Don’t Look, Don’t See: Pesticides in the MSM

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 03/12/2019 - 4:00pm in

Colin Todhunter The UK-based Independent online newspaper recently published an article about a potential link between air pollution from vehicles and glaucoma. It stated that according to a new study air pollution is linked to the eye condition that causes blindness. The report explained that researchers had looked at vision tests carried out on more …

Veal (Chicken) alla Marsala (1978)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 19/11/2019 - 12:51am in

Do you ever have a OMG I need to eat that craving but then realize that you don’t have the money to go out to dinner so you gotta do it yourself? Well, that was me with this Marsala dish. Big craving and I already had chicken and mushrooms on hand. So I had theContinue reading Veal (Chicken) alla Marsala (1978) →

Let's Think About... Booklet (1971- )

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/11/2019 - 12:06am in

The Let's Think About... booklet was published by Scarfolk Council Schools & Child Welfare Services department in 1971. It was designed for use in the classroom and encouraged children between the ages of five and nine to focus on a series of highly traumatic images and events.

Parents and teachers assumed that the booklet was based on psychological research but it had no scientific basis whatsoever. The booklet's medically untrained author was one of the dinner ladies from the council canteen before she was fired for attempting to slip strychnine into bowls of blancmange.

Despite the scandal, the booklet remained on the school curriculum for many years and the author was invited by the council to pen an updated edition from her prison cell in 1979.

JOE’s Satirical Video about Farage: ‘I Would Tell 500 Lies’

Here’s another video from those merry funsters at JOE. It’s old, but still very, very relevant: their song about Nigel Farage and his plans for Brexit ‘I Would Tell 500 Lies’. It’s an attack on him and his vehicle, the Brexit party, AKA UKIP: the Reboot through a parody of the Proclaimers ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’. It comments on their anti-immigration policy, which means that African and Syrian refugees wouldn’t be welcome. This would mean that the British public would have lots of low paid work for them to do, as all the immigrants that do them would have been deported back to the EU. It says there wouldn’t be enough medical professionals and hospital workers, because they would have been deported too. And if you’re sick, you’d have to wait for your medicines and there’d also be food shortages. It states very clearly that he would tell 500 lies to stir up hate and xenophobic bile, and reminds everyone that the squalid little liar has been campaigning for Brexit and stood for parliament many times since 2004, but has never been elected.

All this is true. The Yellowhammer Report stated that the government should act to avoid shortages of food and medicines created by Brexit, or at least a no deal Brexit. When he was head of UKIP, Farage proudly unveiled that post showing a line of refugees from Syria and north Africa, which was almost identical to one used by the Nazis in Weimar Germany to work up hate against Jewish refugees. And I understand that there really is a shortage in medical and ancillary staff in Britain’s health service thanks to the Brexit and anti-immigration policies Farage demanded.

Farage and his ilk, include the Brexiteers in the Tory party, like Boris Johnson, lied to us again and again. They told us we were paying £350 million to the EU. We weren’t. They told us that if we left Europe, that money would spent on the NHS. It wasn’t, and they’ve tried to deny lying to us, saying that they just meant it as the kind of issue we could spend the money on.

As for Farage himself, he has never won a parliamentary seat, which no doubt explains why he isn’t standing in this election either.

And his party’s candidates themselves are as noxious as he is. Despite the party’s attempts to win over Labour heartlands, no one from the working class should touch them with a barge pole. There are some, I’ve no doubt, who are decent individuals with moderate views. But very many of them have been revealed to be extreme neoliberals wanting even more privatisation, including that of the welfare state, the removal of environmental protections for the benefit of the oil industry, the abolition of the welfare state and further attacks on workers’ rights.

The line from JOE’s song is absolutely right: when you’re suffering, he isn’t going to be suffering along with you.

Don’t listen to them, and vote for Corbyn instead.


Book Review: Messy Eating: Conversations on Animals as Food edited by Samantha King et al

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:00pm in

In Messy Eating: Conversations on Animals as Food, Samantha King et al stage conversations with thirteen scholars working across multiple disciplines to discuss the consumption of animals and how their research is entangled with epistemological, ethical and political practices concerning multispecies relationships. The ‘messy’ interdisciplinary form of these collective reflections reveals how political and academic life converge and offers rich critiques of the binary between human and non-human animals as well as the limitations of Western ethnocentric perspectives, writes Anna Nguyen

If you are interested in this book review, you may like to read this LSE News piece, Veganism: Foodie Fad or Here to Stay? 

