The Evolution of Man: Jovian Parry & A Prison Experiment

As we delve deeper into exploring why so many men identify with meat-eating, it’s important to consider the role that mainstream masculinity plays in our culture, and its ramifications. Does this identity pose a roadblock to sustainability? Does it undermine justice in general? Is it inevitable and in our nature? “The Evolution of Man” series is based around the article I wrote for VegNews Magazine’s “The Man Issue”. In this episode I interview Jovian Parry, a doctoral student at York University in Toronto who researches meat, gender, animality and popular culture.

There are many places we can see heightened forms of mainstream masculinity and machismo. From sports arenas and butcher shops to Wall Street, testosterone spectacles play out – but what about in prisons? And what happens when one of the most powerful symbols and rewards for men – meat, is removed from the equation? This is exactly what happened in a California prison not too long ago. With great success, Mooreland Prison offered inmates a program called NEWSTART which included a vegan diet. Over 85% of the 500 inmates chose the program over the standard CDC protocol.

California had a recidivism rate of 95%. This is the percentage of former prisoners who are rearrested. The Victor Valley facility enjoyed a recidivism rate of less than 2%… The remarkable behavioral changes could even be seen outside in the prison yard where according to prison officials, nobody “owned” or controlled the yard… The CDC side of the house had the same racial divisions experienced at any other prison.

In testimonials, inmates assert that the surprisingly good-tasting food led them to feel better, have greater energy, increased stamina and reduced problems with acne. Indeed the effectiveness of a vegan vegetarian diet in rehabilitation has been scientifically validated.

 

King Spring

These baby-blue ‘Spillers’ by Rachael Comey are great for sock-less spring days walking your rescued mutt to the park. Also check Simples organic cotton and recycled car-tire ‘Tuba Sneaker’ for the next bamboo skateboarding session.

Rachel Comey Spiller Vegan Oxford Shoes

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http://barneys.richfx.com.edgesuite.net/image/media/PG_500066769_FS.jpgThe Spring 09 Engineered Garments collection is almost entirely made of cotton, and now designer David Suzuki is beginning to feature Organic Cotton Madras Plaid, like the suits below, and this spring scarf (available at Barney’s). It takes a special kind of man to pull this off, but we think you can do it.

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Paul Smith has also offered up his share of organic cotton button-downs and blazers. Known for quirky patters and unexpected pops of color – Paul’s liberated prep would look smashing in the houndstooth organic blazer and the pink, slim ‘woody creek’ shirt. You’ll find small cuffs and collars on Paul Smith shirts, something to look for in avoiding that dated, sleazy 70′s look.

Paul Smith Men's Houndstooth Organic Cotton Blazer $item.image.name

Paul Smith Shirt - Striped Shirt Paul Smith Men's Bengal Stripe Organic Cotton Sport Shirt

Not to be left out, BOSS has been exploring some organics with this ‘Cadu’ blazer and ‘Zeppo’ jacket. We were wondering what that weird sustainability claim on the website was for – so far, these two are the only explanation I can find.  Someone should send them that toxic leather tanning memo…

BOSS Black Men's "Cadu" Organic Cotton Blazer BOSS Black Men's "Zeppo" Organic Cotton Jacket

Medical Gorgonzola, Thifting Online & Spay-Day Photo Contest

cheeseposter

There is actually a type of heroin called 'cheese', but I couldn't resist!

Having trouble kicking the cheese habit? Maybe you’re addicted to NARCOTICS like casomorphins -  naturally occurring opiates found in dairy products.  And since it takes 10 lbs of milk to make 1 lb of cheese, concentrated products like cheeses have especially high levels of opiates. Soon you may need a prescription for “medical gorgonzola”. Research has also strongly connected dairy to autism, finding high levels of casomorphins in children with Autism.

While the idea of fermented cow tit secretions made from forced pregnancies (resulting in the veal industry) tainted with pus, blood, poop, and cholesterol is enough for me to steer clear – those of you who can’t seem to stop gorging on brie may understand your cravings better!

Think you must go to Goodwill for your recycled-clothing needs? Now you can shop online at  NIFTYthreads.com and scour the collections or search using a key-word. So much easier then fingering through racks and racks of random crap. I could be wrong, but I think every single thing costs $10!

Spay Day 2009In honor of the Humane Society of the United States’ Spay Day 2009, enter your little furball in the photo contest and win great prizes! There are two ways to win prizes in the contest: The Judged category and the Fundraisers category.

