scot mcphee on Mon, 11 Jun 2001 07:12:57 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Planet destroyed; film at 11

You know, Mr Mandl, I resent your attempts to paint me as some sort of
apologist for GM companies. While you attempt to analyse my miscellaneous
statements in isolation from their whole in regard to the matter, perhaps
you could look at your own rhetoric before you start spraying various
shonky insinuations around.

> - When they want to cross a new line or bring about a paradigm shift,
> they claim that the new thing is "just like" an existing thing that is
> in fact very different but is not questioned by anyone.  For example,
> Scot McPhee said this on Nettime a few weeks ago:

OF COURSE, I speak for the "Them"!!! Naturally, merely because I raise a
question about some particular methods used to resist GM food,  I must be a
public advocate in the pay of multinational conglomerates. Well get this --
I'm NOT!!!  I'm allowed to make my own mind up and it doesn't have to agree
with you and that simple fact doesn't make me any sort of apologist for
anybody or anything.

> > And of course all agricultural crops and animals are 'GM' by virtue
> > of selective breeding anyway.
> >From which I infer (this isn't an actual quote from Scot): "There's
> little need to even debate about GM, because we've actually had GM for
> thousands of years now!"  That's the kind of thing you hear a lot

Well, you *infer* quite wrong. We *have* had gene modification in some form
for thousands of years now. To deny otherwise is to deny the facts. The
question, and debate, is whether the old style of gene modification
(localised, slow, without the bounds of natural possibility) is 'better
than' the modern practices of  forced transgenic engineering. But you have
to start from foundations, and foundations mean that you must acknowledge
that some form of genetic manipulation has been practiced by all
agricultural cultures.

Frankly, that debating style reeks of the ones that Israelis use to
discredit their critics; "Nazis are anti-Semitic, criticism of the Israeli
state is anti-semitic, therefore you are anti-semitic".

Your reactions here, are just the binary opposite to those of the seed
companies. These type of "everyone fall into line now - GM is bad mmm'kay"
responses, which is what you dumped on me, is just as stifling to debate as
that of the seed companies! Can you *not* deal in absurd binary opposites
for just one second, or is everyone who doesn't hold your exact position
simply against you?

I'll contrast your style against some others who followed up my post, who
sought to clarify their positions and actions. You just dug yourself deeper
into your foxhole entrenching your own attitudes in the face of criticism.

To explain it out exactly to you; my postion in my original post was one of
querying how an anti-GM activist could justify the release a GM organism to
combat another GM organism. Others, not you, explained that this os because
those doing these actions are not opposed to GM per-se, but to its specific
structural formation and resultant practices in the gene companies. I had
never encountered this position before, because from my perspective as a
concerned consumer, the only position I had encountered in the  opposition
was always 'GM is bad mmm'kay'. Simply, I did not agree with that position.
I agree that there must be informed debate about GM, about its
environmental impact, its socio-economic formation (in particular) but I do
simply refuse to agree to the pre-condition that first I am in uncritical
awe of everything any self-appointed anti-GM activist happens to say or do.
That's the purpose of the debate. And I refuse to accept the label that
because I don't accept your pre-conditions, that I am to be tarred with
some magical brush that makes every statement I say in support of the

But like most Stalinist totalising positions, one has to agree to the
totality of that position or one is simply, a member of "the Them", an
apologist for gene-manipulation, or American imperialism or whatever is the
going concern this month. So *why* should I listen to *you* lecture me
about 'debate' when all you wish to hear is what you already believe
parroted back at you by others?

For all these reasons of a stultifying and totalising opposition are part
of why the GM companies are acting like they have already won, and why we
have a stultified and totalised Spectacle dominating every square inch of
the surface of this already dead planet.

scot mcphee
a concerned nobody
sydney australia

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