Just now returning to this post about the showing of American Meat at Stanford several weeks ago...
While I was walking from the parking lot to the quad, I overhead two women talking - one [an older white woman] was talking about how great she felt because Stanford was committed to outreach to women faculty. The other women [an older black women who might have had a foreign accent, probably indicating that she was an immigrant] was in verbal agreement. I put them out of hearing range as fast as I could. Why would they be concerned about the injustices of the American higher education system? They had found their steady paycheck.
At the showing there were a lot of older women - defeminized, paying very little attention to appearance, dressing in what passes for unisex clothing (but is clearly male clothing adapted for women) and rather messy hair, as my mother would say. As those Romanians and other Eastern Europeans might say, "they talk and dress like men." Some of the younger women in the audience, such as the event organizers, were dressed in a more feminine manner - skirts and such. Were they just living it up as young women, not yet hardened in feminism? (After all, it was a rather cold evening.)
It seemed to primarily be a SWPL event with respect to the non-students in attendance (though the students might qualify under that label as well), though there were some farmers in attendance as well (some associated with Left Coast Grassfed). There were a lot of the people in audience; quite a few were ostensibly homosexual (one lesbian couple), some Asians.
The leader of the protesters was the first to stand, holding up a photo. "This is Lisa. This is my baby girl. Everyday I come home she welcomes me, etc." At first I thought he was speaking of a child who suffered from some dietary problem. But then he revealed that he was talking about his pet dog. 5 other protesters gradually stood up with pictures of their pets, and there was some heckling by other audience members. Several ex-vegetarians/vegans also stood up to respond. Others tried to remind them that they were undermining their cause by appearing to be fanatics and destroying what was promising to be a civil discussion about meat production in this country.
Much to my embarrassment, the leader was Chinese, though I do not know if he was born here or not. Regardless, he seems to have adopted Uhmerican leftist culture well. He used as an argument the claim of a double-standard by Chinese selling dogs for food, that what we do with cows and the like is no different. (He also claimed his dog was a vegan.) Another Asian (Chinese) angrily left the auditorium, stating that this was the first time he had attended such an event and he had been hoping to learn something from it, but he was disappointing by how uncivilized people were behaving.
The moderator revealed during the protest that she had been a vegetarian (or vegan? for over 20 years. She definitely had the aging leftist vibe to her visual impact. The other female panelist looked more like an aging hippie; she got upset when she was interrupted by the ringleader while answering a question from the audience. All she could do was raise her voice and call him out on his rude behavior. Vasile Stanescu looks and sounds like your typical smug, efffete European liberal/SWPL who thinks he is morally and intellectually superior to the hicks. He was asked by teh moderator to say something to the protestors, but he just threw his hands up. Maybe he thought they were acting in accordance with their conscience and had a "right" to do what they were doing. One wonders what the moderator thought of what seemed to be spinelessness.
(The filmmaker, Graham Meriweather, was a last-minute substitution on the panel, as the previously invited guest was ill and could not attend.) I wish I had heard more about his experiences making the film and his learning process.
The panel had thought to leave the auditorium and to answer questions in the hallway, but the audience asked them to stay in the auditorium and ignore the protesters. It took about 10 to 15 minutes (or more) for the organizers to decide to call campus security as the protesters, especially the ringleader, continued to interrupt the discussion. About 1/4 of the representatives/officers were white, and all of them were women. The moderator had threatened to call security, but she did not do so herself. Maybe she was waiting for the organizers to do it. The protesters eventually left while Graham Meriweather, the director of the movie, was answering another question from the audience. I don't think the police officers arrived in time to arrest anyone. That's too bad. I was hoping they would come in - then I could see what sort of use of force policies are in effect at Stanford. If there was a confrontation between them and the protesters, the reaction of the panelists and the audience members would have been interesting as well, and maybe a youtube video or two would have resulted.
Neither the moderator nor the organizers had the qualities/testicles necessary to issue an ultimatum right away - leave or campus security will be called - and to follow through if the protesters did not comply. While I wish that the discussion had been allowed to proceed, as I probably would have learned something about sustainable agriculture and more about the panelists, I still had a good laugh at their expense. A mocking, negative sense of humor yes, but I am a sinner.
The fruits of feminism - a feminist utopia would be one marked by the overall lack of decisive action when it is needed. Even if some butch women had been present, things may have gotten more confrontational and heated (with the butch women using violence) but it would still have been laughable. (I note one of the officers on the scene was a short, rather overweight, woman.) Still, the feminists who think the world would be a better, more peaceful place without men and their violence are wrong (see the episode of the Outer Limits, "Lithia," for an illustration of this belief) - feral women can resort to violence just as quickly as feral men can. (But a feral woman will be no match for a feral man.) Or they would otherwise seek to destroy their enemies by other means, social and emotional pressure - what might be called "bullying." Taunting their enemies to commit suicide.
Anyway, I had contemplated asking the panelists about their complicity in a higher-ed system that does not respond effectively to the needs of the future, instead pushing out office workers (even if they are advocates, organizers, and lawyers) to order other people around from a desk. Do people really need a bachelor's degree from Stanford in order to farm? But our academics do not wish to give up their positions of privilege and moderate wealth even if they are benefiting from a disordered, exploitative, and unjust system that no longer serves any useful economic purpose while promising such an advantage to its students. They can rationalize their involve by claiming to be working for the good of society.
But I decided there wouldn't be much point to confront those who are entrenched in their "advant-garde" thinking while rooted firmly in the system they claim to oppose.
Students for a Sustainable Stanford
Center on Food Security and the Environment
Food & Farming @ Stanford
Appetite for Change
Fred Kirschenmann was featured in the movie.
The 4 major threats to industrialized agriculture -- Fred Kirschenmann speaks
Generation Anthropocene has an interview with Graham Meriweather: American Meat (mp3).
Food Democracy Now
Farmer Veteran Coalition (FB)
The Farmer Veteran Project
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