Rights for Apes, Hollywood Meat, Pig Pilgrimage & Toxic Teflon

1. Meat-Head Machismo
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Ecorazzi recently revealed that Hollywood frat-boy turned cowboy, Matthew McConaughey, will be using his sensual man powers to get you all horny for dead cows. The National Cattlemans’ Beef Association (NBCA) payed out some big bucks to lasso McConaughey into the gig. I listened to the spot and got so grossed out that I almost ralphed on my keyboard. Hey Matthew, can you pass the torture, disease, and ecological devastation…? Matthew is certainly not a Discerning Brute.

2. Organic is in Vogue
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John Patrick of Organic (one of our favorite labels) has been nominated as a finalist in CFDA/Vogue’s Fashion Fund Award! Congrats Patrick!

3. Stuck on Teflon
I always had a suspicion that using teflon was toxic. Ideal Bite just sent out a little blurb on the cancer-causing coating that slowly poisons us.
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4. Volunteer for Hog Days of Summer
2008 Midwest Flood Pig Rescue
Almost 70 pigs were lucky enough to be rescued by Farm Sanctuary which was asked by the state of Iowa to assist with rescue efforts. Farm Sanctuary is in urgent need of volunteers to help us care for more than 60 special needs pigs (some of whom are pregnant and expected to give birth any day!) just rescued from the Midwest floods. Massive rainfall escalated concerns of hog waste lagoons overflowing and flooding waterways with millions of gallons of hog waste. Use this opportunity to tell people about modern pork production and the cruel gestation crates employed by the industry, as well as the environmental devastation brought about by factory farming.

If you want to help, Farm Sanctuary is urgently seeking interns to volunteer at their New York Shelter. If you have experience working with farm animals email scoston@farmsanctuary.org. If you do not have direct experience working with farm animals, but would like to apply to help Farm Sanctuary’s shelter team in other capacities, please contact them today at 607-583-2225 ext. 222 or intern@farmsanctuary.org, or visit http://www.farmsanctuary.org/ for more information.

5. Spanish Parliament Goes Ape-Shit

The Spanish Parliament’s Environment Committee has passed a resolution granting limited rights to great apes. Dawnwatch reported that The Sunday, July 13 New York Times ran a lengthy and thoughtful article on the issue.

“The committee would bind Spain to the principles of the Great Ape Project, which points to apes’ human qualities, including the ability to feel fear and happiness, create tools, use languages, remember the past and plan the future. The project’s directors, Peter Singer, the Princeton ethicist, and Paola Cavalieri, an Italian philosopher, regard apes as part of a ‘community of equals’ with humans.

“If the bill passes — the news agency Reuters predicts it will — it would become illegal in Spain to kill apes except in self-defense. Torture, including in medical experiments, and arbitrary imprisonment, including for circuses or films, would be forbidden.

Men Like Sports

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I tried so hard to enjoy watching sports when I was a kid. I even went as far as collecting sports cards. I remember saying to myself, “Ok Joshua, you have to pick a team that you like and then get to know everything about them“. I randomly picked the Phoenix Suns (it was probably the purple). I went through my basketball cards and tried to memorize each of the players’ names – but it was useless, I was bored out of my mind and confused about the religious-like zeal that sports fans had. Especially men. What a strange cult! Looking back, I think it was simply an attempt to fit in and make my dad think that his arts & crafts making, comic book collecting, electric guitar playing son with blue hair had hope of being a ‘real man’.

My sister recently sent me an article about a hockey tradition in Detroit where squids are tossed around on the ice. Where drunken men insanely twirl and fling these creatures above their heads and across the ice. Apparently this thing dates back to the early ‘50s and has something to do with casting a magical spell to win. Read the article and watch the video here.

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So what is it about men, sports, and cruelty to animals? Cockfighting, Michael Vic, elephant polo, bullfighting, horse racing, horse fighting, dog racing, trophy hunting, rodeo – what cultural significance do these all have? What do they say about us? What do they say about men specifically?

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Are men inherently brutal? Are sports one big cock-fight (not the bird kind)? Do guys get together and say “Let’s go kill stuff, it’ll be fun!”? Do boys truly enjoy these things, or do they break under the pressure of tradition – not unlike the wild horse who is broken – and simply fall into line acting out these dramas in an attempt to prove their manhood?

What I do know is that I don’t enjoy watching sports. I enjoy physical activity – I run, I bike, I hike, I play tennis, I swim – but I simply do not identify with the male prototype who acts like he is part of the team he watches on TV and gathers in groups to get wasted, get loud, and have an incredibly complicated, testosterone-laden excuse to act out his desires to be close with other men (look at pro wresting! Men in speedos pretending to fight). Nor do I identify with the man that kills or sends animals to kill each other in name of entertainment. Does our homophobic culture push men to do these things as an only option for male intimacy? Maybe, but consider the Romans – homosexuality was encouraged and they had cruel sports, too.