One of my favorite Demetri Martin jokes is the one about bananas. It went on like this –
“I feel stupid when I write the word banana. Its like, how many na’s are on this thing? ‘Cause I’m like ‘Bana … keep going. Bananana … damn.“
Fredrik Gertten, director and journalist, must have had that same feeling of going through something never-ending when Dole Food Co. served him papers over his film Bananas!*. I still haven’t seen Bananas!* yet, but I have seen his film on protecting free speech and fighting for the truth called Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, which recounts the trials he went through when Dole tried to shut down his film, Bananas!*.
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* has been sitting in my Netflix recommendations list and I decided to make a go of watching it earlier this afternoon. I only watch my Netflix recommendations only when there’s a film on the list that’s already aligned with my interests, and there are four main reasons why I decided to watch Big Boys Gone Bananas!*:
1) I really like bananas. I like bananas so much that it’s a part of our household’s weekly order from our online grocer, SPUD. I want to know where my food comes from and SPUD provides that information.
2) As far as I can remember, bananas have always been a part of my family’s diet. My sisters and I grew up eating bananas. I infer it has something to do with my farmer grandparents growing bananas. I can safely say that our diet has been biased towards their crops, with bananas being one of them.
3) Before entering the nursing profession, my Mom considered majoring in journalism. She was drawn to reading and writing, and felt that it was through journalism that she can use her skills and correspondingly, serve society.
4) There’s a ton of information thrown at all of us and it’s become a mental juggling act to sort out the truth from the junk. Sometimes, it’s easier for us to swallow what big media shoves down our throat. And sometimes, what they give us are like drugs… they just dull our senses. The truth, unfortunately, is usually painful and usually involve individuals or groups of people being mistreated; with the truth being kept under wraps to prevent people, like you and me, from knowing what goes on. In order for truth to persist, we must protect free speech.
Generally, I’d like to believe that most people have good intentions. At times though, that belief is shaken when I read the news and read about political crimes, corporate malice, and democratic governments (people whom we voted to serve us) not responding to public interests and needs. Then I start to wonder if humanity would make it to year 3000. Then I watch pro-social documentaries and learn about people – like Fredrik Gertten – fighting against injustice by putting it in the forefront and giving everyone access to the truth, and then my faith in humanity is restored.
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* reinforced my beliefs in transparency when it comes to finding out where and how our foods are sourced. On a similar vein, it’s all about being open to different perspectives and truths, and that we can’t ignore the fact that countless people suffer to produce our foods, make our everyday items, and manufacture iStuff.
To all my fellow consumers, it’s okay to be fussy. Really, we should all learn to be fussy when it comes to the foods we eat, clothes we wear, and materials we surround ourselves with. As consumers, we should do our own inquiries and figure out which companies match our personal values and make an effort to support those companies, and hold the companies that we support to social principles and integrity.
Sometimes, it’s okay to go bananas. When it comes to protecting everyone’s rights, why not go bananas.