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April 13, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 5

'Country 'son

Jonathan Foer and my
meaty epiphany, part 2

Bob Dylan's kin does the
legend proud by artfully
combining genres
By EMMA GASE
Daily Arts Writer
He's a little bit country, and he's a little bit
rock'n'roll.
Though he may be known as the spawn of
the immortalized folk legend
Bob Dylan or as the frontman ****
of the Grammy-winning '90s
band The Wallflowers, Jakob Jakob Dylan
Dylan makes a new name for Women +
himself with the debut of his
newest solo album, Women Country
+ Country. In delving into Columbia
some deep country roots
(though he was born and raised in New York
and Los Angeles, respectively), Dylan finds a
new fagade. After 2008's Seeing Things, Dylan
shies away from his earlier folk tendencies and
explores a new land of
country music.
On Women + Coun-
try, Dylan teamed up
with two of alterna-
tive country's lead-
ing ladies, Neko Case
and Kelly Hogan, to
produce an "authen- V
tic" country album.
The soft background ~
vocals provided by the
two women as Dylan
croons about the sul-
try South give a softer
edge to Dylan's new
sound. Though he is
not learned in more
advanced southern Jakob + Bob= Kabob Dylan
stylings, Dylan takes
his listeners on a successful trip to The Big Easy
with jazzy horns on tracks like "Lend A Hand"
and "We Don't Live Here Anymore."
The record creates a saloon-like feel with
twangy guitars and rattlesnake percussion.
Women + Country steals sounds from the rus-
tic Wild West and the slow, bluesy Confederate
states alike.
The first single off this album, "Nothing But
the Whole Wide World" sets the record off by
introducing the listener to Dylan's new sound
right off the bat. Though the avid Jakob Dylan
fan may be a bit taken aback by the first track,
the pleasant and airy pairing of Dylan's and

Case's harmonies will ease the audience into
the rest of the record. Dylan muses: "Got noth-
ing but the whole wide, whole wide world to
gain." Though simplistic lyrics and melodies
crop up on this track, the album as a whole is
quite complexly produced.
Dylan digs the deepest into the bluegrass
roots with "They've Trapped Us Boys." He
reminisces about nights with the guys as he
sings: "Gentlemen where have we been / Ain't
goin' nowhere now / I'll let this bottle make
its rounds/ And this liquor settle down / Ain't
goin' nowhere now." Mischievous tales of
exciting southern nights are told with banjos
and toe-tapping, feel-good melodies.
With such a shadow of expectation cast
over him, Dylan tries to venture far from his
father's fame and create his own style. Still,
the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. As
Dylan Sr. is well rounded in his musical choic-
es, the younger Dylan attempts to follow in his
father's footsteps by trying out new genres.
With Women + Country, Dylan attempts to
touch upon his Americana roots while having
both rocker and folk singer on his resum6 -
not too shabby.
Conversely, it's
somewhat confus-
ing as to why Dylan
would feel the need
to venture off into
diverse genres with
such success in
rock'n'roll. With no
real background in
the southern life-
style, how is it that
Dylan can gener-
ate such a realistic
sounding country
album? Somehow the
extremely talented
COURTESY OF COLUMBIA musician gracefully
. The more you know, slips into the country
world.
Though the album is not exactly what nor-
mal listeners might beused to, Dylan's artistry
shines through. With lyrics so convincing and
melodies so deeply embedded in country soil,
one could almost be fooled that Dylan is solely
a country musician.
Dylan takes a new path down a dirt road to
the countryside with Women + Country, but
one might not know what to expect next time
around from the famous offspring of one of
music's greatest artists. Who knows? Maybe
he'll venture into pop-punk-raver-disco next?
But let's all hope he sticks to his real roots -
producing great music.

lannery O'Connor, in her book
of essays titled "Mystery and
Manners," writes passionately
about chickens. Her chickens. One

of them, a "buff
Cochin Bantam,"
became renowned
for its ability to
walk both forward
and backward, and
a reporter soon
came to snap a
photo of it for the
printed page.
O'Connor began
to collect chickens
thereafter, a "mild

