Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Letter to a Friend

Basically, I think the bigger picture for me is always about democracy and certainly with your class, you can point to the idea of truth not only with regard to marketing but with regard to the food movement really lifting the veil on what the industry has attempted to hide from us. That's over-simplistic, perhaps.

My class is basically all about the sociology of the food movement and my conclusions have lead me to believe that a) there is certainly a food movement, b) it's not always as simple as it seems (for example, Stonyfield Farms is a large corporation pushing organics, but why does it need to be a large corporation? Does that not run counter to the ideology of the food movement?), c) The ideology of the food movement is fuzzy but can generally be summed up as a bunch of different factions with different specific issues that form a cohesive direction against, what I believe to be, bigger picture Capitalism and a gross systemic problem and d) the food movement, unlike movements previous, is attempting to function non-hierarchically and through individual agency, mostly directly through consumer choice (but in other ways as well).

Individual agency is powerful (look at Antigone; one woman's decision to bury her brother destroys an entire family and town) and can be extremely effective. The information age has given us ways to 'link up' and 'download' each other's thoughts and ideas (like right now! right this minute!), so as to not feel alone--we are connected by this nebulous idea cloud in the sky--but at the same time our fight is singular and regional. The problem is ubiquitous but the solutions have manifested themselves locally: shopping at the farmer's market, planting an urban garden, learning how to cook, learning how to can foods, 'opting out' of corporate food, etc. And it seems to be working, in a way. People feel continuously motivated and it's constantly in mainstream media, so something's happening.

But regarding the food movement, the problem I see is this. The movement attempts to counteract a bunch of really problematic larger systemic situations that are derived from capitalism, but no one is willing to point to that as the cause and or problem that needs to be changed. It's like Zizek says, capitalism is accepted as a total given these days, there isn't even a discussion happening among most people that maybe there are other options. We only look to function within the confines of this system, but the TRUTH is that those confines are the problem and it's my belief that little will change until the largest system changes. We are currently under corporate socialist rule and having, for example, a bunch of corporations begin to make organic food instead of non-organic is not going to change our alienation, our problems.

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