Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tea Tree Oil and Agent Orange...don't laugh

More info is coming out regarding NZ's role in manufacturing and distributing Agent Orange, a bloody nasty defoliant in a bloody nasty war. It begs the same questions that I raised earlier on pesticides: we have the technology to trace these things to parts per billion, but we don't. In the case of Agent Orange, it seems the records have not been kept that would decide either way, or at least not at our end...

Concerns have also surfaced over the pretty-smelling soaps we wash our bums with. Tea Tree Oil - yet another elixar for the middle-class -
has not proven itself safe. This is, it should be noted, not the same concoction that NZ manufactures, and sells, at a premium (these things only come at a premium).

These examples lend themsleves to Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Let's observe the role that, say, molecules of 2,4,5T have in the network that connects Dow Chemicals in Paritutu, New Plymouth, to Subic Bay, Vietnam, which - as I've posted - includes LINZ reports for the NZ real estate market and inheritable genetic damage to Vietnam vets. For Maori we have to acknowledge our war history which extends from colonisation itself to sincere Peace Operations and covert or 'black' ops in Afghanistan (anyone remember Afghanistan...) We've always fought for the Man (mea culpa: my PhD thesis is an output of a corporate research project).

Of course, given our right and propensity for 'Nested Identities', Pakeha et al. can be forgiven for finding it all rather draining...attempts at colonisation are like that (ask the Vietnamese). But by identifying precisely where best to locate research interests we can see who holds the reins. And the main message is how to make money. Of course. We tried our hand at overthrowing capitalism once before and it didn't work out so good.

A political-economic analysis of Maori horticulture needs to be biopolitical, in the beret-wearing attitude, i.e. to the Nth degree. By that I mean everything from genotypes to pretty pictures. Elizabeth Rata has started pushing out some strong attitude on this, evidently stemming from a whanau insider possie (but not quite. Her point is that it still racist in the vein of the Essentialists discourse on blood quantum). Lets follow the genes so as to follow the money!

We live in interesting times...

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Simon Lambert

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