by Benjamin Lorr
Not what I was expecting, exactly. Little story arc; more of a series of discrete journalistic investigations. Some of them were very difficult to read – the perpetually debt-ridden life of a trucker; the horror story of being an enslaved, maimed captive on a Thai fishing boat; even the ostensibly benign story of the woman furiously driven to make “Slawsa” a success (and climb out of debt) was a little sad.
But Benjamin Lorr’s style is really captivating. He’s just trying to make sense – doesn’t have an ax to grind; doesn’t constantly make himself the center of the story; ultimately doesn’t come out with much in the way of answers. For those who want reform, he wants us to “consider that any solution will come from outside our food system, so far outside that thinking about food is only a distraction from the real work to be done.”
As a temporary sidetrack, Lorr mentions a prior book about the world of yoga, where he wondered what it was all FOR, all this yoga – it all seemed to be just be able to do more yoga. I feel that way when I wonder about why we care so much about being healthy. Why lose weight? To be healthy. Why be healthy? To live longer in better health. For what though? What’s all this health ultimately for? Anyway – he finds an eerie analogy in the world of groceries and our god of convenience. What are we making everything so convenient FOR, ultimately?
Anyway I do love those philosophical questions. Like he said – thinking about food itself is just a distraction. ( )