it's television that's come closest examining this particular moment in that phenomenon with shows like Broad City and Girls.

And while I can appreciate those shows, Broad City is one of the funniest things to hit Comedy Central since The Chapelle Show, none of them really speak to my experience.

Up until now I took this as willful self-delusion on my part. That yeah I am just as immature and wishy washy as Hannah Horvath and didn't want to admit it. It still might be willful self-delusion.
But then came Supergirl.

Supergirl as a character about the experience of being young. And she always has been but watching this show about somebody realizing that they are both a part of and apart from the legacy of the past generation for some reason strikes a chord with me. Uh did I mention I have Jr. issues. You may know every trick the original knew at his peak but you don't know a thing about me.

But more over than that a lot of the choices the show makes aren't about speaking to the teenagers the original comics were aimed at but to... me. Twenty something millennials who are trying to balance what they want to do with their lives with what they've for various reasons decided to do right now in this moment.

Anyway the show feels like a more optimistic less cynical Girls. And based on what I've seen each of the monsters of the week advances that theme.

First off they aged up Jimmy Olsen and Kara. It puts them both in a place where they have some experience and respect but not the same experience and respect as the rest of the Superman family of characters.

Not only that but a theme of several episodes is the spinning plate routine. And in doing so it gives some advice I'm slowly learning but wish somebody would have stopped and told me. You can have it all but not all at once and not right away.

One of the undercurrent phenomenon not often commented on is what happens when you have a generation of college graduates as coffee baristas. You end up with a lot of people trying to use what they have in whatever ways they can,  whether that be by going back to school to get smarter, starting a blog, volunteering or whatever.

Constantly shifting what part of your life means what to you and the person you want to be is an inescapable part of that equation.

Supergirl or Kara Danvers. Superman or Clark Kent.

Monday, January 4, 2016

So I Like the Big Blue

You know I keep forgetting how much I like Superman. And I think that's because I grew up in an a weird time when he was everywhere. I mean he's everywhere. It's Superman we're talking about, but when I was a kid there were almost always at least 3 or more shows airing that were must see TV for my sugar rushed brain. So  let's gab.

Lois and Clark

One of the big complaints about Man of Steel was that The Daily Planet crew were just sort of there. For better or worse though this show is just as much about Lois Lane as it is Superman which means Perry and Jimmy get a lot of screen time. And since it was serialized they got a couple of decent through line stories too.

The DC Animated Universe

You know growing up my parents would always chide me for still watching cartoons but now in hindsight I have the perfect rebuttle. Bruce Timm was writing the modern playbook for how to adapt superheroes for a modern audience. The incite came to me after watching an interview about the Batman Beyond Episode, "The Call" and he's discussing stuff that seems like it would be foundation of any superhero team battle filmed, which is now the bread and butter of Hollywood. How do you gauge how long to spend on each character so each one gets a moment but the audience doesn't get bored? How do you plot out the space to keep in editing continuity who's where. How do you visually differentiate the characters so the audience knows who's doing what?

I'm not saying Bruce Timm was the first to do large scale action but you bet your ass a lot of the editors on The Avengers probably studied a few JLA battles.

But that's not why we're here. We're here for the Boy Scout. Well like I said the Timmverse was probably the best at the time at distilling these timeless characters into some of thier most recognizable traits. Where it's hard to not think of Bruce Timm's Superman as just Superman. And everytime Tim Daly voices another version that feeling just gets ... more.

Young Justice

You know people complain about Superman being a bit boring. And yeah I can see it. Good guys win bad guys lose. We all know the drill. A lot of adaptations try to fix this by making him darker or grittier which is code for asshole.

Nope Young Justice did it best. Just give him a problem his superpower tool kit isn't equipped to handle. Make him a deadbeat dad.

To be fair Connor is the result of government cloning experiments done against his will but damn Clark that's cold.


Smallville is problematic. It came out in a time where people felt they had to explain everything about superheroes so it always feels compromised. It's Superman. If you were born between 1940 and now you know what his basic deal is. And don't get me started on what they did to poor Mr. Mxyzptlk. They couldn't even spare some silver age goofery for him. Half of the episode will be spent explaining how the monster of the week can exist rather than doing something.

But before Iron Man, Arrow, Gotham and the current explosion this did feel like the best we were going to get for a while. And in some ways it was. Sure it always felt like a half step but short of the cartoons but the show was packed with DC universe arcana.

