Alice's Butcher Knife

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John W. Cox made certain that I would have no trouble imagining what Alice Walter and her restaurant look like but because the profile is so descriptive, Cox ensured I also would have no trouble picturing Alice with a gleaming red butcher's knife standing over a pile of severed baby duck heads. Walker's intentions are in the right place but my goodness leave out the description of the baby ducks! Small animals often steal the show and this is no exception.

 

"Fresh fruits, vegetables and meats organically cultivated by local growers" would have been a more suitable way to describe the ducks. By not mentioning the type of meat a reader tends to get the picture of "organic food" without the gruesome afterthought.

 

I am not much of a meat eater so I did have a negative reaction to this profile because of the one line. However, the profile does deserve recognition for its detail and good quotations.

5 Comments

Derek Tickle said:

Nicely said! I think the key word you’re trying to tell us is "selectivity." When a writer composes a news article or profile, they must be careful in what they choose because the reader(s) could become offended. It seems that a lot of people in our class were upset about the fact that they mentioned ducks being used for meat (eating purposes). I didn't focus on that segment, but more so on how she helps the community around her. The profile was an award winner, but seems to have made some people upset.

I agree with Derek; you can't always just assume your tastes are the same as the reader's. Obviously, the mentioning of baby ducks about to be slaughtered doesn't bother Cox as much as it does some people. I don't think you can really craft an article so that there's absolutely no way it offends anybody, but it's best to keep in mind more than just what would offend you when writing an article. Of course, there are times when a writer may want to disturb the reader with certain facts, but I don't think this is one of those cases. I think newswriters have to be even more careful than a lot of other writers; in a novel, a short story, or a play, you can get away with all kinds of four-letter words, depending on your target audience. But as Dr. Jerz has said in class, we really need to keep in mind that our audience is pretty broad and may be particularly sensitive to certain words and subjects, so we need to write accordingly.

Aja Hannah said:

I had a similar reaction. Mostly I am just tired of all the fluff. Yeah, yeah. They are good people and I have no interest in them at all.

Angela Palumbo said:

I'm pretty sure that we were all quite offended by the duck comment. Why a writer would not think, "Gosh, mentioning the slaughter of animals might be a bad thing unless I want my reader to hate my subject," I don't know... I guess as Derek and Matt pointed out, it just has to do with how you feel about it. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Mr. Cox was raised on a farm where things like this was just an everyday reality. But still, this article is a good example of how we should try to be sensitive of other people's emotions. So my question is, did Dr. Jerz have us read this as a lesson of a bad example of writing?

Michelle Tantlinger said:

I agree with you Angela. I think the killing of small animals does offend more readers than not and Mr. Cox should've been more sensitive. And good question...I vote good example for descriptiveness, baaaad example for sensitivity. And good example of what to NOT include in a profile.

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Michelle Tantlinger on Alice's Butcher Knife: I agree with you Angela. I thi
Angela Palumbo on Alice's Butcher Knife: I'm pretty sure that we were a
Aja Hannah on Alice's Butcher Knife: I had a similar reaction. Most
Matt Henderson on Alice's Butcher Knife: I agree with Derek; you can't
Derek Tickle on Alice's Butcher Knife: Nicely said! I think the key w
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