I have something to say about the GMO labeling issue and my pro-science friends aren’t going to like it but here it is: JUST LABEL THE FUCKING THINGS. Yes, I know about the Garys – Doucheberg and Ruskin- and their whole whiney little Just Label It bullshit and I do think it’s just that – bullshit. I get that the whole thing is an organic industry push to demonize biotech so that they can grab a fatter share of the market.
But let’s be realistic – labeling is going to happen one way or another whether we like it or not, just as the genetic modification of crops and animals is going to move forward whether the anti weenies like it or not. So, you (you being the biotech/food company people I guess) need to strap on a pair and take charge of this conversation.
And, no, that little QR code idea will never fly with these people. First of all, it’s too complicated for that crowd. These are people who think they can kill insects by empowering their seeds with positive thoughts. They hate technology. It’s scary to them. They want tiny little singing children, dressed in burlap sacks to hand-pick their vegetables. These are people who think that whole farm-to-table thing where you can go cuddle a baby lamb before you eat its mother is fun. That doesn’t seem barcode-friendly to me.
Also, whose idea was that QR code? It’s a touch…aggressive. The whole proposal seems to scream, “You want a label? I’ll give you a goddamned label. Now take this label and shove it straight up your ass.” I mean, I completely respect that stance but these folks are never going to go for a QR code with all of that boring information. They don’t actually give a shit about breeding methods or sustainable farming practices. They want pictures. Cute pictures.
The Garys and the Gang have that little butterfly thing – that was brilliant (mind you, brilliant is a very relative thing here). Food and biotech people, oh hell, I’ll just say it, Monsanto needs to come up with something adorable like maybe DNA with a face – a face with big, sweet eyes and an aw-shucks smile. They need to Disney-up some happy DNA stickers that food companies can slap on their cereal boxes with little messages like, “Genetically Improved with Vitamins. Hooray!” or “Genetically Enhanced to Save Fuzzy Bees!” (You must use exclamation points. Dumb people like exclamation points.)
Side note: The “Genetically Improved with a Process You Wouldn’t Understand” label could be an awesome thing for single people. Instead of rummaging through someone’s medicine cabinet when you’re on your 3rd date, you’d just have to glance at their pantry to see if they’re walk-of-shame worthy. It would be a good way to weed out someone with bad genes. <<Corny. I have a pun problem.
Oh, and I’m really sorry to single you out, Monsanto. Not sure what you did to make everyone think you’re a bunch of Sith lords sitting around trying to control the food supply. (You’re not, right? That seems like an exhausting mission.) I’ve interacted with a few of you on Twitter and you all seem like lovely people but can I ask you to please, please get your shit together already and do something about your image? [Calm down. I know you’re already weeping with frustration from trying so hard.] Perhaps it would help if you embraced the labeling thing instead of fighting it. Fighting it is just giving the Garys ammunition against you.
By the way, if Hugh Grant the Actor can overcome that whole Divine Brown thing then Hugh Grant the CEO can overcome a few Bravo chefs and yogurt salesmen. (How sick are the Hugh Grants of that joke?) I know, I know, you’re consistently ranked as one of the best companies to work for. You do a lot of good stuff I’m sure. I don’t blame you for possibly saying, “Aw, fuck it. Why bother?” but Monsanto, along with food companies and the rest of the biotech industry, needs to be proud and make it clear that they’re proud instead of skulking around. You do realize that you guys are being bullied by people who are scared of a salmon, right?
For the record, this whole rant was sort of tongue-in-cheek. I think the case against labeling is strong but the argument is going in circles. Plus, I’m going to scream if I hear another person say, “But what about mutagenesis?!?” The labeling fight is distracting from all of the great things being accomplished by the biotech industry right now. From applications that could help end animal cruelty to applications that reduce pesticide use or improve nutrition, there are so many reasons for that industry to be proud.
So, I say – bring it. Bring on a great label, market the hell out of it, and get the upper hand. Make the Garys go on the offensive for once and prove how fantastic organic is instead of letting them continue to whine about the “Dark Act” while they rest on their little fear-mongering laurels. I, for one, would love to have a kitchen filled with pictures of Dancing Dave the DNA.
Love, Amy – Third String Armchair Quarterback