Letter: The Monsanto nerd

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The Independent Culture
The Monsanto nerd

Sir: Your account of Monsanto (21 April) makes one thing very clear: that Mr Shapiro himself is more to be pitied than scorned. Rather than being a monster, he is just a super- nerd. It seems that up to now, no one has had the kindness to tell him that the Monsanto company slogan, "Doing well by doing good", first became popular through the satirical song by Tom Lehrer, "The Old Dope Peddler". All unwitting, Mr Shapiro has been telling the world that he is either totally cynical or totally naive.

This can help to explain why he behaves like someone who never heard of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, and who is generally living in a 1950s technocratic euphoria. Perhaps in his naivety he fails to notice that his firm is run by the strong-arm merchants who give it an unequalled reputation for arrogance and effrontery.