Expository+Writing+Section+LH+Lecture+on+Singer+and+Mason -...

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Expository Writing 101, Section LH Instructor Sarah Goldfarb Lecture on Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s “Meat and Milk Factories” Production, Commodification, and Empathy In this essay, you are asked to consider how and why our society encourages the commodification of people and animals (in which they are turned into “things” without emotions), and what this commodification has to do with our society’s emphasis on progress, specifically the competitive element of what it perceives as progress. As you work through Singer and Mason’s essay, think about how competition discourages communication, and, more importantly, *why* competition discourages communication. Remember our discussion about Keneally’s essay, keeping in mind the fact that lack of communication leads to a breakdown in the ability to empathize with others; and think about what it is about communication and, by extension, empathy, that is so disturbing to many of the people in these essays, and, by extension, the authors would argue, to many people in our contemporary society. Clearly our capitalistic system of production has developed because of this emphasis on competition, and encourages the commodification of living things for the system’s benefit: but *why*? You should especially look to O’Brien’s essay to help you answer these questions. He provides much useful insight through symbolic resonances as well as through character development and dialogue, which the other two essays that you are being asked to work with, Christine Keneally’s “You Have Gestures” and Singer and Mason’s essay, do not. What, for example, could you imagine these men are afraid of when they express their pain in violence rather than vulnerability? When they take it out on animals, and when they refuse to, or find it hard to, listen to each other and to other people? When considering Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s essay, think first about the quote on pg. 544: “The average American eats more than 200 pounds of red meat, poultry, and fish per year. That’s an increase of 23 pounds over 1970[…]” (544). What is Singer and Mason’s point in using these numbers to emphasize the increase of meat consumption? Is he presenting this meat as he will be narrating its production throughout the essay – as former animals which were alive and which are farmed on factories – or, is he initially presenting this meat as a product, to be consumed, an abstract “thing”? Clearly, he is doing the latter, and much to the same effect as Loffreda’s listing:
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Sierra during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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Expository+Writing+Section+LH+Lecture+on+Singer+and+Mason -...

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