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Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers… A unique and intriguing, but somewhat uncomfortable history lesson

Bulliet’s, the author of Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers, main thesis, in my opinion, centers around one abstract but insightful question: can we link each era of moral views (or lack there of) to the level of domestication of animals during that time period ? Did the domestication of animals contribute to a rise in bestiality? Or even the intense gruesome level of violence in historical warfare? (before the use of muskets or rifles) Bulliet supports his claim by walking the reader through the historical views on sex and violence, while linking them to the corresponding trends in domestication.  For example, modern post-domestic societal views on sex typically find bestiality taboo , especially with young children around, and centers around fantasy sex, such as porn.  He links this to the fact that most of us, unless we farm, keep close contact with the animals from which we obtain our food, and therefore, are not exposed to the day to day mating between animals.  This is just one example of the claims he makes.  I do not agree to the extent that he does that so many societal views, such as even a national right political swing, but I do think he supports his claims well, and I admire his originality in his claims and think he does a phenomenal job at educating the readers on a multitude of social history, that he would not have obtained from an everyday class or textbook. One topic I would love to discuss more is the irony within Thomas More’s book Utopia (mentioned within this text), he views utopia, the world at its finest, as a society where only the slaves kill the animals. I know this does not directly relate to Bulliet or my previous description of his intriguing novel, but I just had to point out the warped mentality behind that book.  Furthermore, I would love to debate whether enhanced fantasized violence, retrieved through video games, porn, etc., could actually decrease real-life violence, as many have apparently claimed. Lastly, I really enjoyed reading this novel and believe it can reach many different (adult) audiences; it moves from hush hush subjects, such as masturbation, to hot topics, such as vegetarianism, all the way to a simple analysis of domestication’s affect on cartoons.

2 comments to Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers… A unique and intriguing, but somewhat uncomfortable history lesson

  • loomispw

    I realized that this is off topic from the subject of domesticates, but More’s Utopia including slaves was hardly warped for the time. Being written it in the early 1500s, slavery was still an accepted part of life. Moreover, the slaves are criminals or imported from other nations. These slaves serve more or less as an analogue for our modern appliances and automation.

    On the subject at hand, I think the changing relationship with animals may have contributed to changes in society’s habits and moral views, but there are likely many other contributing factors. In my post I talk about other factors that likely contributed to the increase in sexual fantasy material than distancing ourselves from animals.

  • meganimals17

    I see your point that for the time period specifically, that viewpoint on slavery would not seem adverse or uncommon. However, I still am baffled by the concept of slavery at all and just wanted to point out an example of the mentality behind slavery. That slightly makes a difference that some of the slaves were in fact criminals, that was a really good point, and I will look further into that!
    I agree that there have to be a multitude of factors contributing to the replacement of blatant animal sex with an increase in fantasized sex. He makes some valid statements that support his argument well, but the extent to which he attributes the domestication of animals to social normalcies is a bit excessive. Many factors such as the type of government, the type of labor (which he somewhat mentions), the level of schooling, the extent of religious beliefs, etc. would most likely contribute largely to the sexual trends of the time period

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