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Why doesn't the world's richest nation have the world's richest texture? - click opera
February 2010
 
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Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 09:34 am
Why doesn't the world's richest nation have the world's richest texture?

I'm having this recurring thought, when I travel anywhere these days, that cultural software (by which I think I mean attitudes, accumulated down through history and operating by means of habit, largely unexamined by, and semi-invisible to, the people concerned) is all-determining. You can cut a slice out of America, Britain or Japan at any point and you'll basically get the same textures. It won't matter whether the area you choose is rich or poor, or whether the people are hipsters or Regular Joes. Many of the basic conditions and materials of life will be the same.

So what's the texture of America? Don't hate me if the news is bad. America is the richest nation in the world, but it doesn't have the richest textures. Far from it. You walk across sidewalks of poured concrete crudely demarcated by stick-drawn lines, leopard-speckled with blobs of blackened chewing gum. Look up at the buildings around and you'll see each window jammed with an ugly air conditioning unit, probably dripping on you. Jump into a taxi and you'll bounce on spongy suspension across pot-holed roads. Get out and the odour of rotting garbage rises to your nostrils from huge heaps of unsorted black bags waiting to be taken away and burned.

Enter a restaurant and, sure, you'll be able to get food which is cheap and plentiful. But it'll be notably lacking in subtlety, finesse and flavour. This will apply even to Thai or Japanese food. Somehow, in the transition to America, essential knowledge—and above all respect—seems to have been lost. Flavours are smeared carelessly together, too much sugar and salt and spice is added. Peek into the kitchen and you'll see that what you eat is prepared, whatever the purported nationality of the restaurant, by Mexican and Bangladeshi kitchen staff. The restaurant's advertised cuisine is just a kind of additional layer of branding, a level of illusory diversity; what you eat is always the same basic bland American ingredients, prepared by low-paid (and possibly illegal) immigrant kitchen workers. In a sense, every restaurant in America is a Mexican restaurant. Money makes it so. Money and the hidden yet omnipresent values of culture.

Go shopping in an American supermarket and you'll find that although the world's richest nation has a big selection of food and drink, it's all somewhat bland. Missing here are the truly smelly and tasty cheeses eaten in France and Germany, for instance, cheese that requires love and tradition and time to make (not to mention EU agri-subsidy). The American agricultural system is huge and industrialised, and its products are shiny and bland. I bought some cherry tomatoes, hummus, sushi and white beer in my local supermarket yesterday. When I got it home I found it was all what I'd call an "American interpretation" of these things. The tuna in the sushi tasted of, well, nothing much. The white beer was crude and lacked the cloudy, hoppy taste of German white beer. The tomatoes were sweet and watery. The hummus was sweet and gritty. The food had forgotten where it came from and why it existed.

I bought an ice cream from an ice cream van on West 24th Street. It tasted like plastic or toothpaste. Sound is texture too: New York is so noisy I get tinnitus. I'm writing this in a room with an incredibly noisy fan, a deafening garbage truck outside, and a police siren behind that. The examples could go on and on. Although there's a vast number of channels on American TV, everything has a cheap crummy video texture and is interrupted by commercials the whole time. Very little filmed material is visible as you zap through, and everything seems to take place either in a studio or in Southern California. So much for diversity, so much for a "window on the world". The impression you come away with is that, to the broadcasters who broadcast them, the actual substance of their television programs isn't really a very high priority. Despite the dizzying number of apparent options (hundreds of channels), there's really only one thing on offer here, one way of being, one texture, and it's a chopped-up, inconsequential, shoddy one.

But America is a huge, pluralistic culture, isn't it? Well, perhaps. In the last couple of days I've been twice to Williamsburg, one of the hippest places in CONUS. I've also witnessed a gay pride march on 5th Avenue. Now, I'm inclined to think of gay people and hip people as somehow different from the people around them. More "aesthetic" in their orientation to the world, perhaps, more colourful and adventurous, more inclined to value texture for its own sake, to focus on here and now rather than deferring gratification or sublimating. Yet the "peacocks" parading down 5th Avenue and along Bedford Avenue were mostly wearing the same boring jeans and sneakers, the same clumsy unsporting sportswear, as everyone else. Many wore vast T shirts over portly rotund bellies. (I'm just waiting for these vast T shirts to gain a couple of inches and become full-blown robes. That would be cool, American cities could become Nazareth or Samarkand overnight.)

