Skeptic Page
dot_trans.gif (44 bytes)  

They Live, We Sleep

Did anyone catch that terribly flawed John Carpenter movie "They Live?" Well, the premise was that aliens had infiltrated society by, on the surface, looking exactly like humans. However, with the use of special sunglasses these aliens appeared as metallic looking humanoids. The aliens and their human conspirators have maneuvered themselves into the best jobs, or positions of power and for the most part, are controlling the Earth. Subliminal messages adorn billboards and saturate magazines. These messages, along with the true nature of the creatures, are exposed only with the lucidity brought on by use of the sunglasses. (The film contains one of the most ludicrous scenes to soil the silver screen when the protagonist, wrestler Roddy Piper, has a ten minute macho fist fight to persuade his pal to put the sunglasses on!!!). Substitute Aliens with Corporations and you have a situation not unlike that in the USA and increasingly the rest of the world.

Traveling across the USA last spring, I experienced my own lucid awakening. The food outlets from Miami to Seattle have been subverted by corporate infiltration. As we sleep, those who live, feed us high fructose corn syrup. Try to get a soft drink without it. The corporate lieutenants have taken care of that. Small companies making "natural" sodas have been ousted from the shelves, or bought out and changed to include the drug - Sugar. Even many of the smaller health food stores no longer carry soda without fructose.

Have you tasted supermarket fruit lately? - nor have I, it has no taste. Taste has been bred out in favor of yield. So has nutrition. I read somewhere that you need to eat seven apples today to equal the nutrition of an apple from 50 years ago. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that most of the fruit is picked unripe (and sweetened by - yes, high fructose corn syrup to make the fruit juice on the supermarket shelf). This gives the fruit a longer shelf life and facilitates transportation. We are making do with third rate poor nutritional value in our vegetables and fruit, while the establishment stores and fast food outlets are in the pockets of the chemical companies.

We stopped at a restaurant called Chili's somewhere in the US and I broke down and ordered some "food." I can honestly say I tasted nothing! As I looked around at the people eating, I realized they were asleep. They really didn’t understand what was going on. Most people in their early thirties or younger have never eaten real food. Even the modern hybrid fruit and vegetable stocks have been defiled. The vast majority of the population are being fed "Soylent Green" - Garbage. But does this manufactured "fast food" provide adequate nutrition? No! Wake up! Well you could always go and purchase the missing vitamins and mineral as high priced pills, but I’ve seen no convincing data that these pills are effective. The victims of this conspiracy spend half their time sick. The remainder of the time they feel half dead before their first cup of coffee and run out of energy after dinner. In fact, how often do you hear people say "I haven’t got my cold yet this winter - I’ve been lucky." This is not normal! Colds and flu should be extremely rare. Instead of defeating the barrage of germs, our bodies are depleted by the trash we put in them. We are being hammered into subservience by poor diet. Carl Jr’s latest slogan is "If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face" - how stupid are we that we listen to that crap? What, if we eat like pigs the food must be good? Why do we put up with this? Maybe because the brain is the organ that needs the most energy? Perfect, a world of cabbages, cabbages who don’t question. Could this be why so many people believe in psychics, god, astrology, UFO’s . . . Well that’s a whole other story.

Meanwhile, back in the punk domain the same thing has happened. The "natural" bands have slowly been ousted by the corporate versions. Those labels who refuse to dilute their releases to be "media ready" chase a diminishing market share and struggle to place releases on the chain store shelves. Others sell lock, stock & barrel to bigger organizations and are restructured (Formula modification). So where does that leave - the few bands who are doing it for the right reasons?! These bands are the ones people still talk about twenty years later, not the watered down imitators, but remember, bands that don’t fit into the mold, when picked green can be made palatable with added sweetener!

They live, we sleep! - Nicky Garratt 1997

Feedback

Hey Nicky, I just read your bit about “They Live”. Me and my buddies here at college (where basically everyone’s asleep, even if they are “activists”) we constantly make reference to the flick in terms of how American society is so damned stupefying. We write “They live” all over the place and see if folks figure it out. And here we were all along, thinking we were the only ones awake... keep fighting, man, don’t eat that shit they call food. - Dave Residue

Feedback

Let me first say that yall run an excellent record label, and I bear great respect for all of the music that you have produced. However, I beg to differ with some of your Propaganda. I just finished reading the article by Nicky Garratt entitled: "They Live, We Sleep." Most of the article is excellent. I like his prose style. However, he makes several points that are unsupported.

