Watching the evening sky, I see Jupiter is moving ever closer toward Venus.
And watching the latest piece of anti-GMO propaganda, I see that Kauai is moving ever closer toward apocalypse — unless we let folks like Don Heacock save us.
I'm talking about the trailer for “Aina,” described by one promoter "as an "amazing fact-based film." It will hold its July 26 premiere on Kauai, which an unidentified man on camera unequivocally proclaims as "the hot spot on the planet for pesticide exposures."
Really? Hotter than Indian farmers applying paraquat with backpack sprayers and no protective gear? Hotter than the migrant camps of California's Central Valley? Hotter than the South American farms where folks use empty pesticide containers to carry water?
So much for those “amazing” facts.
The film was brought to my attention first by Anonymous, and then by Jason Donovan, posting under the misnomer "just the facts." Jason followed up with a repeat of his first comment, and then a third comment, inquiring, "are you going to post my comments?” 'cause I guess I hadn't been snappy enough in letting him use my blog to promote the movie.
Who is Jason Donovan? I wondered, as my fingers typed his name into Google. Oh, Lordy, what a surprise. He's a Realtor with Kauai Tropical Properties, "an eco-brokerage" in Hanalei. And not just any Realtor, mind you, but one who has "closed on more than $40 Million worth of Kauai real estate transactions" and is also "responsible for creation of Sustain Kauai brand of eco-friendly real estate.”
Eco-friendly real estate? WTF is that? Though I get how real estate sales sustain Jason — and the anti-GMO movement — I can't quite see how they sustain Kauai. And how, exactly, can the Tropical Paradise website claim "the environment on Kauai is pristine" if it's also the world hot spot for pesticide exposures?
I think we need some of those "amazing" facts to reconcile that one.
With an ominous score, sweeping visuals and artsy close-ups, the “Aina” trailer includes the title card, “one small island in the Pacific is at the mercy of the world's largest chemical companies.” Victimhood, sadly, still sells.
Previously published pap — “Students evacuated from Waimea school and about 60 were hospitalized,” though the incident had no link to pesticides, and the speculation that “this could be one of the most toxic chemical environments in all of U.S. ag” or, it could not — is presented as fact in other title cards.
Btw, this is how that works, folks. The anti-GMO movement, via the Media Consortium, paid “reporters” like Paul Koberstein to write one-sided, inaccurate articles for sympathetic publications like Earth Island Journal and The Cascadian Times. Then those articles grew legs and became gospel, reprinted and repeated without question elsewhere, even as their contents were disproved by real facts.
Clever how propagandists build the foundation for more propaganda. And you thought this wasn't a well-funded, well-orchestrated campaign!
One of my favorite bits was Heacock's quote, delivered in a scathing tone: “They're not farming. They're doing research.”
Gee, I thought Heacock used to be a scientist. Since when is research a dirty word? And why are research and farming mutually incompatible, or somehow scary when paired?
Still, I don't disagree with every point made in the trailer. David Sproat is right when he says land is a resource, not a commodity, though that won't earn many commissions for Jason and his pals. And who can argue with Sabra Kauka that “many of us feel the need to do our share to malama” Kauai — including seed company workers?
Sadly, the teachings of these wise kupuna lose value when conveyed in the context of a film that is pure political propaganda. And they lose credibility when used out of context to promote the film through sensationalism.
The capper was Heacock saying,” We need to teach a whole new generation about holistic thinking, critical thinking, the truth. The truth will prevail.”
One can only hope. But neither critical thinking nor the truth will be found in either the anti-GMO movement or this film, if the trailer is any indication.
Or as Sabra intoned: “It's very important that we know and be aware of all that is going on around us.”
Yes, and that includes the promotion of propaganda and efforts to demonize the very real people — many of them kanaka or lifelong residents — who work for the seed companies. Because though they're owned by multinational corporations, they're staffed by local people who also love and cherish Kauai, and are very much concerned about stewardship and sustainability.
They are not “the other,” and they do not deserve to be characterized or treated as such by people who hold no claim to moral superiority much less "the truth."
Meanwhile, Gary Hooser is moving ever closer toward desperation. Hawaii interest has been so lackluster that he's now recruiting for HAPA among “Deadheads” — the cult-like followers of The Grateful Dead. Which actually makes them ideal candidates for the lockstep anti-GMO movement.
Gary and his wife spent the weekend manning the HAPA table at two of the Dead's “final” shows in California, offering Deadheads “limited edition postcards,” in exchange for vowing allegiance to a single action: “Protest the impact of pesticide & GMO research with social media.”
Because it's all about numbers, the perception of support, even if those protesting don't know WTF they're talking about and have been fed a bunch of baloney.
Gosh, if only Gary would put half that energy into working for Kauai, and the taxpayers who pay his benefits and salary....