Messy Eating: Conversations on Animals as Food. Samantha King, R. Scott Carey, Isabel MacQuarrie, Victoria N. Millious and Elaine M. Power (eds). Fordham University Press. 2019.

Find this book: amazon-logo

What does ‘interdisciplinary’ mean? The word has a long history in academia; the term’s utility is typically acknowledged in discussing departmental norms, in boundary work, at conferences and in the creation of new fields that end with ‘studies’ (food studies, science and technology studies (STS) and communication studies are a few that quickly come to mind). Of course, the common understanding of interdisciplinary is the merging of theories and methods from more traditional disciplinary homes into ones that address the gaps that these may have missed. But citational practices, specifically in academia, indicate that interdisciplinarity can simply refer to a scholar’s favourite sources that are outside of her field.

The theme of interdisciplinarity and the use of ‘messiness’ as a concept are explored in the thoughtful collection of thirteen conversations that comprise Messy Eating. The title draws the reader’s attention to what the editors call critical interdisciplinary work among the editorial group and their collaborators (7), paying particular attention to how theory and politics – in personal and academic life – are mutually constitutive and converge. The editors conducted ‘interviews that explore how postcolonial, Indigenous, black, queer, trans, feminist disability, continental, phenomenological, posthumanist and multispecies theories shape approaches to consuming animals as food’, how their correspondents’ research is entangled with their epistemological, ethical and political practices and what this means for thinking about multispecies relationships (3). The interviewees are from various departments and disciplines, including cultural studies, sociology, Indigenous and feminist science studies, anthropology, law, comparative literature, philosophy, history, animal studies, disability studies, gender studies and American studies. Although the interviewees’ primary research interests may not necessarily be food or food studies, they frequently refer to the theme of animals as food and Donna Haraway’s body of work as common reference points (1-2).

In each chapter, the editors asked the chosen researcher some biographical information, where they were born and raised and their academic trajectory. When the topic of eating or how they became a vegetarian or vegan arises, the interview provides insight on how the interviewee’s personal experiences may have informed their preferences and created an ethical foundation for their own intellectual work. These little moments and vignettes make these experiential accounts accessible, especially when the interviewees talk about their formative years, how they were raised and how they prepare or shop for their food. Cary Wolfe (Chapter One) remembers his mother’s reaction to his vegetarianism during a Thanksgiving dinner, and how she considered it a personal attack on her role as a mother (31). Kim TallBear (Chapter Three) grew up in a hunting family, near the South Dakota reservation of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in Minnesota, but remembers not enjoying eating meat (61). When TallBear lived in Berkeley, she dismissed the local food cultures as a ‘Michael Pollan world’ until she experienced a wheat allergy herself (62). Anthropologist Naisargi Dave (Chapter Four) shares that she became a vegan to impress a woman when she was in college (76). And, as one would expect, critiques of colonial capitalism and power in current food systems and culture recur regularly.

Image Credit: (Pixabay CCO)

Another strong aspect of this volume is its exploration of alternatives to Western ethnocentric perspectives in academia. Scholars such as TallBear, Dave, Maneesha Deckha (Chapter Five) and Neel Ahuja (Chapter Ten) situate their cultural upbringings and how these inform their understanding of race, colonialism and animal studies. TallBear shares that she was raised to understand that animals have their own life trajectories (54), and Dave, Deckha and Ahuja all poignantly inform us just how different the categories of ‘vegetarianism’ or ‘veganism’ are in the context of Hindu cultures. In her discussion of nationalism, Dave observes that ‘the Hindu right is appalled by the slaughter of cows. So while vegetarianism is associated with right-wing politics, veganism is, at worst, associated with being Westernized. It has a different valence than vegetarianism’ (81). Sharon Holland highlights how her perspective is from a Black Atlantic ethical tradition, which is a way to discuss accountability and community in African Americanist discourse (213-14).

