July 3rd, 2014

Boycott Eden Organics

I never thought I'd ever say that or write that with a straight face, but I am. I was, until today, unaware of the Eden Organics lawsuit against HHS. I am now aware of the Eden Organics lawsuit against HHS and I have read Eden Organics explanation of why they are doing it and it only makes me hate them more.

Before I read their press release, I was prepared to believe their position had been misrepresented. It has not been misrepresented. Eden Organics does believe that they have the right to influence their employees' access to the full range of medical services provided legally in our society, by limiting what their health benefits cover. And I believe that this makes them a shitty company.

Does Eden do good things like genetically test the food they buy so they know it is what they represent it to be? Yes, they do. Do they set the standard for Know Your Grower practices? Yes. Do they make convenience products such as canned beans, prepared tomato sauce and similar that are low in sodium and only contain ingredients that are Real Food Not Weird Things from a Vat in New Jersey? Yes. Did they make sure their can liners were bpa free, before it was Cool? Yes, they did.

I don't care. These are important things. They are important things to me. But in my moral universe, a woman's right to choose, and a woman's right to access the health care she decides is appropriate for her trump absolutely everything else. A world in which a woman's right to choose when she reproduces is the key to every sustainability initiative, because individual women making individual choices in as uncompromised a fashion as possible is what will enable us to "right size" the human species going forward. A woman's right to choose when she reproduces is the key to a healthy population, because mothers who choose when they are mothers are in the best position to make good lifetime choices for their children, particularly in the all important first year of life.

Eden Organics thinks that they know better. I do not agree. And so while my pantry is filled with Eden Organics products, and I have for many years bought from them, and encouraged other people to do so as well, I will not be buying from them again until I hear that they have changed this policy.

The free market is a wonderful thing. Because we have a free market, I can buy bags of organic grain from small producers, or from Bob's Red Mill (so if you find out that Bob's is up to no good, don't hesitate to let me know, because I'd hate to be an unwitting hypocrite, boycotting one company and switching my business to another who was Just the Same). I can buy organic beans the same way. Conveniently for me, I had already switched from Eden's NSA tomato sauce to Trader Joe's, so hey, that'll be easy.

Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs. What happens to them as a result of exercising those religious beliefs (imprisonment or execution, in the case of sacrificing employees to the god Cthulu, for example, or being the butt of endless jokes for door-to-door evangelizing, in the case of JWs and LDS) is the result of policy compromises by the larger society. Let's show Eden Organics what it's like to only have customers who share their religious beliefs.

Why Unrepresentative Counterexamples Are So Irritating

I've been pointing these out a lot lately. Person A says, "All (meaning most) x are y." Person B replies, "But this x over here isn't actually y." It seems like this ought to be reasonable as a, hey, I'm no so sure about what you're saying there, but if the x in question isn't a representative x, it's just annoying.

I'll give you a real life example, that I wanted to blog about anyway, to point out why it is so irritating when someone does what I'm about to do.


Kara Brown gives examples from Not Terribly Ancient Movies (Mean Girls, the Star Trek reboot) in which the women playing mothers are way too close in age to the actors playing their putative offspring. This is meant to show how Hollywood requires women over the age of (25? 30? 35?) to exclusively play mothers, and this does not happen to men, who instead keep getting paired romantically with ever younger women. This is a true phenomenon and very annoying; the best example of the lot is Susan Sarandon playing Melissa McCarthy's grandmother.

Now here's the annoying counter example. Sean Connery is about 12 years older than Harrison Ford, if the wikipedia entries are to be believed. And Sean Connery played Jones pere (not sure how to do accents on this keyboard -- pretend I put one in and I'll try to fix it later) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The reason it is so annoying is that it is, actually, way easier to find examples like the ones Kara Brown brings up, than the one I bring up. I like the Connery/Ford example _because_ it is so amazingly unusual, and I feel like the world would be better if we had more middle aged men who were really too close in age to _be_ father-and-son appearing as father-and-son so they could both be Hot Dad Types at the same time (more bang for the movie goer buck, was how I put it back in 1989). The only current example I can think of occurred with the new Q in Sky Fall when Bond/Craig (46) makes this huge deal out of how young Q/Whishlaw (32) is. Not actual father and son, but a related phenomenon. Similarly, I was pleased in the same movie at the 30+ year age gap between Albert Finney and Craig, further evidence that Brown is right, and my counter examples are Not Representative.

It is annoying when a Smart Person Who Knows Tons goes to enormous effort to find the one counterexample in existence. The Smart Person Who Knows Tons could instead think of this rare counterexample, go, hey, I can only think of _one_ counterexample, and then go, "Gosh, I think you're right. I can think of a lot more cases that support what you are saying than go the other way. You are onto something." And Know It All would lose a little of its sting, if our collective experience of Know It All types were friendly like that.