(~2 minutes to read)
This past summer, I wrote a piece about political correctness where fruits and vegetables are concerned. It was based on a fictitious future (circa 2032) news item about scientists having discovered that fruit and veg can understand human languages. This led fruit and veggie advocates to inform the world that expressions such as “red as a beetroot”, “blow a raspberry” and “pear-shaped” were deeply offensive to produce.
But if you hold the article up to the light, you’ll see it’s got more holes in it than the world’s biggest tea strainer. For example, there was no mention made of the way that genetic scientists might have reacted to such news. Would they have confirmed that turnips are indeed capable of understanding English or that swedes can understand Swedish?
Would they have offered to modify the genes to remove the capability? If so, what are the ethical implications of lobotomising lettuce and leeks?
Would they have offered to modify various fruits and veggies to include the power of speech so that communication would be bi-directional? If so, where would they have started? How would the power of speech work? Airways and vocal chords? What about teeth and tongues and lips for plosives, sibilants and so on? Would the speech apparatus be edible, or would the lips, tongues and so on end up in veggie wieners?
How would we react to an impassioned plea from a talking pea to see the world in the way that it sees it?
Other omissions from the original article include advocacy for the rights of prunes (whose skin texture is used in unflattering similes), and rutabagas (who are incredibly annoyed that no one knows how to spell “rutabaga” let alone pronounce it correctly).
And what about the courgettes who hate being called zucchinis and vice versa? Ditto eggplants and aubergines.
Potatoes still cannot get used to being called “spud”, and broad beans object to the slight on their characters caused by the word “broad” and its various meanings.
Ask a cucumber sitting in a hothouse how cool it feels and you’ll learn why the simile annoys them so much.
And grapes, who have perhaps one the most justifiable gripes of all, would really like humans to stop referring to haemorrhoids as “a bunch of grapes”.
Yes, all in all, we humans are thoroughly disrespectful to fruits and vegetables. They note that in even less politically-correct times than today, humans referred to brain-dead individuals as “vegetables” and to those of non-traditional sexual orientation as “fruits”. The worst part of these slurs is that humans use the references in a derogatory sense, thus victimising the entire fruit and vegetable kingdoms in a fell swoop or two as well as showing immense disrespect to individuals of their own kind.
My July article was written from the perspective of a Kelvin D. Hatch living in the year 2032. If indeed there was a “FAV’RITES” (Fruits and Vegetables Rites) advocacy group by then, would they be lobbying as hard as the animal rights people currently do to remove their protectees from our menus? Without animals, and without fruits and vegetables, what are we to eat? The only logical answer would appear to be, each other.
Soylent Green, here we come!