And it was nice seeing a live action Cyborg.

And I still say that the witch act they did in season 4 was the closest anybody came in recent memory to dealing with the fact that Sup's is weak to magic. Yeah I said it. Isobel could have mopped the floor with him. 

The Legion of Superheroes

The legion is kind of a injoke among comics fans because its history has been unwritten, rewritten, and retconned so many times that nobody has any clue how they work. Have I said enough that time travel makes my brain hurt. Anyway for some reason they make for pretty entertaining cartoons.

A couple of backdoor pilots in the other DC animated universe shows and boom there you go. And to top it off they always had a pretty strong affinity for the Superman family so whenever they show up you know either Clark or Kara's going to get involved speaking of which I really should check out Supergirl already.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You Do Not Fuck With The 14th Amendment AKA On Donald Trump

It's officially the year of the presidential election. Okay. It's time to start taking Donald Trump seriously as a candidate.

So then,

As I become further and further removed from traditional journalism I'm more and more willing to admit my biases. I'm a lefty and as a lefty Trump disgusts me. Since the start of the campaign there was nothing short of large scale monetary bribery that would get the man my vote and even then his yeah chances would be pretty slim.

I came to that realization pretty early. So for me and much of the rest of the left watching Trump has been about two things. First off living in absolute horror that this idiot could somehow manage to be the next president of the United States and perplexity that he somehow managed to get this far.

And to cope with both those thoughts a lot have people have just assumed it a fluke, that sure we like to listen to the crazy stuff the man says but nobody is actually stupid enough to vote him into office. But more and more poll numbers and news reports.

On discussing the Trump phenomenon I trust nobody more than John Dickerson, who released an interview with him this morning.

Dickerson as a reporter for a major news network has been parsing his words, but has stated on Slate's Political Gabfest several times over the last few weeks that love him or hate him people are responding to Trump based on real emotions and that if the left really wants to knock him down they really have to do just that.

You have to wrestle and explain just why he is such an anathema. Why is the idea that this person will be the face of the United States to the rest of the world so hair raising?

You know part of the reason why I love sticking my head into pop culture so much is because it helps me distance myself enough from personal issues that I can really turn them over in my head. A while ago the reason I said Superman is so endearing is because he represents humanity's attempt to be the best of itself and in that moment that's what I needed. I needed to find the courage leave all of the can'ts and buts behind, lift up my bootstraps and at least try be best of myself.

Trump is the exact opposite.

He's so maddening because he plays to America's baser nature. He encourages the country to be the absolute worst of itself.

This country, let me say my country has never been great at matching its high rhetoric.

See your Declaration Americans! ! ! Do you understand your won language? Hear your languages, proclaimed to the world, July 4th, 1776 -- "We hold these truths to be self evident -- that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL! ! that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! !" Compare your own language above, extracted from your Declaration of Independence, with your cruelties and murders inflicted by your cruel and unmerciful fathers and yourselves on our fathers and on us -- men who have never given your fathers or you the least provocation! ! ! ! ! !  
David Walker's Appeal 
But we try. Were I born a few generations ago I would be in bondage. Even in living memory the black vote was suppressed. But we move forward. Every now and again we will strive for the promise that is America. Freedom and opportunity to all will but reach out their hand and grasp it.

And specifically in my case the mechanism for which we do that is by guaranteeing rights to citizens. Those rights are dependent upon citizenship. If you were born on American soil you are entitled to that bare minimum covenant from society.

It is the least we can do. Or else we return to the barbarity of prior times.

Where society can arbitrarily decide who does and does not get protection under the law.

The foundational principle that allows me greater freedom than most of the previous generations of my family born in this country have enjoyed is that short of any action that I have taken the state must give me the benefit of the doubt. The state can't preemptively decide that to legally treat me as though I have already committed some sort of crime.  

Yet time and time again that's what Trump espouses towards Muslims and the children of undocumented immigrants.

And the reason why the populous responds to it is because they are afraid. They see the state of the world, the uncertainty of our security as the globe becomes more and more connected and the events of people leagues away begin to all of a sudden effect their lives.

I have internalized the the condition of being alive is uncertainty. "That we only tell ourselves otherwise so we can function"

But facing that truth requires courage. There is no way to predict the future. There is no way to absolutely stop death and destruction.

No matter what you do the universe will make you no promises.

