Newsweek still arrives at my door weekly, but for two reasons only: (1) I ordered it to help my niece make her magazine drive quota (along with Travel and Golf and Conte Nast, two magazines that I can't ever remember even opening, much less reading) and, (2) George Will; hands down the best political/social writer in the business today.
Okay, that last pronouncement may be open to discussion, but Mr. Will just blows me away with his ability to reduce an absurdly complex social cassarole into deliciously erudite morsels of reality. Mr. Will's extraordinary ability to do so no doubt springs from his love for baseball, a game that turns on careful observation, focused patience, and exacting execution.*
Yet I have never read a piece by Mr. Will that so discombobulated me as this week's fare in Newsweek entitled "What We Owe What We Eat: Why, Matthew Scully asks, is cruelty to a puppy appalling and cruelty to livestock by the billions a matter of social indifference?" Mr. Will warns us against reading the article - and I agree - it may disturb the willful complacency we strive to maintain in such matters. But the questions posed are poignant and worthy of adult discussion. What do humans, so far removed from the process by which we now procure our food, owe in terms of humanity to that "food" while it still breathes?
As one who never shot a “gun” until one was placed in my hands by the Navy and who has only successfully stalked prey in the grocer’s aisles, I find the question to be, not only socially reflective, but pregnant...with twins.
Mr. Will’s column is by no means a paean to the fringe rants of PETA, but rather a thoughtful pause, as if suddenly noticing an elephant in your parlor.
Is there a reasoned response? Of course. And I'm open to suggestions.
I won’t urge you to read it…but you will, because, at bottom, you’re human.
*Obigatory basball reference - Yankees at Sox tomorrow night.