January 22, 2009

I've been reading a lot lately about this latest Salmonella scare, turning the somewhat sublime peanut into a thing of fear. It occurred to me that these scares, this tainted food seems to be something of a new plague in recent years.

And then I started thinking about Upton Sinclair, the eminent Muckraker of the early 20th Century, whose book "The Jungle" exposed the entire meat packing industry as a cesspool of filth, disease and corruption.

The fact that this iconoclast, this thorn in the side of Business, this pain in the ass of corrupt government was able to get the likes of President Roosevelt to establish The Food and Drug Administration as a legitimate watchdog for consumers as early as 1906 speaks volumes over the power of the press and progressive ideals and giving useful information to a receptive public.

Then as now, the power of the uncensored voice can still bring about change. Back in the early 20th century it was the unbiased and free press (a minority even then). Today it's the blogosphere. The forum has changed but the message is still the same.

So here is a clip of Upton Sinclair, talking about his early days and his run for Governor of California as a reminder of where we all came from.

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