But it is how the scholars address the limitations of existing normative frameworks that are the most provocative and rich aspects of the book, as they serve as critiques of how to update the binary of human and non-human animals as a way to broaden our understanding of the social and address all of the material world. The editors write that they hope to bridge multiple frameworks that can move beyond the humanist perspective on the ethics and politics of food in human-animal relationships and the discourse on animal rights (3-5). The topic of humanist perspectives is indeed a divide, especially when we think of how to even talk about non-humans. In Chapter Two, sociologist Lauren Corman notes that her field assumes that its main concepts, namely society and culture, are exclusively human. She extends the use of intersectionality research to include animal voices as marginalised voices (42), or what Dave calls the intersectionality of critical animal studies (77). The connection of interdisciplinarity and intersectionality is further explored in Sunaura Taylor’s interview (Chapter Nine), who combines her activism work with disability and animal studies. Harlan Weaver addresses the difficulty in producing careful work based on the concerns of critical race studies and queer, gender and sexuality studies, and the danger of appropriating language from marginalised peoples (176).

Indeed, the question of language in our relationship with animals has long been a philosophical inquiry. In a seminal paper, ‘What is it like to be a bat?’, Thomas Nagel critiques the materialist and scientific reductionism of objectivity as a feeble exercise in the quest to understand the experiences of other animals. Instead, he argues we can only assume what bats might feel or experience, based on our own human experiences. Even if language has been, and is, a humanist practice or endeavour, comparative literature scholar Kari Weil suggests that reframing this concern as the question ‘is language patriarchal?’ (103) will better address how to reconfigure it. Weil further lays out her confusion with the word ‘posthumanism’, another term that recurs in this collection, and its many definitions. Her confusion is connected with the role of ethics, which she states is also a humanist endeavour, and what might be lost if we don’t reconsider what our humanness means (108-109).

As someone who does not sit comfortably in either food studies or STS, I really appreciate the unconventional (at least in the academic sense) genre this volume offers. The metaphor of ‘messy’ does not mean chaos; rather, these conversations highlight the scholarly task of filling in the gaps to rethink colonial scholarship. TallBear mentions that she does not crave intimacy with animals, but views her research as an intellectual and theoretical project that can strengthen new materialism and critical animal studies (60); Holland observes that just because theories are categorised as feminist or critical race studies does not necessarily mean that they are particularly good or critical enough (213). These are all significant points, and one should read these conversations as a place to connect similar concerns in different kinds of scholarly terrains; however, the question of normativity is one that cannot be displaced by the allure of interdisciplinarity. For those who are interested in object-oriented studies but with no real disciplinary home, these conversations do provide an indexical catalogue of themes or references.

In the end, the question of rethinking, reconfiguring and redefining is something that we have not settled in our own frustrations with decolonising actual academic practices. This particular volume centres the theme of animals as food or companion species in interviews that highlight personal experiences and how these inform the scholar’s own research. By hosting intimate conversations and collective reflection with the researchers, the editors have offered us something different, and not the standard journal article or academic book. If we praise this volume for its ‘messy’ interdisciplinary form, this shows us the wider value of academic accounts that utilise narrative or personal prose.

Anna Nguyen is a PhD student at L’institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Montreal, Canada. Her research analyses discourses of innovation, novelty and expertise in the context of food literature and scientific food reporting.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 

Corbyn Warns of Disastrous Consequences of Tory Election Victory

The I newspaper on Tuesday carried a report about what Jeremy Corbyn was expected to say in a speech attacking the Tories’ real plans for the country after Brexit. The article by Nigel Morris, titled ‘Corbyn: Tories plan Thatcherism on steroids’, ran

Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit plans will erode food safety standards to American levels to allow maggots in orange juice and rat hairs in paprika, Jeremy Corbyn will claim to day.

He will accuse the Prime Minister of plotting to unleash “Thatcherism on steroids” by using Brexit as cover for pushing an ideological agenda of selling off the NHS and slashing workers’ rights.

Mr Corbyn will insist Mr Johnson wants to strip away consumer, employment and environmental protections as he negotiates a free trade deal with President Donald Trump.

“Given the chance, they’ll slash food standards to US levels where ‘acceptable levels’ of rat hairs in paprika and maggots in orange juice are allowed and they’ll put chlorinated chicken on our supermarket shelves,” he will say in a speech in Harlow.

