Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I Blame Squanto

Ok, a few more thoughts on Food Inc.

First, this discussion, this movie, etc. are only possible in a civilization that is rolling in material blessing from God. This doesn't mean the blessings are being handled correctly, but it is still a tremendous blessing to be so well fed. Secondly, and related to this first point is the movie portrays how ubiquitous corn is in our food and follows the money trail back to Monsanto, the evil Corn Seed gods. And maybe they are evil; the patent law they are apparently using to mug decent, hardworking farmers with certainly seems bad. But at least one thought that should occur to us -- while all the products are flashing on the screen that are made out of corn stuff -- is: Wow. Isn't corn cool? Since watching the movie, my wife has been checking all the ingredients lists on the food we eat, and sure enough: it's everywhere. And for this horror, I blame Squanto. That's where we should trace this evil, right back to the Pilgrims. They should have seen the corporate greed in that Native American's eyes. Now look at us. Corn everywhere.

And that doesn't mean this much corn is good for us, I'm just saying Wow. Look at all the cool stuff we can do with corn. And seeds that are impervious to insecticides and herbacides and whatever? That's pretty cool. Again, that doesn't mean all those insecticides are good for us, and it doesn't mean our genetic engineering of the seeds is good for us. That remains to be seen, and people who are skeptical are free to be skeptical and do something different. And maybe we'll find that genetic engineering of seeds is the equivalent of medieval bloodletting. Seemed like a good idea at the time. But, while recognizing the need for proper care and due caution, fact of the matter is that as Christians we don't think this world comes prepackaged and ready to serve. This creation has the curse of sin wound through it; it groans for our redemption. But even prior to sin, Adam was given the task of tilling the earth, exploring, taking dominion. Adam was called to work at glorifying creation, and I take this to mean inventing x-rays and cell phones, space stations and engineering food to the glory of God. Am I skeptical of modern hubris? You bet. Do I think this means we should shrink back from every attempt at taking dominion of this world because it "might be bad for you?" Absolutely not. Life is dangerous. And life leads inevitably to death. But Christ is born, and He is taking back the world. So Happy 12th Day of Christmas and have some corn.

Two other complaints:

First, the sentimental story about the mother who lost her son to e coli. Certainly, I'm sorry for her loss, but this heart tugging by the producers of Food Inc. was unfortunate. In fact in many ways, I came away not thinking that our food industry was dangerous, rather, I came away thinking that it's pretty impressive how few poisonings have actually occurred. And lobbying for more protective laws in DC? That just seemed like more of the same sort of governmental oppression they are complaining about.

And this leads to the second complaint: if you head over to the Food Inc. official website, you'll see a link to a blog that I only just glanced at, and it appears that these people are swimming in statism: passing laws, lobbying for change, and all buddy-buddy with Al Gore. So definitely not impressed, but a few interesting bits of information along the way.

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