This is a really good point that is also true for the way we/I might and do talk about using less, walking, biking… whatever your particular flavor of enlightened action/activism might be:
But when Bittman says things like this, it gets under my skin:
What’s easier [than political action] is to cook at every opportunity, to demonstrate to family and neighbors that the real way is the better way. And even the more fun way: kind of like a carnival.
Maybe. But cooking for a big family is hard work. It’s not fun for everyone. Food writers (Michael Pollan does this as well) romanticize a past of family meals. But those meals were not easy to make. They were almost always created by women who stayed at home and toiled away at running a household. Even if that situation were desirable today, and many of us would say it is not, it’s not realistic. Most families cannot survive without two incomes and even working two jobs. That doesn’t even take into account single parents. The history of processed food does not inspire one with delicious joy, but it is also a history of technological relief from drudgery. That’s no less true today.
Good to remember that the effectiveness of some of the solutions you might hear about or suggest yourself are just out of the realm of possibility for some people, if not insulting to them. And highfalutin’ advocacy may even work against you and send people right back into the arms of McDo, Exxon, Big Oil, the Kochs, the Tea Party… whomever it may be that is already telling people what they want to hear. You may quite easily and without intent put forth a holier-than-thou solution that turns more people off than on. It’s not a needle (you must thread), but it is sharp. Remember other people’s vulnerabilities. The life you save may be your own.
In a much too similar vein, NPR is pathetic.