I’m grateful to Linda Gruchy for inspiring this blog post. Although we started out our FB encounter rather badly, we ended up friends and this is what we were discussing, “Scare Labels”.
The media in general and the tabloids in particular have very cleverly invented “knee-jerk word signals” to which we are all now programmed to react in a specific way. Think about them for a moment and remember the motto from Animal Farm, designed for the hard-of-thinking to remember the policy “Four legs good, two legs bad.’”
One words springs to mind immediately as a highly over-used and dangerous trigger – paedophile. Oh dear! I just said it and already some of you are bristling with anticipation going: “She can’t be going to defend those bastards! She Can’t! Not our Ailsa!”
No, of course I’m not going to stick up for anyone guilty of the crime but I’m about to come down like a ton of bricks on the people responsible for the situation now. If I wanted to buy my next door neighbour’s house I would simply advise local parents not to let their children go near the place, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean? With no more proof than an unfounded rumour, the local population would be doing a good impression of the villagers from a Frankenstein movie, burning torches, pitchforks ‘n all. Some child-specialist doctors have been hounded from their neighbourhoods because people don’t know the difference between a pediatric specialist and a paedophile.
Food, obviously, is another great one. We all have to eat so that stuff has to go into our bodies. Naturally we are very picky about what it is. When horse DNA was found in meat products sold as beef, people’s first reactions were not : “Wow, I hope that was hygienically slaughtered”, they were immediately retching with disgust that they’d been eating horse, a very common practice on the continent..
The huge buzz-words are “natural” and “GMO”. Yes – you’re doing it again, I can hear you all holding your breath, waiting for me to defend Monsanto. At ease chaps. I just want to draw some distinctions.
“Natural good, man-made bad” is our new Animal Farm mantra. Well, I’m not a dietician but I’m pretty hot on herbal remedies and some of the lovely “natural” things I can get you straight from Mother Nature’s generous bosom are – hemlock, deadly nightshade, digitalis, arsenic, (getting the picture?) Whereas the nasty, man-made chemical products the doctor gives you are…plant originated. I’m Bipolar. What would you suggest to me? Valerian (nice and natural sounding) or Sodium Divalproate (eww chemical muck)? Newsflash – they are the same except my nice chemical one is in a very concentrated dose which means I take two 500mg tablets a day.
GMO is the new “hate word” but, unfortunately, it is only a shortcut to a practice that has been taking place ever since the hunter gatherers decided to become farmers. Selective breeding, not only of animals but of crops brought them more “useful” specimens, having the qualities they needed most. In the 1980s my ex worked for the Milk Marketing Board AI division and even then bull semen was categorised by what qualities were resultant in its offspring – need wet-resistant hooves? You need a drop of Maybar Juniper’s juice etc. High fat content in the daughters’ milk? Have some of Brigadier III semen.
So let’s get a bit selective ourselves, shall we? Let’s stop putting Nice/Nasty labels on things in a completely simplistic manner; have a little think about it before we decide.
PS – I don’t agree with selective breeding that has resulted in dogs who die young from inbred conditions, over-muscled beasts who can’t walk, turkeys who are so fat they can’t mate properly…but that wasn’t done with chemical genetic manipulation, we did that years ago.