Being Mansanto

Something incredible arrived in yesterday’s mail. Inside a five-pound flat of chocolates, I found a manila folder containing a sheath of legal papers. At first I was afraid that I was being sued, but no. It was an offer to ghost-write the autobiography of Mansanto Corporation.
If I sign these papers at a meeting next Thursday, I will be agreeing to write the official Mansanto autobiography in exchange for three million dollars.
(My last payment for something I wrote was a complimentary copy of the literary magazine in which it appeared.)
I could use some help working through a few misgivings.
I am concerned that this might turn into a Public Relations whitewash for a large corporation. However if that’s what is being proposed, then why don’t they just use their own PR department?
I can’t help feeling that Monsanto, like a mute giant rising from the deeps, truly wants to be known as a living person. While the US Supreme Court has granted all corporations personhood and conferred upon them the power of monetary speech, the personal letter I have received from Monsanto yearns to go beyond that. It expresses a quality of wonder and a deep aspiration to undertake the kind of journey that personhood and the power of language have allowed humans to make from times immemorial.
Let me share something from a couple of pages that were also included with the chocolates, entitled: “I am Monsanto”. These pages read somewhat like an epic poem (specifically John Milton’s Paradise Lost), in which a struggle between Gaia and Mansanto is being waged for the soul of humankind. In these pages, Gaia is the dark force, tempting humanity to believe that Mother Earth is their nurturing parent and protector, and Mansanto is the force of light and progress who—through the intelligent use of science—has burst upon the scene holding an overflowing bread basket for a hungry world.
I have to say that the opportunity to write a full-length book in the style of the old epic poems is exciting. My book would appear in the grocery stores of the world and be translated into too many languages to count. It’s a bit disconcerting that my name would not appear on the cover. However I can accept–since money is speech—that my employment of human language for a human audience will be in the nature of a translation–in which money (corporate speech) is exchanged for words (my speech). For three big ones, I believe that I can live with that.
I feel touched by the knowledge that a long silence will be broken and that I will be giving wings to a first, historic utterance—a first grand flowering of the power of corporate personhood and language. Ever since the US Supreme Court made their Citizens United ruling, corporations have only used their monetary speech to influence elections, but with this autobiography, a new chapter will open.
I’ve placed a call to Chief Justice Roberts—as yet not returned—to see if we can collaborate on this project. I dare to think it possible, because the package I received yesterday indicated that he has also been sent a box of chocolates along with an invitation to write the preface for this historic Monsanto autobiography.
Truly, as an earlier minstrel poet put it, “The times they are a changing”.

3 comments to “Being Mansanto”
  1. What a carrot! Wow. Having a hard time humanizing Monsanto. I never really understood the logic or human benefit of granting corporations personhood; but, then that’s just me. Hard to turn down that much money. How were you selected to do the writing? I am too cynical and skeptical to believe a corporation like Monsanto is truly doing what they do for the good of mankind. Perhaps therein lies the point. In any event pretty impressive.

  2. I can see that I need to confess that yesterday’s post about ghost-writing Monsanto’s autobiography was entirely made up. I didn’t even receive a box of chocolates in the mail. I was aiming at something along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, in which Swift pretends to approve of the British government’s callous treatment of orphans, by reducing the inhumane consequences of their policies to absurd lengths. I was trying to make the terrible “Citizens United” ruling my target. I am also not a fan of Monsanto and fear that all the unlabelled GMO foods in the grocery stores may well be responsible for many health problems.

    But I have not been offered any money, and–since several of my intelligent friends seem to think that what I wrote yesterday actually happened–let me clarify: I was attempting to ridicule the great threat to democracy inflicted by the US Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” rulling, which asserts that corporations are “persons” and their vast coffers of wealh “speech”. The consequence has been to allow unlimited spending to influence elections in the US ( I’m sure we all remember all those horrible political ads last fall).

    And yesterday I received several e-mails reporting that the immensely wealthy Koch brothers have vowed to spend 1 billion dollars to get the results they want in the 2016 election–so it will only get worse–and it is the Citizens United rulling that makes this possible.

    I was hoping to sound a note of alarm in yesterday’s fictional pretense.

    Another disclaimer: I am trying to write a novel on related themes.

  3. Thought it could be some wonderful intellectual joke I wasn’t getting. You’re too much! Big sigh of relief.

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