The /American Heritage Dictionary/ second college edition defines
1. A creature having a bizarre or frightening shape or appearance.
4. A very large animal, plant, or object.
5. One who inspires horror or disgust.
From the Latin /monstrum/, portent, from /monere/, to warn.
If you can come up with a better word to describe a disembodied
entity that has the powers of an embodied one ("corporation"), that
is large enough to influence mass opinion and affect the health and
well-being of millions of people it does not know and whose interests
it does not regard as important, and that has inspired horror and
disgust among hundreds of millions of people worldwide...
...I would love to hear it.
In the meantime, I personally regard Monsanto as monstrous, in the
etymological connotation of "a warning" or portent.
Your regard for this corporation as a beleaguered underdog seems to
ignore a vast mosaic of facts in which the news story that Kate
forwarded is just one teensy tile. And your blaming her for the
story's content, and attributing to her anything other than the
forward is uncalled for.
As for your comment:
> I don't think they (we) are monsters, just all too human
Check out the work of a young woman who wrote at the dawn of
industrialism about the problem of humanity, technology, monstrosity,
and misplaced attempts at divinity. Her name was Mary Wollstonecraft,
the novel was /Frankenstein, or a Modern Prometheus/ (published
1818), and she wrote it after a night of story-telling at Lake
Geneva, in Switzerland, where she was hanging out with her beau,
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his buddy, George Gordon, Lord Byron. Byron
had already written a three-stanza poem, /Prometheus/, and Shelley
published the play /Prometheus Unbound/ in 1820.
While you're at it, check out Aeschylus's /Prometheus Bound/ (ca. 430 BCE).
We can talk about Prometheus--and Epimetheus--some other time. It
seems to mesh with your notion of how well-intentioned folks in
industry are regarding their deployment of technical solutions to
social problems. In closing, this little quote from Zeus to Promethus:
"Prometheus, you are glad that you have outwitted me and stolen
fire...but I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in
which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own
--Hesiod, /Works and Days/ 55
Center for Integrated Ag Systems, UW-Madison
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Nature bats last, and Mitch Williams is pitching.
--motto of the Center for Integrated Ag Systems, UW-Madison
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