Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday Musings

Intro filler language! Let's muse...

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So, is it Advent yet? I only know Advent as the time when religious lefties start haranguing us about "consumerism", and I assume that some of the quirkier Christian denominations also celebrate it by doing weird things in robes and anointing stuff. Is there anything important here, or is this just Christians being jealous of Ramadan?

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A couple of years ago, I observed that the liberal backlash against bottled water was all a bit of plank pulling. Bottled water began as an accessory of the effete left, only to be co-opted by the mouth-breathing masses. By the time Walmart began selling 30 packs, the whole enterprise was seen as gauche, and the fleece-wearing set had converted to Nalgene bottles.

Months ago, I predicted a similar backlash to the "localvore" movement. For the last decade, our self-proclaimed cultural elites gravitated to co-ops, CSAs and farmers markets. Menus at top restaurants now boast the origin of a particular protein prior to (or even in lieu of) listing key components of a dish.

The movement caught on. CSAs are more popular than ever, and the Farmer's market is packed with soccer moms and hipsters alike. Cue the music.

Some have started to re-evaluate the value of eating locally. After all, isn't trucking produce from door to door just as inefficient as porting large quantities of the stuff across the interstate? Local farms cannot keep up with the demand, and might be forced to compromise their standards to meet it. And isn't it all a bit classissisisist to assign a lower value to food consumed by black people Walmart shoppers?

The Washington Post printed an op-ed that actually (faintly, damningly) praised Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin for questioning the obsessions with healthy, local food. The backlash has begun. In fairness, the author's point is perfectly accurate. People will reject a healthy eating movement that becomes a bureaucratic malaise. Persuasion and multi-tiered arguments are preferable to moralizing and forbidding.

But let's face it, once people can't moralize and forbid about something, they lose interest, especially if it costs money. Conservatives are starting to show interest in the issue, especially w/r/t treated foods (pasteurized milk, corn, hormone chickens). That can't be right. Maybe there's no harm in our meddling with nature after all. In fact, its good for the environment.

Cereal cafes are starting to hit the hipster circuit. Will "box to bowl" be the new "farm to table"?

My answers are "I hope not" and "yes".

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I caught Easy A, this summer's surprise hit, at the Riverview. It reminded me of Saved, in that it depicts unhinged conservative Christians behaving like, well, liberal Muslims. But instead of shoving preachy pop religion down our throats as an antidote, the movie instead chooses to employ comedy.

Incidentally, I'm sure the script was pared down to achieve a PG-13 rating ('twat' is not a vulgar enough word to use as a set piece), but I think this added something. I'm not terribly concerned with vulgarity (my favorite film of the year prominently features a far more set-piece worthy word), but I do like my comedies to be somewhat grounded.

As a general rule, comedy works best when it plays by the rules. Judd Apatow and his clan, for whom vulgarity is a sort of sleight of hand, have had quite a run bending and breaking those rules. Alas, ever new comedy seems intent on replicating this tenuous model. There is something refreshingly sophisticated about a movie that isn't allowed to show T & A to break up a dull moment.

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Barack Obama has yet to say anything about North Korea's attack on South Korea. Does he know he's still president? Has anyone explained the concept of mid-term elections to him? Like, it's not a British style parliament or anything. Just checking...

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