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I think I'll go shopping for organic food then go kick a homeless person.



I do plan to buy some organic produce today, but I'll try to restrain myself on the way home.

  1. I was thinking of posting that story with a subject line like: 'Does buying organic really make you a meaner person?'

    1. The question should be does organic food make people into jerks, or do mostly jerks buy and consume organic foods?

      1. imho, the O-word does strange things to folks. LA Times food writer Russ Parsons wrote a story on the organic issue a while back, and I happened to link this in a post today in response to another hound's seemingly contemptuous and dismissive post regarding a local farmer with an otherwise great reputation but no organic certification.


        I understand the concern about "conventional" farming (huge grey area as Russ points out), but I'd be more worried about issues like the air I breathe, what banks are doing with our money, and why our country attracts so many intellectuals from other countries yet has a failing public school system itself.

        1. So is this going to be the new stereotype? Honestly, this issue isn't worth a minute of our time. Jerks exist in every walk of life, in every political party, in every place. The author is trying to make a general statement about a large group of people based on one day's experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            The new article is actually based on a scientific paper, one of those psychology studies in which different subjects are put in fictional situations, and their reactions noted. So all the usual cautions about interpreting those sorts of studies apply.


            "After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods, or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed nonorganic foods"

            The way the abstract puts it, it isn't that people who prefer organic are less altruistic, but that thinking about organic foods changes people's attitudes.

            1. re: paulj

              I looked at that. The orignal article used one person's bad experience and tried to make a generalization.

              I like to read about scientific studies. In general I find food for thought. I am not convinced by this one. What a waste of grant money!

          2. this article reminds me of the south park about hybrid cars and "Smug"

            1 Reply
            1. re: mattstolz

              South Park and Smug. Exactly what I was thinking when I read this article.

              The "Organic" people are helping the universe so they're entitled to look down on the uneducated, green house gas producing neanderthals.

            2. The results of that study seems to show that looking at pictures of organic food makes people judge others' transgressions more harshly and behave in a less altruistic fashion. But looking at pictures of organic food is not the same as buying or eating organic food. I have an alternate conclusion to draw from the same data: Looking at pictures of organic food reminds people that they cannot afford organic food. This makes them angry and resentful, so they act like jerks.

              11 Replies
              1. re: small h

                How, exactly, does one tell the difference between organic and non-organic solely from a photo?

                The article says that the foods were "clearly labeled" -- is it really saying that a picture of an organic LABEL is what makes people assclowns, rather than organic food?

                Something got left out of a description somewhere along the line -- because this doesn't make a lot of sense.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  That is exactly what it's saying. But it doesn't make any sense: "I am gazing at a photo of organic grapes, which makes me feel morally superior to..." whom? people who aren't gazing at a photo of organic grapes? people who buy and eat conventional grapes? Paula Deen? I really don't understand how the conclusion follows from the results.

                  1. re: small h

                    I asked some friends over for dinner one night and one of them, an out of work woman, asked me to make it organic since she only eats organic. I was like, what? You can't even pay your bills and You're demanding a FREE meal be organic? Sorry, no dice! Snobbery, much?

                    Had another weird experience...had my birthday party at an organic restaurant in Santa Monica. They allowed us to bring in our own cake and as we were leaving,
                    since there was leftover cake, we offered it to the homeless guy sitting in
                    .but turned it down,stating that he only eats organic! WTF!?

                    Maybe there s something tomthis study after all! LOL

                    1. re: Miri1

                      I've lived in the Westside almost all my life. The Santa Monica Farmers Market on Arizona, most Whole Foods, or the now-shuttered Rawsome in Venice, are places where many Holier-than-thou hoity-toity uber-snots tend to congregate. I don't know if this study has any validity or not - it's kinda like the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. But I have noticed that many who drive Priuss exude this mentality in their assertive and assuming behavior. Same general social context.

                      1. re: linus

                        I drive a lot in moderate to heavy traffic. I see a lot of cars. My predictability of success is very high in who will most likely will pull a bonehead maneuver. Volvo drivers used to be number one - I assume they have a sense of indestructibility because of Volvo's reputed structural integrity in collisions. Prius drivers are the new Volvo drivers but for what I assume to be different reasons. Not all Volvo drivers are bad as not all Prius drivers are bad. But the likelihood of either boneheading in traffic are much higher as I've consistently observed. Seeing either type of vehicle in a Whole Foods parking lot in the Westside is a slam dunk for boneheadedness. Here's an example of art imitating life in Whole Foods parking lot (this is the Whole Foods closest to my home):


                        I don't make this stuff up - it's pure observation.

                        Yours truly,

                        Holier than thou

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          So funny reading your post. The Spouse has for years claimed that Volvo drivers are easily the most likely to drive like idiots. I'd never heard anyone else say that, but over the years I've come to realize there's more than a grain of truth to it. I haven't noticed the rise of the Prius problem yet, though.

                          The Spouse also questioned whether the organic holier-than-thou attitude was a chicken and egg question. Does buying organic make you a superior jerk or do superior jerks buy organic to feed their inflated sense of self-worth? I'm willing to accept either proposition.

                          Oh, and we live on the East Coast. Idiocy is unfortunately not only limited to CA.

                      2. re: Miri1

                        LOLOL -- a homeless guy who only eats organic? There's a punchline there, somewhere....

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I suppose that's why the homeless guy was sitting in front of an organic restaurant. Maybe other times he is in front of Whole Foods.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I suspect that he didn't want somebody else's leftover half-eaten food, no matter how homeless he might be, and that was his way of politely refusing it.

                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                              He probably wouldn't want to eat muffin stumps either! ; )

                              (That's a Seinfeld reference for those of you who didn't get it).

                        2. re: small h

                          well, obviously paula deen. but the question is, paula deen and WHO ELSE

                    2. We went to a Whole Foods this week for the first time ever. As we were driving through the cramped and mostly full parking lot looking for a parking place some asshole got right on our bumper and started blowing the horn.

                      As we were leaving I remarked to my wife that it was fun to visit but that if we returned it would more than likely just piss me off.

                      1. I'm not surprised at the results, but this question: "Why does eating better make us act worse?" implies a conclusion which is not warranted. Correlation is not causation. This survey does nothing to support a conclusion that eating "better" or "organic" makes people meaner.

                        1. This is the kind of hard-hitting journalism I've come to expect from the one-fourth estate.

                          1. This is a really terrible and stupid article you've shared. Thanks for posting it, because it's always good to remind oneself that this is the intellectual climate of the USA and mainstream journalism in general.

                            I think it does make sense that people who believe they're making better moral choices than others might feel a sense of superiority. Just look at pretty much any of the comments in response to your post to see evidence of that. ("Oh, just look at what smug jerks these organic people are! *I* would never be so mean because I don't care what I shove in my mouth!") Or any of the ideas promulgated by religious fundamentalists.

                            It seems all these guys did was confirm that the philosophy of the other is a real phenomenon, something we've known for decades.

                            Of course, it doesn't hurt to add in that little extra dose of hippie punching. Pesticides are good for you, our corporate agribusiness sponsors say so.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Josh

                              >>Of course, it doesn't hurt to add in that little extra dose of hippie punching.<<

                              Maybe they can in your town, but I don't think the typical "hippie" can afford to eat organic in LA. In fact, it was the counter-culture that help make my community so attractive to those who have now changed it. I don't know where hippie punching enters here, but the vast majority of folks I see insisting on organics are anything but hippies.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                What's a typical hippie?

                                Many people would call me a hippie, at least in terms of my political and dietary views, and I shop at a co-op which sells organic produce, where I have been shopping for almost 20 years.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  Based on your brief description, you'd be a general resident of the Westside. I haven't, but my hippie vegan sister has done the coop deal 20 more years than you. Time is somewhat irrelevant though. I don't see your point in "hippie punching," nor you questioning me about typical hippies. I'm a child of the 60s and grew up around a lot of real hippies post-Rachel Carson. And they were growing and eating organic before the term was relevant.

                            2. It seems like the study would have been better if it had been divided into two or three separate groups. One group composed of those who eat organic whenever possible, one group who think the whole idea is a marketing scam and the third group who are ambivalent on the subject.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: kengk

                                Are there really still people out there who think it's a marketing scam?

                                1. re: Josh

                                  "Are there really still people out there who think it's a marketing scam?"

                                  Yes, present and accounted for.

                                  I've been growing, or helping to grow, a good size garden since I was a teenager, will be 52 in a few more weeks. Got bugs on the snap beans? Poison the little fuckers. Also raise chickens for meat and eggs. They don't eat organic either.

                                  1. re: kengk

                                    The scientific evidence says otherwise.

                                    There's a reason the Chinese have been sending farmers here to learn about crop rotation and soil health, two cornerstones of organic farming.

                                  2. re: Josh

                                    It is not necessary to buy organic bananas, pineapple, avocados, winter squash, or any other vegetable in which the peeling is discarded.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      well, it's not NECESSARY to buy bananas, pineapple, avocados, winter squash or any other vegetable in which the peeling is discarded PERIOD.
                                      are we telling people what they can and cannot buy now?