In the second and third paragraphs, he refers to sugar as a drug. The only problem here is that the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup is probably not the same sugar that he's thinking of. Chemically, fructose is honey. Fructose and sucrose (table sugar) are indeed extremely close; they are isomers. However, this does not make them the same thing. And I'm also willing to bet he hasn't written any tirades against honey recently. I think he's absolutely right about fruit, but I think he's coming dangerously close to one of the things that's been bothering me recently. There has been a huge backlash against "Genetically Altered" foods, which is totally unsupported. There have been no recorded cases of illness or any negative effects related to genetically altered food. Winston Churchill once said that "The greatest argument against democracy is a fifteen minute conversation with the average voter." I just read a poll that said that only 28% of Americans would eat food that they knew had been genetically altered. These people are ignorant of the wonderful things that genetic alteration is capable of doing, such as exponentially increasing the protein content of foods readily grown in places such as North Korea. And this ties into yet another thing that's been bothering me lately: chemophobia. He makes several references in his articles to the evils of chemicals. This is highly unfounded. Don't get me wrong, I still think that the big corporations are doing their best to control us, but "better submission through chemistry" is not one of them. I work in an urban free clinic, and most of the people would be long dead without chemistry. But, thankfully, most people don't object to this. What upsets most people are things like preservatives. The horror! Chemicals! In our food! People tend to have visceral reactions against things they don't understand. I wager that if you put a label on an apple that said something like: "This product contains the following: amino acids, dihydrogen monoxide, enzymes, adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine, and many other chemicals," then it would never sell.

Now, a facet of chemistry that does bother me is antidepressants. The companies have realized that they can stem the tide of creative, intelligent children by telling their pharmaceutical divisions to tell their doctors that children are hyperactive if they question authority or dare to think on their own. Wow, that sentence went on too long. Now, our schools tell parents that their intelligent, creative child will do better if they're put on Ritalin or whatever-the-new-drug's-called. Thus, children who exhibit signs of threatening THEIR control are quickly "medicated," and brought into nice, peaceful submission. Have you ever read Alduous Huxley's Brave New World? The government gives everyone a drug called "Soma," and everyone languishes in a nice, nonthreatening stupor. Does this sound familiar? I don't know what we're headed for in the twenty-first century if this continues. My Lord, I've written for a long time. Anyway, have a nice day! - Charlie Kill January 1999

Dear Charlie,

Thanks for your response. I encourage comments - particularly when they come from somewhat of a skeptic. I'm not against chemistry at all, in fact that was my area of interest at school and my first job was in "Industrial chemical research", but that was over 25 years ago. I agree with your observations, and you make some great points, but maybe I should clarify my position. 1) Sugar as a drug: I meant this, not in the chemically addictive sense, but compulsively progressive. In other words, the population is increasingly accustomed to high sugar content. I totally agree with your position, and yes I'm equally against adding honey to make things sweet also. Why? Because it's a treadmill one does not need to get on. I do like sweet desserts, like figs and dates but when I want to drink fruit juice, I don't want added sugar, honey . . . etc. I don't think we disagree there. 2) As a fully paid up member of the skeptics, I agree with you wholeheartedly about scientific ignorance, whether it is genetically altered food or unproved health food gimmicks. Case in point, a health food nut friend of mine would not buy bananas because they were ripened with ethylene gas. He was, unfortunately, unaware, until I pointed it out to him, that ethylene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon produced by many fruits (Including bananas) to begin the ripening process (changing starch into sugar). 3) I'm also not against progress in nutrition. "Exponentially increasing the protein content of foods" may be appropriate in Korea, but in the USA our diet is, if anything, is too high in protein. But this is not what bothers me. Chlorine in the water etc., may well be a plus - I'm heading out to Morocco, India, Thailand, and Korea next week, where much of the water supply can be suspect and would certainly benefit from western style conditioning, but on the other hand, the over prescription of antibiotics in the USA is setting us up for a disaster. I think there is a middle ground between science and nature. Science is a series of checks and balances, not a blanket cure. Is the neutron bomb a better mouse trap? 4) It is scientific to say that some additives are carcinogenic and the cumulative effects are dangerous - after all, saccharin is banned in certain countries and not in others. Again, if as a population we didn't have such an artificially sweet tooth it wouldn't be needed. I suppose my overall comment is that although I am a skeptic, I think food tastes better and is generally more beneficial without tons of additives which are used mostly to increase yield and preserve/enhance color (sulfur). It's great that people actually read my rants and have constructive comments.  - Nicky Garratt January 1999

Postscript

While in Morocco I regularly drank the mint tea, thus consuming more sugar in those few days than I have in the past 15 years - my persona may not be as austere as some might imagine - life's too short. - Nicky Garratt April 1999