Sunday, September 18, 2011

MSI is Breaking my Heart

We spent Friday at the Museum of Science and Industry.  The three elders took a forensics science class and then we visited as many exhibits as possible.  We really do love this museum.

Yada Yada Yada.  Lot's of love talk about the museum.  Weather exhibit rocks.  Very homeschool friendly.  Blah blah blah.

What really gets my goat is that there are all these wonderful exhibits based upon good solid science, including a fantastic body exhibit that promotes good health -- and then there is THIS:

Now that's just pure unadulterated propaganda.

I did not see the sign that said "This exhibit provided by ConAgra and other corporate factory farms that do not give a damn about your health, animals, the environment, or the livelihood of American farmers".  Was it somewhere near the "Green House" that teaches us about how to protect the environment?  That might have been a good place for it considering the blight on the environment that factory farming leaves.  Nope.  I wasn't there.  I looked, but it must have been hidden.

Of course this is the case, though.  Clearly this exhibit came with some serious strings attached.  How could it not be when a display that looks like this

is paired with a sign reading, "Soy: A Healthy Alternative"?

Indeed, soy, as edamame, is quite healthy.

As Jif and Spaghetti-os, it is pure fecal matter.

And then there is corn.

That sign reminded us how tasty corn makes all of our foods, from breakfast cereal to ice cream.  It neglected to mention the four ugly little words that have required a major PR campaign to attempt to establish a more virginal reputation: High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Instead, we are led to believe that corn is just as wholesome, as the highly processed soybean.

Finally, there is the sweet statue of a pig nursing its adorable little piglets and a sign telling us how factory farms now make their cages big enough that pigs can even lie down in them.

First of all, Factory Farmed Babe is not nursing any of her little piglets -- that's for sure.  Secondly, would you buy a house if the advertisement read, "House big enough that you can even lie down in it"?

Oh Museum of Science and Industry, ye who brings us annual displays of international Christmas trees, ye of the frequent free days and free admission for homeschoolers, ye who provides such interesting classes for my young ones and who brought us the Harry Potter exhibit and tiny trains, Why?  Why would you succumb to the sleezy dealings of corporate farming?  You know that your patrons are young and impressionable and that one minute sitting in that shiny green tractor will have them eating out of your pedagogical hands.  So why?  Why would you get into bed with a corporate sponsor of this unseemly caliber?  And just a few minutes from your beautiful body display that promotes healthy habits?

I am sorry MSI, but this is strike two for you.  First, there was the ageism debacle and now this.  Were it not for that really cool submarine, the gigantic heart, and those gorgeous Christmas trees, I might not even wait for strike three to banish you.

Damn you MSI!  Damn you!

P.S.  They do have free wheelchairs and, for that, they get a bonus point.

P.P.S.  But then I have to knock off that bonus point because they have a section of their gift shop devoted to girls that features princesses, rather than science.

P.P.P.S.  But it is seriously cool that it is the only surviving building from the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Damn it!


Anonymous said...

Great museum, bad choices in those exhibits. Ah, the bittersweet truth of life---nothing is perfect. Black, white, gray---we have to decide all the time, don't we? We can love the museum but not all its exhibits & even have the right to tell them so! I'll bet this prompted some good discussion at your house....

Anonymous said...

A great life learning opportunity for your students - not to take everything at face value, to question, to look for reasons/meaning/motivation behind what they see and hear. Unfortunately life presents us with many things that are not as they seem - those who look for and are aware of possible explanations are far ahead of the game.

LakeMom said...

This was indeed a great learning experience. We have actually visited those exhibits before, but always when the kids were little and they were all just excited to sit in the driver's seat of a tractor. This is the first time we have looked thoroughly at the propaganda. It is also coming on the heels of me reading a book about factory farming, one which I thoroughly discussed with my kids.

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