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CMU Beef Of The Week #257: Neil Young v Coffee (Round 2)

By | Published on Friday 29 May 2015

I think if Pono has taught us anything, it’s that Neil Young is not a man to back down, regardless of how impossible the task ahead of him may seem. Because, and I can’t stress this enough, Pono is a big sack of shit.

Neil Young - The Monsanto Years

But with that in mind, I’d like you to cast your mind back to November 2014, when Young got a bit shirty with Starbucks. His beef was that the coffee company had teamed up with genetically modified seed manufacturer Monsanto, behind the veil of lobbying organisation the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to sue the state of Vermont in a bid to try to block a law that would require GM foods to be labelled as such.

Starbucks, we should add, denies that it was part of any such lawsuit, but there are plenty of people, Neil Young included, who say that this is a big fat lie.

Anyway, I was talking about how principled and unwilling to back down on anything Neil Young is. This is one such thing. And, unlike Pono, his stubbornness in this matter is pretty admirable. I mean, last time we spoke about this, Young was just encouraging his fans to sign a petition. This time, he’s announcing the release of an entire concept album based on the whole thing. Amazing.

So, on 29 Jun 2015, it will come to pass that ‘The Monsanto Years’, the new studio album from Neil Young And Promise Of The Real, will hit all good music outlets (and Pono), available in both audio and video form.

Announcing the record, Young said via his website: “Still no lattes for me, folks. I am not going to support a company that actively tries to defeat the will of the people by fighting their right to know what is in the food they eat”.

“Contrary to the misleading information coming from Starbucks, the coffee company is in alliance with other food giants, including Monsanto, in suing the state of Vermont to overturn the GMO labeling laws voted for by the people”, he continued. “An alliance is a pact, coalition or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests. Starbucks and Monsanto are members of the Grocery Manufacturers Alliance”.

He concluded: “The Grocery Manufacturers Alliance sued the state of Vermont to overturn the people’s will to mandate GMO labeling in Vermont. In communications with Starbucks the company was unresponsive to the direct question on whether Starbuck’s coffee product contained GMOs”.

Sometimes I worry that I’m going to stop being angry about stuff as I get older. I quite enjoy being angry about things. It passes the time, you know? Obviously, I hope my anger never leads me to launch something as magnificently stupid as the Pono, but at least Neil Young, at 69 years old, is a beacon of hope that some people don’t just calm the fuck down as they age. He wrote a whole album about something that pissed him off. A whole album!

Let’s celebrate by listening to ‘A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop’ from the album: