Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Daily Grind

I love coffee. Those observant Ethiopian shepherds are held in my highest esteem for making the links between their goat’s giddiness and the beans that they were ingesting. The vast majority of my social life revolves around meeting friends for a cup of joe and indulging in stimulating conversation. In fact, coffee has been the centre of intellectualism, revolution, culture, etc. to some degree since they began to brew the stuff.

Sadly, there is the darker side of the bean. Due to its addictive prowess, coffee is a valued commodity and a good bag of beans isn’t cheap. As with every major commodity, there is exploitation of the people who farm the plants, as corporations are apt to do in poorer countries. So this sends many of us with a hyper-sensitive conscience to seek out alternatives, and thus there are “fair trade” beans and coffees for sale in most stores.

The big corporations have caught on to this, so now several chains offer “fair trade” coffee alongside their regular beans gained through the fore mentioned grounds. This is yet another example of how the gurus of the enterprise culture are pulling the wool over the eyes of well meaning consumers. You think, mmmmm, what a nice cup of oppression light coffee (we can’t forget, after all, those serving it up at minimum wage), but the fact is that the money is still going into the coffers of the corporation selling coffee that is not fair trade. It’s like shiny, happy multi-racial GAP commercials who have their sweatshops in Europe, the Nike Yoga line (talk to an 8 year old Indonesian child about their inner child/ inner peace!), etc. It's like watching these Black rapper, wrapped in gold and diamond accessories screaming about Black oppression and the rape of Africa... HELLO! Can you say De Beers???! Diamond and gold mining was and remains probably the most pertinent factor in the rape and exploitation of Africa.

The sad thing is that the coffee culture is just the surface. Sinisterism permeates our culture in the west to its very marrow. It’s disturbing to find that when you support companies like Toys R Us that you are supporting a corporation who also creates armaments, some of which fall into the hands of children soldiers in places such as Sierra Leone. Then there are all the subsidiaries of the big tobacco companies…

So I guess the Buddhist mantra of all things being connected holds significant truth.

In closing, my missive’s message is the same as usual – to think and to question everything. Here in the West, most of what we have is the result of some degree of exploitation, much of which is impossible to avoid. I guess we just need to wake up and smell the coffee (you know that cliché was coming!), and muddle our way forward.


  • At 6:55 p.m. , Anonymous Beth Storheim said...

    Just commenting on behalf of my Dad, Gordon, who can't figure out on his own how to simply post to a blog page (!). Interesting blog, tho'. Good show, pip pip. :)

  • At 10:33 a.m. , Anonymous Gordon said...

    There was my insouciant daughter commenting. Worried me, learning how to send. Peace for the weak end...nodroG


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