An ode to Dr. Oz

The Digital CuttleFish writes another good verse.

This one is for Dr. Oz.

i-8848478f04c91d6e372dc490cf7abd69-The Digital Cuttlefish.jpeg

Tomorrow’s Table
I’m healthy and wealthy; I’ve outgrown my past;
When I need to lose weight, I can diet or fast;
Starvation is not in the lot I’ve been cast–
My perspective is clearly not skewed.
I can buy the best produce they’ve managed to breed,
Have it shipped to my doorstep with mind-boggling speed;
In a world of such plenty, I don’t see the need
For genetically modified food

We can learn about foods from the Frankenstein myth
And distill what we know into substance and pith:
It’s much safer, our going without food than with
If the food isn’t natural, like mine
Some time in the future, we might pay the price
For life-saving products like GMO rice
(Of course the poor love it, but we can think twice–
Our neglect will be purely benign!)

Concerned about pesticides used to grow cotton?
The GE varieties best be forgotten;
We want, after all, to show people how rotten
Such produce can be for the Earth
The civilized buyer will treat as pariah,
The virus-resistant new strains of papaya,
A slap in the face of our dear Mother Gaia,
Despite how the poor see its worth

Of course, there’s a view, if you’re willing to learn,
Where the rest of humanity’s still our concern–
Even those who don’t make what us comfy folk earn,
But who still do the best they are able–
If you’re part of the planet (it seems so to me)
And look all around you, and find you agree
With John Donne, when he noted the bell tolls for thee…
There’s a seat here, for you, at the table.

Thanks Cuttlefish!

For more on Dr. Oz and science denialism, see blog posts by Respectful Insolence and ERV.

Comments

  1. Spitting in the wind, I know, but that’s the way I see it.

  2. #2 islam
    December 11, 2010

    arama motorlarinda en iyi yerlere gelmek istiyoruz amacimiz bu baska bisey dusunmemekteyiz hersey nasibimizce olmali inanin böle biliyorum islam kelimesinde en iyi yere gelmek istiyoruz

  3. #3 tony
    December 11, 2010

    I’ve started reading “Lords of the Harvest” by Charles Daniels. He discusses the origin of “genetic engineering”, mentioning one scientist who preferred the term “genetic gardening”. Perhaps it’s time to drag that moniker out of the closet. Who can be against gardening?

    Love your blog.

  4. #4 tmaxPA
    December 11, 2010

    The message would be all well and good if we were putting genetic engineering into the hands of wise, dedicated, honest people (if there is such a thing.) But modern technology doesn’t do that; it puts this power into the hands of salesmen and corporatists who haven’t the first concern for the long view, let alone an abiding regard for the caution that good science demands.
    It may be great science; that doesn’t make it acceptable technology without a lot more broad public awareness of the fundamentals. I mean, I’d be fine with throwing lab-designed genetic alternations all over the place, if more than half of the people surveyed understood and accepted the fundamentals of evolutionary biology!
    There simply isn’t enough well-informed common knowledge to make it a good idea. If all the educated elites in academia all agree whole-heartedly that something is good, I simply won’t believe them if they can’t get at least a good majority of everyone else to back them up.

    Now the problem is, I’m a fan of GE, but I want it carefully studied, carefully implemented, and carefully regulated. And all that requires wading into political swamps that make every bit of it suspect, to the point that GE introduced a century from now would scarcely be any more trusted than next week’s Monsanto invention. But further on, when schoolchildren regularly work with epigenomics and such? Sure; it will be wonderful then.

    Spitting in the wind, I know, but that’s the way I see it.

  5. #5 Pam Ronald
    December 10, 2010

    Sorry homunq. I used the wrong name. I do mean to respect your privacy.

    In any case, in terms of HT crops, the scientific consensus is that these crops have shifted farmers to the use of much less toxic herbicides.

    Whether using herbicides at all is a good idea is a separate question.

    If a farmer does not believe in herbicides, he/she should not use them

    If society wants to ban herbicides, then that is also a relevant discussion.

  6. #6 homunq
    December 10, 2010

    My name isn’t James, and if it were, I’d be a bit miffed at you associating my username with my real one. Email address is a secret field; you’re welcome to send me email, but please do not share my address.

    I doubt that there is broad scientific consensus about GE herbicide tolerance being an environmental or social good. I do agree with you about the papayas, though.

  7. #7 Pam Ronald
    December 10, 2010

    James, certainly not all genetic alterations are the same. I completely agree with you there. Each must be considered on a case by case basis.

    in the case of GE papaya, the new varieties have eliminated disease damage, which helps small farmers (no spraying)

    in the case of GE cotton in Arizona, farmers are spraying 50% less insecticide, which enhances biological diversity. (reduced spraying)

    We also talked about herbicide tolerance (spraying less toxic compounds than the gunk now out there) and resistant weeds.

    I made these points very clearly on the show. They are all science-based and there is broad scientific consensus on these points. But oz spliced out all this dialog.

  8. #8 homunq
    December 10, 2010

    Just “GMO” isn’t the best way to phrase
    the various things that we’ve done to our maize
    or payayas. With some, to the end of our days,
    we’ll have to keep spraying with gunk.
    Because “roundup ready” means food smeared in shit
    which costs money each year, with no chance to quit.
    So sure, for some genes, “sustainable” fits,
    but not all, says Mendel the monk.

    OK, that is pretty lame. But my point is, there’s GMO and GMO, and responding to a blanket condemnation of the technology with a blanket tweaking of its doubters isn’t really helpful, even if it does scan pleasingly.

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    December 10, 2010

    I hope y’all will forgive me, but I was reminded this very week when reading this verse of the Cuttlefish’s lovely Cefe Press goodies.

    Which seems to be at least a start on saying “thank you,” don’t you think? Besides, you can never have too many coffee mugs.

  10. #10 islami sohbet
    December 10, 2010

    insanın bu noktaya varmak için verdiği mücadelenin temelinde düşünülebilmesi yatıyor. İnsanı insan yapan en büyük değerlerden biridir düşünebilmek. Bu nedenle, özgürce düşünme hakkı, yaşama hakkından sonra gelen en önemli haklardan biridir.

  11. #11 Veronique
    December 10, 2010

    What a delightful wordsmith is the digital cuttlefish.

    What a lovely chuckle I have had reading the clever stanzas.

    Most appreciated. And no, I haven’t had a reply from Dr. Oz!! Why am I not surprised, hahaha.