Foster Wallace L1 Unity

TS1: “MLF represents less an intersection of [the tourism and lobster] industries than a deliberate collision.”

TS2: “As usual, though, there’s much more to know than most of us care about–it’s all a matter of what your interests are.”

TS3: “Up until sometime in the 1800s, though, lobster was literally a low-class food . . . ”

TS4″ “Now, of course, lobster is posh . . .”

TS5: “In fact, one obvious project of the MLF, and of its omnipresently sponsorial Maine Lobster Promotional Council, is to counter the idea that lobster is unusually luxe or rich .  . .”

TS 6: The MLF is “full of irksome little downers like this.”

TS7: “Lobster is essentially a summer food. This is because we now prefer to eat our lobsters fresh.”

TS8: “The most common method, though, is boiling. If you’re someone who enjoys having lobster at home, this is probably the way you do it, since boiling is easy.”

TS9: “A detail so obvious that most recipes don’t even bother to mention is that each lobster is supposed to be alive when you put it in the kettle.”

TS10: ” . . . is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?”

TS11: PETA opposes consuming lobster.

TS12: Lobster eaters’ belief that lobsters’ brains can’t feel pain is incorrect.

TS13:  This incorrect “thesis is more or less echoed by the Festival’s own pronouncement of lobsters and pain. . . ”

TS14: “The more important point here, though, is that the whole animal-cruelty-and-eating issue is not just complex, it’s also uncomfortable.”

TS15: “Since, however, the assigned subject of this article is what it was like  . . . , it turns out that there is no honest way to avoid certain moral questions.”

TS16: One of the two main criteria that most ethicists agree on for determining whether it is our moral duty to consider the harm we inflict on animals is how much of “the neurological hardware required for pain-experience the animal comes equipped with.” [Lobsters have this hardware.]

TS17: The other criterion is whether or not the animal demonstrates behavior associated with pain. [Lobsters seem to display this behavior.]

TS 18: “To my lay mind, the lobster’s behavior in the kettle appears to be the expression of a preference, and it may well be that an ability to form preferences is the decisive criterion for real suffering.”

TS19: “The truth is that if you, the Festival attendee, permit yourself to think that lobsters can suffer and would rather not, the MLF can begin to take on aspects of something like a Roman circus or medieval torture-fest.”

Thesis:
[part a] ” . . . when what I really am is confused. Given the moral status and physical suffering of the animals involved, what ethical convictions do gourmets evolve that allow them to not just eat but to savor and enjoy flesh-based viands?”

[part b] For people who dismiss the whole issue out of hand, “is their refusal to think about any of this the product of actual thought, or is it just that they don’t want to think about it?”

[part c] Isn’t what distinguishes a gourmet being extra attentive and thoughtful about one’s food? Or is the gourmet’s extra attention and sensibility just supposed to be aesthetic, gustatory?