By Anonymous (not verified) on December 04, 2013

Irony is dead. It has been garroted by reality.

For proof, check out the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness. Sounds like a spa in Arizona where you might enjoy a cleansing regimen of aloe vera smoothies, doesn't it? But, no, it’s a hokey "science" front owned and run by Coca-Cola. The world's largest beverage purveyor wants you to be assured that none of its sugary, empty-calorie, or artificially-sweetened concoctions are a cause of obesity. Hey, shouts Coke's instituters, three or more colas a day are simply part of an integrated, healthy diet – for children and adults alike! "There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity," snapped a top Coke executive, adding that, "we don't believe in empty calories."

Oh, well, then – okay. But, in the off chance that you might want a more independent scientific source, try the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, billed as the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. But wait – while the AND is not owned by Coke, it does lease out its integrity to the cola giant. Coca-Cola is listed on the academy's website as a generous sponsor and "partner" in its scientific work. In fact, the academy certifies Coke's Beverage Institute as an official provider of "continuing education" for registered dieticians. How neat – a corporation that profiteers by peddling nutritionally-worthless and health-endangering products finances the academic outfit that's most responsible for educating Americans about healthy foods, and that academy, in turn, embraces the corporate fiction that sugary drinks pose no health problems.

That's not irony, it's shameful corruption. The greatest obesity crisis in America is not the cola itself, but the fatheaded ethics of single-minded corporate profit-seekers and their apologists.

Listen to this commentary:

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Photo: Flickr user DeuxXFlorida, creative commons licensed.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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