That is the truth, but here is another.

You can choose to face it. To ride into life's uncertainty as Theodin, King of Rohan or falter in flame as Denethor the last steward of Gondor.

We are who we choose to be so we must choose. 

We can not control the world or its outcomes but we can control ourselves and our conduct within the world, to not lie as cowards but to rise even if we must fall we can still rise.

We can still rise.

My Favorite Documentaries In No Particular Order (Greg's Sociology Course)

And when I I have to think, when I can't lose myself in movie quotes, when I have to roll things around in my head I watch documentaries. So here is a list of my favorites.

The Trouble With Chicken

You want the ever living shit to be scared out of you. Watch this documentary. I just toss a pack of chicken in my freezer when I get home from the grocery store...right next to my ice tray, with ice that goes straight into my lemonade. That's probably going to kill me. I should reconsider doing that.


Blackfish is a movie with a very specific aim. To hold SeaWorld accountable for how its policies lead to several deaths at the park, but wrapped inside of it there are several powerful arguments for conservationism. It makes the argument both verbally and visually that if you really want to sea the majesty of an Orca the best place to do it is in the wild and that anything less is a lie.

The Education of Michelle Rhee

I want to choose my words very carefully. I am a substitute teacher but, going into education is not the thing I see myself doing with with my life. I can never shake the feeling  I am not the best person who could be in the room and honestly there are other productive things I think I am or at least could be better at given the right turns. All the same my experience along with the fact that my mother was a teacher for 30 years makes me passionate about education.

To a point kids don't get the same type of agency as adults and that if a kid falters it's not just their fault but the fault of everybody around them. Either we treat children like adults and take the kid gloves off altogether or we take on some of the responsibility for giving them a chance to do better than we could.

So it takes a village I suppose.

That said we also have to face the hard truth that there is no guaranteed formula for how to get information in to kids' heads. There are different tools, but that's all you have, tools.

This documentary stands as a lesson for what happens when you expect a magic bullet to solve complex problems.

Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room

I am a softy. I generally believe that most conflict isn't caused through malice but through legitimate disagreement. That if you sit down and talk with your... enemies you can normally see the reason in their actions even if those actions negatively impact you.

Some days I need to be reminded that evil exists.  That sometimes it isn't a matter of not knowing, but not caring. That sometimes you can't bargain or reason with evil and that if justice is to be served some mofos need to go to prison.

Nail 'em up. Nail 'em up. Nail 'em up. 

On the other hand.
12th and Deleware
You have 12th and Delaware. The reason why I love this one is that it contextualizes the break down in the abortion debate. One side really does believe the other to be baby murderers and how do you have a sensible constructive conversation after that.

The film doesn't excuse some of the stuff pro-lifers do in it but it contextualizes it.

Well I might as well go whole hog if I'm going to piss of my more conservative readers.

For the Bible Tells Me So

While I have other reasons for renouncing my faith the thing that originally start me questioning was how many evangelical churches treat homosexuals. I want to about how the right for civil rights has moved on from the George Wallace days and how there are other battles to fight and then I remember that in a lot of ways for the LGBT community we haven't. Transgendered persons are still murdered for who they are. Gay people can still be legally fired from their jobs for being who they are.

Double down I say sir. Double Down.

The Revisionaries 

Remember everything I said about education. Yeah... Yeah.

This one required a good long think. To a point I am a libertarian. I don't want the government to get involved in individuals lives. But again kids don't have the type of power over their lives adults do.  If parents want to live in ignorance yeah that's their choice, but do they have the right to make that same choice for their kids?


Morton Downey... Jr. is the embodiment of everything I dread I will become. That's all. Just an occasional reminder to not be that guy. In my darkest hours, I feel I have a similar personality and to an extent similar motivations and I don't want to wake up one day and find out I've turned into Morton Downey Jr.

On the other hand.


I would be tots cool with waking up one day and finding out I somehow managed to turned into Hunter S. Thompson at least when he was on. I want to spit some fire and bust some heads. But I need some god damn guts which I lack. I'm too afraid to make people mad, to piss them off. I've got too much to lose. If you're under 30 you don't. This is the time to be reckless.


I saw it only once and I can't find it on Netflix anymore but it made an impression. So it makes the list.

