when in college.
one professor who, on occasion, ranted (they all ranted if they were good). good rants; thoughtful rants. But back then, teachers’ rants were directed at us, not at some societal scapegoat that was bigger than us. They’d shake us about what we were missing to look at in the world. it was us they seemed concerned with; not – and I mean NOT – about others/blaming others – more of a pull up your boot straps and take responsibility kind of approach; which was meant to teach us to think about how we viewed things in order to know more about ourselves; and – respect of others. Nowadays it seems the reverse, ‘I am’ (hate that tee-shirt!)
they were attempting to get us to think about our own actions – which is good. If everybody paid more attention to what they were actually doing and not blaming what was not theirs to control for their own actions/mis-actions/inactions, we’d all be more in control of ourselves and less out of control as a whole and have more freedom of thought to make better decisions. makes sense, if you think about it. an argument to this philosophy would be, that it takes a force to control those who are trying to control others. not really, cuz if you know who you are and don’t abide by the populace (in-group/out-group) when they are not doing what is right, then (if everybody had character/morals and enough courage to do what is right) a few bully stupids wouldn’t be able to convince others to go along. making everybody feel bad about themselves and the blame the ‘other’ portion of the program begins (he would say).
so… on this one glorious morning he started a rant about apples. took the whole class period up – apparently, not many of us were listening? I did. And, sadly since, slowly through the years, watching what he ranted about so vehemently that day has become a nightmare reality – like he was this visionary… attempting to warn us. The rant wasn’t about “big biz” and “science” and “greedy” corporations; instead, his rant was: it was our fault! we, as the consumers, had caused [apples] to change. Don’t blame anyone else except ourselves!
someone in the class had ticked him off.
here’s the rant (back then – it was like 1980):
it was the consumers’ fault that apples had become so tasteless (slowly ongoing for the last 20 years). yes, they looked better and were bigger, but they had no taste. this only happened because consumers would not buy natural apples if there was a worm hole or a bird’s pecking on/in them – and therefore, much of what was brought to market went to waste/grocers and apple farmers were losing money because consumers wouldn’t buy their harvests unless they appeared/looked perfect. So, started spraying of pesticides – but consumers complained of that too. So, what’s a group of farmers going to do – bottled applesauce for babies became Gerbers’ main advertising promo as a first food… already made/convenient; but still not enough to produce a large enough living for then local farmers to survive on. Enters widespread GMO apple seeds… these “seeds” are designed to produce fruit that looks lovely and won’t attract pests so consumers will not pick over the produce and there won’t be as much waste. The seeds were modified to produce an apple that had little to no aroma (which attracts bugs/birds) and very little taste but they looked perfect.
His point: the change was requested by consumers – and that is how all change comes about in a capitalist society.
It’s sad to think back – we had apple trees and apricot and plums – and down the road if we were to – which we always did – invade the orchards that surrounded our neighborhoods, tons of cherries, and in the creeks there were berries (and poison oak) – and you could smell the fruits as they ripened each year at appropriate seasonal harvests. you also had to receive an occasional bee sting, bite into an occasional worm, and definitely put up with flies buzzing around with other insects – we all survived and when we’d get home with what we’d picked we would cut out worm-holes and bruised marks and bird droppings and we knew the insects/birds were smart!!!: they knew what was the best fruit and so if they had “invaded” a piece, it was sweeter than the others. By the end of a Sunday afternoon, the whole house would smell like apples from what was left/made into applesauce and those parts we had to cut away because of “pests” were put onto our mulch pile. It wasn’t that horrible.
In the years since… you quietly listen here and there; consumers/cooking shows/cruise ships/ everywhere there is call for a perfect strawberry to be dipped in chocolate… bigger is better/showier… etc. the mega-stuffed spud potatoes for triple size portions with all the fanfare at restaurants – nobody wants those dinky things… the “next” perfect wine grape being grown in a geo area that could never support a vineyard unless the grape was modified; i.e. – vineyards (natural ones) need warm days and cool/foggy nights with no frost and specific soils. how the hell are they producing wine everywhere else? Genetically modified plants that can adapt; and on and on – I think just about every plant has been GMO’d; everything looks good but has little taste; and then think of the insects and birds? what are they to eat? maybe that’s why they’re all dying off (too); because they are smarter than us and know not to eat that stuff – all because of consumerism/demands put upon nature for perfection. And yet – everyone wants to blame this on corporations… i.e. – “they’re ruining the environment.” Uh-uh – not according to my teacher. He would correct us, “you are ruining the environment.”
to be continued.