“Don’t consume the products [that don’t represent you]. Especially Latinos! Latinos make up 38 percent of the box office every weekend. That’s a lot! So if you want to see Latinos in big studio films, and they don’t exist in them, don’t see them, because in this industry, money talks more than anything. If you do not see yourself and your community in the ways that you want, don’t purchase tickets. If you don’t purchase, they’ll stop making [something exclusive]. If you don’t purchase, they’ll start to include.”
Gina Rodriguez photographed by Kat Borchart for BUST Magazine (2017)
Rick and Morty has failed as a piece of media. Not because it didn’t have a good message, not because it espoused abhorrent views or failed at telling its story and developing its characters. It failed because it cultivated an audience that was fundamentally opposed to hearing what it had to say. If you’ve baked a cheesecake whose most vocal proponents are people with lactose intolerance who consume your product and then walk around farting loudly and shitting everywhere because of your cheesecake, you’ve failed as a baker. If you’ve written a show that subverts archetypes of bad ass loner rebels who are withdrawn alcoholics by making them canonically terrible people but your most public fans dress up as that character and stab other people, you’ve failed as a writer.
I DON’T think this is the fault of the writers - Rick literally has said multiple times that he’s terrible, that he’s reprehensible and that he shouldn’t be looked up to. The writers have done everything to make this point clear to the audience up to literally opening a season by having Rick talk directly into the camera and saying “I’m the villain, I’m the bad guy and if you knew me I would hate you and would abuse you until you hated me too and then I would destroy you. This does not make me enlightened or cool - it makes me pathetic, and if you look at me with anything short of animosity, disdain and pity, you need help and should call this mental health services line.” I’m not confident even this would work.
The audience has made Rick and Morty a failure and it has proven to me unequivocally that the archetypes the show works so hard to subvert are themselves unsubvertible. You cannot have a character who is a “compelling depressed man of tremendous power who is irreparably broken and only grows into a worse person as he finds new opportunities to disappoint those who value him” because the people who most need the sorts of stories such a character can impart stop paying attention after the word ‘power.’ The people that understand the message you’re relaying already know it.
Anyway, that’s my Rick and Morty hot take and I regret it instantly
What can college kids with limited resources do to help the environment?
The fact that you are asking this question makes me feel very hopeful as it shows you care. Helping the environment is not about the amount resources you have. I could give you a shopping list of behaviours you can change to decrease your impact on the planet, but what I want to tell you is find the environmental cause you are passionate about and get the best education you can so you can have voice and make a difference. Invest in your future through education. You will be able to make a difference.
There are lots of little ways we can all help the environment in our everyday lives. One of the easiest ways is becoming an informed consumer. Every time we spend a dollar we are casting a vote, from the products we buy, to the food we consume, and the transportation we use. The choices we make as a consumer can have far reaching influences, from across the globe to your friends and family. This became clear to me during my first trip to Borneo. I was confronted by vast, seemingly endless acres of oil palm plantations that were once dense primary forest. Those forests were once home to orangutans, elephants, and sun bears. It made me realized just how much palm oil I was consuming in the products I used every day. I began to eliminate those products from my home, and started writing letters to manufactures, urging them to find sustainable alternatives. Becoming an informed consumer really opens the door to understanding the influence, and impact we are having across the globe. Although it may sound cliché, it really does translate to acting locally and thinking globally.
the vast majority of “vegan activism” i guess i would call it is essentially liberal idealist consumer activism (e.g. “vote with your dollar”) that places more importance on ending the use of animal products than… ending capitalism, which is literally the source of global warming, which has caused the extinction of countless species, which will never allow the cessation of the use of animal products because profit is prioritized above all else.
like how am i supposed to sympathize with a vegan who shops at whole foods for their “ethical” lifestyle while whole foods exploits the labor of prisoners? and, like, obviously this is not unique to whole foods; there literally is no ethical consumption under current capitalist conditions, the global economy and every government connected to it is reliant on exploitation.
