Lethal fruit

Donald Trump has been sued (again!) for inciting violence by urging his bodyguards and his supporters to physically attack critics and protestors at events that he attends. As part of the case, he had to submit to a legal deposition towards the end of last year and in the course of it, he expressed fears about reports that he might be pelted with fruit, especially tomatoes.

The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah say that no comedy writer could match the quality of the humor in the deposition transcript and to prove it he and Michael Kosta read verbatim from the it. That five-minute segment begins at the 5:45 mark.

I, like Noah, had not known about this case and was surprised to hear about it. It just shows how much news we are bombarded with about Trump’s legal shenanigans that even him being forced to give a legal deposition, something we know he hates, slipped under the radar.

As an aside, a long time ago I read an article by someone whose name I have forgotten but the title I remember. It was Hard Times, Hard Tomatoes and the author was investigating why tomatoes these days seem dry and tasteless, nowhere close to the juicy, flavorful tomatoes he had eaten as a child. It is true, eating a tomato does not give one much satisfaction. It turned out that the degradation of tomatoes can be traced back to the mechanization of farming practices, where the picking of tomatoes was increasingly being done by machines. As a result, tomatoes were being bred to have hard, thick skins so as to not be bruised by the machines when being picked and the price paid was in the taste and texture.

So Trump may have had a point when he expressed fears about being hit by a tomato. As to fears about pineapples, that is a bit much. Sure, a pineapple has spikes and is hard but you cannot easily sneak a pineapple into a venue without being noticed. Furthermore, it is heavy and you would need someone with professional quarterback capabilities to throw one any distance with any accuracy.

As for a possible banana attack, if Trump had attended the self-defense classes taught by John Cleese, he would have known how to defend himself in that situation.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the picking of tomatoes was increasingly being done by machines.

    Which all started in the late-’60s/early-’70s. Ralph Nader, then in transition from car-safety crusader to general-purpose consumer advocate, did a little math on the published requirement for the height a tomato could fall from without splattering, and announced that the toughness standard for tomatoes exceeded those of car bumpers.

  2. blf says

    An addendum on the mechanized-picking of tomatoes: In addition to being bred to “tolerate” rough handling, they are also picked before ripe (whilst still basically green billiard balls in hardness and taste), and then gas-“ripened”. Ethylene gas is used — which tomatoes naturally produce as they naturally ripen — but apparently all the gas does is turn the green unripe tomatoes red. They are not actually “ripened” in any meaningful sense of the term by being gassed.

    I know it is nowadays possible to obtain so-called “vine ripened tomatoes”. That might be legit, but I presume there is scam and / or unethical working practices involved.

    Where I live (S.France), it is possible to go to the farm (or to the farm’s stall in an outdoors market) and buy fresh tomatoes, very probably legitimately naturally ripened (e.g., they are very tasty), and with some care, ethically grown. And as an added bonus, different varieties. Toughness of the skin varies, both between and within varieties. (Some clearly have industrial-strength skins as complained-about in the OP, albeit flavour / taste is rarely a problem.) One particular local organic stall-holder, not tied to any one farm, seems to have a tomato-fetish; during the season, the stall is (well, seems to be) mostly tomatoes of all sorts. Salad, gazpacho, bombarding politicians, etc., here I come…!

  3. Ridana says

    Many years ago, I heard a comedian (don’t recall who) describe store-bought tomatoes as being “strip-mined” which is pretty damn close to how they’re harvested.

    They seem to have altered tomatoes further in recent years so that now they often have a nearly woody core 2/3 of the way through. Cutting that out essentially leaves you with tomato rings rather than slices. As I see no value in that like breeding in impact resistance had, I imagine it’s a side-effect of some other change they’ve found useful.

  4. flex says

    There is an old vaudeville routine which this reminds me of… I’ll leave out the stereotypical language, but I’ll keep the names.

    Mike shows up on stage with a black eye.
    Pat: “Mike! What happened! Were you in a fight?”
    Mike: “No, no. Nothing like that, the Misses and I had a difference of opinion, and she threw some tomatoes at me.”
    Pat: “You got a black eye from some tomatoes?”
    Mike: “These tomatoes were still in the can.”

    As for the thickness of store-bought tomato skins, I’ve finally given up on buying Roma tomatoes because they seem to not only have no flavor, but their skins and flesh are like vulcanized rubber. I know that it’s pretty easy to skin a tomato with a quick blanche, but why bother when the result is still a tough chunk of vegetable fiber? Locally they sell “vine-ripened” tomatoes, which are slightly better. Just because they are still ‘on a vine’ doesn’t mean they have fully ripened on the vine. I still suspect they are picked too soon and then gassed to get the red color. But they seem a little closer to ripe than the Roma’s in the stores, and I think they are handled a little more delicately so they can be picked later. Still green, but later. I generally let them ripen on the counter for a few days before using them. Never refrigerate a tomato.

  5. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    I’ve always liked the Belgian tradition of caking. Especially grandstanding politicians. A surprise cream cake in the face reveals wonderfully the true nature of the pol.

    Trump has a very cakeable face, but my current #1 favourite is Putin.

  6. garnetstar says

    Lassi H @5, what a good idea! Those two really need cake in the face, preferably while they’re together.

    It’s not just tomatoes: nearly all produce I get has had the flavor bred out. Strawberries, for example: I don’t even eat them anymore because they have no scent and no flavor at all, they taste like wood.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Sweden has intermittedly tried to import the Belgian tradition.
    Trump is afraid of pineapples, germs and sharks.
    Feel free to combine the three in an appropriate way, and launch them into Mar-a-lago.

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