Through all the work going on lately, I noted in our local daily paper that The Tropic Cinema in Key West was showing a movie entitled "Addiction, Incorporated."
The Tropic Cinema is a unique theatre in that at its core consists of a film society which is a non-profit. The theatre is beautiful, clean, and staffed by some of the nicest people I've ever met in Key West. Films range from "mainstream" films, to special showings of avant garde movies, foreign films, documentaries, independents, and so forth. We joined the Tropic shortly after moving here. Being a member helps support the theatre, as ticket costs only offset a fraction of the true operating costs. We don't get down to see movies often, but without a doubt Tropic shows more of the movies I'm interested in (especially environmentally themed films) and thus I'm at Tropic probably at least every other month. A miracle in my world. Actually, this week I've seen two films there, one of which I'd like to talk about here.
I noticed that a film "Addiction, Incorporated" was showing. I read the description, and saw that it is a documentary essentially about a man named Victor DeNoble who is a scientist. Sometime in about the 1970s or early 1980s, Dr. DeNoble was recruited by a big tobacco company to do research. The goal was to find a "safer" cigarette, a cigarette that had less nicotine in it. So, Dr. DeNoble did the research, and it became secret. One of the main obstacles to the research being public was that the company had an agreement in place that it would not do live animal testing. Well, Dr. DeNoble's research was based on laboratory rat testing. As Dr. DeNoble's research progressed, he did in fact find a way to make a cigarette with less nicotine, but one that could be smoked just as often. There is an additive in cigarettes that itself is addictive, but when the science was manipulated in a different way with nicotine, it became even more addictive. Great news for the tobacco company, not so great news for smokers (especially children who we know big tobacco targeted).
Initially Dr. DeNoble got permission to publish his findings in a paper, and was to be a presenter at a forum. Then the company decided no way. They ordered the doctor to kill all the rats, turn over and/or destroy all the research data, rescind the paper from the presentation, and then he was also fired. And, as the cherry on top of that giant cake, he was also duly reminded that he was forever bound from discussing any aspect of his time with the tobacco company by a confidentiality agreement.
The research bore out that nicotine was indeed addictive. Something big tobacco knew long ago, but never wanted to admit. Big tobacco was an industry built on huge secrets, decades of secrets.
This documentary tells the story of all this up to the present day. Dr. DeNoble became a whistle-blower against big tobacco, and is now someone who teaches children the truth about smoking. Regardless, I found the movie very interesting; I knew I would. I'm interested in the history of smoking, and anything associated with smoking, because for a long time I've felt that there are aspects of the tobacco industry which parallel the food industry.
I've met people who work in laboratories who's job is to find ways to make food taste more powerful, to actually manipulate how the brain reacts to flavors and foods when they hit our palate and our tongues. I've met people who work in laboratories who's job is to create foods that make our brains keep sending signals to keep eating, keep eating, keep eating. I wonder could it be true that companies are making foods that are flat out addictive? Is this a possible reason that, after avoiding certain foods for months, at times I am overcome with a craving so intense I almost cannot control it. That there are some foods that I crave so badly at times that when I think about that item, my mouth waters, and I can honestly taste that item even though I'm miles away from a store that would have it?
I've read in magazines, books and on the internet how foodstuffs are manipulated by mutating genes in seeds and plants. I know that we as consumers are not allowed to know if foods we eat are genetically modified organisms. I know that there is one very big company out there steam rolling over small independent farmers, in collusion with our own government, to corner the entire seed, food, and pesticide market (pesticides "needed" to grow said altered foods). I know that company (Monsanto) has done despicable things to suffering people in other countries too when they are in dire straits after disasters, to take advantage of situations.
I know that there are huge secrets in the animals for food industry that for decades have been denied because if the truth really got out there, we would be (rightly so) horrified, and would not eat certain foods. I know that there are tireless advocates out there every day and every night working to expose the truth about abuse, torture, filth, pollution, and inhumanity associated with the animals for food industry. I know that there's just as many advocates out there working to expose the truth about companies like Monsanto, how they operate, how they're protected, how they're funded.
With all the above, I see many similarities between the big tobacco of year's past, and the food industry of today. In fact, as the credits were rolling at the Tropic after I sat through "Addiction, Incorporated" I turned to the other happy vegan and said to him something along the lines that this is just like the food industry, and if we fast forward 15-20 years, we may very well be sitting through "Addiction, Incorporated 2" the story of what happened within the food industry.
I support organizations like Farmers Against Monsanto, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, and so forth who have people exposing truths that are so well guarded. There is a revolution coming, it is a food revolution. We are looking at the first generation who's life expectancy is less than their parents, essentially due to disease and illness which are hastened by poor food choices. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure run rampant through our society, yet all of these ills are impacted by our food choices. People who suffer from certain cancers and other devastating, life altering illnesses and diseases many times can positively affect their own diagnosis with better food choices. Things besides synthetic manufactured "food," chemically treated and/or irradiated items, salt, fat and sugar laden choices. The food companies know this, there is research out there on this, but it is suppressed. Those who work to expose certain truths are constantly targeted and bullied in attempts to silence them and those truths.
I tend to over simplify many things for the purpose of blog posts, but no matter whether you agree or not, I believe in the future its very likely we will see a movie like what I saw this weekend; but it will be about the food industry, including the abominable animals for food industry. Finally the truth will be revealed, the advocates will take center stage, the government will no longer be able to ignore (and be part of) the truths, and there will be massive reforms.
That too is another movie I would happily pay to see. I hope I live long enough for this to happen.