but yeah i do use the term lifestyle, because the individualist ethical veganism lifestyle is seamlessly integrated into capitalism in the sense that, under capitalism, we are denied meaningful identities, and the identities that society allows us to have are identities defined either by consumption or production.
hence “vegan” is an identity defined by consumption; it is a market demographic. any type of consumer product can be positioned, marketed, designed to garner more sales from the Vegan Market.
anyway, moving on:
there’s the widespread racism and xenophobia towards cultures that have traditions of using animal products. Like i understand if you have a moral objection to, uh, Any Animal Being Killed For Any Reason (regardless of my inability to sympathize with that point of view) but that does not exempt you from the responsibility to exercise nuance and cultural sensitivity. you still have the capacity to express your animal rights beliefs in a racist, xenophobic, islamophobic, or antisemitic way.
it’s not that bigotry within activist circles is unique to animal rights groups, because it isn’t, but the way that it presents itself in animal rights groups reveals where their priorities lie…
and the oft-repeated phrase “they care more about the ‘rights’ of animals than they do about the oppression against people of color and the working class,” sums it up pretty darn well.
of course when talking about anarcho-primitivists and Animal Liberation anarchists, the conversation is slightly different. but a lot of the same fundamental problems are present in those circles as the ones I brought up here.
…side note: a prominent example of a shitshow from far-left animal rights activists is the Deep Green Resistance transphobia debacle. yikes.
Recently, I was part of a conversation between my sisters and a person outside of our friend group. The subject of K-pop came up, and this person who was clearly not a fan looked at me and said “you must be patient zero”. I’ve heard this term used before, mainly in a derogatory way, with the meaning of “the first person to be exposed to K-pop, who then spreads becoming a fan as a disease among their friends and family”. At first, I was a little annoyed, but as I thought about it more and more, I realized that he was unknowingly paying me as well as the industry of K-pop a massive compliment.
The truth that has to be acknowledged to understand why, though, is the sometimes uncomfortable and avoided fact that K-pop is very much an industry, and groups are very much a product. Fans don’t like to discuss this much, but it’s a fact that cannot be denied. K-pop groups are products created by corporations to sell to consumers. Many antis will use this as a reason to not enjoy K-pop, saying for instance “it’s too fake and manufactured, where companies decide members of groups instead of letting them come together naturally”, however the reality is that much of American media is the same. K-pop is very self aware in being an industry, and will even present straight to the fans that they are consumers of a product. Idols will say that the company won’t let them say or do things that would pull fans away, such as dating bans or bans on using dialect. There are TV shows such as Fluttering India, a show where members of K-pop groups were sent to India to research the market for K-pop, essentially filming and packaging the research companies do in America for a new product as entertainment. There are even TV shows made into survival shows such as No Mercy or Pentagon Maker which show the making of the group product, choosing members who work well together and have the talent necessary, almost like a Shark Tank where the judges are the companies and the products are human lives. The K-pop industry is just that, and industry, and the companies will cater to the consumers through fan-service and fan events. Being aware of such a fact is important to understand, and it doesn’t make your enjoyment of the industry a bad thing. It means that you understand that even in American culture, actors and TV celebrities and singers are products who you support and spend money on, and you as a fan have abundant power in such matters.
This is important, though, because you now understand that K-pop is an industry and not a disease. And like any other industry, the strongest tool that is utilized is word of mouth. Humans have a natural crowd mentality, and sites such as Amazon or Yelp utilize this mentality, showing you ratings and reviews in order to convince you to buy products. Youtubers and Instagrammers will buy followers to convince followers to go with the crowd. When you take a survey for any reason, for a store or a restaurant alike, what two questions are always there? “How did you hear about us”, “Would you recommend us to a friend?”. You see, K-pop is an industry, and by saying that it is an industry that is known to be infectious like a disease, spread from person to person, you’re only saying that K-pop has achieved something most product distributers only dream of - a product with value and appeal enough for a successful complete spread of word of mouth through people from all languages, all cultures, all races, all backgrounds, and all walks of life. And by saying that I am patient zero you’re saying that I am a distributer to an entirely untapped friend group, family, an untouched market, and that I as a consumer am increasing the profits of an industry that I genuinely enjoy partaking in, that my support as a fan of a group that speaks a different language in a different part of the world than me is at the very root valuable and valued and sought after from companies and idols alike.
