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Examining Metaphors in Biopolitical Discourse
Unformatted Document Text:  Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 18 Frankenstein metaphor (“Some groups are calling it Franken-food”) and the mad scientist stereotype that “scientists are tampering with nature.” Following the 2004 decision in Mendocino County (California) to ban farming of GMO foods, San Francisco Chronicle journalist Ken Garcia wrote that producers including Monsanto, DuPont and Dow had “spawned a real monster” with “Franken-foods” (“Mendocino sows seeds of dissent,” p. 7b). Garcia’s metaphors included references to the companies as “biochemical giants” spending millions to “stomp out” such referendums. Garcia also invoked war metaphors, noting that the “giants” were “battling skirmishes on fronts from Oregon to France.” Garcia’s profligate use of metaphors and puns helps frame his article─and the debate─in a more playful and less serious tone that distracts readers’ attention and discourages critical thought even as it subtly links the monster schema with its entailments of danger and powerful to GMO foods and the “giant” corporations that create and market them. Broadcasters have also helped set the media agenda for the discussion of GMO foods, with Mark Bittman, Oprah Winfrey and Mehmet Oz weighing in on the debate, encouraging viewers to attend to, for example, labeling of foods. One post on Winfrey’s blog read: “I personally do not wish to eat any GMO foods” and “I feel that they are dangerous and that it is unfair that they are not clearly marked as GMO on the label” (“GMO Foods,” 2010 February 8). Recently, news of the creation of a hardier version of the Atlantic salmon quickly drew the sobriquet of “Frankenfish.” An Associated Press story asked: “Super Salmon or Frankenfish?” (Jalonick, 2010), posing the “issue” as a choice between the pop culture hero, Superman, and the pop culture villain, Frankenstein, while a wire story from the McClatchy news service reported on legislators’ efforts to halt FDA approval of the Frankenfish and stop the arrival of “alien fish out to infect our stocks” (Hotakainen, 2011). Cartoonist Steve Greenberg penned a comic strip showing a fish with Frankenstein’s head, strapped to a lab table flanked by a white-coated scientist and his assistant who asks, “It’s alive master! But is it safe for people to eat?” The scientist replies: “Put it in the markets, and we’ll find out in five or ten years” (Greenberg, 2010).

Authors: Coleman, Cynthia-Lou. and Ritchie, L. David.
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Metaphors in Biopolitics, page 
18
Frankenstein metaphor (“Some groups are calling it Franken-food”) and the mad 
scientist stereotype that “scientists are tampering with nature.”
Following the 2004 decision in Mendocino County (California) to ban farming of 
GMO foods, San Francisco Chronicle journalist Ken Garcia wrote that producers including 
Monsanto, DuPont and Dow had “spawned a real monster” with “Franken-foods” 
(“Mendocino sows seeds of dissent,” p. 7b). Garcia’s metaphors included references to 
the companies as “biochemical giants” spending millions to “stomp out” such 
referendums. Garcia also invoked war metaphors, noting that the “giants” were 
“battling skirmishes on fronts from Oregon to France.” Garcia’s profligate use of 
metaphors and puns helps frame his article─and the debate─in a more playful and less 
serious tone that distracts readers’ attention and discourages critical thought even as it 
subtly links the monster schema with its entailments of danger and powerful to GMO 
foods and the “giant” corporations that create and market them. 
Broadcasters have also helped set the media agenda for the discussion of GMO 
foods, with Mark Bittman, Oprah Winfrey and Mehmet Oz weighing in on the debate, 
encouraging viewers to attend to, for example, labeling of foods. One post on Winfrey’s 
blog read: “I personally do not wish to eat any GMO foods” and “I feel that they are 
dangerous and that it is unfair that they are not clearly marked as GMO on the label”  
(“GMO Foods,” 2010 February 8). 
Recently, news of the creation of a hardier version of the Atlantic salmon quickly drew 
the sobriquet of “Frankenfish.” An Associated Press story asked: “Super Salmon or 
Frankenfish?” (Jalonick, 2010), posing the “issue” as a choice between the pop culture 
hero, Superman, and the pop culture villain, Frankenstein, while a wire story from the 
McClatchy news service reported on legislators’ efforts to halt FDA approval of the 
Frankenfish and stop the arrival of “alien fish out to infect our stocks” (Hotakainen, 
2011). Cartoonist Steve Greenberg penned a comic strip showing a fish with 
Frankenstein’s head, strapped to a lab table flanked by a white-coated scientist and his 
assistant who asks, “It’s alive master! But is it safe for people to eat?” The scientist 
replies: “Put it in the markets, and we’ll find out in five or ten years” (Greenberg, 2010). 


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