Friday, July 22, 2005

deus ex machina

Finally, we arrive at today's stupidest piece of information, Julie Powell's shockingly incoherent Op-Ed about elitism, or something. The many unpleasant contradictions that attend our industrial food supply seem to confuse poor Julie, here as elsewhere. Where does this moral opprobrium supposedly heaped on the poor come from? Union Square? Nineteenth-century Savoie? Jenny 8. Lee?

And what do methods of preservation have to do with any of this? We should eat canned peaches in July? Or does she rather mean that we should try to disguise our apparently limitless contempt for those who do? Either way, the "argument" depends on the fiction that canned peaches are cheaper than fresh peaches in season. And even if this were "true," it could only be because everyone's tax dollars are paying for our unsustainable system of agribusiness production, from fertilizers and pesticides to tin cans, to a racist and artificially depressed labor market, to farm subsidies that are directly responsible for the poverty of millions in the developing world.

Julie's complaints, of course, have nothing to do with "the poor" and their betters, and everything to do with her own resentment at having to pay NYC prices for decent food while struggling to get by on her tiny advance. Her own insecurities inspire the fantasies of kicking Alice Waters's ass with a can of Ro-Tel and some Velveeta. It is so sad, considering the very real inequities our domestic underclass has to face, that their self-appointed "defenders" so frequently resort to the manufacture of false outrages like this.

See the Cod and, of course, me for some of the real issues with yuppie food.

P.S. I had a Charentais melon for lunch. So elitist of me! Even worse, it was organic, so it probably cost 50 cents more than those shitty green cantaloupes that have been culturing E. coli for 2 weeks at your D'Agostino. I know how oppressive this is to Little, Brown authors everywhere, but I made an exception so no farmworkers had to die to keep the price down.

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