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White-dressed men, farting cows, and mutating things

April 3, 2009

I’ve been thinking about the strategies people use to convince us of the importance of what they are saying, proposing or even selling. And I’ve noticed that people usually take advantage of our inner beliefs and prejudices. Some days ago, in our English class we read an article about the way our diet can contribute to increasing global-warming effects. The main hypothesis was that massive consumption of meat has a polluting effect, since energy obtained from meat is more costly than energy generated from vegetables: with the acres of land you need to feed a cow, you can feed a whole family; with a cow, you just cannot. The argument seems to me solid; I won’t discuss that. My discussion is about the things opinion creators say and especially the things they don’t say.

For instance, one of the problems with cows they highlighted was the methane gases livestock produce. In the paper, they talked about the problem, but they didn’t explain how to reduce the number of methanic cows. One could just kill and eat them, but that would be nor vegetarian neither nice. Of course, we could try to find a long term solution  and just repress their sexual activity; life —or better, death— would do the rest for us. That would be a nice Victorian way of dealing with the problem. However, neither murder nor sexual castration are very popular solutions at the moment. Therefore, they leave the issue open to us. Let’s look at another aspect of the question: if cows are a problem, why should we exterminate only domestic livestock? Why can’t we go a step further in protecting the planet and kill all those farting buffalos from the Serengeti and the African savannah? That wouldn’t be very popular to say either, would it? In fact, I’m not so sure all those measures would be really effective: if cows didn’t eat the grass, the grass would grow up freely, and afterwards, would rot, feeding an army of worms and bacteria even more flatulent than our initial livestock. But that would be another issue.

Meat is a well-known must-not in dietetic programs. Which is the other dietetic devil? Bread, because, as you may know, bread fattens us up, doesn’t it? How many times have you heard this sentence? However, opinion creators have to cope in this case with another secular belief: bread is the food par excellence, since our grandparents used to be fed only on it. But there is nothing holy that you cannot demonize: wheat is not  what it used to be; now, it has mutated and is composed mainly of fat. That’s the message some of my friends received from their particular doctor (I was tempted to write witch, but I’m generous enough to repress my primary instincts here). So, in a wise and consequent decision, they don’t eat bread or pasta. But they drink beer! Beer is too good to be forbidden. As you can see, always the same structure of reasoning: prohibitions based upon our suppositions.

Let’s turn again to the mutating wheat: has it really changed? Of course it has. But changing, due to human selection, is not the same as mutating. If you think a little, even us, the human beings, have changed. Or do you think the two additional inches of superiority of African men have been spontaneously generated, as if we were talking about mushrooms? The process of selection seems very simple to me. Take, for example, a Finnish cave-woman from the ice age. In that corner of the world, men were covered in fur coats, so Finnish cave-women fell in love without really seeing the product. African women? For them the story was very different: they inhabited the warm tropics, so that they could see the product before purchasing it. Consequently, they fell in love on objective grounds. And believe me: generation after generation of good shopping can make a big difference.

To sum up, my conclusion is that gurus, witches, and sellers of any kind take advantage of our misconceptions and prejudices. Do all people do the same? Nope, there’s always an exception that proves the rule: there’s a person who says everything he wants, although it can sound impertinent and offensive to other people. Who? The Holy Pope, of course. But think: if you go to the street dressed in white clothes, wearing a pair of red Valentino shoes and, additionally, you are always right (actually, you are infallible, which is even a step ahead), you needn’t take into account other people’s feelings, need you?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. eoimarisa permalink*
    April 7, 2009 10:31 pm

    Jesús, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, you’re so witty!

  2. janea08 permalink
    April 9, 2009 12:39 pm

    Thank you Jesús for your witty and sharp post. I enjoyed a lot reading it. I agree with your point of view there are many people trying to make us to think whatever they are interested in.

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