Part A:

Discussion 7.1: Week 7: The Omnivore’s Dilemma (85-133)

Answer ONE of the following questions that has not been answered by a previous poster, unless they have all been answered once already. It should help you to do the reading assigned before answering these questions. Also post a paragraph response to one of the other postings by your classmates. Make clear which comment you are responding to. You may agree, disagree, ask a question, or try to come up with a transition connecting two of the ideas in different postings. Please post by Thurs. 10/10 at midnight.

Choice 1: Write a brief summary of Chapter one, “The Plant” (you can use the subheadings below to help you). Why does Pollan go into such detail on the biology and history of the corn plant?

Chapter one: The Plant

  1. A Naturalist in the Supermarket (15-)
  2. Corn Walking (19-)
  3. The Rise of Zea Mays (23-)
  4. Married to Man (26-)
  5. Corn Sex (28-)

Choice 2: Write a brief summary of chapter two “The Farm,” sections 1-4 (you can use the subheadings below to help you). What are some of the negative impacts of artificial fertilizer?

Chapter two: The Farm

  1. One Farmer, 129 Eaters (32-)
  2. Planting the City of Corn (35-)
  3. Vanishing Species (38-)
  4. There Goes the Sun (41-)

Choice 3: Write a brief summary of chapter two “The Farm,” sections 5-7 (you can use the subheadings below to help you). What were the effects of Earl Butz’s policy of paying direct subsidies for corn?

Chapter two: The Farm

  1. A Plague of Cheap Corn (47-)
  2. The Sage of Purdue (51-)
  3. The Naylor Curve (53-)

Choice 4: Write a brief summary of chapter three “The Elevator” (57-). How does this chapter fit into Pollan’s larger argument so far?

Choice 5: Write a brief summary of chapter four “The Feedlot” (you can use the subheadings below to help you) (65-). Describe the life of steer number 534.

Chapter 4 The Feedlot

  1. Cattle Metropolis 65-
  2. Pastoral :Vale (68-)
  3. Industrial: Garden City, Kansas (72-)

Choice 6: Write a brief summary of chapter five “The Processing Plant” (you can use the subheadings below to help you). How is corn processed into components? What kinds of foods is it reassembled into? How do companies benefit from doing this? Why is processed food unhealthy?

Choice 7: Write a brief summary of chapter six “The Consumer: A Republic of Fat” (100-). What factors contribute to our obesity problem?

Choice 8: Write a brief summary of chapter seven, “The Meal: Fast Food” (109-). What does Pollan find out in his investigation and participation in the fast food meal?

Choice 9: Write a brief summary of chapter eight “All Flesh is Grass” (123-). We are moving on to a new section, Section Two: Pastoral/Grass. How does Polyface Farm differ from the Industrial/Corn system?

Peer’s post : ( should write a response to this post)

Choice 7: Write a brief summary of chapter six “The Consumer: A Republic of Fat” (100-). What factors contribute to our obesity problem?

Gluttony is a taboo rooted in American culture. In the United States, obesity is an officially recognized epidemic and the nation’s most pressing public health problem, according to the surgeon general. But David Wallerstein was not the inventor of this high-volume (increasing sales of cinema sodas and popcorn). Researchers have found that humans (and animals) eat up to 30 percent more when exposed to large amounts of food. Processed food is a good strategy for getting people to eat more. The power of food science is the ability to break down food into its components and recombine them in a particular way. This turns on the switch that humans evolved to fool the natural screening system of omnivores.

In the early 19th century, Americans had a surplus of corn (Fox, M. A. (2011) Farmers responded by making economically sound calculations and distilling the surplus corn into cheap whiskey. The result was an epidemic of alcoholism, culminating in prohibition a century later. Pollan compares the alcohol crisis of the early 19th century in the United States to the current obesity epidemic. Today, three in five Americans are overweight, and a child born in 2000 has a one in three chance of developing diabetes.

In 1980, corn became the raw material for Coca-Cola. By the mid-1980s, many soft drinks had replaced sugar with high-fructose corn syrup. The companies then started “scaling up” soda because the new ingredient was so cheap. At McDonald’s, executives know that people don’t want to order a second order of fries for fear of appearing greedy. So they started offering larger portions, like a big MAC, to get people to order more food in a single serving. As a result, sales rose sharply. (Holcomb, M. L. 2006)

By comparing the obesity epidemic in modern America with the public health problem of alcoholism in the 19th century, Pollan clearly points out that the pursuit of profit and efficiency maximization leads to different public health problems and social ills. So in both cases, the surge in consumption is related to industry trying to get people to consume more of the surplus corn.

Work cited:

Fox, M. A. (2011). The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World by Michael Pollan. The omnivore’s dilemma: the search for a perfect meal in a fast-food world.

Holcomb, M. L. (2006). Book review: our agriculture policy dilemma: the omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals, by Michael Pollan (2006).

Part B:

Essay 3 topic

: Your essay 3 can be about anything. Topics have included the tax system here and in China, compensated dating, anxiety, music’s influence on our psychology state, online dating, the Iraq War, ethnic/religious discrimination in Indonesian politics,

concussions, the deterioration of the ocean environment, social media, gender and the fashion industry, refusing marriage, whether a college education is worthwhile, etc.

I’d like you to come up with one or more critical questions about your topic to focus the direction of your research and writing (see handout). Run your critical question through the litmus test to make sure it is a good one. By the end of the week, I want you to settle on a topic and write a proposal (see handout for directions).

Creative Research Proposal: Write a double-spaced page for your essay #3 topic proposal:

  1. At the start of your proposal, explain what your final Creative Research topic is (you can’t change the topic. You should choose something you are really interested in so that you can develop your research over the time period needed). Then write one (or possibly two or three) Critical Questions on your chosen topic.
  2. Write a paragraph explaining what draws you to the topic. What makes you curious? What do you love about this topic? What might you expect to find out? What do you know about your topic? What would you like to know? As you plan your project, consider how your questions will require you to participate in critical thinking–analysis, synthesis, evaluation.
  3. Report on what you have read so far, both traditional and online. You can include reading that you’ve done in the past.
  4. Report on what you plan to do–who you might interview, what you might observe, what you might do for participation, what you might create.
  5. Tip: Start making a works cited right now and develop a system to keep track of which source you found what information from.
  6. Questions or concerns? Include these in your proposal.
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