For Immediate Release: October 27, 1998
San Francisco ‹ The chief executive of one of the world's biggest
corporations was struck in the face with a tofu creme pie on Tuesday night
at the "State of the World Forum" conference in the Fairmont Hotel. The
incident occurred after Shapiro gave a keynote address on the brave new
world of genetic engineering. The "Anti-Genetix" splinter faction of the
Biotic Baking Brigade (BBB) claimed credit for the gustatory assault, which
was code-named "Operation Safe Harvest." The BBB is aligned with Belgian
pieman Noel Godin's International Patisserie Brigade, who are responsible
for pieing Bill Gates and many other deserving targets.
"The Biotic Baking Brigade doesn't just promise pie in the sky, we deliver"
said a BBB operative named Apple, who served as Special Agent-in-Charge of
this operation. Continuing its autumn campaign against corporate crime, the
pie incident was the second BBB offensive this month. Nobel Laureate
neoliberal economist Milton Friedman suffered the same fate as Shapiro on
October 9, 1998, at the Marriot Hotel in San Francisco, during the "School
Choice and Corporate America" conference.
After Shapiro gave his speech and left the stage, he stopped to engage in a
dialogue with a heckler on genetic engineering and corporate crime. It was
at this point that BBB Field Agents Custard and Lemon Meringue approached
him and let fly with tofu creme and sweet potato pies, the first of which
reached its target. Shapiro barely stopped to wipe his glasses and face
before returning to the argument, which he continued until he was escorted
out of the banquet hall by handlers and security. Custard and Lemon Meringue were detained by security and arrested by San Francisco Police. Custard has been charged with misdemeanor battery and will appear in court Wednesday morning, while at this time Lemon Meringue may be released without charge.
The vegan tofu creme pie symbolized the millions of acres of Monsanto's genetically-engineered soybean crops and other "Frankenfoods" coming to
harvest this season, dangerous foods which people have been powerless to
stop thus far. The sweet potato pie was tossed in recognition of the recent
New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story (October 25), which detailed the
fraud, deception, and legacy of poison Monsanto has given the world, using
the genetically-engineered (GE) "New Leaf Russet Burbank Potato" as an
"Monsanto has engaged in ruthless intimidation of critics; embarked upon an
aggressive global takeover of seed, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies,
with an aim to control world food distribution; and is conducting an
intensive PR "Greenwash" campaign in order to promote itself as an
eco-friendly corporation. We will not be fooled, and we will wage our
gastronomical struggle with epicurean passion" said Agent Apple. "Monsanto
and its subsidiaries have spread chemical death across every continent
through products such as PCBs, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone,
Nutrasweet, Equal, and Roundup (the world's biggest selling herbicide).
The corporation's toxic Superfund sites poison workers and community
members, and its dioxins will continue to cause birth defects and major
health problems for generations to come." The EPA has designated Monsanto
as a "potentially responsible party" at 93 Superfund sites.
In 1997 the BBB pied corporate raider Charles Hurwitz, CEO of MAXXAM
Corporation, who is responsible for liquidating the Headwaters Forest and
defrauding taxpayers of $1.6 billion during the 1980's Savings & Loan
Scandal. Holding people responsible for their crimes through delicious
mischief is the raison d'etre of the BBB.
The Shapiro Pie Incident: A Strange And Terrible Saga.
An Eyewitness Account, Along with a Few Thoughts and Literary Allusions.
Composed on October 28, 1998.
Last Friday afternoon I was contacted by a BBB intelligence source known as
"Deep Pastry." S/he communicated to me that Robert Shapiro, CEO and
Chairman of Monsanto, would be delivering a keynote address at a conference
the following Tuesday. We had heard from Our Man in London recently that
the Brits were planning to pie him next time he crossed the Atlantic, and
naturally we couldn't let the Limeys upstage us in this respect, because they already have in every other form of anti-GE activism.
Thusly and therefore, I immediately relayed the information to the General Command of the BBB, whose Headquarters and Ovens are located deep in the heart of the Headwaters Redwood Forest. The following day I received my orders: compile a dossier on the target (photos, personal habits, culinary preferences, etc.), perform an extensive reconnaissance of the battlefield(the illustrious Fairmont Hotel, where Clinton and his ilk stay when they come to town), assemble a crack pie-slinging team, develop a set of combat scenarios, and await the go-ahead command.
By Tuesday afternoon, everything was in place. I went to the pre-arranged bake shop (name withheld for obvious reasons), ordered a apple-rubarb crumble to go, and repaired to the pub. Even though I expected the document and have been through the routine before, I couldn't help but tremble a tad when I reached the bottom of the patisserie and uncovered the sealed and embossed envelope which read, "Special Agent Apple: For Your Eyes Only." I had received the green light: the plan was a go. We were to commence "Operation Safe Harvest" at 18.00 hrs., and carry out the mission by any means necessary.
By 18.07 the "Anti-Genetix" splinter faction had penetrated the tight security perimeter, and we were surrounded by dozens of the world's corporate and socio-political elite. This year's annual "State of the World Forum" enjoyed an attendence of 900 individuals from 103 nations and tribes, and cost a mere $5,000 per ticket. It is perhaps the classic example of liberal, consensus, win-win, Clinton-esque, spin-doctor, sell-out, cultural appropriation, commodification-of-dissent-type event in the world today.
