The Corner

Organic Cont’d

From a reader at a well known technical college in Mass.:

Dear Jonah:

Loved your reader’s “picky” e-mail pointing out that all grapes are organic.  Reminded me of a cringe-inducing chat I once had with a fetching young lady at a New Year’s party.

She: “So what do you do?”

Me (reluctant; would rather talk about nearly anything else): “I’m a chemist.”

“What kind of chemistry do you do?”


“So…that’s the bad kind, right?”

[genuinely startled] “I beg your pardon?”

“The bad kind.  I mean, if organic is good for you, then inorganic must be bad, right?”

Your reader’s rant also reminded me of a related peeve, best summed up by a radio commercial for some skin care product:  ”And it’s all-natural, so it’s completely safe!”  Sure, I thought.  So is botulinum toxin.  People have synthesized some pretty horrible agents to drop on each other, but when it comes to chemical warfare, we’ve all got to doff our hats to Mother Nature, who has us beat by orders of magnitude.

Best regards,


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