Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bitch pressin' charges? I get that a lot.

I watched The Future of Food this morning, which was really interesting. It was mostly about how evil Monsanto is and how wrong it is that patents on genes and living organisms are allowed now. For example, they showed that once Monsanto's genetically engineered plants are spread into a farmer's crops (in their main example, seeds had fallen off a passing truck), they then become property of Monsanto. This was even upheld by the Supreme Court, regardless of the notion that the farmers had in no way actively participated in securing the cross-pollination; it wasn't even an issue that it was a mishap. It was still found to be under Monsanto's patent, therefore it was their plant and they had to be paid for it.

The whole film was very anti-genetically-engineered food. It reminded me that I had seen an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in which Penn and Teller were outraged that anyone would be against it. Their point of view was that genetically engineering food allows for more crops per acre and was very much in the vein of helping starving third world countries. That whole view point was tossed aside in about five minutes of Future of Food, when they explained how it wasn't the lack of food making these countries starve. It's when the USA subsidizes our crops (because the farmers don't make enough of a return on the crops to stay afloat) and then it affects the farming from other countries (the third world countries) and essentially boots out the farmers. It went on into greater detail than I can.

And I'm sure there is pro-green science out there, but it's not the science being endorsed by major companies. Monsanto was even quoted saying that it wasn't their job to make sure it was safe, that's the FDA's job. Monsanto's job is to sell as much of it as possible. However, the film claimed, the government hardly ever does regulate it. They went through a whole list of politicians in Washington (including the Supreme Court), who not only served in Washington but had held positions on boards or as legal representation for these companies, largely Monsanto. And in the end, food is not required to say on the label when it is genetically engineered. (Because where there's no label, there's no easy liability). How does that just NOT look shady? But it's all just interesting; I still try to keep an objective mind when watching these "documentaries," who obviously have their own agenda.

And speaking of food, I copied this off imdb's news info. It's really refreshing; there is absolutely no way in hell measure like this would ever be taken over here. It kinda reminds me of the check-out aisles in Vermont that are candy and tabloid free.

U.K. Bans Junk Food Ads in Kids Programs

OFCOM, the British television watchdog, announced today (Friday) that junk food advertising will be banned on all children's programming. The ban will apply even to evening programs that have an above-average audience of children younger than 16, including music channels and many awards ceremonies. OFCOM estimated that the ban will cost broadcasters about $75 million per year in advertising revenue. OFCOM said that studies had led it to conclude that "the case for intervention is clear." Some health advocates said that the ban was too limited and should extend to all programs aired before 9:00 p.m. In a statement, Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, said, "OFCOM clearly believes that TV advertising has an effect on children's eating habits, yet it does not have the courage to recommend a more comprehensive ban."

But more importantly, Bond is kicking ass at the box office. Too bad it was competing against a kids' movie here in the US. It didn't have a prayer...though I'm impressed it came as close as it did. How the HELL it didn't top Tomorrow Never Dies is beyond me.


Veloute said...

Yeah, that sort of thing would never fly over here.

Now that you mention it, I don't remember seeing tabloid and candy free aisles in another state. Interesting.

Ah, I have also seen both the movie and the Penn and Teller episode you mention. I will only say that the P & T episode seemed rather shallow, not really comprehensive (not really a lot of time for the issue, perhaps). I was disappointed in that one. However, I also agree that the documentary, the Future of Food, obviously has its own agenda. While I do not against genetically engineered food, I do have strong reservations at this point at it being so widely used early on, especially in the hands of companies like Monsanto. The case of the farmer(s) with Monsato seed coming onto his land is shockingly ludicrous, if the story is how the movie portrays it. I guess I am more concerned with how business and government handle these engineered products rather than the products themselves. I wrote a paper on this for my plant genetics class--this is a big issue and I find I am not really on one "side" or the other on this. I think there is real potential here but it seems that implementation of the engineered foods into our global food supply has been rather...reckless?

Can't wait to see the new Bond movie. I don't even know what kids movie you're refering to. The penguin one? Is this sad or commendable that I don't know?

Veloute said...

I wish I could edit these things. I mean "While I am not "against" genetically engineered food..."

Ellen Aim said...

I agree completely. The film had some great points, but they totally didn't even pretend to offer anything up for the other side.

and yes, Happy Feet! Robin Williams doing many voices, I want to see.