Monday, August 29, 2005

How big, bullying and stupid can you get...

... and still make billions of dollars annually?

Well, Monsanto's trying to find out. I must extend my hearty thanks to the evil empire o' seeds for calling my attention to a terrific blog, Bitter Greens Journal, and to Monsanto's petty and incredibly stupid (in terms of their own PR) cease-and-desist letter to the owner of same.

Tom Philpott's crime: using Roundup, Ready as the (quite clever) name for his, er, roundup of links detailing Monsanto's crusade against locally based organic agriculture. His reply to the cease-and-desist letter, in part:
Dear Ms. Bunning-Stevens,
Although it's comical for a corporation with upwards of $5 billion in annual revenue to harass an obscure blogger who helps run a 2.5-acre farm, the tone of your letter is earnest; so I will reply earnestly.

Your arguments seem specious to me, and I therefore I must refuse to cease using "Roundup, ready" as the title for an occasional feature on my Web log.

You write that "[t]his use of the term could cause your readers to think that your journal is in some way sponsored by Monsanto or that Monsanto supports the positions set out in your journal." Yet my journal clearly presents itself as a "running critique of industrial agriculture," and from its first post on has made no secret of its distaste for Monsanto and its particular style of industrial agriculture.

I doubt you will be able to dig up a single reader who, after perusing a "Roundup, ready" post, will think to himself, "Now this fellow must be on the Monsanto dole!"

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