Can Films Change the World?

Will Argo or Lincoln change lives? They’ll certainly redistribute more than a little wealth and also spur countless dinner party arguments about historical accuracy. But more than that? Or is that enough for an Oscar?

Should films, and particularly celebrated films, change lives? A cynic might claim that the Oscars aren’t about changing lives but something close to the opposite. They might be simply a celebration of the technical and human brilliance at transmogrifying even the most serious of topics into mere entertainment.

Archer’s dodgy claims III … mouse deaths

In what follows, I use “veg*n” to mean vegan or vegetarian where it doesn’t make any difference.

Mike Archer claimed in an article just before Christmas 2011 that:

” … if you want to minimise animal suffering and promote more sustainable agriculture, adopting a vegetarian diet might be the worst possible thing you could do.”

His evidence related to the number of mice killed during cereal production.

Even if we was right about the number of mice killed during cereal production, his claim is still obviously false because the average Australian consumes far more grain, embodied in the bodies of their meat, than any veg*n could consume. So clearly being veg*n isn’t the worstyou can do.

But Archer didn’t get the number right. He’s out by about a factor of about 400.

Archer’s dodgy claims II … land use

Mike Archer of the University of NSW took a huge swing at vegetarians in a pre-christmas article on “The Conversation”.   It’s a bit difficult to deal with the central theme of the piece without first dealing with the factual errors that form the background. The mythology with which he frames his main point is far more important than the purported central claim.

This post concerns Archer’s mistakes about land requirements to feed a veg*n population.

Archer’s dodgy claims I … health advice

Professor Mike Archer is well known for his advocacy of eating kangaroos. Just before Christmas, Archer penned a singularly provocative article on “The Conversation” called: Ordering the vegetarian meal? There’s more animal blood on your hands”. I’ll discuss the article more generally in a separate post, but for the moment I want to focus on some health claims for kangaroo meat that were made in comments following the article by both Archer and colleague Rosie Cooney from UNSW.

You can say what you want in a blog, but has anybody seen a label on packaged kangaroo meat saying “This meat has anti-cancer properties”?

Animals paying a heavy price

If it isn’t on film, then perhaps it didn’t happen. If it isn’t on wikileaks, then perhaps it happened, but wasn’t important enough to cover up. But if it wasn’t caught on a mobile phone camera, then it definitely didn’t happen. This seems to be modern wisdom for a society kept in a permanent state of genuflexion with a choker collar held by the mass media dominatrix. Of course it’s rubbish. There are still some things you won’t see on u-tube or the 6 o’clock news.