Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Twenty facts about the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Sexual Politics of Meat

1. It took fifteen years to write.

2. It’s been published in China, Japan, Korea, and Germany. I’d love to see French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch editions.

3. Consolidated, an industrial rock group of the 1990s, created a song “The Sexual Politics of Meat.” They used a tape of me reading from the book. You can hear a part of it on the video celebrating the release of the 20th anniversary edition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU2VkRpXSUo

4. It is informed by my years of social justice activism against domestic violence, racism, and poverty and for farm workers, integrated housing, and peace. I needed those years to ferment the ideas, to learn from activism, and to read tons of books.

5. It won 1990 Continuum Women’s Studies Award. The following year, one of my closest friends, Mary E. Hunt won it! Sadly, the award is no longer given.

6. When The Sexual Politics of Meat was unveiled at the Modern Language Association in December 1999, it generated so much excitement that the Continuum booth was mobbed. Years later, the representative from Harper & Row, whose booth was next to Continuum’s, still talked about it.

7. Readers of The Sexual Politics of Meat are an incredibly diverse, wonderfully engaged group of people.

8. Right wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh loved to hate it. I thought, “gee, if they agreed with me, I’d really be in trouble!”

9. Law and Order SVU used ideas from The Sexual Politics of Meat (and its slide show) in a recent episode on “Beef.” Of course! Because as the fictional me says on their show, “Meat eating and patriarchy go hand in hand.”

10. Just two weeks after the book appeared, someone sent me an image proving the claims in the book. Since then, I’ve received hundreds of images. I plan on giving them to an archive.

11. Twenty-three years ago, while reading Margaret Homans’ Bearing the Word, I encountered the idea of the absent referent. I realized “that is what animals are.” Upon waking the next day, I knew, “and that is what women are, too.”

12. There were at least four different drafts to the book before I had my breakthrough in May 1987 and figured out how to organize the book.

13. When my children were five and one, a friend gave them t-shirts that said, “My mommy wrote The Sexual Politics of Meat.”

14. The Sexual Politics of Meat has never been out of print in twenty years.

15. Nellie McKay wrote the foreword to the twentieth anniversary edition.

16. I like to call The Sexual Politics of Meat the “mother” of Lantern Books, because Martin Rowe and Gene Gollogly, the founders of Lantern Books, first met each other after Martin wrote a letter to Continuum congratulating them on publishing The Sexual Politics of Meat.

17. It was banned by an Oklahoma library and (temporarily) stopped by Customs officials from entering Canada for being “pornographic”; if only it had been banned in a few more places, maybe progressive meat eaters might have taken up its cause, and its message!

18. It changes people’s lives. I know; it began by changing mine.

19. I couldn’t have done it without libraries and librarians.

20. The Twentieth Anniversary Edition is now available! Ask your local independent bookstore to stock it!