-The case for high heels.
-Something about the fact that this amazingly adorable baby tiger is in Germany makes this photo... off.
-On the 10,000 hours I spent on the subway today (9,000 of which involved a horse-and-buggy pulling a W train from Union Square to 42nd) I had a chance to hear Alice Waters interviewed on Times Talks. Her pro-tasty-food agenda would have my full support if she did not attribute all our nation's woes to our failure to emulate the French. Waters explains that she goes to France every year (insert carbon-footprint remark here), and that the French taught her how great food can be. This much I can accept. Harder to take is her belief that the French value their culture, unlike us crude Americans, and that their defense of their cuisine is a part of this. She presents the French appreciation of land and soil as this uncomplicated good, when in fact the history of French preservation-of-culture-via-agriculture is anything but. While self-aware enough to realize this is merely a sign I've been in too much graduate school, I couldn't help but think, as Waters was explaining how "beautiful" it is when public-school students work the land, the great 19th (and 20th!) century obsession with turning Jews into farmers. Of course, I know she's not endorsing the shadier aspects of French nativism when she holds forth on locally-grown lettuce (I save my paranoia for baby-tiger photos), but it wouldn't hurt if she made a point of showing awareness that France is not (just) some lettuce-filled paradise, and if she were willing to admit the existence of more positive aspects of American culture. Plus, getting the whole country on board for local/organic whatnot will be easier if it does not seem to entail having cultivated a personal appreciation for the south of France.
-As for American culture... Should we outlaw Black Friday or embrace it? How much of the anti-consumerist indignation (see photos and comments) is coming from people who themselves enjoy shopping, but who are aesthetically put off by Walmart, flat-screens, and big crowds of the less-than-chic? Where does consumerism end and Sartorialism begin? Why do we insist debt-inducing materialism is unique to the contemporary US, when nineteenth-century Frenchwomen partook? How much is a visceral distaste for mass-produced items and those who revel in getting them half price (says she who just spent $4.75 on an Old Navy hat, albeit not on the day), and how much is a not-at-all-classist and fully understandable reaction to the fact that a man died so that people could get their discounts. Elizabeth is right that "No matter how many times someone says it or writes it, it doesn’t sound any less horrifying."
Monday, December 01, 2008
-The case for high heels.