It isn’t that not much has been going on but rather, there’s been a distinct lack of ways to marry alcohol and gustatory narratives into something remotely consumable to the current hyperlocal readership. That and a couple of books have been doing my head in – Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Paul Muldoon’s The End of the Poem.
I’ve been told many times that my brain likes to marry disparate themes and concepts (much like Anne Sexton ‘marries her bed‘ and would like to think openness towards such…connections is two-way but not confined by binary constraints. Pollan’s dedicated narrative to recording where a standard first-world meal comes from didn’t immediately strike me as having much to do with Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg or any of their beards and hirsute persuasions. Turns out they can: notions of modern farming and ‘the pastoral’ are (for the US at least) very tied up in Whitmanian poetic ramblings (specifically ‘Song of Myself’). Ginsberg’s ‘A Supermarket In California‘ is startlingly accurate (which is just not on as the 50s are, like, soooo vintage). Even Charon on a smoking bank hints at the next new food trend where we smoke our own meat (joke). A deliberately convoluted way of saying, yes, if you’re tangential, I’m usually fairly happy to ride along.
Pollan mentions that several links in the agribusiness model makes it more expensive to adopt ethical standards and keep to them. Contemporary society is wasteful, etc. etc. but it’s essentially greed that stops us from making otherwise excellent harm minimizations the norm. The Guardian suggests why horsemeat for human consumption hasn’t taken off in the US, A beardless yet long-locked Romain Duris in Moliere apes specific horse breeds to teach a charge that acting is a skill (French 17th-century farce ftw), I learn that Steve McQueen’s film Hunger will not stimulate appetite the way Man vs. Food can (there are times when I’ve been genuinely grateful the latter has worked) and that Paul Muldoon has quite the breadth of general knowledge – about oats, goats, friskiness and horse characteristics:
To say of a horse that it is ‘feeling its oats’ is to say that it is more than usually rambunctious, more than usually capricious (which has) to do with the goatlike tendencies of a horse…latent associations of the sexual licentiousness of…goatish associations combine with the notion of the ‘sowing of wild oats’
Apparently, sexual liberty in pre-Revolutionary Russia was a privilege to social classes elevated even above the upper middle class. Muldoon continues:
There’s an implication…that the (speaker in Marina Tsvetayeva’s ‘The End of the Poem’) and her lover might have once been ‘fine race-horses’ but have been spoiled by excess, perhaps even an excess of deprivation of appropriate food. In that sense, (she) is right about the adverse effects of long-term overfeeding of oats to horses, animals whose stomachs are adapted to eat the more humdrum grass and hay.
Seriously, you never quite know where Muldoon is going with any of his poetic theses but this horse and consumption schtick does happen to converge on contemporary Western ideas towards horsies: we don’t eat them because we ride them. I mention ‘barebacking’ and its relevant connotations but stop here before Muldooning this post. Technically, humans could ride bovines (and sort of do in a rodeo context…) and as Pollan mentioned, we’re used to providing an excess of deprivation for our cattle. Muldoon wasn’t to know that ‘humdrum grass and hay’ and its accompanying land is a newly defined luxury (what?! Muldoon didn’t know something?! stop press!).
I propose that the contemporary lonely masturbator is, therefore, the business owner who chooses sole gain over what benefits humankind now. The future is looking grim for a larger number of the population. Does this mean plebs don’t have the option of futureproofing and demonstrating they give a toss for subsequent offspring? Either way, changes that could benefit so many of us ‘world citizens’ have no hope of being adopted frivolously. We’ve basically been headfucked from birth to be in love with ponies* and Gulliveresque literature and by gum, we’re going to carry that ennui into our adulthood! Yes, this blog post was merely a curation of facts and ditties to reify my ‘think of the world we’re leaving our children then you’ll see why I want to rip out my own ovaries!’ position. As my Pollan reading mate (technically, my superior, as he finished reading the book) points out, we have a better understanding of how we’re fed but suggestions aren’t offered in abundance. How much exactly has to be obliterated before the largely privileged (first-world inhabitants) and rarer affluents but I promise this is not a commie rant but it is conducive to forming boozehound behaviours – one of which I can right, only because of excess of deprivation.
*if you fancy a touch of iconoclasm in that department then gadabout here, noting that it is NOT safe for work, may scar small children or idealists.