People Like Us

Take everything I said about Urbanized but in this case I didn't see it on NetFlix but PBS 20 years ago. I've been looking for a god damn copy of this doc for 20 years.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Race and class.  Part of the conversation about civil rights has always been about resource allocation. It wasn't fair that by the simple virtue of being white some kids got better text books and classrooms. That was the issue I feel was at the heart of Brown vs Board of Education. That you are not going to have separate schools and still have equal resource distribution.

Once case doesn't mean that all of a sudden there is equal public resource distribution and Pruitt-Igoe is a great case study on that.

Murder on a Sunday Morning

Before Black Lives matter there was Murder on a Sunday morning.

4 Little Girls

You know I've seen a lot of documentaries giving a broad overview of the Civil Rights movement. They tend to focus of the greatest hits of the era. But it was more than that. And 4 Little Girls is a the best film I've seen to convey to me what life in that time and place was like. Speaking of which.


I don't know how he does it but Ken Burns farts historical documentaries. It's what the man does. The Civil War, Reconstruction,  The Dustbowl, Prohibition, The War, Jazz. I could lock myself in a room and watch his stuff non-stop for a month. I think I might have at some point. .

White Light/Black Rain

The survivors of the only nuclear bombs detonated in war tell their stories. Anything I write will make me sound like an asshole. So. Just watch it.


When I was a kid. I liked science fiction. I liked rock music. I liked anime. I liked video games. And even within my own community I got guff for that. "Why do you like white people music?" And then when I decided to go out to experience those things communally. I realized why. At concerts and cons there would be times where I might be the only black person in the room. And yes there are times when that weirded me out.

Afropunk sort of speaks to that sort experience.

Also, the context of this documentary more or less explains my feeling on Gamergate and it's toxicity.

And while I'm it.

The Decline of Western Civilization

Let's go old school. It's hard to find but god I love the Decline of Western Civilization. It is very rare to get cameras in the right place at the right time to capture a moment for history. And the Decline of Western Civilization managed to do that capturing the dawn of American punk rock as it was happening.

Food Inc., Cowspiracy Without the Crazy Eyes

You know there is a company that wants to drill for oil in the churchyard about a half mile from my house.  That is what's looking to be the big story of the year. I don't know how I feel about it yet, there has been a lot of misinformation. People hear fossil fuel extraction and they all of a sudden think fracking even when it's not the case, but all the same this is probably going to be the year when I suddenly transform into the Lorax, the one everybody likes not the other one.

I'm going to have to give myself a crash course on environmental science, conservation as well as economies of scale.

I don't really review documentaries for a few reasons. Since the point of documentaries are to educate it's very hard for me to call one on it's bullshit other than to point out logical fallacies, when I feel the film makes leaps that don't tell a fair representation of the truth.

Unless I already have a familiarity with the material it's hard to say whether or not the film is boldface lying. As soon as I was done writing about Cowspiracy I found a much better review on Daily Kos.

All the same I want to watch a documentary about how modern industrial agriculture effects our environment. It's worthy subject matter.  I want to watch Cowspiracy done right. so.

Food Inc.

The goal of the doc is to show the audience the cost of our diet. All the stuff, much of which is undesirable  that has to happen for us to get cheap meat. It is the expose Cowspiracy thinks it is. It doesn't just use graphics and fuzzy math but shows you , The Jungle style exactly how you a cow becomes a hamburger.

But it also has balance. We can talk all day about how the food we eat is crap in a lot of ways, because yeah it is, but at the end of the day people got to eat. We want people to eat. But we want people to eat food that's safe, sustainable, and ethical.

I've internalized that my existence is dependent on other beings suffering and I'm not just talking about animals.

My world is dominated by complicated supply chains. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft. All of the niceties of modern living I have are dependent on workers manufacturing in conditions and for wages that would make my granddad's head explode. It's something I ignore because I like my cake.

As a consumer I'm not going to turn down a cheap Xbox or cellphone or in this case morning bacon and eggs

Most of these documentaries champion organic food. But I have this question of whether or not organic foods are better for the environment and if they are how much so.

How much land does organic live stock take up? How much carbon does it take to raise organic live stock and crops than through a regular industrialized one? How many people can the final stock of one feed vs the other? How do organic companies many of which are owned by the big boys treat their workers?

I don't want to jump on the organic band wagon just because it's a marketable buzzword but I do want to lessen the harm my existence causes to the environment and other human beings.

Modern American industrial agriculture is problematic but can't think of a simple way to fix it.

