With all of the awareness brought to injustice and harm in our society, I wish to bring up today a product that remains in our medicine cabinets and on our pharmacy shelves, whose global sales sustain a barbaric and inhuman industry worth billions of dollars.
I’m talking about baby oil.
With all of the sources for creating various oils–olives for olive oil, vegetables for vegetable oil, corn for corn oil–we as a civilized society must put an end to the consumption of babies to bring to market a substance that has so many suitable substitutes.
The earliest records of history document production of baby oil in ancient Babylon using wooden presses operated first by teams of six men, then in larger operations by teams of horses. This process evolved over centuries with the use of baby oil spreading across the globe. Rising demand only escalated the barbarity by the 1800’s, when industrialization enabled powerful mechanized presses to scale production up to unprecedented levels, all while reducing the cost by volume.
While this demonic industry has always brought about an economic benefit for poor families unable to sustain themselves without selling a portion of their offspring–not to mention the benefit of employment for workers who produce, package, and sell baby oil–the vast majority of wealth derived from baby oil merely enhances the wealth of a handful of billionaires, who conveniently rationalize away the moral cost to the collective soul of our species.
During the middle of the 20th century, a small band of activists in the United States sought to take on this powerful industry, and gradually began to expose the hideous truth behind a product found in most households, but whose purpose and use most people–especially men–have no conception of in the first place. By the 1960’s enough awareness and pressure had been brought to bear on industrial producers to force them to devise a process that would enable babies to survive the oil-extraction procedure.
Regrettably, this small step for morality came at a significant cost to producers–who bristled at the expense of the modified means of production–and society–which had to sustain and care for babies after their precious oil was squeezed out of them, leaving them with severe health complications and cognitive idiosyncrasies. As the issue began to lose attention, production reverted to the previous, more convenient method.
And this is where it becomes personal to me: I was one of those babies.
All of my life, I have suffered from the after-effects of the process. Even as an infant, so recently emerged from the oil presses, I suffered from exceptionally dry skin (and still do today), and my joints have made a grating and gritty sound at my every bodily motion. Crawling and walking–such precious milestones for babies and toddlers–were attended in my case not by proud and smiling caretakers, but by horrified people traumatized by recollections of classroom miscreants who scratched their fingernails across slate chalkboards.
Consider the events of life spoiled for me and the hundreds of thousands of others who were used as infants in this brief experiment: running to first base after my first Little-League hit (though I extended it to a double because all of the infielders were covering their ears); my first kiss as a teenager (my neck squeaked, she shrieked); walking to receive my diploma at my high school graduation (no one in the Christian Brothers Academy Class of 1986 can bear to this day to hear Elagar’s Pomp and Circumstance). I could go on, but you get the point.
The neurological problems are even worse: the stunted social development, the inability to be smooth with the opposite sex, the prodigious appetite for fatty foods, the obsession with petroleum stocks…
Most of my readers do not have to live with daily reminders and impairments related to this trauma. Most people have the luxury of ignorance.
But I appeal to all who have compassion and conscience to boycott the baby oil industry, to write to representatives and legislators, to organize, to spread the message that baby oil has no place in human civilization.
I beg of all of you–help me amount to more in life than merely a tragic statistic.
Happy First of April.
Cover photo by Daniel Reche of Pexels.