By the end of 2021 a great deal of unrelated material had been collapsed together in an attempt to discredit any and all points of view divergent from public health policy. Derogation and censorship have forced intimacy upon subcultures that might otherwise have remained separate. Thanks to the wholesale vilification of “vaccine hesitancy” pacifist alternative health movements find common cause with Trumpist militants and European neo-nazis. They deserve disaggregation.
After a month in the kitchen, I am still restricted to setting the table. Once I was allowed to stir something, but apparently that was a special situation. Foreigners are seen as culinary toddlers. If we knew what to do with tomatoes we wouldn’t be taking expensive holidays to Italy, now would we?
I planned an afternoon baking cookies with my friend. I wanted to bake small batches, adjusting the dough each time. By the end of this,
“I remember saying to somebody very early on that I just want to make furniture and talk to people about it. And I feel like now I might take the word ‘furniture’ out of it… The customers I’m thinking of can enunciate what they’re looking for in a piece of furniture beyond price. They have an experience in mind or a material connection or an aesthetic. Or they understood the slow movement and they liked the origin story.
As they have delivered work from labor and industrial logics, artisans have likewise redeemed materials from their status and calculus as “inputs”.
What I’ve learned from a year of pitching… So one question that comes to me is that if I’m going to have to do most of the promotion anyway, why would I give the publisher 85%? For what? The imprimatur of a “real” publisher? Let’s cut out the middlemen and the gatekeepers. And for me, the freedom to write what I want to, design the presentation, and launch it promptly is as important to my creative process as getting paid.
People who are afraid that their governments withhold information are factually correct. People who are afraid that government programs might sacrifice certain categories of people in service of an undemocratic notion of “the public good” are validated by historic and recent events. People who are afraid that for-profit corporations could sell known harmful, addictive, or unsafe products have plenty of case data to underlie their concern.
Around the world is a crisis of modernization in which younger generations do not want to inherit the farming and other artisanal work of their families. At the same time, a subculture is burgeoning of young people and ex-office workers who want to work with land, agriculture, food, and traditional production methods.
What Italians do not seem to know is how profoundly revered Italian cuisine is in the US, and particularly in California. I could recognize my compatriots easily in Napoli. They were silent, faces upturned, eyes half-closed, eating the pizza as if they were receiving communion.
Most of the R&D for our sustainable future was self-funded and unwaged. As part of our transition, we need to recognize the people who refused to be discouraged, who kept the possible viable.
Shopping involved certain gestures, discreetly fingering the fabric, deftly flipping a garment open to see how it was sewn, to examine the quality of the lining. Objects were promptly upended to see the quality of workmanship and to search for manufacturers’ engravings. If she couldn’t lift and turn an object of interest with one hand, she’d give me the nod, and I would turn it upside down for her examination.
People who make guitars and surfboards, bread and pants, are driven by the pleasure of manifestation, the urge to work with their hands, and the need to work autonomously. Artists too, most artists, forego security and luxury in fealty to that same urgency. Filmmakers indebt themselves to the story that compels them. Not because it is a good investment. Farmers take second jobs so they can keep their land in production. I did not know that journalists who provide the food of democracy, also do this.
Just because I’m finally in Italy doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to get my favorite cheeses from Sicily and Campania (Southern Italy) any easier here in Turin (the Piemonte region is in the NorthWest of Italy) than in Berlin or Paris, because most of what’s on offer is going to be local.
As a philosopher, young Karl Marx learned that work was an aspect of being human. He became an economist in fury that work was being systematically torn from our personhood to serve industries. His intellectual and political inheritors have mostly sought to limit this incursion, to protect the person from the world of work. Which wasn’t quite the point. Meanwhile all around us people bolt because the work is even more important than the money.
As a food tourist my strategy was simple: try lots of things and keep track of the names of the ones I like. Faced now with time to explore the diversity of Italy at leisure, I suddenly felt that I should be doing more than trawling for things I like. I should know why I like them.
There is no justification for the throughput of materials involved in junking cars less than 20 years old and encouraging people to buy new electric/hybrid. Even if the old car are purportedly “recycled”, metal recycling produces really terrible jobs. As does mining (often illegal) for e.g. cobalt and lithium needed for electric car batteries.