An infectious and addictive blogohazard!

I don't know how many readers know it, but Connie du Toit -- a longtime favorite reader and commenter -- has returned to her own blog. Hmmm... I don't know what to call her return from anonymous blogging -- "coming out of the closet" or a "resurrection"? -- but seeing her back is an absolute delight.

What I love most about Connie du Toit is that she has a rare combination of wisdom and humor that I find so inspiring. I don't know how many of my blog posts have been generated by her thoughts, but there are a lot.

Sometimes when I read her thoughts, I see them as commonsensical tidbits of wisdom at the same time I see them as inviting satire. Her latest post -- "Who you are" -- flips both of these switches.

I'll start with the common sense:

Most folks (appear) to prefer to think that their meat doesn't come from animals and are shocked that I don't have a problem discussing the fact that my meat actually comes from dead animals. And I, like some prison camp official, actually order my animal's deaths! "I couldn't do that" is a common response. "Couldn't do what?"

Just because you don't know the date and time of your animal's execution does not mean you are not personally responsible for the death of an animal that you've bought parts of in the grocery store. Passivity in the process as a way of keeping your hands clean is delusional. If you didn't buy meat then the producers would cut production, but if you continue to buy it, an animal is going to be killed on your behalf.

Absolutely right. Buy a burger, and cows will die. This reality only seems to be understood by two groups: animal rights activists, and the people who abhor their philosophy. The real victims are of course stop signs on which ordinary people must rely.

Connie follows animal deaths with a complaint about people who talk about personal stuff like exercise. As an exercise nut, this made me immediately feel, well, exercised:

Another common safe subject is exercise routines. Oh, gawd. I am as interested in someone's exercise routine as I am their bowel movements or how often they floss, shower, or the speed of their toenail growth. That is extremely personal, and banal. When did grooming habits and routine become an acceptable topic of conversation?
While I try not to bore readers with tales of my bowel movements, I have long believed that everyone wanted to know about my 120 daily pushups with stands. And my 50 chinups. And what about my running?

Plus, I have written several blog posts about my teeth, which are an extreme environmental hazard making even the cremation of my corpse a very inflammatory topic. Doesn't the public have a right to know about my dangerous mouth?

And since when are my toenails not at least as interesting as my teeth? I mean, I've never had a pedicure or anything, and I haven't uploaded pictures of them, but I'm sure there has to be at least as much reader interest in these vital topics as there is bureaucratic interest. Who knows what vile bacterial, viral, mercury levels they might contain? Should I be allowed to simply throw them in the trash when that might cause them to spread filth, disease, and infection?

The personal has become political, and we are all either part of the solution or part of the problem! The mercury in your teeth, the sewage you generate when you relieve yourself, how long you run the water while brushing your teeth, how much water you use to wash your hair, all of these things have a direct environmental impact on the entire planet. Did you know that if your child loses a tooth, it is a biohazard? The heat we use, the calories we burn, even the air we exhale -- all of this contributes to Global Warming and Greenhouse gas!

What Connie du Toit does not seem to realize (probably because of her admitted refusal to attend political self-criticism sessions) is that not only are these so-called "grooming habits" acceptable topics of conversation, they should be required topics of inquiry.

Considering the highly political nature of these so-called "personal habits," it can only be concluded that any reluctance to discuss such important issues might be evidence of that reactionary racist belief known as individualism.

Be warned. The wisdom of Connie du Toit is infectious, hazardous, and probably addictive.

posted by Eric on 11.30.06 at 07:13 AM


Exercise? I weary of epic recitations of medical problems and treatments. Sure, it's the only adventure such bards have ever experienced, but it's only appropriate with intimates.

Brett   ·  November 30, 2006 9:30 AM

What? You mean my readers don't want to read about my daily exercise routine? What I eat? My grooming?

I guess I've had them figured all wrong....

Eric Scheie   ·  November 30, 2006 9:38 AM

I'm neither an animal rights activist, nor do I abhor their philosophy.

I'm just a guy who worked in a butcher shop as a kid and for 6 months on the killing floor a few years after high school.

We kill to live. Some people like to do their killing high up on the food chain. Some lower down.

Nature designed us to be hungry for what we need. Convenient, no? So if a person is hungry for some cow meat, I'm OK with that. Maybe it is what they need.


I will go so far as to say that if you haven't at least visited the killing floor you should not eat meat. Infact if you can't eat a burger right after visiting the killing floor mabe meat is not your thing. Eat it sparingly or not at all.

Lunch should always be taken naked or not at all.

M. Simon   ·  November 30, 2006 8:54 PM

I couldn't agree more with you. I have killed animals and eaten the animals I have killed. I have no problem with it, but I understand why some people do. What I'm unable to comprehend is that there are actually people who think meat comes from factories. That people can be like that is so scary it makes me paranoid.

Your post also raised an issue I've discussed before -- growing meat in factories.

(I'm cynical enough to think that that AR people would probably object to the idea.)

Eric Scheie   ·  November 30, 2006 9:13 PM

Interesting comments. Me, I can't stand to watch an animal die, even an eel.

I know people who like to have their hunting dogs kill wild boars rather than knife them- who will actually tie an incapacitated boar's back leg to a tree with a wire slip knot so it HAS to fight the pack. They just don't put themselves into the pig's place, they lack, not the ability to feel empathy, but the COMPULSIVE imagination necessary to put themselves in the boar's position. I call it lack of compulsive imagination because I'd rather not imagine a cow suffering when I eat a hamburger, and I'm not compelled to.

However if I SAW and heard a cow being killed I have no doubt that I'd be unable to stifle my imagination and therefore I couldn't possibly eat it, sans starvation or whatever. Because I'd be unable to stop myself from imagining I was being killed however the cow was.

Food for thought, this post.

Harkonnendog   ·  November 30, 2006 9:25 PM

Meat is murder. And murder sure tastes good!

anonymous   ·  November 30, 2006 10:20 PM

On carnivory: As this kzinti once said, "I did not claw my way to the top of the food to eat veggies.

On corpal revelations: I'm getting the nail on the big toe of my left foot removed because it's malformed. Enjoy your dead cow. :)

Alan Kellogg   ·  November 30, 2006 11:22 PM

I'd prefer to not visit a killing floor, thank you very much. I do have a vivid imagination (and a strong stomach) and those kinds of things tend to turn up in my dreams.

I would utterly hate to have to kill my own food. I don't doubt that I'd do it, though. I managed dissections quite well, and with a teacher who believed in cooking bits of the same type of animal up for the class afterwards. (Not the dissection animals, though, since they were formaldehyded.) However, I am SO glad we didn't dissect cats.

Yes, I am inconsistent on certain things. But I don't have cows as pets.

B. Durbin   ·  December 1, 2006 10:06 PM

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