In an essay titled “The Trouble With Famers” (subtitle: “Where do they get off being so self-righteous?”), writer Morgan Meis vents about … well, it’s hard to figure out exactly what he’s venting about, but it involves his irritation with Michael Pollan stirring up a renewed and romantic view of farming and the idea that farms are better than cities.
What seems to have piqued the New York–dwelling Meis is a quote from farmer Joel Salatin in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: “Why do we have to have a New York City? What good is it?”
In response, Meis writes:
My general feeling about farmers is that they can go fuck themselves. Perhaps this is strong. But farmers also come on strong in their own sort of farmer way. They take a homespun approach but they often wrap themselves up in a hell of a lot of self-righteousness. It all has to do with the land, I suppose, the importance and simplicity of the land. Americans love the simple even if we’ve been destroying it for generations. A few pithy sayings and we’re eating out of their hands. The farmers.
Indeed, remarks DaveH over at Synthstuff, Meis is literally eating out of farmers’ hands. “[H]ey Morgan,” DaveH writes, “think about this for a little while. Where does your food come from?”
DaveH also, hilariously, corrects Meis’s spelling of Nietzsche.
The country/city divide is nothing new, of course, and Meis may even have a legitimate point about farmers being self-righteous. The quote he pulls from Joel Salatin sure does sound pompous and hippirific:
As a teepee dwelling, herb healing, home educating, people loving, compost building retail farmer, I represent the real answers, but real answers must be eradicated by those who seek to build their power and fortunes on a lie—the lie being that genetic integrity can be maintained when corporate scientists begin splicing DNA.
But Meis falls victim to an equally annoying stereotype. He’s a founding member of a famous art collective, the Flux Factory, and has a PhD in philosophy from the New School for Social Research. It’s so embarrassing when these artsy academics try to take on the hippie farmers. Can’t we all just get along?