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Extra Credit: American Meat Public Speaking Critique

2012 December 8
by lyonjl

Wednesday December 5th, I attended the film showing and discussion American Meat hosted by none other than the film’s own director, cinematographer and producer, Graham Meriwether. At the beginning of the discussion, Meriwether introduces himself and talks a little about the film and the activities planned for the night. He is dressed very casually with boots, faded blue jeans, a comfy-looking grey sweatshirt and a baseball cap. He seems to fit the look of a typical farmer or country-dweller. I appreciate his effort to identify with those which his film is centered around. He speaks to the crowd of about 75-100 people with ease and thanks us for coming out to see his film during this stressful time we call “finals week”. The more Meriwether talks about how greatly the farmers are needed and how much we can benefit from organic produce from these farmers, I begin to see what people admire about him. He has a sort of quiet pride and charisma associated with his work. He is proud to show people the way in which we should be headed agriculturally.

The film is an extensive, detailed documentary of farmers around America and how at one time things were going well for them but then other nations stopped buying American meat and the industry began to suffer. He shows very personal accounts of what exactly these organic farmers do day to day. He also shows why we as Americans should be interested in “going organic” with our meat consumption.

Lastly, the discussion on the documentary was the most interesting event of the night for me. Meriwether had four people come up on stage and talk about not only the film but also the ever-changing farming industry has affected their everyday lives. Each speaker seemed to be very knowledgeable in his or her own respects. This gained the audiences trust because they established a sense of credibility. First Meriwether asked a question and each speaker responded in their own manner on the subject.  In particular, Richard had a striking connection to the audience because we had watched him in the film only moments before.

In high school I took AP Environmental Science and we had a very similar film showing and discussion afterwards. This showing and discussion was even better in that real people that are involved with farming and agriculture were there to further enforce the message that Americans need to see the issues with the way in which we are producing meat today and also the much better, more efficient ways of producing it so that we lead much more sustainable lives. Thank you Graham Meriwether, this is truly a worthwhile cause.

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