I heard some shocking news the other day. The supermarket banana supply, it seems, may disappear within the next ten years. The Chiquita lady's dance will end, and we will all have to mix Pomegranates into our corn flakes or douse Mangos in ice cream. Split-Pea Split anyone?
Our yellow edible friend, Musa Musacaceae , has for hundreds of years been closely mixed into a mangle of science, invention, diplomacy, art, and culture, mingling with the fruit cocktail of human effort our world is today.
Not even the simple banana is free from the machinations of our society and economy. Yes, a complicated blend of marketing efforts, refrigerated ships, import and export trade laws, food databases, pesticides, inventory tracking computers, genetic science, agricultural voodoo, and international summits all come together every morning when you pull the convenient tab and open the handy yellow container to enjoy a tasty snack of potassium, the perfect pick-me-up. Nature's Mylar, eh?
In today's society, we don't understand the things we use. Figuring out the remote control is hard enough. Understanding the electrical contents borders on black magic. But we don't even understand the simple banana. Hands up if you know the banana isn't a fruit tree. Not a tree, it's just a really big herb plant. Basil, Cumin, Tarragon, Rosemary, Echinacea, Banana. In fact, the Banana is the world's largest herb.
Is the Banana a technology? It certainly is a product of technology; it comes off the assembly line just like any other product. But in the end, when I look at the golden yellow fruit and the smiling flamenco dancer, I'll let life be simple. I'll be a good little Eloi and smile as I take a bite. I'll buy technology because it's new and shiny and magical, and I didn't grow up with it, and I'll buy bananas because they're natural.
And when the banana population dies, and genetically manufactured bananas appear in the stainless steel rows, the automatic mist spritzing gently from aluminum nipples evenly spaced along the long aisle, I'll never know the difference.