Well, silly me. Gay Americans and hipster Americans are still, above all, Americans. The unconscious habitus that produces the poor textures of the world's richest nation is in their cultural software too. It's all tied up with convenience, with comfort, with puritan body horror or proactive Nietzschean body alteration (work out hard at the gym, your body is just a machine!), with putting money above quality of life and practicality above beauty. There is no Venice on the North American continent, although there may one day be a Jerusalem.

The 5th Avenue gays were, in fact, gay Christians, keen to emphasize that, although they were homosexuals, God still loved them. They wanted the same rights as anyone else, their placards declared, no more, no less. (No less, and no more.) I'd been picturing the scenes of carnage that would occur if these gay marchers ran into the crowds of evangelicals heading off to see Billy Graham's sermon at Flushing Meadows. Silly me again; the crowds would be pretty much indistinguishable. As with the ethnic cuisine, the top layer of identity here, the apparent diversity, is flimsy branding, easily stripped away to reveal a core of sameness. How ya doin' today? Doin' good.

As for the hipsters, well, I sat by the door of Beacon's Closet reading the free hipster community papers and watching the clientele, and it seemed like only the Japanese were really trying. Apart from a couple of Jesus/Serpico/Devendra types, Williamsburg was sadly bereft of inspiring figures. Bedford Avenue, so often condemned as a place of elitist fantasia and sequestered pretension and privilege, couldn't live up to the hype. If those things are hated in America, they'll be hated here too. It's in the cultural software. Williamsburg is, finally, just another part of America, another facet of the paradox which dictates that the world's richest nation should, for some reason, have some of the world's poorest textures.

120CommentReplyShare

facehead2k
facehead2k
facehead2k
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC)

Hmmmm... but is that America or New York? Both? Neither? I mean my home (Wisconsin) has some bitchin' cheese, and I've had others. Some I like more, but most I like less. And New Orleans (Louisiana) in general offers its own particular flavors that I don't imagine aped well elsewhere. Everywhere has its flavor, Nick.


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alisgray
alisgray
spoonful of sugar, pinch of salt
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC)

I don't hate you, and the news isn't new, if you've been here...
I'm told that when the US began to expand and gain lots of territory, the wiser heads of European nations predicted it couldn't succeed, because it would take too long for information and law enforcement to get from one end of the land to the other. the telegraph and the railways changed that equation. since then, there have been several periods of intentional similitude -- it feels safer that we're all at least superficially the same.

of course there are rough patches and highly glossed patches and eddys and tidewaters. but the more and larger a group you put together, the more overall sameness you'll find. (for example, the startling blandness and cheesiness of the local cuisine here in the midwest is actually a change in texture. it's just not a texture I happen to like.)_


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alisgray
alisgray
spoonful of sugar, pinch of salt
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)

PS: if you'd like to find some tastier food for a bit more money, seek out the local hippies. the produce in the organic foods supermarkets like Whole Foods or the local Co-Ops tastes that much tastier.


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relaxing
relaxing
a hardon for sophistry
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)

Seriously. At first I thought he was wandering around Williamsburg, Virginia and I nearly wept for him. Well not really.


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anglerfish96
anglerfish96
anglerfish96
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
Small wonders

Anomalies are wonderful, and move the world, but wouldn't be anomalies if everything was different. Some things appear more different than they really are, too. But it turns out it's only appearance.

Some tastes are subtle, take time to reveal.

Surfaces are deceptive, even after scraping a bit, you still haven't got the metal.

I, too, get really frustrated at the jeans and tee-shirt aesthetic. Why not try something a little wilder? But then I think it just makes me look that much better.


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relaxing
relaxing
a hardon for sophistry
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)

I assume you mean Williamsburg in Brooklyn, correct? The area is getting rather Manhattanized now, and I suspect much of the vibrancy you seek has moved on to hipper climes (and lower rents.)

