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.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news (actually not true) but I think I’ve figured out how it works. (I don’t just bitch, either. I’ll also include solutions. I’m proactive that way.)
- Netflix is the only source for Netflix Original programming: House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.
- Hulu is the only source for Hulu Original programming: None come to mind but I do know they’ll have commercials.
- Amazon Prime has mostly the same shit.
- iTunes offers the same content but at premium ala carte prices.
- HBO is the only source for HBO Original programming: The Newsroom and Game Of Thrones.
- CBS is a bunch of greedy dillholes: Survivor and Big Bang Theory.
- MLB is the only source for most MLB Original programming but only if you have enough money. Otherwise they won’t even stream the goddamned World Series. (I was actually surprised by this, but only for a nanosecond.)
I prognosticated to my wife a long time ago that the days of accessing “content” would soon be coming to a close. This week we moved much closer to that reality. You like some shows on Hulu and some on Netflix? You’ll have to buy both even if the remaining majority of their DNA is essentially the same. Exclusivity is the ticket to getting customers to pay more than once. And make no mistake, it is all out global thermonuclear war on your wallet. That is the only thing that matters. They don’t do this for fun.
What do you call it when the people who are supposed to save the day, the so-called “experts,” fail to perform when the chips are down? There has got to be a terminology for that. For now, I’m going to go with the phrase “expert failure” or EF.
Example: “Yup. Things certainly went to shit. They EF’d up.”
In the excellent book Jurassic Park the character Ian Malcolm, a mathematician specializing in “chaos theory,” correctly predicts the failed hubris of the undertaking. (Also in the book the character John Hammond, the visionary, is ironically eaten by his creations. That tasty tidbit didn’t make it into the movie.) The genius of Michael Crichton’s book has nothing to do with dinosaurs. As Wikipedia puts it, the story is a “metaphor of collapse.”
Expert failure works like this:
- Only we are brilliant enough to design and breed dinosaurs. You are not brilliant by a long shot. Oops. The dinosaurs got out. Bad shit happens. Our bad.
- A virus enters the country. The hospitals and specialists we depend on for our very lives fail to follow basic protocols. (In unrelated news, studies have shown that 10 to 80 percent of ICU doctors fail to engage in sanitary hand washing as directed. Because, of course, they know better.)
- A politician says, “Doing ABC will lead to XYZ.” When that doesn’t happen, he adds, “Obviously we need a lot more of ABC. We have to give my policies a chance to work.”
- Your financial consultant advises you to invest heavily in Guru Of Negativity (ticker: GON) holdings and you lose your shirt.
- A baseball teams spends $50 million on a single player (cutting other players from the team to make this possible). Later, in game seven of the World Series, bottom of ninth, two outs, full count, bases loaded, trailing by one run the fellow whiffs flailingly at three straight pitches in the dirt and strikes out.
That last example is my personal favorite because I could have easily matched that performance for at least half price. Show me the money!
What else have experts gotten wrong? FEMA? Vietnam? The financial crisis? Mortgage-backed securities? Bridges? Stampedes at religious gatherings? Platforms at state fairs? Fires in disco clubs? Interfering in the civil wars of other countries?
The list is long and distinguished.
So now we look to experts to clean up the messes that were created by the same and/or previous experts. I’m no expert but I say that sucks. When you’re stuck on your the tippy-top of your roof and the water is lapping at your toes, just remember this: There is no expert correction fairy who will swoop in and save your bacon.
Ultimately, no matter what the experts would like you to believe, you’re on your own.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to change into my baseball uniform. You can depend on me.
Things fall apart. The center does not hold. –Yeats
I’m back in office (or, as I like to call it The Love Den) after a weekend of travel. Maybe I’ll do a travel post. Or maybe, like always, I’ll plan on it and never get it done. Anyway, this is my first post in a few days that wasn’t written by breaking my fingers on a tiny electronic keyboard on an iPad. As such, I’m pretty happy. -Ed.
Are things getting better or worse? My personal theory is that things have always been shitty and it’s a remarkably consistent thing. Were people more “evil” in medieval times or in present day? My guess is that both were about the same. The only difference is that we think things should be better today and when they’re not our brains incorrectly interpret the difference between reality and perception expectations as some kind of disconnect.
Our helpless brains then think things like, “Things are going to hell.” Only they’re not. The more things change the more they remain the same.
I remember when I was a kid. A service dog was something limited to blind and deaf people. These were highly trained animals that were rarely seen in public. And when they were nobody questioned their legitimacy. Why would we? What kind of freaking asshole would you have to be to take advantage of laws for disabled just because you want your pet to tag along when you go shopping or out to eat?
We also used words like “please” and “thank you” and held open doors for other people.
In today’s world an amazing number of us have no such ethical quandaries. We want something ergo the ends justifies the means. Period. The only criteria that must be met is that we want it. And, let’s be honest, that’s a pretty darn low standard to meet.
Park in a disabled parking space? I’ve never done it once in my life. A few months back I fell out of a boat and smashed my ankle on a rock while whitewater rafting. The damn thing still hurts like hell. I could have asked my doctor (if I had one) to fill out the paperwork for a temporary permit. Why the hell would I? I can limp the extra 20-50 feet just fine. What kind of an amazing prick must you be to think you are entitled to take a parking space from someone who really needs it.
I recently spoke with a person who freely admitted to doing it. And why wouldn’t they? In their mind there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. No recognition of ethical boundaries translated into no reticence about freely admitting what they had done. Their brain literally couldn’t comprehend their might be something wrong with such behavior. It would conflict with The Want.
This same person, though, had a major issue about people touching her dog. The dog is high strung and has a lot of anxiety. It doesn’t like to be touched except on its own terms. But when she took the dog out in public, like grower’s markets, strangers would pet the dog without asking and without permission. This was greatly upsetting to her.
Later, she took us to a public park where there were signs posted that said, “No dogs allowed.” It never crossed her mind that her dog shouldn’t be there. Run loose, doggie. Be free!
Her mind was literally incapable of discerning the reality of her beliefs and actions. Under one set of mores people were rude assholes for breaking rules and in the other she saw nothing wrong with her behavior. Both were able to sit comfortably in her brain at the same time and she never noticed anything wrong about it.
When I lived in San Diego I had a daughter who was deathly afraid of dogs. They would make her scream, shiver and become emotionally withdrawn. The fear may not have been realistic or logical but it existed nevertheless. As such, we didn’t take her to public spaces like dog parks. We’d search out public parks where dogs were prohibited. There was one of these near the ocean where we liked to go to fly kites.
There were other dog-friendly places. They even had their own beach. But invariably someone would show up and unload their dogs and let them run free. The dogs would rapidly approach us and the owners would say things like, “Don’t mind Fluffy. He would never hurt anyone.” Well I guess we have your word on that, don’t we? The word of a known criminal. Meanwhile the day was ruined, for us, with my young daughter back at the car and wetting her pants.
Well played. You get your dog area for backup and our space as your primary. You probably didn’t want to go there because there were too many dogs, right?
So are we bigger assholes to each other today or does it only seem that way? We certainly seem more narcissistic and masturbatory. But back then there less rule of law and other things in abundance like slavery, racism, gender oppression, genocide and more. Maybe as a society all we’ve done is redistribute the evil in new and interesting ways? Maybe the amount always must remain constant?
I no longer have this office. The HQ got moved to the big city. But it still looks remarkably similar.