Celebritizeing Goodness

The global business of glorifying the simple act of being a decent human being is loathsome. It makes me afraid for humanity that we have sold off our rights of sustenance to corporate intermediaries who are feeding us food that comes from a laboratory rather than the dirt.

I guess that is how humanity has spread goodness to begin with, religious figures are exactly that, a glorified hero which we are encouraged to base our life’s decisions around. The fact that we need to actually hold public panels, define a culinary revolution, and make heroes of people who maintain the standard of eating right is rather depressing.

Food is life. (period) among every other topic we have consulted over this course I have been willing to grant wiggle room. Designed objects, South American tea, learning a second language, whatever, none of these things are as fundamentally important as food. Don’t Fuck with food! It is quite possibly the most important necessity for sustaining life. With this declaration I am willing to respect the individuals who maintain this high level of stewardship towards food but I am only willing to do that, respect them. These people are not breaking new ground, the things they are campaigning for are something that was simply the standard two generations ago.

The responsibility that Bamboo sushi has taken for the fish it serves is admirable. It should be a legal requirement for every food proprietor to be that focused to maintaining a standard that high. However, I am not so sure that serving sushi is ethically responsible to begin with. The resource consumption of the fishing industry is gluttonous from the start.

“If the fishing industry were a country, it would rank with the Netherlands as the world’s 18th-largest oil consumer” – Cornelia Dean,  NY Times

Owning a responsibility to maintaining fish populations simply so you can eat more of them is no noble deed, it is simply being business savvy. We are so apt to applaud someone simply for being smart, furthermore we veil it as heroic. The same goes for Bamboo’s statement about sustainably harvested teak chopsticks. Although Plantation Teak grown in Latin America is a more sustainable option to Indonesian old growth teak,  it still comes from much farther away than an Oregon black walnut tree. It is the glorification of social entrepreneurs actions by their own personal declarations as well as journalists praise that instantly places these practices under a high level of scrutiny.

I guess what I am trying to say is stop bragging about doing things that are simply ones obligation as citizens of the earth. If you want to eat threatened fish from far away make sure you don’t eat too many. If you want exotic hardwood eating utensils plant a tree for every one you cut down. But stop bragging about it, no one would respect Michael Phelps if he wore his eight Olympic gold medals everyday. When is doing the right thing just going to become the standard?

“Look at me, I’m the best!”

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2 thoughts on “Celebritizeing Goodness

  1. I am a proponent of not being overly sublime when you do acts that are elevated as altruistic. Perhaps being a seafarer in the past these issues seem to irk you more. On a different note what really upsets me is the issue of sacrificial ‘bycatch’ where at least one 1 in 4 fishes/animals are caught in the fishing nets as unwanted or unintentional catch. Curious in your marine experience and travels if this was a greater problem than the government regulated fishing quotas?
    Maybe that’s why vegetarianism from the Romantic era is making a comeback!

  2. killeenclare says:

    I think people would totally respect Michael Phelps whether he wore his medals or not. He did something pretty phenomenal. Whether he’s a braggart about it doesn’t affect my opinion of his physical achievement.

    “I guess what I am trying to say is stop bragging about doing things that are simply ones obligation as citizens of the earth.”

    That would be the best situation, I agree. But I think the reality of it is that most people (myself included) are blind to what people are doing and how they help or how they can do it also. If I see Michael Phelps on my Wheaties box, maybe I can let myself dream a little longer about what finish line I can cross or what personal best I can beat.

    I think there’s no shame in selling your story if you’re convicted about it. There’s a graceful way and a braggart-y way, sure, but somebody’s gotta start talking if you want the conversation to spread. Do we avoid talking about our successes because it’s rude? Because we don’t want to make people feel inferior? What if it’s about talking everyone up?

    And it seems that it’s working. Bamboo Sushi’s been able to do more about marine sustainability by being vocal: ‘”We’ve found that the more we add to [our sustainability activities] the better we do. What we’re doing is so different than what anyone else is doing … the press, the connection, the partnerships … it will more than pay for the additional costs,” Lofrgen says.’

    When is it bragging and when is it advocating? That’s a serious question. I want to know the answer. When?

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