I stopped to get gas last hour, and went into the station mini-mart to buy the early edition of the Sunday Oregonian as well. The feature highlighted on the front page was a business story about "salmonella, illegal pesticides and toxic compounds in produce, seafood and candy brought into the United States." The cashier pointed to that and said, in her small voice, "Didn't we use to have farms in the U.S.?"
"What?" said I, someone who has lived in farming regions.
She started, haltingly, to talk about how all our food (all of it) comes from other countries. Not feeling like being nice about it, and worried I would rapidly get not-nice in responding to her, I replied that I did not want to talk about it. "That wasn't a conversation I was having," I said.
(A part of me wanted to go all Hunter S. Thompson on her and say, "Sure! Exactly! It's a way to undermine our country from without, by poisoning us. They're grating asbestos into our Easy Cheese and shaving shards of glass into our Pabst. Hallucinogens are going to wind up in our Chinese-made Cheetos, too. People will never know why other good Americans suddenly start pulling their teeth out through their noses, and by then it will be too late...")
She defended herself by pointing out what was obvious, that she was just (and oh, "just" can be such a defensive word, can't it?) responding to what was in the paper. Then she added "Well, there's one way to deal with that: don't pay attention to the news." She quieted down, and tried to sound all conspiratorial, when she said that.
No. Don't say that to a media person, even a media veteran who has his own feelings about the current state of media.
I bid good night and got the hell out of there before haranguing began.