March 16, 2006

On my radio show today and for reasons that I can’t adequately explain (but have to do with how terribly serious it’s been getting lately) I played only pop music from the 80s between my talks and interviews.

This lead me to be probably the only person to have ever played Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go in the middle of a bring-down-civilisation talk by Derrick Jensen. It caused one listener to ring up to see if there was a computer malfunction and also to some questioning about my choice in music from my wife when I got home.

At the end of the talk I played ‘Message in a Bottle’ by The Police and the sparse lonely sense in that song seem to fit much better with Derrick’s rather sober message. I tell you, 80’s pop music has a lot of uses.

‘It made me laugh, it made me cry’ is a hell of a cliché but I’m willing to use it just this once to describe my reaction to Ran’s new essay (mostly because there is some truth to it). As I mentioned earlier I’ve been getting a bit sick of how serious everything has been for me lately, I mean just read this blog and you’ll see what I mean (my radio show is just as bad :-). Ran has an ability to not get bogged down with worries and it seems to leave him with access to a good reservoir of hope. It also gives him a very broad view of whatever issue he is dealing with – possibly the broadest view of anyone I have read. A sense of perspective and a sense of hope was just what I needed today – I’ve been in a better mood since I read Fall down Six Times. Hmm, Ran’s essays are mood enhancing.

This broad and creative perspective he has makes his ideas so good and so original that I feel like giving up my comparatively feeble attempts at a blog. Ironically I have a better imagination that most people I know but this new essay leaves me feeling like a creative desert (the dry sandy thing, not the sweet yummy thing that makes you sick. There is nothing more I can say that would add to what he has already written so people should just go read it .


I’ve been a bit preoccupied with things lately so posting has been a bit light. The family has been sick and I am trying to prepare for a submission to our local council about GE. Our group of ‘long haired freaks and other trouble makers’ is presenting to council next week. The council is dominated by conservative retired farmers so I assume I am going to find it a frustrating experience.

Whilst other’s in our group are preparing masterful technical arguments I am focusing almost solely on the more superficial aspects of the presentation. I got a haircut earlier this week and I’ve asked my father to supply me with a suitably conservative tie. In my brief talk I am to present myself as a businessman (it’s the truth, just not the whole truth) and will talk about sensible things like the economy and how the release of GMOs will damage our export markets and cause destitute farmers to band together and sue organisations like the district council.

I have no doubt that the councillors would like to marginalise our views (in their own minds) by writing us off as mis-guided radicals. If they can do this no amount of sensible argument will sway them so I intend to cast myself as one of their ‘type’ and pull that particular rug out from under their feet.

Incidentally this is the one area where I beg to differ with Ran. The science of genetic engineering is currently operating at a level of such incompetence that there is no hope of his vision coming to pass – at least not for our generation. The best they can currently do are malfunctioning plants that are probably behind the recent doubling of food allergies and possibly also contribute to cancer as well.


One comment

  1. I don’t think Ran is particularly in favor of today’s GMO’s either. I’m sure he can see that they’re messing us up pretty bad at this point. It certainly may be that it is beyond the current generation to understand the science well enough, but Ran just likes to keep possibilities as wide open as possible in people’s minds, especially when it comes to matters in the realm of biology. While it is uncomfortable for me to think of future GMO’s being a potential good thing, I appreciate it whenever Ran does stretch my imagination, forcing me to think outside the proverbial box, and just not close my mind on any issue.

    Anyway, hope your presentation goes well!

    Posted by: tom campbell | 03/17/2006

    some thoughts on meeting with “conservative retired farmers”, if it’s not too late. keep in mind that many of them will be of the age to remember – intellectually, but also emotionally – life before big farms… before their profits turned to shit, before their backs were broken, before their farm communities dissolved, before the topsoil went to hell.

    my guess would be that such farmers, like most human beings, are going into the GM decision from a primarily emotional place, based on fear, confusion, desperation. they have been trained for several generations to see nature as the enemy, and to see the next offering by Monsanto et al as the only solution to their problems (which Monsanto et al handed them in the first place). GM is not the first bit of baloney they’ve ever been sold. data have been available on the disastrous ‘green revolution’ for decades, yet farmer’s still cling to the next “solution” and the next.

    the most effective antidote then is not so much economic or technical reasoning, but to turn this fundamental assumption – that the earth is the enemy and Big Farma is a friend – on its head. appeal to farmers’ repressed frustration with the current system; appeal to their memory of life before it; appeal to modern examples of success – small sustainable farms that are turning a profit and rebuilding their communities. when i interviewed deborah garcia (director of the Future of Food), i asked her what the response was of the old farmers she showed it to. “they wept,” she said.

    good luck.

    Posted by: joy | 03/22/2006

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