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Current Issue: Volume 30, Issue No.2, Week of August 12, 2007
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jeanne's red fire pig necklace made from leather pig she bought at the Shanghai exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Orange County, California, in August 2007.

I'm A Pig, and I Love IT ! - jeanne

I made the necklace this week. Wore it to the Los Angeles County Museum yesterday where a young woman stopped me to admire it. Now I'm a fat pig with a large cheshire smile.


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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: August 12, 2007
Latest Update: August 16, 2007

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Topic of the Week:

A Compliment Is A Lovely Thing
Especially If It's a Chance to Talk About "Free-Range" for All Living Creatures

    That young woman's compliment gave me the courage to face the New York Times this morning. As the Iraqi debacle drags on and on, and as Democrats prove that no side or perspective has a corner on ethics or honest representation, I find it harder and harder to face the news. This morning the New York Times looked so serious. On the left side a column on the Democrats' perfidy. On the right side the news that the Iraqi withdrawal will drag on with no sign of a quick end to our participation in this insanity of terror and violence. I had to turn the paper over to its bottom half to see the only photo journalism offered:

    Photo by Sally Ryan for The New York Times
    Photo by Sally Ryan for The New York Times
    Indiana hens that produce for Egg Innovations, a supplier to Ben and Jerry’s and Wolfgang Puck.
    From Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs, by Kim Severson on p. A1 of the New York Times on August 12, 2007.

    We Call This FREE RANGE?
    Just look at the space and freedom they have to range! Grrrr! jeanne

    Guess I just can't help bouncing from art to issues. I find so much contentedness in making things that are beautiful or funny or that brighten our world in some way. Yet I feel so frustrated when people don't see the oxymorons in which that photo shows us engaging. How can you call this kindness and humanity to the animals who provide our food when they are crowded into spaces such as that photo suggests? How many of us have that image of "free range" in mind when we buy free range products?

    "The eggs, from chickens raised in large, open barns instead of stacks of small wire cages, have become the latest addition to menus at universities, hotel chains like Omni and cafeterias at companies like Google. The Whole Foods supermarket chain sells nothing else, and even Burger King is getting in on the trend."

    From Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs, by Kim Severson on p. A1 of the New York Times on August 12, 2007.

    So where are those "large, open barns"? How are these chickens being allowed to live as they might have a century ago on an American farm? or at a country house? I see no space that isn't packed with chickens. I was so upset by this image that I switched immediately to reading the Style section. But later in the evening I returned to the article wondering if Kim Severson had at least spoken of the dismay I found in the issue.

    Ben and Jerry's is said to use "only cage-free eggs that have been certified humane." Well, first of all, I'm not at all sure I understand how an egg can be certified humane. If it's the cages, or lack thereof, they mean, then their idea of humane must fall under some new definition I haven't encountered. What's humane about spaces like the one I see here? But I'm pleased to see that the spaces are "certified." Are there corrections officers too? And what happens if they're not certified and still claim to be humane? Grrrr!

    " 'It’s not easy to find all the eggs you’re looking for,' said Rob Michalak, a spokesman for Ben and Jerry’s." Well, try looking for a little space to peck at the ground. That's not easy to find if you're a chicken on that "certified" chicken farm! At least, not judging from my minimal acquaintance with such places through the Times' own photo.

    " . . . But most chicken farmers are not ripping out cages and retrofitting their barns. They question whether the birds are really better off, saying that keeping thousands of hens in tight quarters on the floor of a building can lead to hunger, disease and cannibalism.(Highlighting added by jeanne) They also say that converting requires time, money and faith that the spike in demand is not just a fad."

    From Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs, by Kim Severson on p. A1 of the New York Times on August 12, 2007.

    So someone else did notice the overcrowding. But that notice seems tied here to profit-making. Research studies have shown that rats behave that way, too, as the density of population increases. So do humans; witness our prison populations - though we don't let that go so far as cannibalism. We are, after all, civilized. We want our ice cream made with eggs that are "humane," but never mind making our inner cities, poverty sections, and prisons humane. Are any of us thinking? Of course, within three sentences, the topic changes to time, money, and profit.

    Kim Severson concluding quotes show lots more honestly than does most of the advertising for free range or cage-free:

    “There are pros and cons to each system, [Referring to cage-free and caged.]” Ms. Antonelli said. “Either way, these are not free-roaming chickens living out in a pasture.” But to people pushing for change, getting rid of battery cages is a start.

    “While cage-free certainly does not mean cruelty-free, it’s a significant step in the right direction,” said Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society.

    From Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs, by Kim Severson on p. A1 of the New York Times on August 12, 2007.

    So how does all this tie in to my Red Fire Pig Necklace and the Chinese Year of the Red Pig? If my necklace will attract someone to talk to me, I can inform them about the "really real" conditions of "free range." We can talk about "humane" and what it means and whether we owe it as much to people as to the animals who supply our food.

    love and peace, jeanne


  • 2007 Year of Red Pig and 2007 Chinese New Year Offers brief explanation for call this the Year of the Red Fire Pig, and offers a brief overview of Chinese astrology.

  • Suddenly, the Hunt Is On for Cage-Free Eggs, by Kim Severson on p. A1 of the New York Times on August 12, 2007.

  • Homeless in Orange County Humane Health Care. Popped up on a google search for "population density" and "humane." Orange County forms the southern border for Los Angeles County in California. OK, so I should have included the "homeless" in our need to offer "humane" treatment to all creatures. The advantage to googling is that it reminds us of what we hadn't thought of. jeanne

  • Conscious Urbanism: Slowing Down Our Cities Blog, 5/22/2007. Interesting piece. Nicely ties in population density and "humane" conditions. I was intrigued by the way the young man dismissed his mother's objections to the city, as her having answered her own question of why one wouldn't want to live there, from her own perspective, not his. But I couldn't identify the author for attribution. jeanne

  • Population Crises and Population Cycles - Central Mexico and the Andes to the Conquests By Claire Russell and W.M.S. Russell, Galton Institute Web Site. The Galton Institute Newsletter, September 1997. Discussion of population density and the Spanish colonization of South and Central America. Lapses in my own liberal arts eduction. I didn't know that overpopulation crises were occurring at about the same time as the Spanish Colonization of the "New World." I should read more history. Another instance of the effects of over-population throughout the centuries for which we can gather human history. jeanne

  • Withholding Compliments in Everyday Life and the Covert Management of Disaffiliation, by Noelie Rodriguez, Hawaii Community College; Alan L. Ryave, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Joseph Tracewell, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 10 1998; vol. 27: pp. 323 - 345.

  • Making an Interdependence Reminder Necklace One might recall that the colonizing Spaniards were one source of destruction to the indigenous peoples of America. Were the crises in population density another factor in that destruction?

  • Newer version of Interdependence Necklace Redid the neck strap and added "Designed by" or Made for . . . by"



Visual Sociology

  • Sagrada Familia

    Used the eyedropper to duplicate colors, and the sprayer to soften edges. Have just covered the background and will now start to work on it.

    This digital piece did not name itself until it was almost completed. And then, it named itself. See the story of how it came to be on Digital Enhancement of a Free Art Form.

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