Endangered Species

Vegetarians and their righteousness have a way of making my skin crawl. More than once I’d like to smack the tofu-munchers up the side of the head with a slab of beef. Now Mark Bittman, who wrote How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and by his own admission is not a vegetarian, has joined the fray in Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.

Eating beef has now become as socially distasteful as driving a big ol’ car and smoking cigarettes. And wearin’ shit-kickin’ Western boots. Wait: that describes some of my best friends.

One cup of broccoli, a cup of eggplant, four ounces of cauliflower and a half pound of rice, according to the accompanying graphic, supply 320 calories — the same as six ounces of beefsteak –yet consume one-sixteenth as much fossil fuel energy to produce. Let’s not even address the vast nutritional difference between this lame vegetarian diet and a good serving of red meat. The amount of fuel required to cook that half pound of rice vastly exceeds what’s expended on grilling a steak. And what about the expensive olive oil that’s got to be imported all the way from Italy just to make those vegetables palatable? And the garbage disposal necessary to get rid of the damn broccoli? Damn lies, I say! And probably promulgated by a bunch of Communists.

Beef and those who raised it are what made the Americas great, and that goes for Sonora beef, Iowa beef, and Argentine beef. This hemisphere’s beef is still the envy of the entire world. Beef represents more than simply meat; it stands for the strength of character of cowboys and ranchers who raise four-legged animals. All was right and good with the world back in those days, and it’s time that we re-learn those cowboy lessons.

Have all of those Prius-driving, Nike-wearing vegetarians forgotten about leather?

Cultural Literacy

Last week I asked several Mexican friends a few basic questions about this country, just to test their cultural literacy.

I started out with asking them to name a few Mexican writers. The first insisted that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a Mexican writer. Doesn’t Colombia ring a bell? The second came up with Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes, claiming that he couldn’t think of any more off the bat. The third admitted that she could not name a single one. Haven’t these folks heard of Juana Inés de la Cruz, Carlos Pellicer, Denise Dresser, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, Ramon Lopez Velarde, Manuel Othon, Manuel Gutierrez Najera, Elena Poniatowska, Anita Brenner, Carlos Monsivàis, Homero Aridjis, Juan Rulfo, Guadalupe Loaeza, Laura Esquivel, Margo Glantz, Sara Sefchovich and and Guadalupe Marín, just for starters? Do they ever read the newspaper

One out of the three could not name the jefe de gobierno of the Distrito Federal. Maybe she hadn’t heard about abortion, the ice rink and the urban beach. I guess I shouldn’t have been disappointed: Contestant Number Three not only was unable to name a single one of the Niños Hèroes, she didn’t even know their place in Mexico’s history.

I saved the final volley for last. Could you recite the Himno Nacional? Dead silence.

Now, the really sad thing is that each of those I’d asked were educated people. And naturalized Mexican citizens. No, I’m not naming any names. But I know whom I can beat at Trivial Pursuit.

Elefant’s Shingle and the Cover of the Rolling Stone

District of Columbia lawyer SolobyChoiceCarolyn Elefant was one of the pioneers in the world of law-related blogs, and her new book Solo by Choice has just been released, and who’s name is on the cover? Click and find out.

David Leffler‘s quoted inside and more than once.

You now have three good reasons to buy this book.