Columns » Kenneth Cleaver

Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

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March , 2005

Mr. Archie Schaffer, III Senior Vice President

Tyson Foods Inc.

2210 W. Oaklawn Drive

Springdale, AR 72762-6999

Dear Mr. Schaffer:

As I'm sure you're aware, next year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair's muckraking classic about life in the packinghouse industry.

If you haven't read it, let me break it down for you: It's a vulgarly Marxist epic about a family of European immigrants lured by the American dream and decimated by the American reality. The main character toils in a filthy Chicago slaughterhouse. It sucks big time. The novel concludes with a pedantic sermon on why socialism is the only answer for the working class. Uh-huh.

Since all that unpleasantness about workers, bosses and unions has become laughably retro, I'm wondering what you have planned for The Jungle's big birthday?

Perhaps you could take a page from the book of Wal-Mart and film your exorbitantly paid workers singing the praises of their wages and benefits?

Better yet, you could have MTV film a Road Rules installment in whatever high plains Podunk you're slaughtering at these days. What could be better than a bunch of physically fit, socially deranged 20-nothings going head to head at hog disemboweling?

You have to admit, it'd make for bloody good television. (Insert canned laughter.)

I suppose you could just ignore the book's anniversary altogether, but that'd be too easy. Please let me know what your plans are. I have lots of idle time and would love to watch.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Cleaver

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