Perhaps some of the problem with America is the vastness of it, and the newness of it. Americans spent the last 200 years trying to fill up an entire continent, whereas Europeans have had a millennium to distill their cultures inside of their cosy little nations.


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relaxing
relaxing
a hardon for sophistry
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)

By the way, the ice cream you buy from a van on the street? That's meant for the children. There are better, gourmet confections to be found in stores. (Though probably still not up to continental standards.)


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lapsedmodernist
lapsedmodernist
trust the hours
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)

I wonder if there is some Heart of America that ironically escapes the blandness, in the same way that, ironically, the Disney-planned town, Celebration, FL, is the one place in America where you won't find chain stores, because it would interfere with the un-50s simulacrum they've got going there.


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pot80
pot80
Brave Young Bachelor
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)

There's actually a number of places in the US where you can't find chain stores. I'm from a town without them (well, except for the gas stations.)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
The Future of the World

I think when you give freedom to people, most of them develop a false self-confidence that drives them headfirst into their deplorable aesthetic tastes. NYC is probably the best dressed city in America, and it probably gets trounced by Fukuoka.

As much as we both see Japan as the alternative to this "bad texturism of the free world," I would guess that the world is getting more like America. Are Japanese people getting more Japanese? From the ground, it seems they are putting down their arms against the big globalized, slouching threat. Are other countries getting more Japanese? Do Americans dress better than they ever have? What's the direction of change here?

Marxy


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
Re: The Future of the World

NYC is probably the best dressed city in America, and it probably gets trounced by Fukuoka.

Oh, absolutely. There's a little catwalk in Fukuoka that runs between the eki and the Fukuoka branch of Laforet. I've honestly never seen so many gorgeous-looking people as I did just sitting there for half an hour.

I disagree that it's "freedom" that makes people slouchy and bland, though. I have Japanese TV here and it's notable that a lot of the content of it is about enhancing texture: the endless food programs are very much about that "oishi moment", which is an affirmation that the texture of here and now matters very much indeed. The mystery to me is why the spread of consumer culture hasn't made us all gourmets and sensualists. I think the answer is that consumer culture is still in its infancy. It's still focused on quantity rather than quality. We have to shake off Judeo-Christian guilt before we can have consumer cultures in the West which are as sensual as Japan's consumer culture, the richest (texturally speaking) in the world at this point.


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pot80
pot80
Brave Young Bachelor
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)

Well, I reckon that it would be difficult for a nation that is at best built on the premise of a "melting pot" of cultural influences to avoid seeming somewhat homogenous at its core. That's part of the appeal in some ways - you may not be able to fully recognize that with your toxic levels of aesthetic elitism. But the Other-ness that you fetishize is still here - it's a vast country, and it really depends on whether or not you have the energy, inclination, and the patience/lack of snobbishness necessary to do some exploring on your own.


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holzfallen
holzfallen
holzfallen
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)

Have you seen the man's cap? I don't see how you can fairly accuse of him elitism. Laziness, though, certainly.

Two tips:
Humboldt Fog
Capricious


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kojapan
sibby d.
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC)

I remember hearing a chinese professor of mine say that America's ethnic cuisine is terribly bland, but only because(she says) the people cooking it don't think that their customers would like very spicy or very ethnic tasting food. But I think the reason you are encountering sameness is because New York City is a big melting pot for culture- hardly a mosiac.
Diversity is spread out across America, like here in Chicago we just had a fabulous gay parade- no gay christians in sight. Good old Mardi Gras style partying for 4 hours.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC)

Bullshit, Momus.

The good restaurants are all incredibly tiny and hidden away, or insanely expensive (where the food will be cooked by natives who love it, on one hand, or ridiculously trained chefs on the other). My international foodie friends definitely disagree with you (I, however, don't know much about food).

If you want good produce and raw food, you don't shop at large chains - you go to the farmers markets. Also, there are cheese shops all over the city that stock many of the cheeses I grew used to in Zurich and Paris.

And you expect too much from Williamsburg. The place is gentrified and wealthy now, and as someone else said, the creative odd-ball types have mostly moved away. Beacon's Closet was a tiny little shop individually stocked by What's-Her-Name and What's-His-Name-From-Interpol, but now it's another giant supermarket. If you want interesting fashion, you have to leave Williamsburg. The days of electroclash, post-punk, and even neo-folk are gone and replaced by 'experimental' yuppies and NYU students looking for the authentic bohemian existence.

