Episode 165: A Dozen Zombies

BF165 Host Screenshot

It’s a “classic” American (and European) “tradition.” Every February 14th — otherwise known as (St.) Valentine’s Day — you sally up to your beloved with that most chivalrous of gifts — a bodacious bouquet of artificially-preserved and slowly-decaying cut flowers from somewhere thousands of miles (or kilometers) away. This past V-Day, we decided to ask a simple question… Why the ever-living fuck do we do this?! Seriously! It’s super weird, and apparently entangled with some core contemporary injustices. Hope y’all enjoy this show, as Kevin hosts Ana Huertas and Stephen Torrence (currently stationed in snowy Toronto) to dive into the Global Zombie Plant Gift Industry of Love®…

Audio

Recorded on February 14, 2016

Video

Watch on YouTube

Show Notes

Extra Show Notes

Update: Chau (aka “Jacobo Jaime”) shared some lengthy criticism on this episode. We’ve included his full comments below and recommended further reading here.

On the Flower Industry
Books on Colonialism
Books on Neocolonialism
More Books

Post-Show Song

“Let’s Fall in Love” (Tank Girl Version) by Ella Fitzgerald

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  1. StephenTorrence
    28/02/2016 at 12:15 pm Permalink

    (Posted by Chau (Jacobo Jaime) on YouTube)

    Hi, I really loved this show, it's like an english version of "Hablemos Sin Saber", really cool. I especially liked the first half, a great example of bad research, bad reductionism and oversimplification of reality . Here are some comments about it:

    – Great thing Miss Huertas gave as fact that Lupercalia was the origin of St Valentine's Day, and that actually it was the christian appropiation of that festivity, when in reality only a few researchers hold that wiew and most of them think otherwise (even the wikipedia article of Lupercalia mention this), but hey, it's much easier to read neopagan FB webpages that lack any academic rigour (and have their own agenda) than actually do some serious research, of course it's Bad Philosophy and this a parody, so I loved it!
    – I adored the flower part. Actually only Kevin knew a bit about waht he was talking about, but the lovely couple was lost in a sea of missinformation. Again, what about Holland being the first world producer of flowers? Well, I guess they don't fit in the "third world" cathegory, right? What about the second and third world producers, Colombia and Ecuador? Mmm… yes, third world but not in Africa. But the greatest part was the oversimplification act of saying it's a matter of "cheap labour". Is it just that? Haven't anybody attended to Ag School? Maybe Miss Huertas was absent that day… Maybe, just maybe there are other explanations for this. Maybe if you look at google maps you'll find that Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Kenya are all almost at the same latitude…hmmm… and maybe being in the northern hemisphere close to the Equator is an advantage for producing flowers, cause maybe having lots of rain, and sun and having all this countries high mountain chains makes cultivating flowers much easier and cheaper than producing them in Canada, maybe this kind of weather and agronomic conditions allows you to produce flowers all year round… but hey, what do I know? You're the experts… it must be cheap only labour the answer. Good thing Kevin actually knew how did they transport flowers and some extra facts. Well done Bad Philosophers!
    – Of course the best part was the very clever solution on how to make better the life of poor farmers and workers of those countries! Yes, just stop buying flowers and they will happily switch to other crops that gave them less income! Genius! It's like when the US threw glyphosate to coca plantations in Boliva and forced farmers to switch to other crops that were less suitable for that area and had lower prices. Of course, who cares if that increased poverty in that region and then farmers were forced to send their daughters to prostitute themselves in Argentina and Brazil or theis sons ended up working as cheap labour in urban latinoamerica? Nobody! let's just stop buying flowers and they will thank us for scrwewing their best revenue and will easily move on to the next big thing. Oh, wait! Maybe rural reality it's much complex than that, maybe it's dangerous to oversimplify, maybe we should be more careful before giving advices as such without knowing a thing about the subject. Maybe, just maybe the solution is more holistic…. Bad Philosophy as it's best!
    – Colonialism and neocolonialism discussion! From white, spanish/american people, from Canada, via Google! Yes! That's what we, third world people, really like! Of course all of you have being to copper, silver, gold, mines in the third world, right? And of course you know were the lithium of the batteries of your smartphone and laptop comes from, and how is extracted, no? And well, you all have experienced how life is in the third world, feeling first hand the 400 of colinialism, slavery, rapes, and robbery? But hey, one of you guys read Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina, and lived a couple of months there, great! Now you know everything you need to know, of course, it's a dated of book of the seventies, that yes, it's a good introduction to understand the effects of colonialism in Latin America, but even his author later said it was too dated to address neocolonialism as it is today. Maybe again reality it's much complex than that. Maybe it's just offensive to listen some guys who live in the first world have a coffee talk about poor people living in the third world while knowing nothing about it and doing nothing about it. Bad Philosophy indeed.

    Keep it up guys! Looking forward for the next one!

    PS: You don't necessary need to be an expert to discuss a topic but be very careful to jump into conclusions or show only one side of the matter, otherwise you'll be doing exactly the same of what you criticize traditional media is doing, learn from the great Déscartes: "If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." I would go even further and say that we must doubt all the time even about things we believe are true.

    Chau