WHITNEY
POW

interest became a passion, a quest" and
she had to collect more and more of the
birds. She loved the oddly colored ones,
the ones with the strangely shaped
combs, the ones with the too-long
necks. One in particular she named
Colonel Eggbertmade and she sewed
for him a "white pique coat with a lace
collar and two buttons in the back."
We don't seem to know chickens as
well as we could, there being a junc-
ture between oven-roasted "chicken"
and walking, chirruping "chickens."
O'Connor knew the names and breeds
of the chickens she interacted with
and they likely fed her through egg or
through flesh. To know and respect
these animals is a choice, and it is
this juncture that I have been try-
ing to mend with the realization that
I cannot kill the animals I eat, even
while I know that I am consuming the
bodies of animals that once walked.
Guilty feelings sweep up in me when
I see that I have had a choice to mend
or leave gaping this cognitive chasm
between killed animals and meat - a
choice with which Jonathan Safran
Foer confronts us in his book "Eating
Animals."
There is a play on words in the title
of Foer's book, too, and with the words
"Eating Animals" we are given a rela-
tive choice on how to view the name
itself.,It's easy to assume at first glance
that the title alludes to the act of con-
suming animals, the choices concerned
with it and the guilt associated with
re-assessing what you eat because, as
vegans, vegetarians and other diet-

conscious people insist, a hamburger is
a choice. Turning the phrase around in
the second half of the book, Foer insists
that we are irrevocably, unchangingly,
eating animals - animals who eat.
Alternatively, we don't really have a
choice on this matter. We are given
bodies and stomachs, and we must use
them to survive.
Foer writes about visiting a pig
slaughterhouse where he watches pigs
herded to be shot in the head - some
wait calmly in line while some lie
on their sides on the muddy ground,
shaking and convulsing due to cardiac
arrest and stress. In the middle of this
horrific scene, a worker offers him
a "sample." She arrives clutching a
plate piled high with ham. Foer insists
"Something deep inside me ... doesn't
want the meat inside my body. For me,
that meat is not something to be eaten."
We are all, in
essence, "eating
animals."
And still, one line down, he amends
himself, "And yet something deep
inside me does want to eat it."
Foer confronts us with a choice in
eating, but at the same time, we don't
have that choice. As I've been reading
more and more about the food I con-
sume, it seems like there's a great deal
of suffering that comes pre-packaged
with everything I eat. Eggs, milk and
meat can be produced by unsavory
factory-farming processes and slaugh-
tering methods. Fruit, vegetables and
grains can be grown under unfair labor
practices and unhealthy pesticide usag-
es. The only way to avoid this guilt is to
grow my own vegetables and raise my
own chickens, which I resolve to do.
The distinction and choice between
"chicken" and "chickens" is different
when you grow up with them - you
see the way they walk, cluck, huddle,
strut and then disperse when you walk
into a straw-lined pen of them. One
thing that was striking to me as I grew

up raising chickens was how, when
I went into the coop to gather eggs
every morning, I would find several
eggs sitting in clumps of bedding, each
bigger than my small fist - it was only
when I brought them back home that I
realized, in comparison to the "extra-
large" eggs bought at the supermarket,
that these eggs were substantially big-
ger. The chickens' eggs wouldn't even
fit in the empty egg cartons bought
from the store, their round bottoms
propped over the cup of the carton.
The chickens were happier, with the
gratuitous amount of feed we would
fling around the chicken coop area,
and about five chickens would have
the space to walk in a pen the size of
the room Ilive in currently. But a great
deal of chicken we eat barely sees those
conditions, their bodies genetically
engineered to basically starve while
producing the greatest amount of eggs
possible in their short lifespans.
Natalie Portman read "Eating
Animals" and wrote in an essay for
the Huffington Post that the book
turned her from a vegetarian into a
vegan activist, pushing her to cut out
the dairy and egg products that had
previously been staples in her diet
and promote the idea of awareness of
meat. The idea of the testimonial here
is interesting too, as Foer's website for
the book consists mainly of forums in
which readers share their reactions to
the book and how they have refined
their ways of thinking about meat.
The community found in groups
of people coming together not eating
something is strangely ironic - it is
a revised Norman Rockwell painting
for the 21st century, where the center-
piece around which the family gathers
lacks the 25-pound turkey or the out-
rageously large ham hock, where we
are united instead by a willing aware-
ness of the practices put into making
meat and the practices of consuming
it. I am an eating animal - I have no
choice on the matter. If I choose to eat
animals, however, it will be done with
purpose.
Pow is thinking about diving into
a KFC Famous Bowl. To talk her out
of it, e-mail poww@umich.edu.

n.

HPV Fact :

About

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HPV Factvt
You have to actually have, six

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Why risk it
Visit your campus health center.

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