Sunday, July 29, 2007

The New Transparency...

Along with pictures of Britney Spears and reports of drunken astronauts, the proliferation of video equipment and Internet sites has crossbred into a information monster that touches even agriculture.

Oddly enough, privacy is assaulted from both sides, as the left seeks to uncover corruption (EWG) and the right conspiracy (warrantless wiretaps). It's just so easy to do these days. No wonder libertarians are enjoying an unaccustomed moment in the sun.

How fast the sense of surprise wears off is anyone's guess, but there may be lasting effects we cannot fully appreciate right now. Consider this documentary, Slaughterhouse done very matter-of-factly by The Beeb. The graphic, albeit accurate depiction of meat processing is difficult to watch, but compelling at the same time.

Is is possible that, like the workers themselves, viewers will gradually react less to such footage as it becomes more available? I think that could be the case, rather than a groundswell against meat-eating. Perversely, groups promoting such depictions could be desensitizing rather than awareness-raising.

Carnage certainly has not grossed out movie-goers or game players, why should they react any differently to the food industry?

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