Recently, in a Facebook post, I exasperatingly wrote:
I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I can’t stand going to comment sections and seeing the same bullshit time and time again. I think it’s time to leave it to the pros. I have nothing but contempt and derision for the Hirschbergs, Robinsons and GMOFreeUSAs. They are nothing more than lying scumbags and those who parrot their bullshit are hopeless dipshits. I find it impossible to respond civilly anymore.
Ever since I returned to writing this blog I found myself less and less enthused at yelling about the bullshit propagated by anti-GMO movement. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole with idiots.
Some of the level-headed folks on the FB thread suggested the goal be should changing the views of the honestly misinformed or informing the undecided. That’s all well and good, it’s still a chore. You shouldn’t have to keep dispelling the same lies over and over again.
I use the word lying purposely. By this time, everyone should know that all of that bullshit has been discredited, over and over again, yet they still promulgate it. There is no excuse anymore. None, zilch, nada. Anti-GMO activists and groups have become the FOXNews of the left.
Back in 2012 I wrote:
Activists, on websites and in interviews always trot out the same discredited “facts” about the dangers of transgenic foods. They point to non-peer reviewed, flawed, discredited, self published studies. This movement is the FOX News of the Left. They keep repeating discredited studies as if they are true. Jeffrey Smith and Ronnie Cummins are masters of that tactic. They’re the Hannity and Limbaugh of the anti-gmo crowd.
I would now add GMO Watch’s Claire Robinson to that list.
It pisses me off that these anti-GMO miscreants are spreading fear about a safe and useful technology that can be a tool in fighting world hunger and help fight disease. And make no mistake about it, demonizing the technology in food will also transfer in the public mind to medicine.
The anti loudmouths should be called out as liars in public. I’m not talking about the dipshits on the comment boards, but the snakeheads and representatives of the anti-GMO groups.
I was altered to a recent BBC Panorama episode about GMOs and they interview former EU science advisor Anne Glover. (NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal.) She was very blunt in her assessment that the anti GMO movement makes stuff up. NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal. The relevant part starts at about 24:30.
I had to remove myself from a Facebook GMO group because they had these stringent rules about civility. I submit that when someone is spreading dangerous lies, despite the medical and scientific evidence and consensus; and gets treated credibly in the media, they should be treated as the menaces they are. I hold no grievances against them. I know some members from other GMO groups. Rules are rules, even if they insist upon a Neville Chamberlain approach.
It’s this pantywaist approach of being civil that has allowed these miscreants, bordering on criminals, to gain traction and get their propaganda out.
Not only are they lying scumbags and dipshits, they are public menaces. These well-fed fucks actively deny those who are poor and starving in developing countries the chance to try this technology. On a recent podcast appearance on Talk Nerdy to Me, hosted by Cara Santa Maria, my fave science communicator. Kevin Folta, quoted Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 as saying, “these people hate corporations more than they love people.” (I still contend I said that first, but that’s a minor quibble. I could just think I did. But it’s such a good quote, I probably didn’t)
So what is one to do? One thing one could do is create a group called something like March Against Myths About Modification which works to dispel the nonsense spewed by these scientifically illiterate reprobates. Wait! Someone did.
Three genuinely smart, witty and decent people created that group in response to the recent March Against Monsanto.
They are, as taken from their site
Karl Haro von Mogel is a research geneticist based in Madison, Wisconsin, active science communicator and public speaker. He spends much of his free time helping people understand the complicated science of GMOs.
Kavin Senapathy is a freelance writer, science communicator, and mother of two young children based in Madison, Wisconsin. She promotes the idea that critical thinking is key in raising well-rounded children, and that embracing biotechnology is imperative in this objective
David Sutherland is a Chicago-based artist by profession, vegan & animal rights activist in his free time. As part of his early activism he contributed efforts to anti-GMO activism. With a discovered interest in science and critical thinking he had a change of heart and mind. Now he has a mission and passion to undo those wrongs by demystifying the issues surrounding GMOs and biotech.
I hate these people, because they rock and haven’t given in to cynicism, like this old and tired guy. They still have the ability to interact civilly with the dipshits and the insane. Although, Kavin got to encounter first hand the frustration the insane creates and how civility doesn’t work when dealing with them.
She had the misfortune of meeting, face-to-face Zen Hunnicut. the person I was yelled about on that FB group.
She then asked how much Monsanto or industry paid us to be there. This is when I started losing my cool. I retorted angrily, “How much are YOU getting paid to be here? How much is the organic industry paying you to be here?” She retorted that organic is how “God intended it.” When I explained that organic is a modern construct, she became even more angry.
