Have been reading, helping clean up & update some Wikipedia entries on food issues. Learning lots. Most super great. One discovery that sort of solidified some of the issues I’ve had with Michael Pollan over the years. I have certainly not read every piece he’s ever written, nor one or two of his books. I certainly respect his prolific output, storytelling ability , journalistic determination. Etc.
In the lengthy Wikipedia entry on Michael Pollan, I stumbled on this quote. I’d never seen it.
Michael Pollan on veganism:
“Pollan calls veganism a ‘dystopia’, arguing that it would lead to a shortage of fertilizers and an increase in the need for “fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers since food would need to travel even farther and fertility – in the form of manures – would be in short supply”. ”
There is an irony here which touches at the crux of why I get rubbed the wrong way sometimes by Pollan. I’ve never known why. For example, the logic of this position is clear, and the metaphor colourful, both such even out of context.
Yet the fluorish masks, to name just one, odd glaring inconsistencies (which, of course we each carry, we each have food issues, even those of us who purport to study them).
These precise criticisms stand poorly examined, (to my eye) diminished, even dismissed out of hand in his record on biotech, genetic engineering, etc.
This blemishes on his usually very sane record. It seems & feels unbalanced, which is just honest & human, hardly can I throw stones. However, it’s the sort of diminishment under the veil of objectivity, the non-position which is hiding a position (we all have them) which makes this wonderfully clear quote on veganism so starkly contrasted to his writing on biotech, etc.
Honesty, his own POV standing inside & navigating science ‘for us,’ etc. is a strong point yet seems to be conspicuously veiled on the latter topics. This manifests, to my eye, not only in the subjective declarations, stylistic colour, etc, yet in the poor or oddly selective sources,
It’s not that we can claim objectivity – certainly not me – as a writer. It’s not that either particular stance is ‘right.’ It’s the utter inconsistency that irks