Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Respect My Autonomah!

Belligerent obese diabetics screeching about not being told what to eat and drink by the big gu'ment, slurping at their fifth sooper-gulp sugar-soda bomb and feed bag of chili cheez fries of the day because that's what they are told to eat and drink instead by the big-screen tee vee, and because there isn't anything wholesome to eat or drink at a reasonable price within miles, are just ventriloquist dummies through which corporations are expressing their right to eternal rule over fools they despise to death.


jimf said...

> . . .because there isn't anything wholesome to eat or drink at
> a reasonable price within miles. . .

Yes, Whole Foods is the rich folks' supermarket, and you have to
drive to the rich folks' neighborhood to shop there.

Dale Carrico said...

And of course the problem of inner-city "food deserts" is even worse than that -- not only a lack of access to Whole Foods (like Trader Joes a place so phony and stuck-up I can't stay in either one more than five minutes before I'm grinding my teeth to stumps and straining for the exits in a cold sweat), but a lack of fresh produce or non-sugared non-corn-processed food of any description at anything like a reasonable price.

jimf said...

> Whole Foods (like Trader Joes a place so phony and stuck-up
> I can't stay in either one more than five minutes. . .

Well, my favorite yogurt, Brown Cow Farms cream-top whole milk
yogurt, which years ago was available at regular supermarkets,
I now have to get at Whole Foods. The regular stores **only**
have reduced-fat or no-fat yogurt these days, which tastes
like chalk to me.

What else do I get there? Bragg's raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar,
and two brands of low-mercury tunafish -- American Tuna and
Wild Planet Tuna.

Curious fact about my local Whole Foods. They have an aisle
with a million exotic herbal extracts. They do **not** sell


venusinpieces said...

Expressing contempt towards impoverished people is hardly the best way to make the argument that you know what's best for them. Besides, excessive regulation around organic certification has prevented many farmers who practice sustainable agriculture from entering the market, and this is only one example of the many ways that big government has extended their authority unnecessarily into the food industry.

Barkeron said...

While we're at it, transcientologist peddles not junk food, but junk science.

Dale Carrico said...

Venus, there was more concern than contempt expressed in this piece, yours is the generalization that insists otherwise, and I hardly hear a valentine for the precarious in your libertopian boilerplate.

Oh, if only Big Government would drown in the bathtub so that corporations could show more of their deep respect for the impoverished and for organic farmers!

I quite agree that better regulation would facilitate more organic farming and in general wish that our Farm Bills reflected an awareness of catastrophic soil erosion and the bubble-fraud of IndustrialAg -- a short point of entry to what I am getting at can be found in this concise op-ed by a hero of mine Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, a piece I teach undergraduates in my course on green theories, practices, and cultures every year at Berkeley or the San Francisco Art Institute.

But the key word here is better regulation, better investment, better incentivization, better education not "less big gu'ment excessive regulation" (that's not a dig at the impoverished, but, again, at idiots, do please make a note of it), without which corporations would be selling plastic shavings and calling it "organic."

Chad Lott said...

Jimf- I work for Whole Foods, so let me answer your question on the aspirin.

The company has a list of certain ingredients that are banned including things like any and all artificial colorings, certain preservatives and the like.

Most of the aspirins out there have at least one of the banned ingredients (usually a food coloring).

The company also chooses to not sell certain things that are free of the banned ingredients (American Spirit cigarettes would be an example).

Dale- I hate to see you have to grind your teeth to stumps at WF, but I don't think you'll find any organization that has put more into educating consumers about food, supporting fair trade and building local food economies.

When I worked at farmers markets we always spoke about WF as the boogeyman, but having been on the inside for a couple of years now, I can honestly say I am always proud of how dedicated to doing the right thing everyone I work with is.

Dale Carrico said...

It may be a matter of the sorts of people who throng the TJ and WF near me -- I find the ridiculously overpriced wan simulacrum of a patisserie near here exactly as insufferable. Born and raised white trash (and with a pesky added pansy problem) I have never quite managed to shake, even with fancy degrees in philosophy and culture, a stiff whiff of class-based imposterology and the anger that goes with it.

venusinpieces said...

Dale, You know nothing of my political perspective which comes nowhere close to "libertopianism". And you might be able to get away with pretending that shameless contempt is "concern" amongst sheltered academics, but come anywhere near people who have actually had to survive on government aid and I can guarantee they will see this pretentious rant for exactly what it is. See, Ivory tower academics like to think that food stamp recipients are all yearning for a Marxist utopia but the reality is that a sizable number of the lower classes have been indoctrinated with conservative ideology, not due to idiocy as you have suggested but because most people are too focused on survival to have time for a first class education. Take some time to look over income distribution in red vs blue states and you'll see that, quite obviously, conservative voters are often less economically advantaged than their progressive counterpoints on the coasts.

Point being, you might want to step down off the podium before claiming that you speak for the interests of the majority because, "white trash" background or not, you may find that your monologues are not quite as well received as you think they are.

Dale Carrico said...

You're all over the place, Venus. Of course I know nothing about you but what you signal pseudonymously. So far you've accused me of celebrating "excessive regulation" (rather than better regulation), which lead me to the libertopian conclusion. Now you rail against the fact that I'm educated and a teacher and possibly a Marxist (I'm not, I'm a sustainable secular democratic socialist who votes for and supports Democrats, but whatev). None of this fills me with warmth or confidence about where you are coming from.

