25 August 2009

Chemicals

Coyote Blog on "chemicals" in food, etc:

Wow, You Mean There’s Actually A Point to All These Ingredients?

Sometimes, greens and organic-proponents act as if the only point of chemicals is to … uh… I don’t know what they think. They act as if the chemicals are added simply as an evil conspiracy by corporate America to both make the product less efficacious and simultaneously more expensive and complex to make. Somehow this behavior is all driven by the profit motive, though the logic sort of escapes me.

Well, at least one green seems to be starting on a voyage of discovery:

Good news and bad news at the dentist this morning. The good news is, my teeth are fine. The bad news is, the dentist told me I should give up Tom’s of Maine and Nature’s Gate in favor of Crest and Colgate. I pressed him on it because I know sometimes people have knee-jerk reactions about green products, and he insisted that he’s only come to the conclusion after observing many people’s teeth. In fact, he went so far as to say that I’d be better off brushing my teeth with just water. He said the big C’s of dental care have “lots of artificial ingredients in them that are great for your teeth.
This is really an excuse to post another The Customer Is Not Always Right tale, since it includes the line "chemical...as in harmful to all life!"
The Building Block(heads) Of Life
Bookstore | Durham, NC, USA

Customer: “I’m looking for some school books.”

Me: “Alright, what sort of books are you looking for?”

Customer: *sigh* “Some chemistry guides, I guess.”

Me: “Alright, let’s head over and look at a few different guides.”

(I take her to the chemistry section of the bookstore.)

Customer: “I’m just not excited to be taking this course.”

Me: “Are you’re worried that it will be too difficult?”

Customer: “Oh, no! I just don’t want to be forced to learn about something I don’t believe in.”

Me: “Er…sorry? What’s your degree program?”

Customer: “I’m in vet school. I’ve already done all of my bio classes, and i really loved them, but I’m really not interested in learning about chemicals and how they harm the Earth and stuff.”

Me: “That’s not really what chemistry is about, you know.”

Customer: “What do you mean? Just look at the name: CHEM-istry. Like, CHEM-ical. As in, harmful to all life!”

Me: “But you said you enjoyed your biology courses, so why not your chemistry? They’re both really important sciences, especially for your major.”

Customer: “I just don’t get why I have to learn about chemicals and stuff! biology is different - that’s Mother Nature! Not some science that was made up in a lab.”

Me: “Well, think about what life is, when you break it down. What helps build life?”

Customer: “Biology.”

Me: "Right! Back up some now.”

Customer: “…Atoms?”

Me: “Now come back up a bit. After atoms, but before biology.”

Customer: *blank stare*

Me: “Chemistry! What happens when different atoms come together? chemical reactions. That’s all part of chemistry. You can’t have biology without chemistry - it’s a natural part of life.”

Customer: *brightens up* “I had no idea! Now I can’t wait to take chemistry!”

I promise I'll refrain from posting more of these, even though about half of them warrant it. I will just mention that there was one Michael Scott-like character who thought that cutting up his credit card meant that he didn't owe anything on it anymore, and lots of people who invent new rights for themselves, like the right to take an employee's sandwich since it's next to the cash register.

Counterblasted also has a pithy line about the Tom's of Main story: "Most of the time, "non-green" products are safer, more effective, and/or tastier than "green" ones. Why are there preservatives in snack products? To preserve them." Also from his blog, this wordsmithery: "Man up, bitches; it's raw brain from here on out. Chillin' with the Inuit eating only bloody caribou? That's some hardcore shit right there." I came across Counterblated via TJIC, and I'm liking it, but I have to wonder if the name is a reference to James VI's superstitious and arrogant 1604 tract, A Counterblaste to Tobacco. That would be slightly undude.

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