California Nation: For Prop 37, Thank YouThomas Beller
Boxes of wood flooring stacked in my sunroom. I stood with hands on my knees looking at the boxes of wood, mulling trying to install it myself. My attention rested on the fine print on the side of the box. What it said, more or less: “California residents should know that wood dust is known to cause cancer.”
The phrasing was so brilliantly absurd. “California residents should know…”
But not the rest of us?
As it happens, clueless do it yourselfers everywhere without proper training or equipment will find this interesting, too. California residents demanded to be informed of this fact. They passed a law.
At another moment in I might just think of this as another example of the absurdity of modern life—if you are a Californian you should know this fact about wood dust. If you are not. Well… there are just too many Californians to make two different boxes. But really, never mind.
However it’s election season. And in addition to the presidential race and everything else there is a ballot initiative in California that will have enormous reverberations for the rest of us. It concerns food. Specifically Genetically Modified Food. Proposition 37 is very modest, in my opinion—it calls for labeling of food that has genetically modified components. This sounds reasonable enough, but the industry behind GM is pushing back furiously.
American’s were much slower to focus on this issue that Europeans. I decade ago I wrote a piece for Elle trying to figure out what was in a bag of Fritos. I had long, fascinating conversations with Frito-Lay’s customer service. They were very nice, very knowledgeable. But the bottom line was they didn’t know. The couldn’t know. There was no way to be sure.
If you are in California I ask you to vote yes on Prop 37. I can’t imagine you need to be persuaded. But for those of you who might, or who think that soy and corn aren’t too big a deal, please consider the trajectory. Animals are next.
At the moment I feel very grateful to California. It’s like the Californian propensity to pressure industry towards best practice is a counterweight to all those textbook companies who have to appease the Creationists in Texas for whom Darwin is a fraud, Climate change a hoax, etc.
Monsanto, Philip Morris, Coca-Cola. Selling edible poison, each one. (And smoke, though not food, functions as a kind of substitute, after all, and also goes down the throat.)
For my information about Ballot 37:
About Thomas Beller’s books
Recent stories on The Examined Life:
Babble Voices on Facebook