I've never been to Tokyo, but I've spent enough time in several European cities to know that a different pattern emerges if you:

Find a guide.
Get off the beaten path.


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uberdionysus
uberdionysus
Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)

Don't know why that came out 'anonymous'. This is Troy, uberdionysus.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)

Forgive me if I'm wrong rather than just blowing me out the water with your intellect, but wouldn't the same situation that you're outlining here be ultimate result of that European Union that you where lamenting the demise of not so long ago in your archives?

I find your posts increasingly frustrating - the hatchet job on London was extreme and unecesary, but like I said yesterday, I'm willing to forgive you for it as it is your point of view, however knee jerk reactionary I feel it was. Then again, maybe as an itinerant boho maverick you're afforded an insight into our lives that we static individuals miss.

Personally as a lapsed long term traveller who has lived in most of the places you frequently talk about, I have to say I think you need to be in one place more than two or three days to start deconstructing the entire pattern of life there. What you stated here was obvious to a point given the times we live in, but the articelis still appreciated. I do find it disturbing that you refrain from surrendering your expectations and curtailing your own cultural desires when you travel. But then again maybe that's why You never seem satisfied anywhere.

That's it I'm off. Where's the AV upload of your show? or are you planning on releasing it commercially?

Rob


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:12 pm (UTC)

wouldn't the same situation that you're outlining here be ultimate result of that European Union that you where lamenting the demise of not so long ago in your archives?

No, I don't think so. The situation I'm describing is the result of "synergy capitalism" untrammelled by much government control. The EU is very controlling. I'm in favour of EU farm subsidies, for instance, which maintain quality and diversity in the food markets. I'm in favour of EU-funded TV network Arte, which couldn't survive at all in a totally commercial system. Here in the US there are efforts right now to destroy PBS, the nearest equivalent, already heavily compromised by private sponsorship.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)

Momus, I remember you getting all offended at Marxy's criticism of Japan, because it was so rude to criticise the host country. I suppose such niceties don't apply to you.

Have you ever thought that the problem might be you, and not the gigantic, phenomenonally cosmopolitan city that is New York? Honestly, if you can't find what you want in New York, you're not showing any imagination. As clearly evidenced by your lame "hipster tourism" in Williamsburg.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)

It's okay to attack America because it's THE BIG ONE, the global hegemon, and attacks other nations, quite literally, with armies.


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ksta
ksta
ksta
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)

i was shocked at the way the bread I could afford in the states tasted like sweet rubber. Yuck.


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becki1111
becki1111
becki
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC)

What you call "cultural software" I've always called collective history. While I think in generalized terms what you say about America is true, I do think there are more exceptions than you mention in the article and I suspect you have left them out for the sake of being provocative. In any case, America's collective history is in its infancy or perhaps toddler years. As a country, we aren't even 300 years old, and have been brought up believing we are part of the great melting pot. Of course there is going to be a general sense of blandness and lack of variation in texture. America, in a sense, was the greatest of experiments. Can we build a free nation of immigrants? Unfortunately, the route taken was to dillute or even punish the cultural histories brought here rather than weave (sorry for the pun)them into the intricate texture that could have been. I believe it was easier in the short term to have a go at it in this manner, but your post (again, with the reminder that there are definite exceptions that would impress even you, perhaps) does point out the banality born out of this experiment.


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bardot
bardot
the word girl
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC)

nothing makes me sadder than when someone has an unhappy food experience.

until i moved to my current neighborhood, i didn't realize supermarket food has its own bland quality. maybe it's an american thing? i was so spoiled by fruit and vegetable stands and real butchers in my old neighborhood. but i know now that homemade cupcakes aren't the same as supermarket cupcakes which aren't the same as sugarsweet sunshine cupcakes.

and please please go to murray's cheese shop. it's so good!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC)

I live in Williamsburg. One of those bland people you saw could have been me. I don't really go in for colorful frocks, although I do enjoy looking at them. Yes it's a more bland now with rising property values. And, as someone else said, the electroclash and trucker-hat hipster fashion of 2002-2003 was mostly an embarassing fad. It was seen as a cold and coked-up club-scene -- more of a pose than anything with feeling and creativity. I'm happy some of that element, however colorful, is gone. (For some crazy contempo NYC homegrown fashion, check out the Paper Rad crew: http://deitch.com/files/slideshows/mario05_event_5.jpg. Ugly as hell, if you ask me.)

