My second letter

In response to Michael Pollan’s assistant’s email reply to my letter, here’s what I wrote:

Dear Malia,

Thank you for reply.

I have already read his answer in the August 19 issue of The New York Review of Books, and I wrote about it on my blog on Wednesday. While I appreciate his acknowledgment that he may have been unfair in his treatment of Eating Animals, his comments on that book did not address the specific objection that I raised in the letter. In particular, Michael Pollan claimed that Foer picked a fight with sustainable meat producers. As I explained at length in my earlier letter, that is not a reasonable interpretation of the book.

I do appreciate that Michael Pollan professes to have “the utmost respect” for vegetarians. However, I find it difficult to be convinced of this when his review of Eating Animals was so misleading.

Moreover, in response to his more recent comment that “Ellen Finkelpearl mistakes my (very limited) defense of meat eating in The Omnivore’s Dilemma for a disdain for vegetarians,” I believe that when Ellen Finkelpearl wrote that “Pollan dismisses vegetarians as naive and out of touch with reality” she referred not to Michael Pollan’s “(very limited) defense of meat-eating” but to such passages as this one: “I have to say there is a part of me that envies the moral clarity of the vegetarian, the blamelessness of the tofu eater. Yet part of me pities him, too. Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris.” (361)

If there’s one concise message that I hope Michael Pollan will take away from this exchange, it is as follows: Many vegetarians are not looking for you to unconditionally condemn meat-eating; we’re simply asking you to listen to us once in a while and to represent our views and our diet accurately.

I don’t think this is an unreasonable request. In fact, I would argue that it is necessarily a part of showing respect.

Adam Merberg



  1. Stephanie in NC said

    Once again, you have said exactly what I’d like to say!

  2. fikalo said

    Great blog. 🙂

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