I work with two plant diseases on my SWAT exhibition. The Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Dutch Elm Disease
The bye-laws of Johannesburg say that we are allowed to kill animals and insects in self defense. That is why we are allowed to doom flies, mosquitoes and fleas and why we may also put down a vicious dog. When it comes to the killing of pigs, sheep, chickens and cattle the laws are more fuzzy. Many people slaughter these discreetly in their back yards and self-defense does not apply.
There are numerous plant diseases and we are equally entitled to defend ourselves against these.
In my work Longest Word I look at the Tobacco Mosaic Virus that tends to spoil the even coloration and texture of tobacco leaves. I would argue that this virus is doing us a service and should be allowed to carry on making it harder for people to smoke. Smokers, however, are not very kindly disposed towards the virus because it makes tobacco farming all the more difficult and pushes up the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products. For me, defense against this virus is unwarranted, but for the smoker it is imperative.
My fascination with dictionaries and words has led me to collect a library of dictionaries and to study many thousands of the world’s most fascinating words and their contexts. The proper scientific name for the Dahlemense Strain of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus has the distinction of carrying more letters than any other word in existence in the English language. This word is as ridiculous to me as the insane habit of smoking. It has 1 185 letters and is written as follows: