Anchower, again. Sorry. Busy battening down the hatches for our 4th of July do. But, in re the Huang/Samuelsson kerfuffle, it seems that Schooly D has already recorded a perfect rejoinder for Samuellson:
Have a good weekend, and point those Roman candles away from you.
Very sad news out of New Orleans, with the Times Picayune planning to stop being a daily newspaper, and to ramp up its digital presence.
The Cod and NOLA go way back, and this is sad news for obvous reasons, but also non-obvious reasons:
1) The threshold for reading the Times-Pic has gone up from pocket change to the price of a computer/tablet/smartphone + the cost of internet access. This move effectively disenfranchises a significant portion of the residents of the city the Times-Pic 2.0 purports to cover. What's more, paper has a promiscous, democratic social life. An e-reader does not. You might read your newspaper on a park bench when you're finished for someone else to read -- a Kindle, less so.
2) It's fantastic to be able to read whatever daily paper you choose on the internet, so that you can keep up with what's happening in the places you care about. However, there is no substitute for reading a local, daily newspaper. At my day job, I've been dismayed by the steady decline of our student newspaper. It strikes me that a significant part of the problem is that you have a group of kids trying to put out a newspaper who are not familiar with what newspapers are and what they do.
Without resorting to masturbatory Bissingeresque nostalgia for The Paper, I'd argue that it is useful, especially for young people, to have a distinct object in their home or school that reports the news. Reporting, editorial, and advertising are relatively easy to tell apart. If you are instead getting your news by osmosis from social media, the differences between public relations and journalism can be harder to spot. Until I moved to where there was no daily newspaper to speak of, I read one every day from my early teens to late thirties. I have been known to joke that I used to be compulsive about reading the paper, but now I get my news from ?uestlove's Twitter. Today, that does not seem very funny.
I am confident that TP2.0 will offer many opportunities for readers to submit pictures of their Saints tailgates; I am less confident they will get after stories about charter schools in Orleans Parish.
Shockingly, Romney's strategy of condescending to and essentializing Southerners is not giving him the push he needs to defeat a raving loon and the least popular man in contemporary politics. And Obama's people are not shy about pointing this out. From the inbox, thank to that time I gave money to the moderate who is actually President:
Mitt Romney has got to stop saying "y'all." Campaigning for the Alabama and Mississippi primaries the last couple of weeks, he's been making his way through the South and coming out with stuff like this: "Mornin', y'all. Good to be with you. I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits." He's been calling himself an "unofficial Southerner." Yesterday he said he thinks catfish is "delicious" when, month before last, he said he didn't like it. I'm not sure it's actually physically possible for a person to be any more phony. And this is a guy who thinks we'll be fooled into thinking he's got our best interests at heart because he uses a contraction. Actually, he's a career politician from 1,200 miles away who would give tax breaks to millionaires over the middle class and roll back everything President Obama's done to create jobs and make sure our families have health care. And catfish is the least of what he's changed his mind about: unions, Roe v. Wade, climate change -- the list goes on. He thinks he's got a chance to win our votes. I can only figure that he thinks we're stupid because we talk differently than he does. No matter how he does in today's primaries, let's get together and send a message from us straight to him: We're not stupid, we're not buying what you're selling, and you don't get to say "y'all."
The picture is from the SC primary. Somehow, it makes sense that a native Midwesterner with a strong New England patrician vibe who professes a left-field religion popular in the West would claim a Southern foodways staple.
Anchower, I know. Up to my proverbial ass in day job alligators this week. But, A) Gawker follows the Cod's suit in calling bullshit on fake artisanal, though they do not pick up on the Cod's fautisanal coinage. Elsewhere, the Times has a puzzling article that says the bobos are tired like Lilly Von Schtupp of "vintage" and "artisanal" items. However, in both cases, what the Inigo Montoya said. (And speaking of people not knowing what a word means, click image at left.) It is a good trick. Folks get tired of mass marketed crap, food or furnishings, seek alternatives. Then, The Man gloms on, does a few Darjeeling Express tweaks for Anthropologie or Pottery Barn, saturates/fatigues market, announces that folks are tired of "vintage" (although not in the sense of an old object w/ a provenance story that connects it to the owner) or "artisanal" (although not in the sense of having been produced by, you know, an artisan), and announces a return to your regularly scheduled mass-marketed crap.
It is, actually, a variation on the water that Bruni hauls for the man here. Let's call it jade 'n' trade. Somewhere, someone rethinks the mode and scale and production of a consumer good -- sofa pillows, or coffee, or whatever. Then, you can get your handcrafted, shade-grown, whatever it is. It's better than what you were getting from Starbucks or Target. You can maybe feel a little better about fewer Chinese toddlers participating in its production. And then suddenly, Bruni, or Rush, or that twerp from the jeans commercials, tells you that you can't get a plan cup of coffee any more, what with the baristae chasing you down the street, cloroforming you, and pouring estate-grown, shade-harvested Tanzanian Peaberry down your throat. (See also, hipster as enemy of late capitalism, tk.) Cue fake nostalgia for the good old days when America Ran on Dunkin, and repudiation of commodity produced with marginally more social concern.
When and as, time permits, watch for the Cod to go ham on a particularly revolting twist on fautisanal.
Well, sure. There are a lot of cable channels with a lot of food programming, and a lot of folks have phones with cameras, so it's not that hard to do. The Cod stands with Bruni in imagining a world where there is less chance of seeing Gordon Ramsay when you turn on the TV. But then Bruni palms the pea and moves the shell around:
Romera sounds like an incredibly pretentious and overpriced restaurant. If I were shooting a remake of Coogan's Bluff, I'd use it as a illustration of the way that NYC sometimes tolerates/supports/embraces pretentious follies. But there is a difference between ill-concieved restaurants with avant-garde ambitions, and caring about where your food comes from. Tossing off discussion of where your steak or your coffee comes from as if it were tableside blather at Romera is nonsense. Bruni is either foolish or disingenous if he uses Romera as an example of the kind of thing that inevitably happens if you ask questions about what you're eating.
*I'm not sure if this is sloppy writing or sloppy thinking, but usually the idiom "rabbit hole" implies that you would be better off on the surface, rather than that there is some ideal depth in the rabbit hole. So, for Bruni, the whole organic thing is a crock?
And Guiteau Monday rolls right along, with the GOP Frontrunner(!)* donning a white robe(!)** and singing a parody of John Lennon's "Imagine" that simultaneously pisses on the laudable yet mawkish sentiment of that song, and in its delivery suggests Stepin' Fetchit doing a Paul Robeson impression.
*The GOP is so desperate not to have a Black president that they will stop at nothing, including electing another Black president?
**Historically, not a popular look among African Americans.