Three Stories I Wish I Covered

by Matt Moore

During my tenure at The Sprout, I tried to mix up the usual policy coverage and a look at some “outside-the-box” areas related to Agriculture, Food and Environment like horror movies and video games. My only regret is that I ran out of time to pursue some additional topics, so I want to briefly cover them here and suggest that you explore them further.

1. Hardcore and Metal Music

When co-editor Katherine Pett Tweeted last summer asking for reading recommendations, I suggested Meat Is for Pussies, a vegan manifesto written by John Joseph, lead singer of hardcore titans Cro-Mags. I don’t think she read it, but I wasn’t joking. The book presents a lot of the commonly cited, if sometimes misguided, science behind veganism that you might recall from Forks Over Knives, but in a manner that only a former alcoholic and drug-addicted, currently straight-edge hardcore punk could get away with—NSFW language included as you can probably gather from the title (heads up to NutCommers who want more examples of writing for a particular audience).

It’s not uncommon for bands in the punk and metal scenes to follow specific nutritional lifestyles. Some even go further and preach their message in their music. You may be familiar with the activism of more mainstream bands like Rise Against or Propagandhi, but some of the more extreme bands sing a lot more literally about food and the environment. Take deathgrind kings Cattle Decapitation, whose album covers and music videos have come under fire for their graphic nature, but who have communicated messages against animal consumption and cruelty and environmental degradation to audiences who probably aren’t reading the latest issue of Tufts Nutrition magazine. Had I had more time (maybe he could be a guest on An Unbalanced Breakfast…), I really wanted to interview hardcore musician UltraMantis Black, who also preaches messages supporting veganism and environmental protection and leads into my second topic…

UltraMantis Black confronts a hunter.

UltraMantis Black confronts a hunter.

2. Professional Wrestling

OK, I guess I don’t have too many examples of AFE-friendly wrestlers other than UltraMantis, who wrestled primarily for CHIKARA before injuries forced him into recent retirement. Since wrestling has become more fan-interactive (like most sports) due to ubiquitous social media tools like Twitter, wrestlers like Daniel Bryan, (now UFC fighter) CM Punk, Austin Aries, and Veda Scott have all spoken about topics like vegan/vegetarian diets or straight-edge lifestyles and have even voiced support for environmental activism. Others love CrossFit, and there’s been a recent wave of support for Kill Cliff, the hottest workout/recovery drink in the industry.

Of course, it’s wrestling, so causes like environmentalism are also mocked in storylines. The intersection of food and wrestling gifted the world with one of the greatest nutrition-related matches ever.  The loser was the character Simon Dean, a “fitness guru” who promoted a fictional dietary/exercise/supplement system. After being defeated, he had to eat a plate of double cheeseburgers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 10.24.19 AM

The loser is faced with his tray of burgers.

3. Freeganism

My first article of the 2015/2016 academic year was intended to be a piece on freeganism, better known as “dumpster diving” that would feature Maximus Thaler, a Tufts alum who once attempted to start a freegan café in Somerville. Ideally the article was going to include a recap of a dumpster dive and cooking for the annual HONK! Festival. While I was able to connect with Thaler and had a great, thoughtful conversation about the principles behind freeganism, the grand plan fell through due to schedule conflicts. But you can still check out the work of Thaler and his friends at The Gleaner’s Kitchen.

Matt Moore is a second-year AFE student who has been described as having a baffling range of musical interests. You can contact him on Twitter @boxman37 and catch him on the airwaves along with Katherine Pett every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. on WMFO.

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