Surely, movie fans who tuned into this year’s Academy Awards show weren’t surprised to hear some criticism of President Donald Trump.
It goes with the territory at these things, like long-winded speeches and tributes to dead people. If you love the movies, you just put up with it.
However, one new wrinkle in this year’s show represented a new punching bag for Hollywood’s elite. Meat.
This year’s awards show was apparently a plant-based affair, with dishes like homemade tofu and manicured orange peels featured on the menu. We don’t fault anyone for going vegan, a choice some make for reasons of health or animal welfare. This year, Google searches for “vegan Super Bowl snacks” increased 133 percent from 2019.
But a new rationale for this preference seems to center on environmental sustainability and the perception that livestock production shares an outsized blame for climate change. Best actor winner Joaquin Phoenix, who used his platform to rail against the plight of artificially inseminated cows, has previously credited the film industry for “recognizing and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change.”
Hollywood might want to produce a movie about the history of agriculture, a real cliffhanger that shows how humans started growing crops and raising livestock about 10,000 years ago. Farming’s early origins are significant because climate change seems to be a more recent phenomenon.
A much-disputed “hockey stick graph” famously showed global temperatures spiking in recent times, though this remains a matter of intense debate. Even scientists who warn of climate change criticize the hockey stick as an oversimplification, but it seems to us that Hollywood types might find themselves on equally shaky ground in hanging so much blame on a way of life that’s existed for thousands of years.
Is it possible that more recent aspects of the industrial age — things like automobiles, jet travel and factories that make all of your modern conveniences — contribute as much or more than a field full of pigs and cows?
Hollywood elites aren’t alone. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Green New Dealers pile scorn on modern agriculture techniques that should be praised for helping to reduce world hunger. It’s a natural human reaction to blame someone else, because this means someone else endures the sacrifice while you can go on your merry way with mobile phones and air conditioning.
At least some people see through it. Julia Butters, the 10-year-old actress in the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” caught wind of the vegan menu and reportedly smuggled a turkey sandwich into the Academy Awards show.
Give her an award.