On ranting

In need of defense

Some very interesting comments came out of my Wednesday post on how the world is a-changing, and how some of us are doing something about it, and others, well, aren’t.

Here’s a comment: My friend Tim, in an email, said “The list of things not to be discussed in polite company (this includes the internet) now includes ‘consumption patterns’.”

I agree it’s a touchy subject, especially when one trains one’s sights on one’s relatives as examples. (OUCH. Believe me, things’ve cooled considerably in my own household after that post; I’ve done a lot of mea maxima culpas to those affected.) But, (and Tim knows this about me) BUT…polite company aside, isn’t discussing religion, politics and now consumption patterns at least really INTERESTING? Maybe it started in college, where I was one of maybe 6 Democrats in a student body of 7,000…maybe that is where I honed my combative skills. (It was the Reagan era: tough time to be a liberal, believe me.) But maybe it’s a personality fault, or something, but I do like a good argument; I do like to poke the hornet’s nest, to rattle a cage here and there.

Why consumption? Here is the thing: here is why: we are all connected. That Big Mac you had for lunch? It has global implications. It really does. And how good did you feel after eating it? Did you feel as good as you did when you ate your last homegrown tomato?

Big Macs are not the Great Evil, nor is a homegrown tomato a kind of Grail (though close, if it’s a Brandywine). But it’s a small, small, shrinkingly small world out there. By 2050 there’ll be 9 billion of us calling this little planet home. You don’t need to be an economist, geophysicist or even a farmer to realize that having India and China on a Big Mac diet too is just not going to happen. Our world is too small for this kind of consumption pattern. And we have to face this fact. Collectively. Together.

Our leaders are not leading on this issue, much less any other. Detroit continues to roll out vehicles that get only 18 mpg. We keep doing things as if there were no Katrina, no fires, no drought; that these were fickle aberrations of the weather. So, well, I will be discussing consumption patterns (and politics, but will stay away from the third rail that is religion) here. Why? Because enough of you have told me you do take a little something away from my rants: encouragement, head-shaking disagreement, something. And because someone needs to stand up for homegrown tomatoes!

8 responses to “On ranting

  1. You should get bumper stickers that say “support the homegrown tomatos” Great slogan for a movement by the way 🙂

  2. Too bad you had to apologize. You were only stating the truth, and not unkindly.
    Oh, well.
    This is why (some) blogs should be invitation-only. My parents still aren’t talking to me…

  3. Having agreed in my whole heart with everything you’ve said, except the Brandywine thing (I had San Marzano tomotoes this year that just blew my head off) I now have a problem:
    Since we have NO government agency willing to speak the truth about the potential havoc our consumer habits will bring about, and an economy that apparently depends upon us not taking action to change, what the hell else can we do that really makes a difference in the future world for our precious children and grandchildren?
    I think the time for politeness has passed by already. As they say in the addiction/recovery groups, we can’t ignore the elephant in the livingroom any longer. Thanks for giving me a kick in the ass. I needed it. More, please.

  4. El,

    With a tendency to rant and bias towards constructive discussion of ideas myself, I don’t see that what you said was TOO much but I could always be wrong 🙂 I ply my in-laws with home-made/grown marmalade and brandy soaked fruit cake; I find this gives me a lot of latitude!

    The homegrown tomato …..I think it is probably a good metaphor for everything and therefore worth championing!

  5. I find it strange that discussing consumption is now considered verboten. If you were trapped on a desert island with a few other people, and some of those people were consuming far more than their share of a finite resource, would it be okay to broach the subject then? What exactly is the difference? I rattle cages all the time. And I don’t feel bad about it. BTW, your San Marzano seeds are soaking in my garage at this very moment. You should have them by T-day.

  6. farmer, vet and feeder of all animals

    Rant away El—because it needs to be said. I also know those that feel they are ENTITLED to consumption (what about our kids—are they entitled to crap?)
    Anyway—you bring up those topics if you want. I too like to bring them up (to my mothers eternal annoyance) and I think it is as much to help me understand WHY “they” think the way the do as it is to annoy them.

  7. You go right ahead. I’m with you. As somebody else has said on here, the time for politeness has passed. It’s later than we think.

  8. MM: Hmmm, that’s a good idea. It’ll go next to the bumper sticker I just got that says “Every gardener needs a good hoe”

    CC: I hate having to tiptoe. So I’ll be stomping around now, I think…and I hope of course your folks “come around.”

    Moonbear: I should add “our CREDIT economy that depends on us not taking action…” Again, I think this is a moral issue. The optimist in me thinks things will change positively, but the anticapitalist in me knows this change will come because somebody stands to make a lot of money supporting the change. *sigh* As it is now, there’s more money in maintaining the status quo. Look at corn-based ethanol as an example. Nobody seems to mention that your car will only get 80% as far on a tank of that stuff than regular gasoline. (Oh, and Meredith is sending me some San Marzano seeds so we’ll see if they rock my world too.)

    Nada: the tomato is an obtainable goal, really; most folks know already how they beat the pants off the stuff you get at the supermarket. So now we all just need to let everyone in on the secret that homegrown ANYTHING is 180* from the storebought product. But there’s no arguing with a brandy-soaked fruitcake…

    Meredith: Excellent point; it’s too bad people think they live in deep space and not a finite world. (And your Orange Bananas are nearly ready too.)

    Monica: Often, it’s the lack of thought behind the actions of others that galls me so. Thank you, though, for encouragement. I do feel like I am such a Cassandra sometimes, but hey, watch that Trojan horse, okay?

    Soilman: Yay. Now if all we bloggers just…I don’t know; if we all yelled a bit maybe we’d get people’s attention.

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