You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can You Hear Those Brussels Sprouts Screaming?

Fox News is reporting that a Swiss bio-ethics panel is expressing concern over cruel and immoral treatment to (wait for it) ...plants. (Scroll down for the, pardon the expression, meat of the story.)

According to the report, which came from a Weekly Standard report, which presumably came from translators since I've no idea how many people at The Weekly Standard speak French, German, Italian, Esperanto, or whatever the national languages of Switzerland are, (deep breath)...

Anyway, according to the Fox News report, the panel issued the following points:

  • "humans cannot claim 'absolute ownership' over plants"
  • "individual plants have an inherent worth"
  • "man may not use them as he pleases"

So put down those brussels sprouts you were callously munching on, because according to the mighty Swiss government panel, you can't do as you please with them.

The panel apparently went on to use the example of a farmer "decapitating" wildflowers and expressed that this was representative of a moral stance towards the organism. Right, and I spray weedkiller because I'm obviously a genocidal maniac with a predisposition towards violent poisonings.

So, the next time you see some lovestruck lad of a yodeler sitting in a meadow in the Alps, plucking petals and reciting the Suisse rendition of "she loves me, she loves me not," don't be surprised to find that it's followed by Swiss Airborne shock troops paratrooping down towards this unfortunate mountain boy and giving him the kind of walloping the US Marines have been reserving for Osama Bin Laden.

Of course, they'll parachute so as not to murder all that lovely grass between Gert the lovelorn shepherd and their military barracks.

I wanted to find out a bit more about the growing plants rights movement, so I rang the head of P.L.A.N.T. (Please Leave All Nature Thus), a Mr. Dan Rather-Barmy to see where they stood on the Swiss declaration and other plant-centric matters.

Earl: Mr. Rather-Barmy, thanks for agreeing to meet with me.

D.R-B.: My pleasure, just so long as you're not one of those plant-murdering, veggie-ravishing, asparagus-torturing lunatics that thinks that cracking open a coconut is someone's idea of a good time.

Earl: You mean 99.99999% of the human race?

D. R-B.: I'd have thought it were more than that.

Earl: I'm generalizing for time's sake. Anyway, I assure you I'm not one of those people. I don't like coconut.

D. R-B.: It'll have to do.

Earl: Anyway, Mr. Rather-Barmy...

D. R-B.: Please, call me Dan. My surname's not a bit helpful in these matters.

Earl: (whispered) On the contrary, it's quite descriptive.

Dan: I heard that!

Earl: Sorry, I was talking to the interior decorators.

Dan: (Suspiciously) Hmmmm ...nice save.

Earl: Thanks! Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the results of the Swiss Bio-Ethics Panel that stated that plants have an intrinsic moral worth.

Dan: Cowards! The lot of them!

Earl: Sorry, come again?

Dan: Namby-pamby, weasel-wording, double-talking bastards! They think they can talk their way into the good graces of Kingdom Plantae by offering a collection of philosophically vague aphorisms that are scant solace against the daily torments that our plant brethren endure!

Earl: Even the bit about plant decapitation?

Dan: (Grudgingly) Well... that was the best bit.

Earl: I think we can both agree on that much. Right then, what else should they have said?

Dan: Plants are people!

Earl: What, people? you and I and David Beckham and Oprah and Donald Trump?

Dan: ...Not Trump.

Earl: Fair enough, but real people just like the others?

Dan: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Plants have a wide range of personalities and characters. Why, I know a little rutabaga that reminds me a great deal of Oprah!

Earl: Conversationalist, is she?

Dan: Oh, quite the chatty swede!

Earl: Someone phone Tom Cruise. I'm sure they'll hit it off.

Dan: ...And there's a bok choy plant in my friend's greenhouse who's a regular David Bowie!

Earl: The "Ziggy Stardust" Bowie?

Dan: More like the "Thin White Duke" Bowie.

Earl: So, a sort of funky, drugged out bok choy?

Dan: ...with a wicked synthesizer technique.

Earl: Okkkayyy... so, what about violence towards plants?

Dan: Violence towards plants should be punished in the strongest way!

Earl: Which would be?

Dan: Lethal injection or, if necessary, the guillotine.

Earl: Just in case the lethal injection doesn't do the trick?

Dan: Exactly!

Earl: All right then, how do we determine who gets the chop?

Dan: Well, start with the most heinous offenders, of course, just to send a message to the rest of the world that they'd better get their act together!

Earl: Whose blocks would you lop off then?

Dan: Some cows for starters! Right butchers they are, with chlorophyll all over their hooves.

Earl: Teeth?

Dan: That's what I meant! Then, go after all those salad chefs, the cutthroats! Several others come to mind... Ingrid Newkirk, Paul Newman...

Earl: Paul Newman?

Dan: The salad dressing manufacturer! He might as well be making catsup for Soylent Green!

Earl: I see... please continue.

Dan: Euell Gibbons...

Earl: Isn't he already dead?

Dan: Dig him up and make an example of him, just like Cromwell!

Earl: Listen, I've noticed that you seem to come down against eating plants at all.

Dan: Right!

Earl: So, are you advocating an all meat diet?

Dan: Oh no! I don't believe in eating meat of any kind! That's animal-icide!

Earl: OK... so, we've ruled out plants. We've ruled out meat. Fungi?

Dan: As much a plant as you or I!

Earl: I'll take that as a "No." No plants, no animals, no fungi, no living matter of any kind... just what are we supposed to live on?

Dan: Salt.

Earl: Salt?

Dan: Salt, and water.

Earl: Right, salt and water... (Under breath) Imagine being a restaurateur in that environment. (Aloud) Well, let's change gears a bit. What exactly do you feel should be our general attitude towards plants?

Dan: Plants should be treated with love and affection, and taken out to dinner and to the movies before a salt and water nightcap up at my place.

Earl: You don't say.

Dan: Oh, no... I did, just then.

Earl: That and more, chap... that and more.

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