Friday, August 01, 2008

"It's about meat"

When we led our "The Books We Should Have Read in High School" book group in L.A., Jodi and I were "in charge" but Joe always came to the meetings and read the books along with us. Likewise, we faithfully attended and read Joe's book group "Contemporary Fiction" (which in the summer became "Trashy Classics" for three months). Well, Jodi and I both wanted to read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle for our group, it definitely being one of those high-schoolish classics you always hear about. Joe wrinkled his nose at the suggestion and said, "Isn't that about meat?" It sounded really funny when he boiled it down to that. So in the whole time leading up to doing The Jungle in book group, we kept laughingly repeating, "It's about meat."

Only, turns out, it really isn't. After a lifetime of hearing about slaughterhouses and muckraking and The Jungle exposing the world to the horrors of making meat, I read it and realized it was about meat for, like, two pages. It WAS about the horrible conditions of slaughterhouses, but mostly for the workers, not to mention the deplorable conditions in which the poor immigrant workers LIVED in Chicago, and the socio-political nightmare under which they suffered, and so on. I did learn that in response to the book's revelation of some of the terrible conditions Congress stepped up, regulated things, made the Food and Drug Administration start making things better meatwise. But are there still problems? Oh my, there are.

Today, life imitates art: 'The Jungle,' Again

Speaking of famous books, apparently JK Rowling wrote another. Or should I say -- as, for example, the Borders newsletter says -- JK Rowling did the introduction, notes, and illustrations, but the book is a collection of fairy tales translated by Hermione Granger from the ancient runes? Puh-leeeze.

It got me to thinking, as I actively avoid the midnight release tonight of Stephanie Meyer's new young adult vampire fantasy book, I'm interested in this new trend of people salivating en masse about a.)wistful young adult fantasy series b.)superhero movies. Specifically, I'm interested in it in the face of the concurrent trend of people refusing to engage in smart entertainment addressing the reality of the world, i.e. the Iraq war and other lies of the Bush administration. From Lions for Lambs to Stop Loss, people (not us) have been staying away from the theaters in droves where Iraq is concerned. Not to mention the crap they give Michael Moore, no matter how often he is proved to be right.

So I'm wondering if those things are related. You know, fantasy and avoiding reality. See what I mean? Does this explain my lack of interest in the fantasy genre? I mean, when it comes to great literature, I totally recognize. The Lord of the Rings? Good stuff. But the obsession with all things fantasy? So not my style. But I love me some politically-themed film. And I love the stuff that calls out the warmongering Bush administration.

Added to my growing list of people I don't care about (which thus far includes JK Rowling, the author on her coattails Stephanie Meyer, and Barack Obama) is Brett Favre. Seriously, can we just stop talking about him? Who cares? Why do they care? It's beyond me.

As for the athlete in the news I do like? Manny Ramirez! Tell me more! No longer a Red Sock, he is off to L.A. I like me some Dodgers, so I'm kind of happy he ended up there. And he really is a good fit for that city. Which I also love. Oh, the dwindling Red Sox. Jason Varitek is practically the only one of my crew left there now! I'm kind of OK with Manny talking trash about Boston too. I mean, how do we know? Maybe it totally sucked to be there and be good and loved by fans. Besides, being easygoing doesn't always go over well in that city, I can tell you. Anyway, I liked seeing him sporting the Dodger blue while I watched the press conference. Go West, young Manny!

1 comment:

jnap said...

As I was driving to work today, hearing the dire straights of everyone in the world, I thought of "Atlas Shrugged."