I was born and raised and spent all my life in Red states before I moved to the bay area, and perhaps I do not pass muster as white trash by your lights, hence your scare quotes. I don't know what I am supposed to do with that, so I'll just let it go. It isn't clear to me what you are recommending, other than wishing my blog didn't exist because you dislike my opinions and tone. I don't plan "to step down," so you'll just have to learn to live with that. All blogs are rather monologic, although I do have exchanges with folks in comments (like this marvelous little idyll we're sharing), and I, in turn, am quite content with the recognition that what I say and how I say it won't be to everybody's taste. That's a price of the ticket, obviously, and not exactly a newsflash. Given the evidence, I daresay plenty of people don't think your exactly a rose garden yourself.

Dale Carrico said...

As for the red states, yes it's true that many of them are the poorest, with the worst health outcomes, the worst violence, the least stable families, the worst infrastructure, the least mobility. While this is not universally true -- and I must say that the most politically progressive and generous people I have ever known and lived and worked with as an activist were in the south, not here in the Bay Area by a long shot -- the old confederate states are indeed full of Fox News loving, muscular baby Jesus loving evangelicals for which that love translates to a lot of hate, enormous amounts of substance and domestic abuse and dysfunction and resentment and structural poverty.

It's incredible to me that you seem to think declaring these millions of people helplessly indoctrinated by conservative ideology into suicidal homocidal genocidal anti-science, anti-union, white racist patriarchal bigotry is less insulting than my pointing out how ridiculous and dysfunctional such views are. Not all poor people are idiots you know, not even in the South.

The blue states they so despise have been showering these dysfunctional states and dysfunctional citizens with federal money subsidizing an army of voters who want nothing more than to dismantle the civilization on which they draw for generations. So helicopter drops of money isn't the answer -- I shudder to suggest compulsory education from sheltered ivory tower academics might be part of the solution, I know how you hate them!

You know, these indoctrinated folks were able to take time from their busy mere survival time to put me in jail for protesting bigotry and civil rights abuses against queers and people of color, such people have thrown bottles at me and hurled epithets while I marched, growing up they made a thoughtful unconventionally gendered kid's life a living hell.

Sorry you don't think I'm being nice enough to them, even in a post where my exposure of their ridiculousness actually included as much context of structural conditions obtaining as it did insults: The post that set you off, recall, was one in which I ridiculed someone suffering from health problems because they did what the big corporations on the tee vee told them all the while railing against not being told to do by the big government which would objectively improve their health and ameliorate their suffering -- I did not claim that was a universal portrait, you did that, I pointed out that many such people actually lacked affordable access to better choices, you ignored that, and then you were off to the races. You didn't like the portrait, fine. You really are being something of an asshole about it though, to what practical end I cannot tell.

venusinpieces said...


It is surprising to me to see such illogical assumptions about my belief system coming from someone who is obviously an intelligent person. Nowhere here did I accuse you of supporting excessive regulation, make digs at progressive politics, imply that I think all academic institutions should be abolished, or state that I think there should be no government regulation whatsoever. I DO have a problem with people who use the enormous privilege that comes along with higher education to ridicule poor people who are suffering from serious health conditions, especially since you are no doubt aware that poverty is associated with both lower life expectancy as well as a lack of access to quality nutrition, a situation that is apparently quite entertaining for you. As for my statement that conservative politics are often the product of a lack of educational opportunities (not the same as idiocy, no matter how many times you twist my words), this is hardly an unreasonable statement considering the sheer number of media outlets available for the promotion of far right ideologies.

Dale Carrico said...

Uh, fine, Venus. I have nothing to go on but what you literally say. Your first comment actually did refer to "excessive regulation" and "bog government" and you didn't say a lot while definitely saying that so, yeah, I drew some conclusions from that. If you don't think you said what you said, scroll up eight comments. There it is. In your next comment you refer derisively both to "sheltered academics" and "ivory tower academics" -- again, take a look. There you are saying that.

I'm not making illogical assumptions, I'm just trying to figure out what you mean from what you are telling me. Humans are error-prone beings, these things can be hard online among strangers, you know?

Of course I agree that a lack of educational opportunities can be a factor in some conservative attitudes. Are we friends now? I also think lots of conservatism is idiotic and deserves to be so called. You disagree, perhaps, but I'm fine with that. Maybe you're just less acerbic than me, tho' it seems to me you know how to shoot off at the mouth as readily and negatively as I do if you want to.

Anyway, I really did not mean to twist your words, as you say, but looking back over your comments I honestly don't think I would have guessed your meanings differently from the cues you gave me, but sorry anyway. I'm not interested in misrepresenting people, I'm only interested in supporting -- with argument and with wit -- what I think is importantly right and subverting what I think is dangerously wrong. Simple as that.

Dale Carrico said...

Can I add, ViP's pseudonym and icon rather incline me to like them? That feels so wrong now, and yet still so right.

venusinpieces said...

The comment about excessive regulation was intended as a *partial* agreement with conservative suspicion of big government, not as an accusation towards yourself. And I don't necessarily have a problem with sheltered academics as long as they use their privilege responsibly. I tend to agree with you that the phrase "big government" is often a thin veneer used to further bigotry in the name of states rights, however as political ideologies are complex and multi-faceted
it can also apply, as it does for many starting up autonomous squatter communities, to governmental intrusion through "quality of life" laws designed to criminalize poverty. Small scale farmers, particularly farmers who sell raw milk that have had their farms raided at gunpoint by the FDA, are yet another group that has been marginalized and nearly put out of business through draconian regulation, and that doesn't even begin to touch the layers of red tape that prohibit so many small scale holistic health practitioners from turning a profit. many .
FYI, I am actually a big fan of much of the writing on this blog, just not this particular post which strikes me as callous and dehumanizing. As for the claim that the Bible Belt is a haven for racism, misogyny, homophobia and domestic violence, you will hear no argument from me concerning that assessment.

Dale Carrico said...

Happy to give you the last word.