Bernadette Mayer, fromĀ The Way to Keep Going in Antarctica
every separation is a link 19
every separation is a link 19
āHow much of life I have known: love, disillusion, madness, hatred, murderous passions. How to be honest. I see beginnings, flashes, yet how to organize them knowledgably, to finish them. I will write mad stories. But honest. I know the horror of primal feelings, obsessions.ā
If you point out that mass produced vegetable crops destroy land and flood the ecosystem with poison youāll always have someone saying that an omnivorous diet is still ostensibly worse because āmost corn is grown to feed cows,ā and on a related note, thereās still a popular narrative that cattle are responsible for more climate change than anything else.
But hereās the thing: Cows are not supposed to eat corn. They canāt digest it. Feeding corn to cows actually makes them produce abnormal amounts of methane to begin with, and we do not at all need to feed corn to cows either. We actually just over-produce corn so badly that it gets used as animal feed just so the corn lobby can dispose of it all at a profit.
This land used to sustain buffalo as far as the eye could see, far more biomass than all of Americaās cattle put together. Buffalo ate nothing but grass and wildflowers and all the shit we now consider āweedsā and poison to death. Nobody had to feed them corn for them to exist and the environment only thrived in their presence. Most of the carbon they produced was sponged up by the healthy meadows and wetlands and old growth forests weāve since turned into the fucking cornfields, artificial toxic lawns or just big grey valleys of dust.
There are so many things wrong here interconnected so many ways I couldnāt even keep this on the track of āstop feeding corn to cowsā we just built our whole American society like the biggest fucking idiots we possibly could
The thing thats getting me here is that apparently, a lot of american society, and I guess by extension the global economy, seems to be set up to appease specifically corn growers (corn barons?). Also cheese producers? I donāt understand, why do these people have so much power the world has warped around them, what did they do
Itās a complicated history, but decades ago when America was still undergoing massive economic growth, many businesses saw it as the time to strike; the time to put everything they had into aggressive marketing and lobbying, hoping that their products would come out the other end of the boom as ubiquitous to our culture as toilet paper and soap.
Unfortunately, several succeeded on nothing but money, power and luck. They werenāt actually the best products or the most efficient to produce, but they were good at making deals with other industries and even government programs.
When it comes to food, the Corn Lobby is pretty much an unstoppable evil dictator. Only a small fraction of corn (something under 10%) is eaten by human beings directly in its natural state and almost everything people buy at the grocery store is made with some combination of corn filler, corn oil or corn sweetener even if it actually makes the product worse. Itās environmentally damaging, it requires so much fertilizer that the resulting pollution also causes an estimated 4,300 human deaths per year (a quarter of all air pollution deaths), it significantly increases diabetes and rots teeth worse than any other source of sugar but the lobby is also wealthy enough to wage non-stop war against the ongoing publication of unfavorable data so those are just the things weāve had the chance to hear before it was bought and buried.
This monopoly over so many markets and so much sheer land is insidiously the very thing that keeps cheaper, healthier alternatives from being able to meet the demands necessary to threaten cornās supremacy in the first place, and itās SO bloated, so powerful that its impact spills out into the rest of the world. Corn is one of Americaās only major exports besides beef, which as established also has a forced dependency on the corn industry, and because we make enough corn to basically throw it in the garbage without losing money, we can export it cheaply enough that hungrier, poorer countries are forced to depend on it as well. Unable to compete, their own local farms either sell out to U.S. corn themselves or slowly die.
Itās like a running gag that I hate corn because I also just find it gross as food but for anyone who doubts that itās this bad for society thereās plenty more resources out there. The real worst part is that itās one of only several things that have this kind of megalomaniachal empire going on, like food equivalents to the fossil fuel industry.