So let that be a reminder to fans who are tired of hearing “they will never know you exist” or “you don’t even speak the same language”. Not only is your enjoyment valid, it’s also necessary and important in making K-pop and your favorite bias group become a worldwide trend until the biggest argument the haters can put forth is that it appeals to too many people.
I'm curious about what procedures you think need to change in the livestock industry?
Practically, or philosophically? There is so much that can be talked about in this field
From a practical standpoint, there are a number of areas where current livestock practices are far from ideal. Farming has a huge history behind it, and many of these practices are ingrained and so difficult to change.
Before I go through the list, I should preface that if you’re not comfortable with the fact that farmed animals die for human benefit, if you just want all farms to stop using animals, then you’re not going to find this list satisfactory. If you’re fundamentally uncomfortable with livestock industries, and you haven’t already questioned why you consume the products it produces or what your alternatives are, then it might be worthwhile.
For now, these industries are not going anywhere. They’re certainly not perfect but we could improve them. Regardless of whether you personally believe all these industries should be ‘just stopped’ you have to agree that will not happen overnight, and that other welfare improvements could happen today.
Pain relief being more widely used. There has historically been an aversion to using pain relief medication in livestock due to expense, drug residues and the lack of products made for and tested in the species. This is beginning to change so there are not more options for pain relief at castration and mulesing , for example, but this needs to be more widely used. Another hurdle to this is that they are prescription products, and in order for a veterinarian to prescribe them they must have been out to that farm within the last year and be familiar with their set up and stock. Not every farm will call out a veterinarian on a regular basis.
Minimize transport time. Transport, whether by road, train, boat or plane, is incredibly stressful for livestock of all kinds. We can measure their physiological stress, so this is definitely not just anthropomorphism. Livestock are more stressed in transport than they are by witnessing death, which is the opposite to what many people would think.
On-farm slaughter and refrigerated transport. Following on from the previous point, we have the technology to transport chilled carcasses. Performing slaughter on farm removes or eliminates a large percentage of the transport an individual animal needs to be exposed to, and will improve their welfare. Animals don’t perceive death the same way we do, having a mini abattoir at the farm entrance isn’t going to bother them.
Using genetics instead of procedures. It astounds me in this modern day that we still have breeders of hereford cattle that breed the horned version, and then de-horn the calves, instead of selecting stock with the polled (no horns) trait. If you want horns then fine, but if you’re going to cut/burn/cauterize them off anyway when why not remove them genetically? The polled gene exists! Similarly there are a small number of merino sheep with a ‘bare breech’ trait, which don’t need mulesing. It would be ideal to spread this trait through the Australian sheep population, but with millions and millions of sheep and a ram only about to impregnate about 60 a month, that will take time.
Enrichment. Toys. Something for animals to play with, to investigate, to do. This has been historically neglected for a long time because originally animals weren’t though to have souls, or to be thinking, feeling entities. We know differently now. Enrichment only improves the lives of these animals, and often reduces unwanted or destructive behavior, like piglets biting off each others tails.
Dam-neonate bonding in certain industries should be reconsidered. In some situations, the dairy industry in particular, neonates may be taken from their mothers within 24 hours to reduce disease transmission in eradication of certain diseases, like Johnes disease, but in other situations it’s because for some mind boggling reason it is more cost efficient for a farm to sell the mother’s milk and feed the neonate on milk replacer.
