Once upon a time, back in the early 80’s, for the usual inexplicable cultural reasons, a variation of reggae music known as ska became hugely popular, especially in England and L.A., led by such groups as the Specials and (my favorite) the English Beat.
The Beat had a unique ability to blend the personal and the political, and in one of their best songs, called Get-a-Job, they dared to question the need for all of us to work at jobs creating "rubbish," pointing out that the process has bad bad side effects. Specifically:
[you] manufacture rubbish
although no one can afford it
you could make a profit
more than anyone deserves
so you find you’re left with poison
so you dump it in our water
and so create the kind of problems
only radiation cures
That last couplet has stuck with me forever, and aptly gets to the point of this editorial from a couple of weeks ago by Michael Pollan, surely the best writer on "The Vegetable-Industrial Complex" in our time. In brief, Pollan warns that the spinach/e. coli 0157 outbreak last month will lead to calls for mass radiation of our vegetables:
[A]ny day now, calls to irradiate the entire food supply will be on a great many official lips. That’s exactly what happened a few years ago when we learned that E. coli from cattle feces was winding up in American hamburgers. Rather than clean up the kill floor and the feedlot diet, some meat processors simply started nuking the meat — sterilizing the manure, in other words, rather than removing it from our food.
That’s just the opening to this terrific piece. Your humble blogger recommends you check it out.