Eh?Eh!'s Reviews > The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
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's review
Sep 10, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: babble-added
Read in October, 2007

Four common plants and I didn't know they each held such a rich history. Well, I was kind of familiar with marijuana's development (not from personal toking, honest Asian, but from being surrounded by tokers - hey, it was Oregon) and that it was completely villified in the "just say no" era of drug awareness education. The chapters on the apple, tulip, and potato offer cautionary evidence on the danger of destroying diversity in the name of commerce. Dratted industry and their shipping lives, appearance over taste, money over environmental responsibility; dratted consumers and our being trapped in busy schedules, cheap produce, the quick&easy, the short range.

Even though I'm probably being manipulated by the plants, I still want a garden in which to spread their genetic material. Plant pimp? If only.

On the subject of plants causing us to help them multiply by being appealing to us: I view this language as couching the concept in terms that we might understand, finding a common thread and expounding. I don't imagine Mr. Pollan meant plants as willfully selecting the characteristics that would cause us to replant and increase year after year. It's supposed to be a mutually beneficial interaction. If they could effect deliberate change in us, would they let us spray potatoes like that or make the mealy Red Delicious, I'm sure it was once actually delicious, the most common apple in US supermarkets? I wonder what it would be like if plants could fight us. Or maybe our dependence on the few varieties that now have weaknesses engendered by continuous cloning/inbreeding will result in a plant-revenge.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Sarita Oh, great. first I had to worry about the zombie apocolypse, and now the Revenge of the Vegetables is nigh!

The Crimson Fucker i need to re watch the happening now!

Eh?Eh! A new comment! From almost a year ago! Notification failure!

I don't remember mention of the Ottoman empire with tulips, but it's been a long time since I read this. I think the Ottomans were brought up in the apple chapter...need to re-read!

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