Thar he blows?

I can’t name a single Moby tune, but I was quick to say “yes!” when Kim asked if I wanted to join her last Friday night at Seattle Town Hall for a book talk delivered by the techno musician and Miyun Park.

Moby and Park coedited “Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice about the Meat We Eat),” and they did an entertaining back-and-forth with plenty of time for audience questions. I won’t try to sum up the book; for that, check out Grist advice maven Umbra Fisk’s interview with Moby.

What I will weigh in on here is my surprise at how Moby argued his point about the evils of meat. At several points in the evening, he offered up some overly broad statements, the kind of exaggerations and assertions that activists too often resort to as they are caught up in the fight.  For example, Moby said that if all meat production was ended globally, world hunger would go away.  Sounds plausible, right? But is it true? I don’t know. Anyone know of a scientific study that backs it up? He didn’t offer one.

At another point, Moby said he’d read a New York Times article that described the environmental movement’s failure to engage on the connections between industrial food production and climate change. That struck me as wrong, given how much the major green groups are dedicating to food system matters.  Moby added a flourish, claiming enviro groups contacted by the NYT refused the comment and even “hung up” on the reporter because they are too afraid to take on this issue (cowed by big business or big government, one wonders).

Maybe Moby got his news sources mixed up, because I searched and searched the Times site for an article that matched his description and came up empty.  He was emphatic about this article, even after I went to the mic to disagree with his generalization.

One final thought: Why do we need this book? I’m sure the essays in it are insightful, but do they move the ball forward from where Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle and Eric Schlosser left off? I doubt it.

But the crowd on Friday night probably wouldn’t agree with me. They clearly loved Moby and Park. Heck, I had fun too. Anyone got some Moby tunes to share?