SEEING THROUGH THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS // ALIFF RUSH

Throughout our sections of Critical Writing and Thinking I & II, we have deeply analyzed the ethics behind sustainability, advertisement, food production, and dishonesty. While the general American public may see no relationship between these topics, our class dug deep in each subject to find solid connections. When looking back at the essay’s I’ve written over this course, I noticed a general theme in my arguments that closely resemble the trends we discussed in class. The commonality in these essays lies in my analysis of the negligence and deceit that institutions place upon society. While industries claim to act in the best interests of their consumers, they often mislead society into generations of immoral and unethical decisions. Only one thing is on their minds: exploiting our ignorance and filling the corporate wallet.

…And here’s how they do it:

juuling-9
photo from raisingkidstoday.com

When you first look at a successful company or industry, you not only become intrigued at what they have to offer, but also become astonished at their displayed motivations for success. Companies such as JUUL Labs, for example, had the mission of “improving the lives of the world’s one billion smokers” (Juul: Our Story). At first, one can see how intuitive this device is with the purpose of ending the world’s leading cause of cancer. However, after watching them be scrutinized by angry parents, politicians, school teachers, the media, and the commissioner of the FDA for their overwhelming number of sales to minors, we can see how their marketing tactics and “mission” had a different hidden agenda.

 

Companies that hold motives similar to this exist all around the world; especially for those that dominant their industry. Decades upon decades of experience not only heightens their ability to evade the strict policies, but also grants them a status persuasive enough to influence cultural norms.

In the first section of Critical Thinking and Writing, our primary focus revolved around the ethics of factoring farming and eating the products that come them. From the extensive multi-billion industry titled “animal agriculture”, meat-eaters all over the country are able to enjoy the 270 pounds of meat the average person eats a year (npr.org).

So What’s So Bad About Factory Farms?

 

(see for yourself)

 

Image result for factoring farming
photo from: wakingtimes.com

 

Ironically, or rather coincidentally, the theme of our class discussion for that quarter reached its peak only a few days prior to our Thanksgiving Day break. To make it even worse, we were shown raw (and I mean RAW) footage of what occurs within factory farms on a daily basis. As I watched my family dig deep into the steaming turkey that sat on our dinner table, I thought to myself: Why is there a bird on our dinner table?

Johnathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals, a book we constantly referred to throughout the year, aimed to guide us to this questioning. Not only does he provide evidence that factory farming is the leading cause for global warming, a serious threat to our globe, but also presents multiple themes about eating animals that Americans are blind to. To open our eyes, one theme he uses is the idea of “stories”. He argues that with every meal, a meaningful story exists that uncovers deeper meanings of lives.

 

As the millions of Americans sit down and perform the same annual tradition that my family does, we must ask ourselves the same question hopes for. This is yet another example of an industry exploiting our ignorance. According to the National Turkey Association (yes, this is a real thing), 46 million turkeys are sold each year for this holiday. That means, every year, 46 million turkeys are viciously slaughtered, packaged, and shelved, all for the purpose of participating in a made up tradition (NTA). It took over 200 annual Thanksgiving dinners for someone to finally declare turkeys the official meal of this holiday. Although up for debate, no clear story or evidence exists as to why these birds were symbolized. This is where Foer wants us to sthink and question our decisions.

 

turkeys-17
photo from osheba.wordpress.com

As the millions of Americans sit down and perform the same annual tradition that my family does, we must ask ourselves the same question hopes for. This is yet another example of an industry exploiting our ignorance. According to the National Turkey Association (yes, this is a real thing), 46 million turkeys are sold each year for this holiday. That means, every year, 46 million turkeys are viciously slaughtered, packaged, and shelved, all for the purpose of participating in a made up tradition (NTA). It took over 200 annual Thanksgiving dinners for someone to finally declare turkeys the official meal of this holiday. Although up for debate, no clear story or evidence exists as to why these birds were symbolized. This is where Foer wants us to sthink and question our decisions.

“Not responding is a response – we are equally responsible for what we don’t do” -Johnathan Foer

So let’s question ourselves. Will we continue to let an industry that is damaging to both our environment and animals lead the lives we live today? It is easy to say you disagree with a corporation such as this, but words often tend fade away. We must not only question our ethics but follow the moral compass that lies within us to truly take action. It might be a frightening position to take, especially if you’re the minority,  but that stance might set the path for a complete change to society. It might just save the world.

Work Cited:

Barclay, Eliza. “A Nation Of Meat Eaters: See How It All Adds Up.” NPR, NPR, 27 June 2012, http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters.

“Eatturkey.com.” NTF Foodservice Manual – Safe Food Handling – Food Borne Illness | Eatturkey.com, http://www.eatturkey.com/.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Access and Diversity, Crane Library, University of British Columbia, 2013.

“JUUL Labs Was Founded with the Goal of Improving the Lives of the World’s One Billion Adult Smokers.” JUUL | The Smoking Alternative, Unlike Any E-Cigarette or Vape, http://www.juul.com/our-perspective.

 

PETA VIDEO: https://youtu.be/I2dGvZiHUJ0

 

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