In case you decide to visit again, we've got a great cheese shop now (Bedford Cheese shop: http://www.bedfordcheeseshop.com/) and excellent bars and restaurants. Do you know Supercore on Bedford between S. 1st at S. 2nd? It's Japanese run and lots of Japanese hang out there. You'd love it.

And we still have some great galleries (Pierogi, Plus Ultra, Roebling Hall...sadly my fave Bellweather has moved out and up to Chelsea.) And bookstores. Have you been to the art bookstore Spoonbill & Sugartown? We have a great record store now too -- SoundFix.

If I had the means, I could imagine living is a more quaint and pastoral area (Park Slope, for example), but Williamsburg, in my book, is still one of the best neighborhoods anywhere for creative people to live. If I moved, I know I'd miss it dearly.

Thanks for the recommendation for Taste of Tea. Indeed a great movie! Quirky, funny, and human-scaled/paced.

Tim


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)

I was at Spoonbill and Pierogi (thanks for the tips about the cheese shop and Supercore, though). At Spoonbill the best book I saw (and browsed for quite a while) was a history of Aaron Rose's gallery Alleged, which ran from 1992 to 2002 then moved to LA, then closed. I used to go to Alleged a lot, and the fact that it's now just a (beautifully documented) memory says a lot to me about the decline in New York's diversity, creativity and magic. But yes, give me some time and I may discover a substitute. Maybe I need to go to Greenpoint, the Bronx, or Providence.


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dickmalone
dickmalone
Sorry I missed that picnic
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:26 pm (UTC)

Hahaha, oh Momus, you're so parochially cosmopolitan sometimes. Gimme a call and we will take a roadtrip down to my family's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. I promise the food will be good and not cooked by brown people unless that is culturally appropriate, everything will smell nice, and the air conditioning will be central.

If you think that, say, Germany and France can have different "cultural software," it's confusing why two areas even farther apart, be it Brooklyn and Stone Mountain or Hong Kong and Shanghai, can't also have essentially different textues. Honestly, if you don't see texture shifting block-by-block in NYC, I suspect you're missing the point...


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lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC)

"Parochially cosmopolitan" is my main critique of the whole world Nick moves in: it's fine to be something of a hothouse flower, but one should at least acknowledge the fact. I admire Nick, but he needs to stop all this 'hip-homing' and get out more into the truly unfamiliar.

I agree with you about Appalachia (I'm something that got loose from KY). It's a different country, with its own history, culture and folklore, as are many parts of this continent. One can easily overlook this if they stay inside their familiar haunts in an urban environment.


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piratehead
piratehead
Good bye
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC)

This reminds me of the anecdote about Oscar Wilde's tour of the USA in which mockers supposedly waved sunflowers at the visiting author and called him an 'ass-thete'.

*cracks chewing gum, spits it on the sidewalk*


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 03:33 pm (UTC)

It's interesting how Wilde's spiritual heir, Morrissey, has ended up living in Hollywood. But he doesn't seem to like it, judging by songs like "America Is Not The World" and his remarks about "fascist policemen with keys dangling from their belts".


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC)

Momus, defend yourself!

http://ilx.wh3rd.net/thread.php?msgid=5951697#unread


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alis_0025
alis_0025
Таисия Опилова
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)

its a shame you missed out on new york. completely. and missed its point. also completely.
the one thing you cannot accuse new york of is blandness. no one who values texture shops at supermarkets. williambsburg has been over for quite a while. etc, etc, etc