We were indistinguishable from the other suits in the room, and probed the reception for our target while drinking wine and chatting with heavy politicos and corporados from across the globe. As the reader can imagine, it was all quite surreal, and I recalled the tale of an activist in London who snuck into a soiree of Shell Oil executives. Shapiro was nowhere in sight, so when the reception ended we proceeded to the banquet hall for a lovely dinner. After a welcome from Mayor Willie Brown (who has turned San Francisco into a haven for big business and development, and recently endorsed a massive biotech factory for the city's East Side) and remarks from the Forum's moderators, Reg Brack (Chairman Emeritus, Time Incorporated) began the keynote addresses by launching into an ode to the triumph of capitalism over communism, information-age technology over real communities and the natural world, Reason over the forces of Darkness blah blah blah. A few hisses emanated from the audience when Brack celebrated the giant retail book superstores spreading across Amerika, and the on-line book chain www.amazon.com selling books through cyberspace. His cold steel-blue eyes gazed imperiously over the assemblage via two enormous video screens. The speech met with resounding applause.
Next, the moderator introduced our man, Bob Shapiro, as a great progressive and a pleasure to have at the Forum. Cautious applause mingled with murmurs of dissent, perhaps because there were people inside and outside the event distributing copies of the special "Monsanto Files" issue of The Ecologist. After thousands of copies were printed, Monsanto's people got to the printshop and managed to scare them so badly that the printers shredded the entire print run rather than face the wrath of the Genetix Bad Boys. The Ecologist apparently managed to find a printer with a spine, and dozens of copies were express mailed to San Francisco, arriving that afternoon just in time to make the event. The presence of a protest outside by concerned citizens against Monsanto was felt inside as well.
This was the moment of truth in the theatre of modern pie warfare. Shapiro stepped to the stage, and delivered a speech that couldn't have been crafted better by Monsanto's PR firm Burson-Marstellar itself (the wonderful people who have greenwashed the dirty laundry of many filthy corporations and governments). But then again, the speech most likely was written by them.
I could barely contain myself, the tension was so great. Shapiro waxed grandiloquently about Monsanto's crucial role in saving the earth from soil erosion, pollution, overpopulation, famine, and the destructiveness of industrial society. I kid you not. He described the inherent wastefulness of cars and other industrial products, especially agricultural. His solution: more technology. At this point, my eyes began scanning the table for any remains of the scrumptious chocolate cake we were served for dessert, and I almost leaned across the table and grabbed a slice with the intention of storming the stage right then and there perforce. Luckily, the intensive training I've undergone as a BBB field operative clicked in, and I restrained myself by sticking my hands under my buttocks and diverting my gaze away from his wild eyes, which were darting to and fro across the Big Brother screen.
Finally, he finished his speech, and left the podium in a hurry. I perceived Agents Custard and Lemon Meringue approaching him directly, and so I prepared for a delicious case of culinary comeuppance. As Caesar said from the banks of the wide river Rubicon, while gazing across at Rome, "The pie is cast."
A young man at a table near the stage stopped Shapiro cold in his tracks with cries of "shame, shame!" A dialogue ensued, and then from Shapiro's three o'clock angle two pies originating from suited figures went airborne. The first made delightful contact with his upper left facial quadrant and left eyeglass piece, while the second sailed past harmlessly. Our victim directed some verbal unpleasantries toward the rapidly departing flan-ers, quickly wiped his face, turned back toward the seated fellow and continued with raised intensity to declare that Roundup was perfectly safe for the planet.
One of the moderators stepped to the microphone to introduce none other than Anita Roddick, the Body Shop global consumer conquistadora (you can actually shop for a better world!), who desperately needs some pastry treatment herself. Meanwhile, Shapiro continued to make a scene, but his handlers quickly took him by the elbow and hustled him out while wiping his head with a towel....a scene your humble correspondent will never forget, one which would cheer the hearts and souls of millions across our lonely planet. I found inside my own breast a peace which passeth all understanding.
Agents Custard and Lemon Meringue were last seen making quick strides through a side exit door, with security in hot pursuit. The rest of the BBB foot soldiers managed to escape at staggered intervals. We later found out our comrades were detained and arrested, but even the notoriously brutal SFPD managed to crack a laugh: "Hey, it's those pie people again!"
The General Command wishes to dedicate this action to the brilliant and utterly inspiring activists in Europe who have kicked off the anti-Genetix revolution. In particular, we salute the pixies and sprites who tear up GE fields by day and night, through cricket matches and other sporting ventures; the Genetic Engineering Network, who put out excellent information and keep the industry under an eagle's eye; the Genetix Snowball campaigners for their pie-a-neering efforts; and a dear friend who has been nobly toiling away at the office while her heart has been pining for direct action in the field. Cheers, mates! No pasaran! Viva Gerard Winstanley!
And so dear readers, with that I close this faithful account of the Shapiro Pie Incident, written and delivered to you at 5.57 hrs. after quite an eventful night, having run out of reserves of adrenaline and strong proper black tea. In the spirit of the Lincolnshire Loppers, I remain yours always,
Special Agent Apple, Biotic Baking Brigade
Boysenberry Prairie, Headwaters Forest, Ecotopia
PS: can someone please pass this on to Noel Godin, the "entarteur" himself?
By the way, a fan of his created a website, and it's a must see for any serious political pastry cognoscente:
"Cast a cold pie, on life, on death. Horseman, pass by." --The epitaph William Butler Yeats wrote for his tombstone in a Sligo County cemetery, under Ben Bulben.
"Every Day Is Pie Day." --BBB mediation and morning salutation