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The Botany of Desire documentary

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2009

PBS will be airing a two-hour-long documentary based on Michael Pollan’s excellent The Botany of Desire (previously recommended here).

The tulip, by gratifying our desire for a certain kind of beauty, has gotten us to take it from its origins in Central Asia and disperse it around the world. Marijuana, by gratifying our desire to change consciousness, has gotten people to risk their lives, their freedom, in order to grow more of it and plant more of it. The potato, by gratifying our desire for control, control over nature so that we can feed ourselves has gotten itself out of South America and expanded its range far beyond where it was 500 years ago. And the apple, by gratifying our desire for sweetness begins in the forests of Kazakhstan and is now the universal fruit. These are great winners in the dance of domestication.

A five minute preview of the show is available on YouTube:

I’ve watched the whole program and it’s a worthy companion to the book.

Update: PBS has put the whole thing online for free. (via unlikely words)

We Work Remotely

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is now

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2006

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is now out. Here’s a NY Times piece about Pollan hunting for wild boar that uses material from the book. I loved The Botany of Desire.

Flowers don’t smell as good as they

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 30, 2005

Flowers don’t smell as good as they used to and part of the reason is breeding…they’re breeding flowers for looks and longevity, not for scent. I believe Michael Pollan discusses this in his excellent The Botany of Desire (tulip chapter).

The Red Delicious apple has fallen out

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 08, 2005

The Red Delicious apple has fallen out of favor. It’s been dumbed down too much for the market. For more on apples, see Michael Pollan’s excellent The Botany of Desire.