GENTECH archive


Re: Update: BIOTECH, and other Euphemisms, MORE Power Words

Being confused by the purpose of your list I showed it to 9 friends who
are all food safty activists.  None of them understood the point
either.  Most felt that the alternatives you selected connoted the exact
same things - with the exception of the two "Franken"terms which have
been effective against GM foods in Europe but have actually helped the
GM industry in North America.  

Many (most of the ones I meet) are opposed to GM foods in the EXACT same
way and for the EXACT same reasons as they are opposed to Novel
Crossbred foods.  They carry the exact same risks, produce the exact
same Frankenfoods, and are produced by the exact same companies; what
term should these people use (Other than "Frankenfoods", which doesn't
help their cause) if they want to talk about ALL biological research and
development?  Or if they want to talk about MultiNationals who are
involved in ALL biological research, not just recombinant food work? 
The vast majority of BioResearch companies are not chemical companies;
only the biggest of them are in both fields - so one can not use the
term "Chemical Industry" without being deceiptful (Which some people
want to avoid).

There are definate historical and structural reasons for the meaning of
words.  A word like "Chemical" is literally distinct from "Biological"
and from "Genetic".  They all talk about different things and these
words have VERY well established meanings in the English language.  To
claim that we don't have enough grasp of language to distinguish between
them is to attack the validitiy of our position in the Food R&D debate. 
"Biotech" is the Technology of Biology.  If you are trying to change
that meaning, we all look foolish.  Recently coined terms (Like
"Terminator") might have flexible meanings, but long established words
are less so.

Words that are in common vocabulary that might have associations with
Biotechnoloy are "bioHazard", "bioResearch", & "bioChemistry".  I don't
think many people have worse connotations for "Genetic"; look in the
dictionary, the only words close are "genetic Engineering", or "genetic
Testing".  No one I asked understood why you felt that the terms on the
right connote anything benign.

If your goal is to find words that elicit an opinion without thought
like "Frankenfood" does, then try to find something that implies an
inappropriateness - not well defined, neutral words like  technician,
engineer, chemistry, genetic, or Lab.

I, however, don't believe you need to resort to deceipt to achieve your
goals.  Let people think about the meanings of things.  If they mean ALL
biotechnology, let them use the word "Biotechnology".  If people like
yourself are speaking ONLY about a certain type of procedure like
crossbreeding, let them use the word "Crossbreeding". If you are only
talking about transgenic varieties, say "Transgenic".  If you are only
talking about the major transnational corporations which are marketing
chemicals paired with engineered crops, then say "transnational chemical
industry".  Anyone who knows enough about the issues to have a strong
opinion understands the terminology used to describe those issues.  We
don't need to try to confuse people to make our points.

Trevor Lien.

Peter M. Ligotti wrote:
> Update: BIOTECH, and other Euphemisms, MORE Power Words
> Thanks to those who wrote with constructive suggestions
> for additional terms to add. We now have a growing list of
> euphemisms and more accurate power words.
> The GE industry quite naturally wants to define
> genetic engineering issues in terms that are vague
> and obfuscatory and therefore favorable to their profitability.
> This helps minimize GE awareness among themselves (as
> adulterators of food) AND among those problematic consumers.
> As I've said before, the
> best example is that the GE industry wants to lump pharmaceuticals,
> conventional crossbreeding, and GE all together and call
> all these things "Biotech." It's also the best example
> because even some of the most ardent oponents of
> GE have fallen into line and regularly use this term.
> I'm not telling activists/journalists what to do. I want to make
> them a bit more aware of this aspect of the strategy of the GE
> industry.
> Please use these words:                     Please avoid these words:
> Genetic Engineers
> GE Industry                                 Biotech
> Genetic Engineering Industry                Biotech Industry
> Chemical Industry                           Biotech Companies
> Genetic Engineering/Chemical Industry       Biotech Multi-nationals
> Genetic Engineering Companies               Biotechnology
> Genetic Engineering Multi-nationals         Biotechnologists
> Frankenstein Food Industry                  Biotech food scientists
> Frankenfood Industry                        Food scientists
> Genetic engineering                         Gene Protection
> Genetic manipulation                        Gene Control
> GMOs                                        Directed Evolution
> Genetically engineered food
> Genetically manipulated food
> Genetically tampered food
> Mutated food
> Lab-mutated food
> Lab-created food
> Test-tube created food
> Frankenstein food
> Frankenfood
> Food Technicians
> Terminator
> Terminator Seeds
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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