Journal 15: Reconsider the Lobster

Journal 14 Reconsider the Lobster


            I see my answer to the initial question “what questions would you ask [David Foster Wallace] about this essay?” is quite depthless. I confront the basic moral question he brought up in his essay, but fail to see the bigger picture beyond the morality of butchering living creatures for “our gustatory pleasure” as Wallace says. I can now draw parallels between the different readings.

Each passage, from Milford to Pollen to Wallace, confront the idea of human ignorance and refusal to acknowledge basic facts which allows them to continue living on as they do. By deliberately ignoring the cold, hard facts in front of us (about death, the unhealthiness of fast food, and morality of cooking lobsters alive) we are able to push aside our uneasy, unconfronted feelings to continue doing these things that, if we took a closer look, might be in danger of forcing us to change. And in pushing these dark facts under the rug, we continue to feed into the industrialized world and support the large companies which continue to perform for the public. In refusing to acknowledge the truth, we continue living in ignorant bliss of the consequences of our actions, and the moral backlash that we would be forced to confront.

In respect to the limits of written discussion, there is really only one stance an author can take in presenting a moral fact/issue. To delve into a discussion revolving on morality and bigger-picture issues, the author must have strong evidence to support their pro/con argument which is usually designed to pursued the reader to either side. Milford advocated against the practice of embalming in painting the morticians in a bad lighting, while Pollen attacked the McDonalds chicken nugget façade. Wallace, however, simply brings up the moral argument around cooking live lobster, presents numerous facts supporting both sides of the argument, yet fails to take a solid stance on either side, leaving the reader (at least in my case) feeling morally frustrated without being given a stance with or against the author.


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