Svithe: An open letter to my missionary brothers


I have two brothers currently serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I will usually mail them my svithes. This week, however, I am svithing you their mail.


Hey, Elders---

The family had me present the scholarship and I did so in full bowtie regalia. I now own three bow ties. I haven't decided how I feel about them. It takes a certain sort of person to pull off a bowtie with aplomb and I've never been sure I am such a person. We're finding out.

We talked about Ruth in Sunday School today. Now I totally want to go gleaning. And you guys should keep in mind, too. For when you get home. It looks like a great way to meet chicks.

I guess Canary'll be moving to Flagstaff in a few months, after her sojourn in Nauvoo. My, that girl gets around!

So I read a fascinating article on Slate about meat. The guy who wrote it is a meat-eater himself, and he's not suggesting we give up meat tomorrow, but ---

So as time goes on, we're learning more and more about the intelligence and capabilities of animals. And the more we learn, the less appropriate it seems to be chopping them up and sticking them in our mouths. I think that is true. But we were built to eat meat and although it is possible to be healthy without any meat whatsoever in your diet, it's tricky and certainly not what our genes expected when they were building us in the womb.

Anyway, science is a wonderful thing. You have heard, of course, of them growing human ears on the backs of rats and human organs inside pigs and other marvelous things for science. You have also heard of the marvelous things genetically tricked-up bacteria can poop out of their genetically-tricked up bacterial bottoms. Well. Let's put two and two together. Or, in our case, medicine and meat.

Scientists abroad are already working on getting stem cells to produce material for chicken nuggets (which shouldn't be that hard, given that chicken nuggets are just processed bird fat anyway). Now, a wonderful steak straight from the test tube is still, oh, decades off, but I think this is a good thing.

First, cows. Cows! Cows are terrible for the environment, spewing forth their methane fumes day and night and trampling acres and acres and eating all that grain (and on and on). Cows are messy things.

Second, killing. God, yes, gave us animals to eat, but when lions lie down with lambs, those lions are still going to need the occasional lamb chop—even if Sean is his buddy now. Same goes for Jimmy Dean. He still'll need his sausage. So let's grow them in a petri dish, shall we?

I think God is perfectly okay with us killing cows and so forth. However, I think he is also okay with us finding a way to get those proteins without killing anything. In fact, I think he would approve of it as a good thing.

And now, since I'm already rambling and considering changing this into a svithe as well as a letter to my brothers, I think I'll just go on a few more tangents before wrapping up.

Tangent One: Frankenfoods.

First, we gotta be careful with genetically modifying things. And we must be sure to preserve the planets genetic diversity. But if we can make a rice that will save lives, people who protest the rice as evil are shortsighted, charity-free jerks. And you can tell them I said so. Anything can be turned to evil. The internet, for example, has my blog on it. (That was a joke. Please pause here to laugh.) But to suppose that something so powerful can only be evil is to be astonishingly cynical and to never invent a better toaster.

Tangent Two: Killing animals.

We were given animals to eat. Eating the living is awkward. Eating things that have died of ebola is unsafe. Therefore killing animals is fine.

But killing Laban was good too, because there was no other way. The Israelites were essentially ordered to commit genocide, because that was the ways things were. Lots of screwy things are right in certain situations. I think massive slaughter of animals is pretty much in that club. I think we're being provided a way to move past it.

In the meantime, though, can I have that drumstick?



(ps: i wasn't kidding -- are you gonna eat that?)

(pps: work hard, have fun, rock the suburbs, do good; love you)


Dear Elders---

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Last week's svithe


  1. I have random thoughts going through my head right now:

    1.The bowtie is great.
    2.That is some nasty looking meat. 3.It sure was nice of the Big O to write his uncles.
    4.And I think you could be onto something with the whole petri dish animal thing...

  2. I am also a big believer in eating meat in moderation, for a lot of reasons. We realized last night that we're not that used to eating large amounts of meat when someone from the ward brought dinner. She included three large chicken breasts, one for each of us. Sophie barely touched hers and Master Fob and I each ate about half or so. I just don't like to eat big chunks of meat now that I stopped doing it.

  3. What a great article. Thanks, Th. I'm really curious about the vats of meat culture. I assume the fluid would be somewhat similar in composition to blood.

    You a Ben Folds fan? The evidence for your awesomehood grows ever more weighty.

    And yeah, I agree, Foxy J. My father's family's meals more often than not consist of a slab of meat with some vegetables on the side, which I think is a little ridiculous.

  4. Cows are gross! Ick.

    I think bowties are cute. :o)

  5. Has it ever occurred to you that Ruth, in effect, proposed marriage to Boaz? Life was much simpler then.

    Word verification: jemho

    Won't go there.

  6. Other leaders of the bowtie revolution...

    Uncle Moneybags.
    Barbershop quartets.
    Bill Nye.
    Matthew Lesko.
    Orville Reddenbacher.
    Mr. Peanut.
    Boxing Commentators...