Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Kill Your Own Thanksgiving Turkey?

Ariel Kaminer, city critic for the New York Times, pays for the turkey she slaughtered

Last night I had dinner with four vegetarians. I’m a carnivore, and as my partner pointed out, “in the minority.”

If you met me a dozen years ago, however, you’d know that I was–for a brief period of time (about one year)–a pescatarian. Not quite a complete abstainer from meat, because I chose to eat fish and seafood. I wasn’t ready to give up meat, though an internal compass was telling me to make more conscientious choices in my diet.

I have never believed in the cruelty of slaughterhouses and our anonymous, industrialized food system. Recent documentaries like Food Inc. reminded me once again of my sympathies. Yet I’m also a realist, and know that a Filipino childhood, in which pork and red meat were staples, has influenced my choice of food and my palate.

So it’s sobering for me to view this video of Ariel Kaminer, city critic for the New York Times, making a trip to a Queens slaughterhouse. Where does that fat, glossy turkey on the Thanksgiving table come from? In this video Kaminer examines her own feelings about literally killing her own food and reports on new trends in being a conscientious carnivore.

I can’t say that the video makes me want to become a vegetarian again (though my partner’s already had an indelible influence on my diet) but I do believe it’s important to recognize that the hamburger I’m enjoying once had a face.

Filed under: food, holidays, , ,

Wait, Halloween was Created by The Gays?

David Frum, the Bush speechwriter who is often cited as the originator of the catchphrase “axis of evil,” writes a surprisingly gay-friendly homage to the origins of Halloween. Where does he trace its roots?

Castro in the 70’s, of course.

And credit The Gays not only for this American institution, but a host of other fun, wholly American trends as well. According to Frum:

From the spread of disco in the 1970s — to the habit of paying money for sparkling waters such as Perrier — culminating in Halloween, gays have incubated and developed major cultural trends. Straights adopt, and then ungratefully forget whom they are adopting from — just as American Christians forget how much of the modern Christmas music they enjoy was written by Jews, starting with the most popular of them all, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” The majority culture forgets what the minority culture has produced.

Frum’s a man who gives credit where credit’s due. (And for the record, I’m appalled by how many cliches I’ve just used in this post.)

Filed under: fashion, gay life, holidays, , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
June 2017
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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