“And given the chance, they’ll water down the rules on air pollution and our environment that keep everyone safe. They want a race to the bottom in standards and protections.

“Given the chance, they’ll run down our rights at work, our entitlements to holiday, breaks and leave.”

The Labour leader will also claim that Mr Johnson’s Brexit plans would allow American pharmaceutical companies to bid for NHS contracts at a cost to the taxpayer of £500m a week.

Mr Johnson has denied the health service would be ‘on the table’ in po9st-Brexit trade talks with Donald Trump.

However, Mr Corbyn will say: “What Boris Johnson’s Conservatives want is to hijack Brexit to unleash Thatcherism on steroids.”

He will say that the Conservatives want to take Britain out of the EU because they knew voters would back a return to the politics of the 80s.

“Margaret Thatcher’s attack on the working community of our country left scars that have never healed and communities that have never recovered,” he will say. “The Conservatives know they can’t win support for what they’re planning to do in the Thatcherism. So they’re trying to do it in the name of Brexit instead.”

This is all absolutely true. Thatcher led an attack on Britain’s working people through privatisation, anti-union regulation and her attack on the welfare state. She want to privatise the NHS, but was prevented by a cabinet revolt. And the Tories back then made it very clear that they wanted to destroy the welfare state, because they considered it an obstacle to workers getting jobs. At the same time, they despised and attacked workers’ rights, on the grounds that they’re a burden to employers.

The result of his is massive job insecurity and a highly prejudiced and hostile benefits system that has seen millions of unemployed, poor and disabled people denied the money they need to live on. 250,000 people are kept from starvation only through food banks. 14 million households are in poverty. Millions of workers are trapped in a gig economy, where they don’t know if they’re going to have work tomorrow, and have no rights to basic pay and entitlements.

Some of the blame for this must lie with New Labour. But they were following the agenda set by Thatcher. And while the Tories have said that the NHS is ‘off the table’ in debates with Trump, they held six secret meetings with American negotiators in which it was very much included.

Thatcher is a great, molten idol to the Tories, but they recognise that she is bitterly unpopular in some areas. It was most obviously demonstrated in the parties that broke out in some parts of the country when she died. Her ideological legacy, neoliberalism, has been described as a ‘Zombie economy’ – it’s failed, but it’s still being propped up and kept alive somehow by the political and media establishment. And the Tories are using Brexit to push their attack on workers’ rights. As I’ve said before, the Tories hate the EU not because of the single market, which they actually quite like, but because of the Social Charter which lays down basic rights for European working people. That’s why they want to leave the EU: so they can get rid of this, and really start exploiting people.

Corbyn is telling the truth. Don’t believe the Tories lies. Get them out on December 12!

Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 9:27am in

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following:

-One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time.

-Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure.

-According to the MBM, Canada has seen a major decrease in poverty over the past decade.

-Also according to the MBM, there is very little seniors’ poverty in Canada.

-The debate about poverty measurement in Canada has largely ignored the concept of asset poverty.

The link to the blog post is here.

Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 9:27am in

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following:

-One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time.

-Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure.

-According to the MBM, Canada has seen a major decrease in poverty over the past decade.

-Also according to the MBM, there is very little seniors’ poverty in Canada.

-The debate about poverty measurement in Canada has largely ignored the concept of asset poverty.

The link to the blog post is here.

Right Kind of Green: Agroecology

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/10/2019 - 5:41am in

Colin Todhunter The globalised industrial food system that transnational agri-food conglomerates promote is failing to feed the world. It is responsible for some of the planet’s most pressing political, social and environmental crises. Whether it involves the undermining or destruction of what were once largely self-sufficient agrarian economies in Africa or the devastating impacts of soy cultivation in Argentina, localised, traditional …

122. Hash Squash Bake

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/10/2019 - 12:02am in


1970s, Food

OMG. Can it be? Can it really be? Can it be FALL?*** It sure feels like autumn this weekend–although I am skeptical that it’s going to stick around. I mean, it was 90+ degrees less than a week ago. But regardless, I am going to say that it IS fall! And how should I welcomeContinue reading 122. Hash Squash Bake →