In agricultural societies, the source from which carbohydrates are derived is the cornerstone on which all else is built. Fields of wheat and corn are the iconic hallmarks of large stretches of the modern American landscape. Rice fields etched out across a hillside make for among the most beautiful landscapes found in the real world, while also representing a staggering investment of labor and dedication. Through antiquity, these crops have been a foundation on which we prop up the establishment of towns, cities, and entire nations. The United States of America from the simple grain of wheat, China from the simple grain of rice. From driving a car down the highway to sending a text on your phone, none of it would be possible without a civilization that had already made the earlier steps of learning how to get greater volumes of crops to grow out of the ground.
Oh hey, are you still reading? That's awesome! This has been a test, and you, actual reader, have passed with flying colors. In case you haven't guessed, this article is not about why zoosexuality is the best, nor is it about the farming of carbohydrate sources. Let me explain.
Recently, this magazine ran an article called "Keep Furries Weird!" The article got cool positive feedback from zoos, and it also garnered a lot of comments from anti-zoo furries, who sent mean memes and repeatedly made the point that bestiality isn't "weird," it's a crime. But, what's pretty funny about all of those responses? That article doesn't mention bestiality. At all. Hmmmmm... Hey, how many of those people actually read the article? How many even glanced at more than the headline?
Here at the magazine, we have a good sense of who we actually write for. Firstly, we write for zoos. It's important to us that we cover zoo issues thoughtfully, or make silly jokes that tickle zooey funnybones, depending on the article. Secondly, we do write some articles with anti-zoos in mind, addressing common lines of argument that we have seen them bring to the table. But, that audience *is* secondary: even the anti response pieces are, in a way, still mainly written for zoos, so that our own people are better equipped to respond to those anti-zoo lines of argument when they see them in the wild.
Would we love for more antis and doubters to actually engage in thoughtful reading of all of these pieces too? Absolutely, and in one-on-one conversations, it often is possible to get someone to read an article and then have a discussion with them about it. But, as for whether people sending Goku memes are sitting down to thoughtfully read the article before telling me to kill myself, I have to say I'm not holding my breath on that one.
The main takeaway here, in my opinion, is to accept that the loudest bigots are not really giving you any of their actual mental effort, and you don't have to give them any of yours. If you're walking down a crowded city street and a homeless man singles you out to start shouting swear words at, the proper response is to keep walking and don't even look. The same goes for the crowded comments sections of the internet. Just because someone is talking in your direction doesn't mean they're here to have a productive conversation. Just because someone is saying that they disapprove of everything you hold dear, doesn't mean they've ever actually thought about it in that much depth.
As a little game, I want to offer a secret signal for those who have read this. Over on the top left corner of my keyboard, there has always been this little ` symbol. Apparently it's called a backtick? I have no idea what I would ever actually use it for in writing, I cannot recall ever seeing it in any book I've ever read, I don't know why it's taking up that keyboard real estate that should obviously be going to a zeta symbol button. But, here's what we can use that symbol for right now: If you want to indicate you've actually read the real topic of this article, but don't want to give away the bait title to other commenters who haven't read it, include ` in your comment, and I will know that you know. Maybe you could hide it where an apostrophe would normally go, y`know? Play along! Tell me why being a zoo is such a horrible crime, but do it with the secret symbol. Could be fun. Also if you did want something on why zoosexuality is the best, check out some of the links after the end, I'll make sure we include some past articles that have covered it.
In conclusion, although agriculture encompasses a wide variety of practices and considerations, it's the most basic crops that are the glue that holds everything else together. We have learned in this article that this is because they provide the most nutrition, because they have the biggest demand for acreage, and because they have the biggest effect on the way societies are structured. I hope that you enjoyed reading about the unsung hero crops of agriculture as much as I enjoyed writing about it.
Article written by Alissa Dogchurch (August 2023)
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