AgBioView and its cast of grotesques
The piece went on to castigate these "instinctive Luddites, sunk in the darkness of medieval superstition", who "are always aghast when exposed to the light of scientific reason." According to the writer, the public's belief that "GM technology is driven more by profit than by public interest" is "pure organic rubbish" - "Profit and public interest, as most people know, are identical." The writer concluded, "the Government cannot simply ignore prejudices that belong, like slavery, bear-baiting and homophobia, to a past age. It must strive, through intensive, compulsory education, to eradicate them for good."
That this tirade should be given such prominence in an AgBioView bulletin is not surprising. It articulates opinions that can be found in AgBioView almost every day of the week. This is a list, after all, that has labelled critics of GM as worse than Hitler and on a par with the mass murderers who destroyed the World Trade Centre.
This may be why it escaped Prakash's attention that the piece with which he topped his bulletin had been extracted from the Telegraph's eponymous 'Peter Simple' column, in which Michael Wharton satirises the inanity, cliches and humbug with which supposed "improvements" to the modern world are at times supported.
To this end, Wharton deploys a cast of grotesques, including Dr. Lllewlyn Goth-Jones, the head of Malebolge pharmaceuticals - a division of the mammoth Nadirco Consortium; and Paul Ohm, 47, keen amateur technologist and simulated Concorde pilot, of Edgbaston.
There is an obvious parallel here. AgBioview deploys its own cast of grotesques - Prof Anthony Trewavas FRS, Dennis and Alex Avery, and Andrew Apel, all spring to mind - whose ludicrous rants and cliches are quite indistinguishable from those put into the mouth of Wharton's "disgusted" amateur technologist. Indeed, some Prakash grotesques - like 'Andura Smetacek' and 'Mary Murphy' - have proven just as fictitious as Wharton's 'Paul Ohm'.
It's small wonder Prakash missed the joke. The domain he inhabits resonates happily with the deranged world of Peter Simple.
Subject: AGBIOVIEW: Disgusted Brits; Spreading Spin Harvest; Brazil's Amber Light; Thai Ban; Soil Depletion Song; Africa's Opportunity; Intellectual and Moral Poverty of Deceitful Activists
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2003 11:52:02 -0700
Today in AgBioView: October 4, 2003:
- Paul Ohm (Edgbaston), Telegraph (UK), Oct 2, 2003
Sir - According to a government consultative paper, a large majority of people do not want genetically modified crops to be grown commercially in Britain. As a keen amateur technologist, I have never felt so disgusted by popular ignorance and prejudice.
These instinctive Luddites, sunk in the darkness of medieval superstition, are always aghast when exposed to the light of scientific reason. Why do they oppose GM crops? Apparently they are concerned about the risk of contaminating conventional crops, particularly "organic" crops, which would deny freedom of choice for consumers. They believe GM technology is driven more by profit than by public interest.
Needless to say, their arguments are pure organic rubbish. Profit and public interest, as most people know, are identical. There is no future in the long run for so-called "conventional" or so-called "organic" plants. Like everything that stands in the way of technological progress, they are going to disappear, however much whining sentimentalists, forever worrying about buttercups and daisies, try to protect them.
But the Government cannot simply ignore prejudices that belong, like slavery, bear-baiting and homophobia, to a past age. It must strive, through intensive, compulsory education, to eradicate them for good.
"You know that people are being fed day in and day out on a diet of paper and shadows, a thin and wretched soup of cliches and stereotypes, boiled up from the sweepings of the human mind." - PETER SIMPLE
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