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
awesome

great, and so true. i am amazed yet not surprised how americans got so defensive. ive been around most states in the u.s. - im not from the us but i live here right now- and ive eaten in all kinds of contexts (i eat organic all the time, if youd attack me about that) and i still will say that imomus is absolutely right. i had about the same conversation about two years ago, with an emphasis on blandness, food etc (we didnt even mention the clothing style because its a little too redundant) with two german friends. and if you want some variety: korean friends said korean food here doesn't taste like that in korea, but rather like american food (and this even is referring to a korean restaurant owned and operated by koreans), japanese say the same, etc etc. besides that, no american friend of mine could understand when i criticized the blandness of lifesytle, UNTIL they went overseas and actually experinced the lifestyle at another place not in their same old american ways (yeah man i went to the hard rock cafe in paris) but in the way that the locals would...
i am sorry but this is a country where everything is learned from tv. the first time i came here, noone would wear black nor had cell phones, etc. and all girls started wearing black, designer purses, talking nonstop on the phone.... i dont watch tv (i havent owned one in 7 years) but it doesnt take too much imagination to know that its all coming from the sex and the city..
and all the (clothing) stores are now hiring gay men. it is, i have no doubt, due to that queer eye bla bla show. (i am amazed btw that no one single gay man ever feels bothered by the ultimate reinforcement of the stereotyping that is created by that stupid show).

anyway. my conclusion with that discussion id had was that one reason amercicans are so obese is that there is no real sense of satisfaction with the food. eat all you want, there is no overwhelming feeling except if your stomach is about to blast. nothing, though, re: taste.

anwyay i gotta go now but i just wanted to express that there are many people who would agree with imomus.

have a nice day-


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: awesome

korean friends said korean food here doesn't taste like that in korea...japanese say the same, etc etc

Yeah, but this is true the world over, not just in America. A sushi restaurant in Paris is not like one in Tokyo, Thai food in London is not like in Bangkok, if you want a truly horrible pizza, try one in Tokyo, etc., etc. Ethnic cuisines always change with the cultural environment.


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Re: awesome - (Anonymous) Expand
userman
userman
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)

i find this post to be unbelievably surface. if you only look at things skin deep you wont see much


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)

i tried really hard for 7 years to beyond the surface and it was a waste.


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Re: I agree - (Anonymous) Expand
toddius
toddius
Vade Retro, Vade Ultra
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
Granted, you're right about the trash-juice, but...

Your idea of "texture" seems inextricably bound up with a sort of baffling (from you) authenticity fetishism. The essentialism located just under the surface of the idea of what ice cream or cheese should taste like (and how it should be manufactured) seems wholly at odds with your views about the ways art and design and other cultural artifacts are produced.


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lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC)

I'm not going to bite, except to say, "And they wonder why I live in the woods."

If you want a truly different experience from your urban millieu, then you should go with us into the cedar bogs one night to listen and observe one of the last colonies of Hyla andersonii treefrog on the planet. Bring your recorder--we have textures out here. In spades.

Let me know if you want fresh blueberries from the local farm. They're almost in season.

W


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theremina
theremina
Mer
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)

Wow. I'm so there...


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rachaelnoel
rachaelnoel
Broken Girl
Tue, Jun. 28th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC)

Going to the same places you'd appreciated for thier "differentness" when you were last here years ago is not really a promising method to find the exciting and new. Williamsburg is a dead niehborhood - more stores sell childrens' clothing and strange toys and overpirced "antiques" and healthfood on Bedford Avenue then there are bars. Sweetwater is the most glaring example of the change in the niehborhood.

if you were looking for odd and exciting, it would have been advised to go to the Mermaid Parade.

As far as people in interesting clothes, I find my nehborhood in Bed Stuy is an amazing place, especially Sundays with scores of women in their church clothes and monstously large technicolored hats, or the men from the West indies or Africa with thier flowing robes and such.

NYC is a place in constant flux - the Williamsburg folks who aren't weathly enough to afford such insane rents have moved to Park Slope, Bed Stuy, Bushwick, or Astoria for the most part.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 29th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)

america has been described as a "culture desert" by my japanese friend. seven eleven, mcdonalds, WWE, just some of the things that define the USA. a culture of only 200 years is not a culture. the USA IS bland, but that doesn't make it a bad place, NY, the grand canyon, hollywood, the rockies, nevada desert, "the windy city", las vegas, just some of the things that make the USA the best known place in the world.(and a popular tourist destination, but not a popular as Paris)


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