There should be a law or something.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I Kind of Hate Cowspiracy

I am a hippie, but nothing so frustrates me as much as obnoxious hippies, lefties who base their actions and ideology off a couple of buzzwords And for the most part they have been a rarity to me, instead incarnated  as caricatures and straw-men mostly in use by political opposition to knockdown more nuanced arguments ...or as an admittedly funny meme.

They frustrate me because they tend to be half right and half crazy and that schism grinds my teeth. I want Cowspiracy to be the exposé  it thinks it is. It's not.
Anyway. There are all of these issues the documentary discusses, water use, the sustainability of agriculture, the power of the farm industry over regulation. And rather than tackling any of them in a reasoned way it becomes more and more evident as I'm watching it that it's nothing more than vegan propaganda.

Before I continue let me say that there are a lot of reason to make the personal choice to become vegan and on an individual level if that's your life choice go for it baby. But a vegan world? Alright then let me explain why that's deluded.

I loved Captain Planet as a kid. Hell I still love captain planet when I decide to have a conversation with my child within but it's also kind of clear that Ted Turner was smoking something when he green-lit some those "and the power is yours" segments.  And I think the documentary has a similar problem.

One of the fundamental sticking points on environmental climate change policy is fairness. That a relatively small number of people in advanced economies get to reap the full benefits of our resource extraction and use. And if we want to make any move on climate change the other countries with less advanced economies are going to have to and already have to an extent agree to slow economic growth that could improve the lives of their constituencies.

Well that kind of sucks.

It's bad enough when we're talking about relatively modern luxuries. But we're not. We're talking food. Livestock farming is incredibly harsh on the environment.

And it is also one of the most resource intensive things human beings do. It's a problem no doubt. And more over as consumers there isn't a lot Joe Street can do. Free range grazing has it's own brand of intensiveness.  While there are a few industry facing fixes he proposes what seems to be the only consumer driven solution veganism. And while I'm not knocking vegans themselves it's delusional to think that going vegan can or even should be a goal for everyone.

What got me scratching my head was when a representatives from an environmental agency said it would be politically unpopular to do much about restricting livestock farming and the interviewer doesn't get it, as though he hadn't conceived people adversely reacting to not being able to eat what they want.

He goes on as though there was some sort of malicious conspiracy when Occum's razor sugguests that meat has become ingrained into the American diet. What annoys me is that there is whole mess of problematic stuff going on in the American farm industry. But the human drive towards meat isn't it.

I work with kids. Most of the time I don't know their backgrounds but my job means that at least for the day I am the line and one of the things I worry about is who did or didn't eat. It's not something I can really fix but sometimes it does cross my mind. The knowledge that not everybody even people immediately around me can take food security for granted.

And that fairness thing pops up.

People have to eat.

If we don't eat we suffer.

While yes you can technically survive without meat and dairy products doing so healthily takes a lot of effort and education. Being vegan is something that only people who have a certain amount of life stability can do. To me food security should be a human right.  If you live you eat. It should be that simple, yet it isn't.

I don't like the idea of telling people especially kids they can't get a carton of milk in the morning.

On the other hand we don't have a food shortage in this country. If the documentary wasn't framed as "everybody should give up meat because its killing the planet" I might be more on board, if it were about more efficient farming techniques, fertilizer use regulation, resource allocation, or better distribution systems.

But as I watch it it becomes clear that the film maker believes that human beings should just get over what have been staples of our diet as we evolved.

I don't like slapping basic staple foods out of Timmy's mouth. We aren't talking about fancy gussied up stuff but the basics, ground beef, eggs, milk, cheese, chicken. Things that you find in everybody's fridge.

But let's take this further. Think of if you were a person in a country who may be the first generation where you weren't living off of millet. You were the first generation that could regularly afford to eat beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs and chicken and your kids were demonstrably stronger and healthier for it than you were at their age. Heck you might have even had a sibling or two who died from malnutrition but thank heaven you aren't afraid of that with your own kids.

While eating too much meat especially processed stuff is bad for you, meat and dairy products are one of the easiest ways to get a lot of necessary stuff into the diet.

And then some guy from America wants you to go back to the dark days because butchering a chicken makes him cry, telling you that not feeding your children the chicken is the more compassionate and noble thing.

At least Captain Planet had super powers to fall back on when he got hit with the stupid stick.

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