I sent the following text message this morning:
"I'm getting really good at killing fruit flies with my bare hands."
It’s true; I’ve snagged two of them recently, my fist closing quickly like the tongue of a frog, and I intend to keep practicing.
But as soon as I sent it I realized how strange this usage is — had I been, perhaps, wearing gloves, I still would have made the same boast. Which in turn made me wonder, why do we use “bare hands” to mean “without tools”, but “bare feet” to mean only, literally, without shoes or socks?
The internet fucking sucks. It is terrible and is ruining everything. At least, the people on the internet are terrible and are ruining everything.
The internet itself is an amazing place. It’s the kind of place you go when someone says “fried dandelions” and you say “I’m going to go find out about that” and so you internet, and you do. Go ahead and look. It’s not quite as saturated a market as, let’s say, basil pesto, but there’s enough to go on.
I grew up in a divisive chocolate chip cookie household. I wanted to just sit around and eat raw cookie dough, but my mom wanted to bake them and then keep baking them: thin, crisp, what we might even call “burned” or, as a friend has it, “culinary brown”.
Recently, I’ve been bothered by a perceived over-use of the word (and concept of) “authentic”. It’s become a potent buzz-word at least within the food media world, and I’ve noticed it increasingly, perhaps because I’m primed for it, across other conversations, as well.
I’ve been spending a lot of time mulling this over in my mind, and I’ve decided that there are some uses that bother me, and some that don’t so much. They can roughly be divided into two classes: internally-ordained authenticity and externally-ordained authenticity. This is just what I’ve come up with over several weeks of casual ruminating; the world has no shortage of other classification systems, such as those discussed here, which to some extent overlap with the way I am seeing this proposed dichotomy. And there are plenty of uses of the word that don’t really fit neatly into these two classes, either. I use them only as a proxy to discuss the way conversations about experiential (and cultural) phenomena take place and the power dynamics within them.
Two girls walk onto a train, talking quietly amongst themselves.
As they sit down, a woman leans out from the row behind them. “This is the quiet car.” The girls stop, taken aback.
“You don’t need to tell me that,” says one of them.
“Well you were talking …”
“We were talking to get on the train.” *Looks incredulous. I, also, felt incredulous.* They pick up their things which they’d just set down and head back out of the car.
“I was just trying to be nice!” Fruitlessly. But were you?
Pop quiz: who in this story is white, and who is black?
This is not quick because you gotta roast carrots (an hour) and then cook shit, let it cool, kind of cook it again … but maybe 2.5-3 hours total if you’re feeling it.