Sunday, November 14, 2004

Ruth Ozeki: All Over Creation

Ozeki, Ruth. All Over Creation. NY: Penguin, 2004.

"Go back to language for a moment, Frankie, and think about this: Genetic engineering is changing the semantics, the meaning of life itself. We're trying to usurp the plant's choice. To force alien words into the plant's poem, but we got a problem. We barely know the root language. Genetic grammar's a mystery, and our engineers are just one click up the evolutionary ladder from a roomful of monkeys, typing random sonnets on a bank of typewriters. We've learned a lot about letters--maybe our ability to read and spell words now sits halfway between accident and design--but our syntax is still haphazard. Scrambled. It's a semiotic nightmare." (124-125)

"Diversity is inconvenient to mechanized farming. This is what happens when agriculture becomes agribusiness. When engineers replace poets, and corporations gain total domination over all our food and all our poems." Geek cocked his head. "Monoculture," he said. "Has a sad and hollow ring to it, no?" (125)

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