I explained that I didn’t mean the organic shill accusation, and that I was simply pointing out that the shill gambit is meaningless and irrelevant. She again asked in an accusing tone, “You haven’t answered my question, if even one study shows risk, then why would you subject your children to that?” Karl jumped in to discuss scientific methods but she swiftly silenced him, “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to her. You don’t have children. You don’t know what it’s like. You haven’t had a child come from your body.”
You gotta read the whole thing. It’s classic. Science Drama at March Against Myths about Modification, and My Showdown with Zen Honeycutt
I only know them digitally, but they’re younger, smarter and prettier than me (if that’s possible) and still have that fire in their bellies. And they’re fun. You should visit their site and if you’re so inclined, start your own local chapter.
So, what do you do when you’re tired and frustrated? I think I’ve come up with a new angle. Forgot the average dipshits. Go after the lying scumbags who run these anti groups. Take down the Smiths, the Cummins and Robinsons. Show others in public forums how these assholes are full of shit. Forget the dipshits that use them as sources.
Go after the elected officials who have sponsored or added their names to labeling laws in various states; the ones who use the miscreants like Smith as credible sources. Shame them on blogs, letters to the editors and anywhere else. If they’re one of your local or state representatives, even better.
Of course, don’t go longshoreman on them like I would. Be civil, be nice and let them know they are on the wrong side of history. But rest assured, if you do get a response, it will be some smarmy form letter thanking you for your concern and agreeing to disagree.
If you get a response like that one, then go longshoreman. All bets are off when they remain willfully ignorant. All civil bets are off.
Last year, I wrote the Connecticut legislature’s GMO Labeling Task Force suggesting they have an actual scientist testify as a counterbalance to Smith’s nonsense. From my email:
I just read that Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute of Responsible Technology will be speaking before your GMO Labeling Task Force on August 8th. I would recommend you rescind this offer as Mr. Smith is a self-styled expert on GMOs. He has no experience in science or agriculture. For some reason he is considered an expert by the media and others.
If this is not possible, I suggest you at least have actual scientists testify on this issue to counterbalance his nonsense.
I received a polite reply from Elaine O’Brien who wrote
“my intention is to gather as much information as possible. I understand that this is not a simple subject and I do not believe we should be rushing to label before we understand the issue”.
What bullshit. They didn’t have any scientists testify and not only that, a member of the legislature even coached an activist on her testimony. I didn’t follow up, which I regret.
In a guest post on Keith Kloor’s blog I wrote about a GMO panel discussion at NYU:
Taking my leave, I went in search of Kathleen Furey of GMO Free NY. I asked her why, in their events around the state they gave credibility to Jeffrey Smith by screening Genetic Roulette. She asked why they shouldn’t screen it. I said because Smith is “fraud and charlatan; a yogic flying dance teacher with no scientific or agricultural credentials.” (That’s my how to win friends and influence people style.)
She asked, “Who doesn’t think he is credible?”
“The scientific community,” I replied.
“Well, I can show you scientists who do find him credible,” she said.
Me: “Like who? Seralini?”
Her: “Oh, so you don’t find him credible?”
Not surprisingly, the conversation degenerated from there. But once more I missed another opportunity when during our exchange, Furey, in defense of Smith’s non-scientific credentials, told me that she wasn’t a politician but she was able to write legislation. I was so focused on her defense of Smith that I missed a shocking revelation.
In August of 2013, I attended a so-called NY State Assembly public hearing convened by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored a bill that would require all foods sold in NY that contain genetically modified ingredients to carry a label. Probably the one that Furey said she crafted.
While grilling three upstate farmers she really went bullygirl actually disagreeing with the farmers about their experiences with gmos. She read otherwise, she claimed, dismissing their actual experience. One of the farmers, Beth Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm seemed to get the bulk of her bullying.
She accused the farmers of making disparaging remarks about consumers when they suggested labeling might confuse them in thinking there was something wrong with the product. She said that the reason to be against labeling is because they (the farmers) might be afraid of what we might find out. She also said what they were saying was… “reprehensible is too strong of a word…objectionable”
Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. What an asshole. These weren’t industry bigwigs, they were upstate family farmers trying to explain why they used gmos; their own experiences.
Right now I think I need to pay attention to my state and miscreants like Furey and Rosenthal, the latter I probably agree with on most issues
Oh and don’t get me started on the Right-to-Know bullshit. The Right-to-Know doesn’t mean squat if you don’t understand what you know. Yeah, I’m looking at you Gary Hirschberg, you duplicitous, greedy fuck.
Curiously enough, I don’t feel better after letting it out. We’re at almost 2,000 words and I could go another 2,000 easy
Update: As I was editing this post, this came across my digital transom. Kudos, Kavin.