Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Corn Porn, and you're eating it up!


Corn is such a cheap whore!  Let me regurgitate a bit of the Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Funny that human beings can swallow so many varied foods that choosing exactly what to swallow is troublesome and mostly done for us, perhaps at our own behest. That’s the premise of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. 
The sheer mind-boggling array of ingestible opportunities makes us not only obese and/or suffer from eating disorders but leaves us easy prey to FOOD FADS.  Oh the evil carbohydrate!  Oh the wicked gluten!  Tomorrow, it’s back to the original sin: Fat! 
This same anxiety leaves us equally susceptible to putting faith in marketers whose job it is to seduce us only to eat more, and more, and more!  Today you can read the packaging of a cheese doodle and be convinced that this yellow plastic like creation is not only food but that it is in many ways nutritious!
Maybe this is why we’re fat?  Do you ever stop to think we are just like the force-fed cattle, fattened up for big business profit? 
People spend more time researching a hairdresser than learning what goes into their body.  I must know people who spend more money on gyms and personal training per month than they do on food.
With cognitive dissonance the whole goal of the game is to actually FORGET.  To trust deceptive ads, to not care what it is so much as how it tastes; to not (above all) look at that pink boneless gob and know it came from a once-living animal which someone else has slaughtered for you. 
Why pay attention to the big industrial military complex?  They’ve got it covered! Why are we still at war with Afghanistan?  Why can’t Obama close Guantanamo?  He’s not running the country!  Something bigger and more sinister is behind it all – and also behind the corn-covered shit we shovel into our faces.  Profit – and the book blithely notes our collective reaction: “cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing”.  Or, even more apocalyptic:
“Everything eventually morphs into the way the world is”
What a world, what a world.  No wonder I'm in Oz!
The irony is that though we are born in this world to eat so many different things, we are not eating variety at all.  It’s just corn, corn, and more corn porn!  What’s the government subsidize?  Corn!  If we are 98% water, 97% must be in the form of high fructose corn syrup.  Humans got down and dirty with corn from the start – playing with its sex life – and hit its erogenous zone!  There is such a surplus of corn now that the government has subsidized it and so that’s all the farmers are growing.  That and soy.  That's what I'm learning. 
Farmers aren't getting rich, either.  It’s always the same price and there’s always too much of it.  So the goal of the last 30 odd years has been figuring out ways of using this extra corn to feed the gen pop. From high fructose corn syrup replacing sugar to cornmeal replacing grass for the feed of the cattle we eat, to chicken nuggets (read all about it!), to ethanol in gas tanks.  
And all of the corn and feed floats on a massive river of oil – transported miles and miles away to the grocery store.  And you wonder now what really drives those Middle Eastern wars?  What part plays our insatiable appetite for cheap, easy, tasty?  How complicit are we?  Talk about cognitive dissonance. 
There is no longer such a thing as “seasonal”.  You can get asparagus any time of year, and how far did miss asparagus travel to get to you in New York?  Even organic is post industrial!  Eating should (could?) be simple, sustainable, local: soil, seeds, sun, crops, animals, and humans.  But that pastoral ideal is something you now only see on packaging.  Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind!  
So can we get back?  Do we want to?  Even I wobble between knowledge is power and why do I keep reading?  Knowing is half the battle, says GI Joe, but he is counting on people wanting to truly know.  Are we just too successful as a species to give a flying fuck?
Some do.  Listen to this spectacular quote from one farmer, Joel Salatin, who is making a difference:   
“Me and those who buy my food are like the Indians – we just want to opt out.  That’s all the Indians ever wanted – to keep their teepees, gives their kids herbs instead of patent medicines and leeches.  They didn’t care if there was a Washington DC, or Custer or a USDA; just leave us alone.  But the Western mind can’t bear an opt-out option. 
We’re going to have to refight the Battle of Little Big Horn to preserve the right to opt out, or your grandchildren and mine will have no choice but to eat amalgamated, irradiated, genetically prostituted, barcoded, adulterated fecal spam from the centralized processing conglomerate.”



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

re: this quote:

With cognitive dissonance the whole goal of the game is to actually FORGET. To trust deceptive ads, to not care what it is so much as how it tastes; to not (above all) look at that pink boneless gob and know it came from a once-living animal which someone else has slaughtered for you.


Coincidentally, I'm currently reading EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. I'm on page 255 right now, which is very near the end of the book. If you feel like reading more about food, and possibly getting more depressed about what you do (or don't) eat, put this book on your "to-read" list. VERY disturbing stuff.

I found out about the book EATING ANIMALS because I went to Foer's website after reading his book EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE. Great book!

If you wonder why you probably know the name Jonathan Safran Foer, his book EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED was made into a movie, a movie which maybe you saw? A movie that I love.

Best wishes,
Carl

Shawn Blount said...

Viva la food revolucion!!!!! Keep shouting, Jesse! Preferably from the tops of roof tops and corn stalks!