Adventures in Irony is a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
Let’s start by crying tears for Frito-Lay. Then we’ll segue into paranoia.
Did you know Lay’s potato chips were all made from a potato variety that Frito-Lay registered? Me neither, until this week.
Where do I register my pet potato? Does it need a license? What does registration cost? Is it a onetime fee or must it be renewed periodically? Can I get a chip implant in case my potato ever gets out and wanders off?
Apparently you don’t have to neuter your pet potatoes. Which is good, because I wouldn’t know where to get that done either. We know Lay’s potatoes weren’t neutered because a bunch ran off and got into the hands of farmers in India who, instead of returning them to Frito-Lay, grew Lay’s potato babies to make more Lay’s potatoes, and started — gasp —not even making potato chips out of them, but selling them as is.
How horrible this is for the poor Frito-Lay company. People in India are buying Lay’s potatoes and probably eating them any old way, maybe with chicken and masala. And Frito-Lay doesn’t profit from potatoes that it owns because it doesn’t grow the potatoes. How wrong is that? That is so wrong. I’m crying inside at the wrongness of it at this very moment.
So PepsiCo, which owns Frito-Lay, is suing the farmers and wants each one ordered to pay a small fortune to ease its pain.
An interesting aspect of this: Part of the evidence that will be brought to court will be potatoes bought from the farmers being sued, which were purchased by company detectives. Purportedly, the company will be able to prove in court that even though the potatoes do not actually have chip implants, they can still prove they are Lay’s potatoes and not some other kind of potato. I don’t know maybe it’s the colors of their eyes.
This sort of thing is one way colonialism really works. We often think of it as people coming in with guns and whips taking over from the natives, and sending the natives off to reservations and preventing them and their kids from practicing their traditions. And, sure, there’s all that. But there’s also a lot of use of faux legalism to supplant ownership.
Water is an example. The colonialist walks up to a source of water and says, “Whose water is this?” Some natives raise their hands. “It’s ours,” they say. “It’s always been ours.” The colonialist then says, “Prove it. Show us the papers that prove you own it.” When they can’t, the colonialist takes out his own piece of paper that says that, by the authority of some treaty that was signed in Brussels in 17-something, they can claim the water source as theirs, on account of it being abandoned.
So far, the commandeering of water sources (which is a real thing, by the way, I’m not making that up. I only made up the Brussels part) has not quite gone the way of the Lay’s potato example, because how do you register the actual water rather than the source?
But I’m sure the hotshots at water-pirating companies will find a fix for that. For example, tasteless designer synthetic compounds could be added to water to tag it. At which point the water pirates wouldn’t even have to seal off the water sources it succeeds in taking over; it could just start charging people who use it as if it were bottled water. A company detective would be able to tell from your sewage runoff when you’ve been using their registered trademark water.
OK, that was just paranoid of me.
Speaking of paranoia, I can’t feel good about the Trump administration refusing to honor all sorts of congressional subpoenas. This is getting scary.
If the House of Representatives can’t subpoena anyone or any document within the Trump administration, then Congress might as well not exist. There’s no oversight. No way to tell if the laws they pass are being read, much less enforced. The laws could go straight from Congress to dumpsters out behind the White House.
The only time in my 69 years I’ve felt worse about the dangers to this country was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and at the time I gave our odds of getting out of that one 2 out of 3. I give our odds of getting out of this impasse only 1 out of 5.
I’d rather be sued for growing potatoes.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since.
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