The following is a Black Friday rant by Amy Levy and Julie Kelly, 2 moms pushed over the edge into a vat of Organic Chardonnay by anti-GMOers who think “irregardless” is a word and that Canadian gardens are exactly like African farms. Oh, and by the people who think these brain trusts deserve the same respect as public scientists. This will probably only make sense to those who are eyeballs deep in the GMO debate.
I would like to state for the record that I am not “Pro-GMO.” I am Pro-CFS (Common Fucking Sense.) Yes, it’s my blog so Julie and I can cuss if we feel like it. Move right along if it bothers you. And yes, I’m a little irritated.
I decided to insert myself into the Great American Food Fight in order to counteract some of the batshit crazy coming out of the anti-GMO movement. For the uninitiated, there are all sorts of groups out there that will just make stuff up to try to scare people into thinking that anything genetically modified will kill them. Never mind the potential benefits, the fact that humans have been genetically modifying stuff for thousands of years, or that every GMO is different – they want the technology shut down at all costs- even if that means trying to ruin the lives of scientists who teach it or journalists who write about it objectively. Not to mention trying to keep it out of the hands of people who could use it to prevent little things like starvation and blindness.
Because of my outrage at the dirty tactics used by anti-GMO groups, I decided to step up and advocate for Common Fucking Sense. I’ve learned the hard way though that there is a false equivalence between the Anti and the not-anti side of the GMO argument. I want to make it clear that advocating for common sense when it comes to biotechnology does not mean I’m just the flip side of a Crazy Coin with a butterfly on one side and corn on the other.
The “Antis” are trying to completely block the use of a breeding method whereas I am saying that the technology should not be ruled out if the application makes the most sense. Got it? Every GMO is different and every application is different and I am Pro-Whatever-Works-Best. And farming practices? I have no clue about farming so I’m Pro-Let-the-Farmer Decide.
And by the way, I’m not paid by anyone and I don’t answer to anyone so I am in the position to tell every last person on the planet to bite me. I will also never have an online store to sell GMO supplements, GMO mascara, or $2000 juicers so that I can trick you into GMO cancer cures.
I might, however, write a book with Julie Kelly one day about the sheer insanity of well-heeled Americans whining about the purity of their food while they drink French wine and smoke organic weed. Julie and I will buy Monsanto with our earnings and wear t-shirts that say,
Beg Me for Seed, Bitches.
Believe it or not, I actually don’t care what breeding method is used on plants. In fact, I hate plants and don’t want them in my house. I’ve even thrown live plants in the garbage because I’m sick of their needy asses demanding water. So, I don’t care if scientists use fairy dust to create fucking plants if fairy dust means the most nutritious food with the least amount of negative impact on the environment. I might get a Fuck Yeah Fairy Dust tattoo if science pulls that one off.
Transgenic technology is an incredible tool that could be used in lots of different applications that could be good for both humans and the planet. Unlike a lot of the de-population Cull the Herd monsters who lurk inside the ranks of the anti-GMO and anti-vax movements, I like humans. And it’s flat-out ridiculous to block a technology because you’re too scared, too busy, too stubborn, or too stupid to understand it. That doesn’t mean I’m BFF! with GMOs because if something works better, go for it. Don’t care.
So stop with the false equivalence. I’m not the flipside of the Crazy Corn Coin even if it’s starting to make me sound nuts. Let me attempt a metaphor for those who are slow on the uptake – I’m saying we should keep all the nice little tools in the tool box and maybe even work on making the tools better and finding new tools whereas the other side is saying,
“The hammer scares me! It’s not natural! Make it go away or I’ll cry and tell your boss you’re a Hammer Shill!”
Not exactly flipsides of the same coin. The flipside would be me saying,
“You must hammer the shit out of everything at all times.”
Over to you Julie…
If your head is still spinning after that, it should be. Amy Unhinged is like a mad genius, spinning out metaphors and visuals you only wished you had thought of. A Crazy Coin with a corn and a butterfly? Sheer brilliance. I will forever hate her for thinking of that before I did.
I, too, am a Common Fucking Sense adherent. The pro-science is great (yeah, yeah) but the pro-common sense prevails in my book. Would hundreds of thousands of farmers intentionally pollute their own land and use excessive amounts of costly herbicides just because Monsanto told them to? Would they risk causing miscarriages in their pregnant wives and autism in their own children with glyphosate just because they want higher yields next fall?
Would thousands of scientists work for a company hell-bent on global destruction that would also bring about their own eventual demise? Would the federal government approve a deadly chemical just because the company’s lobbyist gave a few thousand bucks to some congressman at a DC fundraiser?
Now take a deep breath. The. Answer. Is. No. And this is from one of the most skeptical people you will probably ever meet (me). Educated American scientists are not collaborating to create demon cultivars and mammoth salmons that will eventually seize control of the planet while forcing us to eat tomatoes injected with pig genomes.
Educated American farmers are not in some Monsanto-induced trance where they use pitchforks to toss their children into Round-Up Ready fields to get cancer.
And Tom Vilsack is not sleeping with Monsanto’s CEO where their idea of a post-coital smoke is signing off the USDA’s approval of Bt wheat.
If you believe any of the above scenarios, you are either ignorant or just plain dumb. Sorry, there is no nice way to describe you. Or you could be an organic industry executive whose calculated vilification of GMOs is a shrewd attempt to drive market share in your favor. If you were the head of McDonald’s, you would never get away with it. But if you are the head of a company that has green grass, happy cows and white babies on your yogurt cups, you get away with it. #Merica.
And no, all sides are not equal. The farmers and scientists who have evidence on their side are not the same as the anti-GMOers who do not. Their motives and purpose are not even close to being alike. I don’t give a flying fuck if Gary Hirshberg mentors fatherless kids in New Hampshire on the weekends or if he worked at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning; when you knowingly lie to moms that they have glyphosate in their breastmilk or that GMOs are causing your kids to have ADHD, you are a shit.
I’ve had this very conversation with a few journalists who buy into the moral equivalence of this debate: “Well, they (the anti-GMOers) believe what they say so it’s not wrong” is basically what I’ve been told. What-the-actual-fuck does that mean? I’ve asked why they haven’t pushed back on the organic executives, celebrity chefs, and food writers who say one asinine and untrue thing after another. And they’re all:
I get that the modern-day cultural practice of painting both sides of an issue with the same broad brush is driven by two things: intellectual laziness and a refusal to offend anyone. The media – and indeed even people on “our” side of the GMO debate – are very reluctant to call bullshit on the other side. I saw this in clear view over the last few months with the FOIA controversy. Lots of futile hand-wringing on this side about Kevin Folta and absolutely nothing about the shady stuff that came out about the collaboration between the organic industry and their bought-and-paid-for “scientist.” I was even scolded by some science-minded folks that I shouldn’t have written about it because then we are “stooping to their level” and “no better than they are.” Wrong. We are better and we aren’t stooping. It’s called a fair fight. Get out from behind your rose-colored safety goggles and realize this is a political battle. And in politics, nice guys finish last.
In the meantime, Amy and I will remain on our virtual island with our laptops and a lifetime supply of wine wearing our “Beg Me for Seed, bitches” t-shirts where she forces me to listen to David Cook and I force her to listen to Def Leppard (and pretty sure I’ll be doing all the cooking). We will continue to fight for what we believe is right, even if the people on our side don’t like it.
Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and a strong WiFi connection for their Black Friday stampede through Amazon. Thanks for letting us get that off our chests. Oh, and we were only kidding about making people beg us for seed – only the people who say “irregardless” will be forced to do that. – Love, Amy and Julie