Ghosts in Our Machine : For the Animals I Weep
By Brian Weber, Guest Contributor
I find myself in a state of swelling anticipation over Liz Marshall’s feature length documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine, due out in theatres in early 2013. (Watch the trailer and get more information here.) With Jo-Anne McArthur, award-winning animal rights photojournalist, and her graceful imagery as the protagonists, the film takes an unabashed, heartbreaking look at animals (or ‘ghosts’, in the context of the film) and their often unseen place in our high tech, highly mechanized world. The tragedy is the fate of the ghosts, save a lucky few who have been mercifully rescued from the machine and placed in loving havens for their remaining days. The terrifying irony is that while we live in a time of hyper-information, the volume of what is hidden from our view is growing by leaps and bounds. And what is hidden has a magnitude of consequence only rivaled by its own intolerable levels of cruelty. The disconnect between humans and the sources of their food and other purchases is vast. The conditions under which our food is ‘manufactured’, our clothes sewn and our mobile phones assembled are under constant scrutiny by a small faction of humans, yet remain an afterthought at best for most of the ‘civilized’ world. Under the collective microscope of Marshall’s direction and McArthur’s discernible eye, The Ghosts in Our Machine carries a pressing moral significance. Marshall’s stated goal is that the audience be provided with an experience that inspires awareness and consciousness. I can only hope that the film’s crucial message becomes etched into the dormant consciousness of the masses.
Struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration while daydreaming at work, I composed a poem as a nod to the movie, its director and the innumerable ghosts. The subject matter of Marshall’s work, of JoAnne’s art, and of my much more modest piece of poetry, represents the very essence of why I am vegan. The benefits to both my health and the environment are invaluable added bonuses, but I need no other incentive than the plight of animals. Like many others, my path has been paved with passion, distress, vigor and benevolence. I’m frustrated by the deluge of unwitting hypocrisy while uplifted by transient moments of compassion, natural beauty and love. Above anything else I have experienced in the past, it is being vegan that scrupulously defines me and is that which propels my heart forward through this life.
Here is the poem. I hope you like it.