the further dumbing down of america


Here is how McDonald’s fries are actually made.

Renowned activist and author Michael Pollan illustrates how McDonald’s insists on using Russet Burbank Potatoes, a potato in America that is unusually long and difficult to grow. They further insist that their potatoes have no blemishes at all, which is hard because these potatoes commonly suffer from what is referred to as Net Necrosis, which causes unwanted spots and lines on the potatoes. If they have this, McDonald’s won’t buy them and the only way to eliminate this is through the use of a pesticide called methamidophos (Monitor) “that is so toxic that the farmers who grow these potatoes in Idaho won’t venture outside and into their fields for five days after they spray.”

When McDonald’s is ready to harvest their potatoes, they have to put them in giant atmospheric controlled sheds the size of football stadiums because they are not edible for six weeks. “They have to off gas all the chemicals in them.”

When the LA Riots Started Today In 1992...

… it was a revolution both for race relations in America and American media. The six day riot became the starting point for a reinvigorated dig into organizational oppression and racism. The LAPD would undergo serious scrutiny and although the police department did not come out on the other side as a entirely reformed force, the question of how could so many officers participate in a cult beating of anyone - but especially a Black person - was taken more seriously than ever in our nation’s past.

At the same time the riot was a boon for cable television. Almost as soon as the agitated protesters appeared in front of the court house on April 29th national networks had their lenses ready. And to an extent we should be grateful: cable news hadn’t fully developed its now notorious sidestepping of journalism for the sake of infotainment yet, so these national and local stations actually provided some essential raw documentation of how law enforcement and rioters reacted to each other, the news, and their environment.

Today we have gone even further. This generation hardly trusts cable news, instead taking storytelling into their own hands with smartphones, tablets, and an infinite cloud of sharing. While cable news coils and contorts gleefully in the muddy pit, assuring its aged audience that anyone not using the dumbed-down manifesto of MLK is the bad guy in Baltimore’s protests, activists, cop watchers, amateur independent journalists, and many more are showing a very nuanced story. One in which police militarization has made the visuals of an uprising in America too eerily similar to what we saw only a few years ago in Egypt. A story with, honestly, “bad guys” on both sides but a clear distinction between the poor outcomes of mob mentality and relentless State-sponsored violence against mostly unarmed protesters.

More than a generation has passed since the last time America experienced its most devastating riot in history. Yet probably the most consistent trait between then and now is how little has changed for the state of Black America. And so, rioting and aggressive protesting may seem all too necessary again.