In a similar vein, giving sows enough space to nurse their litter would be great. They’re kept in sow stalls (basically a cage that they can stand up or lie down in that the piglets can run through) so that they don’t squash their piglets and kill them. That’s great and all, except you can accomplish the same thing by giving the sow more space to turn around it and slopes on the wall of the pen.
So, the important question I hope you’re asking is why don’t we do these things already?
There are lots and lots of reasons someone could grab, but the short (and I dare say more honest) reason is this: Money.
Granting an animal more space costs you money because it reduces the number of animals you can stock in your space. Using more pain relief medication costs you money. Calling out a vet costs you money. Providing enrichment costs you various amounts of money. On-farm slaughter and refrigerated transport is more expensive than the current system.
So if this is all about money, is it the fault of greedy farmers? Well, generally no.
Most farmers actually like the species of animal they work with. And most of them, especially with recent droughts, the current political climate and monopolization of the companies that buy their products, are not making big buckets of cash. More and more farms are selling up and small producers are not keeping up.
They are under constant pressure to lower the prices of their animal products because there’s only a few big buyers, and right now it’s the buyers that dictate what price they’re willing to pay. Because these animal products are perishable, you can’t save them for a rainy day if you don’t sell them, and these buyers are big enough, they can hold out and only pay what they want to pay. This severe downward pressure means farmers get paid progressively less, and these companies make more profits while claiming it’s good for consumers.
^ Look familiar?
So we get cheaper food, the company makes more profit, and the individual farms get screwed.
Especially with milk, there was a huge crisis recently where one of the big milk buyers suddenly declared it had been overpaying dairies, and that not only was it now going to pay them much less for the season (on contract mind you), but that all their dairies now owed them thousands of dollars. After years of downward price pressure on their product many farms could not, and can not, afford this. You can get an overview here.
The point I’m trying to get to is that if these industries are gong to improve, then we need to value the individual animal and its experience of life more than we currently do.
If we value the experiences of the individual animal, and consequently put our money where our mouth is when it comes to their products, then there should be both motivation and financial ability to improve their lives. We could progress from mere ‘prevention of cruelty’ and minimum standards towards animal welfare and good welfare states.
Changing consumer patterns is probably the only way to do this, and it’s quite hard when you’re already paycheck to paycheck, but a in depth rant/discussion about politics/policy/economics etc is beyond my scope, though I would happily add veterinary and industry specific detail to a discussion if someone wants to tackle that side of it.
Me a few months ago:
haha the denny's tumblr blog is so funny and relatable!
Denny's is a company that actively exploits its employees whilst feigning the persona of a relatable symbol on the internet to appeal to generations of all ages, particularly younger ones, to consume their product.
Independence Day is dedicated to patriotism, but celebrated with beer and explosives. So it might not be a shock that every Fourth of July, America sees a massive spike in fireworks injuries — especially among children and young men.
And every year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission engages in a noble, quixotic quest to persuade Americans to set off explosives more responsibly. CPSC does that by blowing up mannequins on the National Mall.
The demonstration emphasizes that fireworks are dangerous. Seriously dangerous. Blast-your-hand-off dangerous. Bottle-rocket-in-the-eye dangerous. Where’d-that-mannequin’s-head-go dangerous.
The point, of course, is not that fireworks should be forbidden. The CPSC is striving to suggest that if you’re using fireworks, you should try to be smart and safe — and not emulate the dummies on the Mall.
Five Ways the International Space Station’s National Lab Enables Commercial Research
A growing number of commercial partners use the International Space Station National Lab. With that growth, we will see more discoveries in fundamental and applied research that could improve life on the ground.
Space Station astronaut Kate Rubins was the first person to sequence DNA in microgravity.
Since 2011, when we engaged the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to manage the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab, CASIS has partnered with academic researchers, other government organizations, startups and major commercial companies to take advantage of the unique microgravity lab. Today, more than 50 percent of CASIS’ experiments on the station represent commercial research.
