For the United States it is voting day at last.
As early as tomorrow freedom will ring across the land as all the political ads will finally stop running. Yes, for once in my life, I’ll be happy to hear about side effects (up to and including death), how much money I won’t have in my retirement and garments specially designed for Americans and made in China so they can inhale whole containers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (where a pint is still 16 ounces) and finger the remote control – all at the same time!
This day brings a lot of craziness.
I’m not going to miss the ads. Let’s take a look at Measure WTF. Ostensibly this measure was brought to the ballot via the citizen initiative process. What does that mean? Most likely that paid canvassers collected the signatures. What’s that? I love the smell of democracy in the morning.
It helps to know some Lonely Island to get the joke in the subject line. -Ed
The citizen initiative in Oregon that would require labeling of GMO foods is polling very tight. It’s still within the margin of error and the undecideds but the nays appear to be holding an ever-so slight lead over the ayes. It is already the most expensive initiative in Oregon’s history. The nay money is pouring in by the millions. Companies like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Mead Johnson and Dow AgroSciences. Isn’t that telling?
As this process is proceeding apace, I thought I’d take a few moments to splice one last point on this important issue.
One thing is being made excruciatingly clear. The people who make food don’t want you to know what the fuck is in there. They don’t want you to know how it’s made. They don’t want you to see how they treat animals. (See so-called Ag Gag laws.) They want to hide unpleasant-sounding ingredients, things they know you decidedly do not want to hear about, behind clever euphemisms like “natural flavors.”
Which would you rather eat? All new fortified Tasty Anus or “natural flavors.” Gosh golly gee willickers. What sounds better in your tummy?
So I thought it over and decided, what if the debate was presented like this?
Suppose I was the food industry and I invited you over to my place for dinner.
I might try to do something nice, assuming I actually gave a shit about you, and find out if you have deadly allergies, like peanuts. After all, I’m not out to kill you, right? I want you to enjoy your meal.
Maybe you tell me that you don’t like yams. Are you allergic? No. Will it kill you? No. You simply don’t like them. That’s all.
How should I react to your humble request? What are my options?
Well, I could honor you as a person and forgo the ingredient. Hahahah! Thanks for the tripe laugh! We all know that’s not gonna fucking happen. Seriously, I didn’t just fall off the pesticide-resistant turnip truck yesterday.
Don’t be so goddamned naive. My dinner is a business. It’s kill or be killed. Nothing matters except profits.
What choices does that leave me?
I could simply say, “I’m not telling. Are there yams in here? You’ll never know!!!” That’s called being a good host.
My other option is lie. Hide it. Distract. Obsfucate.
What would you do? Isn’t this a nice way to treat each other? Doesn’t this sort of attitude help make the world a better place?
I make. You eat. Shut the hell up about it. I’m your host, Mr. GMO. By the way, I can’t believe you ate that. Ha ha ha!
My lies and hate. It’s what’s for dinner.
Well, sheeet. I guess you all know what I look like now. Special shouts at Erik Reichenbach for giving guru a total makeover.
I’m not going to make any claims here that GMO foods are dangerous. Maybe you believe they are, maybe you don’t. That’s basically the point behind efforts to label foods that contain GMO, isn’t it? We’re supposed to have faith in the ability of free markets to reach sound conclusions. (If not, we’re all doomed.) At least in theory en masse we generally get it right.
Some companies, though, seem to chafe at the bit at the bit when it comes to revealing information about what’s actually in their foods. So many “secret” ingredients and the like. So many euphemisms like “natural flavors” to avoid a detailed accounting of what’s really in there. (And happily stamped “OK” by Uncle Sam, too.)
But without information what possible decision-making can take place? I submit that a free market can’t reach those legendary conclusions in a void of data. Without the ability to weigh facts, the market must simply go where it is led by the powerful few in the know. As a general rule other people making decisions on your behalf don’t turn out all that well.
1913: 100% of corn was farmer owned. By 2013 approx. 95% was owned by corporations.
–A statistic I found all over the Internet which may or may not be real
Today, without attempting to examine real and/or imagined ills that may or may not be associated with GMO, I wish to look at a single debate point offered by those who oppose labeling. What GMO means to you should be something you investigate for yourself. See if you can, somehow, sort through all the noise and determine your own level of comfort.
I look at it like this? If given the choice of no food and dying of starvation or nom nom on some GMO most of us would probably choose the latter and take our chances. Is that the issue in a nutshell? As Earth converts farmland to condominiums and strip malls and the population continues to increase no doubt one day we’ll all be facing a question like that. (And insects. Don’t forget the edibility of insects.)
So, here in Oregon, a lot of us signed a petition and Measure 92 qualified for the ballot. It’s a measure that Oregon voters will decide this November. The aim of the measure is to mandate labeling of GMOs in food.
Naturally, now we’re being subjected to a horrifying barrage of television ads both for and against. One of the arguments against the measure kind of stuck in my craw. Let’s take a look.