Weekly choice: on eating your pet, lying and tasting wine

The Meat Paradox: Loving but Exploiting Animals

“psychologists are studying the “meat paradox”, the puzzling situation whereby “most people care about animals and do not want to see them harmed, but engage in a diet that requires them to be killed and, usually, to suffer” (Loughnan, Bastian, & Haslam, in press).

How can we do this? Well, part of the answer is that we do not actually “like” animals in the sense you’re likely anticipating. Consider the patron of a strip club who “likes” exotic dancers. In some sense he does, but not in the way that prevents him from benefitting from their exploitation. Rather, he directly contributes to their exploitation. Liking or disliking others can often have little association with whether or not we exploit or protect them. The same goes for animals; we “like” animals a great deal (and are often suspicious about people who do not), but hedonistically we benefit tremendously from their exploitation. We accomplish this due to the presence of mental safeguards that attenuate our anxiety.

puppy in plate

Psychologically we neatly cleave animals into relatively artificial categories, such as “pets”, “wild animals”, and “farm animals”. These categories affect how we treat those within the category. For the most part, our treatment of farm animals would be illegal if applied toward pets. If you bought a shed, filled it with cages, then crammed dogs into these cages so tightly that they cannot stretch or move freely, you would face strong social and legal sanction. But across North America chickens are so housed in battery-cages, not able to spread their wings or move about, deprived of fresh air and sunlight. Without doubt, animal categories are artificial and culturally bound – in America dogs are pets and cows are farm animals, but other cultures treat dogs as food animals and cows as sacred beings. There is nothing inherent about an animal that makes it consumable or sacred – this comes down to human psychology.”



200 Free Documentaries: A Super Rich List of Finely-Crafted Documentaries on the Web

Documentaries - lead pic“Documentary films have arguably provided the richest means of viewing every kind of creative mind at work, from Alfred Hitchcock (The Men Who Made the Movies: Hitchcock, Dial H for Hitchcock) to James Joyce (The Trials of Ulysses) to Joni Mitchell (Woman of Heart and Mind) to Charles Bukowski (Born Into This). Some of them even came as early entries from not-yet famous directors, including Stanley Kubrick (Day of the Flight, Flying Padre, The Seafarers), Jean-Luc Godard (Operation Concrete), and Kevin Smith (Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary). Nobody can ever say where the documentary form will go next, but watch these 200 and you’ll have a pretty fair idea of all the exciting places — geographical, intellectual, personal, and artistic — it’s gone already.”



TED’s Best Of The Week! Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar

A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.

“Social media expert Pamela Meyer can tell when you’re lying. If it’s not your words that give you away, it’s your posture, eyes, breathing rate, fidgets, and a host of other indicators. Worse, we are all lied to up to 200 times a day, she says, from the white lies that allow society to function smoothly to the devastating duplicities that bring down corporations and break up families.

Working with a team of researchers over several years, Meyer, who is CEO of social networking company Simpatico Networks, collected and reviewed most of the research on deception that has been published, from such fields as law-enforcement, military, psychology and espionage. She then became an expert herself, receiving advanced training in deception detection, including multiple courses of advanced training in interrogation, microexpression analysis, statement analysis, behavior and body language interpretation, and emotion recognition. Her research is synthetized in her bestselling book Liespotting.”



Wine Tasting Tutorial

You wondered how wine should be tasted properly? See-Sniff-Sip-Summarize!


Person Of The Week! Andy Warhol!

Successful magazine and ad illustrator who became a leading artist of the 1960s Pop art movements.

Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist.

Warhol’s art encompassed many forms of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.


He also painted celebrity portraits in vivid and garish colors; his most famous subjects include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger and Mao Zedong. As these portraits gained fame and notoriety, Warhol began to receive hundreds of commissions for portraits from socialites and celebrities. His portrait “Eight Elvises” eventually resold for $100 million in 2008, making it one of the most valuable paintings in world history.

Warhol’s life and work simultaneously satirized and celebrated materiality and celebrity. On the one hand, his paintings of distorted brand images and celebrity faces could be read as a critique of what he viewed as a culture obsessed with money and celebrity. On the other hand, Warhol’s focus on consumer goods and pop-culture icons, as well as his own taste for money and fame, suggest a life in celebration of the very aspects of American culture that his work criticized. Warhol spoke to this apparent contradiction between his life and work in his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, writing that “making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art.”