                                      1. re: linus

                                        You misunderstood my point, as did Josh. My point is that a vegetable or fruit that is peeled does not have be organic BECAUSE the peel is not consumed and any pesticide residue goes into the trash and not your body. I'm not attempting to point out anything other than that. if you wish to bring in the economics of 'supporting' something or not, that's your business.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          "Systemic" pesticide = inside of veggies.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Pesticides in the trash = pesticides in the environment. I am not just worried about my own health, I am worried about the health of the entire environment.

                                            Wanna live next door to a pesticide manufacturer--I think not. Think that stuff stays where the farmer puts it? NO. It goes into the air and the water and the soil.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              You're also ignoring GMOs, which organic farmers don't use.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                Yes. I just moved to Oregon, I sometimes sense anger from those who compost towards those who do not. I think the "organic" crowd have a lot in common with the ultra right. They are both very concerned with controlling the lives of others.

                                            2. re: John E.

                                              It's less important, sure. On the other hand, if you don't want to financially support factory farms and monoculture then that can be a reason for buying those things grown organically.

                                        2. I'm looking to buy some organic chocolate today, but as there are no homeless in my area, does that mean I'm not going to find any organic chocolate in my area for purchasing? I'm puzzled.

                                          1. One of my daughters is a vegan and currently living with us on a necessary stop in her life journey.

                                            Well. She buys her own groceries. This includes huge--and I do mean huge--amounts of organic fruits and vegetables.

                                            I'm astonished at what her weekly food costs are. I honestly think she could feed a family of four on what she spends, if she maintained a conventional diet.

                                            And yes, I'm not a big organics fan; nor anywhere near being a Greenie.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: RedTop

                                              This is all just giving me a headache.

                                              I'm going out to get a diet coke and some fries, then maybe an ice cream cone. Nothing organic, all cheap and highly processed and yummy. Who's with me? LOL

                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                The main reason the products of industrial agribusiness are cheap is due to government subsidies and externalized costs. The US government lavishes taxpayer dollars on the production of GMO corn and soybeans to ensure a cheap supply of HFCS and all the other additives seen in so much of our food.

                                                Small organic farms that don't engage in this kind of large-scale industrial food production don't get these same subsidies, which means you're paying much closer to what it actually costs to grow that food. If there were no more agricultural subsidies, then you'd see higher prices on what you mistakenly label a "conventional" diet.

                                                Question: how in the world can a diet comprised of factory-farmed foods be considered "conventional" when we've only been producing food this way for less than 100 years? Seems to me your daughter is the one eating a more conventional diet, since the foods she's consuming come from the type of agriculture humans practiced for thousands of years.

                                                1. re: Josh

                                                  I'm not defending all of the practices of big ag but the small organic farms you are so enamored with could not possible produce enough to feed the U.S. let alone the world.

                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                    >>Question: how in the world can a diet comprised of factory-farmed foods be considered "conventional" when we've only been producing food this way for less than 100 years? Seems to me your daughter is the one eating a more conventional diet, since the foods she's consuming come from the type of agriculture humans practiced for thousands of years.<<

                                                    Josh, my comment was focused on the absurd cost to maintain a diet fueled by consumption of organic only fruits and vegetables. The present cost of this lifestyle might be a wash for a rock star or champion of industry, but for the unwashed masses--of which I am a part, buying organic farmed products isn't in MY food budget. And these prices consume far more of her income than my daughter can continue to spend.

                                                2. "Organic" is all about feeling good about yourself, feeling virtuous.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: redfish62

                                                    Crop rotation and refraining from pesticide use are actually about the health of the soil where your food is grown and your body. Nothing to do with feeling virtuous.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      All the "factory farms" around here practice crop rotation. Cotton, soybeans, peanuts. Repeat. It's hardly a new concept. Curious to know if you have ever grown anything more than a houseplant on your windowsill?

                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                        And the pesticides? How about those?

                                                        If you're interested in the origins of organic farming I recommend looking up the history of Biodynamic farming. It's a very interesting subject.

                                                    2. re: redfish62

                                                      For me it is about being smart about which products to buy organically. Not everything needs to be organic. I tend to buy the organic items from the dirty dozen list, the ones that have the highest levels of pesticides, etc. Instead of worshiping at the alter of organic I think it is more important to eat locally and in season. Eating locally supports your local economy instead of multinational corporations. Buying what's in season will give you better tasting food and consumes less energy than trucking a tomato from Chile in January.

                                                      I look at this study with a suspicious eye, looking at a picture is not the same as purchasing an item. What is the actual correlation? For all we know it could be a person's income level that actually dictates their attitude. Organic food tends to be expensive and a well to do person may purchase more organic food than someone struggling more economically.

                                                    3. It's not surprising, given the topic, but this thread is just not remaining friendly. We're going to lock it now.