Here’s a look at five ways the ISS National Lab is enabling new opportunities for commercial research in space.
1. Supporting Commercial Life Sciences Research
One of the main areas of focus for us in the early origins of the space station program was life sciences, and it is still a major priority today. Studying the effects of microgravity on astronauts provides insight into human physiology, and how it evolves or erodes in space. CASIS took this knowledge and began robust outreach to the pharmaceutical community, which could now take advantage of the microgravity environment on the ISS National Lab to develop and enhance therapies for patients on Earth. Companies such as Merck, Eli Lilly & Company, and Novartis have sent several experiments to the station, including investigations aimed at studying diseases such as osteoporosis, and examining ways to enhance drug tablets for increased potency to help patients on Earth. These companies are trailblazers for many other life science companies that are looking at how the ISS National Lab can advance their research efforts.
2. Enabling Commercial Investigations in Material and Physical Sciences
Over the past few years, CASIS and the ISS National Lab also have seen a major push toward material and physical sciences research by companies interested in enhancing their products for consumers. Examples range from Proctor and Gamble’s investigation aimed at increasing the longevity of daily household products, to Milliken’s flame-retardant textile investigation to improve protective clothing for individuals in harm’s way, and companies looking to enhance materials for household appliances. Additionally, CASIS has been working with a variety of companies to improve remote sensing capabilities in order to better monitor our oceans, predict harmful algal blooms, and ultimately, to better understand our planet from a vantage point roughly 250 miles above Earth.
3. Supporting Startup Companies Interested in Microgravity Research
CASIS has funded a variety of investigations with small startup companies (in particular through seed funding and grant funding from partnerships and funded solicitations) to leverage the ISS National Lab for both research and test-validation model experiments. CASIS and The Boeing Company recently partnered with MassChallenge, the largest startup accelerator in the world, to fund three startup companies to conduct microgravity research.
4. Enabling Validation of Low-Earth Orbit Business Models
The ISS National Lab helps validate low-Earth orbit business models. Companies such as NanoRacks, Space Tango, Made In Space, Techshot, and Controlled Dynamics either have been funded by CASIS or have sent instruments to the ISS National Lab that the research community can use, and that open new channels for inquiry. This has allowed the companies that operate these facilities to validate their business models, while also building for the future beyond station.
5. Demonstrating the Commercial Value of Space-based Research
We have been a key partner in working with CASIS to demonstrate to American businesses the value of conducting research in space. Through outreach events such as our Destination Station, where representatives from the International Space Station Program Science Office and CASIS select cities with several major companies and meet with the companies to discuss how they could benefit from space-based research. Over the past few years, this outreach has proven to be a terrific example of building awareness on the benefits of microgravity research.
It is socially irresponsible to consume animal products when you have the ability not to, given the grave and devastating effects of animal operations on communities of color, low income communities, migrant workers, and not to mention the animals themselves
Pepsi be like: Hey kiddos, isn’t protesting so cool? So BAE? So LIT? Also you guys need to learn how to respect authority :/ Here’s your favorite skinny white celebrity giving our product to a police officer! Be more like her. Stop yelling about your “human rights” and consume our product.
Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better.
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Also, quick reminder: the main motivation for the big majority of vegans to go and stay vegan is the refusal to be part of a system that profits from animal cruelty and exploitation. Even if it turns out that red meat is “not as bad for your health as previously thought”, that means virtually nothing for veganism. Consuming animal products may not be that bad for you, but it’s certainly pretty damn horrible for the animals who unwillingly have to suffer for the sake of your pleasure - that is the whole point.
I have never been attracted to increasing my popularity or hireability by being on Instagram. I didn’t want to make myself a consumable product. I just wanted to be able to do my job and then disappear. [Selena Gomez] pointed out that the show is targeting young adults like me and that [social media] is a good medium to talk directly with those who relate to my character, Hannah. — Katherine Langford for The Last Magazine, 2017.