Monday, April 28, 2008

Food Doom

A friend of mine (who taught at the Creative Wealth seminar The Boy and I went to) sends along this video trailer. (I've been meaning to review the seminar but have been letting it digest for a while.)

This is aimed squarely between the eyes for me as I am a Western-medicine-deriding pill-hatin' pharmaceutical-mistrustin' organic-lovin' GMO-sketpicizin' snake-oil takin' left coast fruitbat. My peeps deride "Whole Foods" as "too mainstream".

And yet. I'm not really impressed by this trailer. I guess because I've seen it before so many times. The only thing lacking--and it may well be in the movie--is that Diet For A Small Planet-we're-doomed-because-three-companies-own-all-the-food motif.

I'm afraid I tend to class that stuff alongside of The Population Bomb and Future Shock.

And when people start dissin' pesticides--which I think are overused--I can't help but also think of the million children who die of malaria every year because of Rachel Carson persuaded enough people that DDT was worse than death.

And I get a little deja vu feeling when people start talking about genetically modified stuff. Once again, people are starving in Africa because persuasive people have convinced leaders there that dying is better than eating GMOs.

A cynic might say that environmentalist victories seem to equate to black people dying.

So I have this interesting dichotomy: Western medicine has personally saved people I care about, but it has also consigned people I care about to death. The elimination of whole foods (the concept, not the store) has definitely reduced the health of many people and caused many troubles, but ultimately modern food technologies have essentially saved the world.

It actually doesn't bug me much: I try to use what's appropriate for the situation. My kids don't get a lot of refined sugar, but I don't sweat the occasional cookie or birthday cake. I take them to the doctor when I think that will help, and take them to the witch doctor when I think that will help.

So perhaps this really is a modest post, after all.


  1. The very first speaker made me bark with laughter (oops! Bad cubicle etiquette). Not a good sign. He said, "all the terrorists have to do is wait and we'll be dead in a hundred years." Ummm...yeah. I reckon all of us will be dead by then, alright. Of course, we'll be making new people in the meantime.

    I get his point, but it was a goofy construct -- and clearly wrong...the more Westernized a society, the longer the general life expectancy of the population.

    How well we live as individuals is a different discussion. I'm getting to be MUCH more of a foodie in my old age. Buying locally and (soon) growing our own; paying what I have to pay to get the very best ingredients, and always buying ingredients, not prepared foods. But I look on that as largely an aesthetic choice.

  2. Yeah, while I sympathize with a lot of the premise, it's hard to argue the stats.

    Our consumption of bad food has gone through the roof in the past 35 years, as our life expectancy has gone up about a decade.

    I'm probably less of a foodie now simply because I can't afford it, in terms of time and money and pitching to the kids. My kids all seem to have narrow comfort zones. I mean, they'll try anything, but they seem to like very few things.

    I suppose I was the same.


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