Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘trends

Curio: Back to Paying Attention to Things on the Internet Edition

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A few things.
And a few sentences about each.
[And because I’ve been out of the loop for a few minutes, we can pardon my lack of timeliness, can’t we?]

1. Just got around to reading this awesome faux-profile by Ann Friedman about Washington’s “DC Lady Mafia”—a parody and a rebuttal, of sorts, to this unintentionally hilarious New York Times piece about DC’s young male journo scene. Hell yeah.

In only a few years, these young women and others like them have become part of the journalistic establishment in Washington — but you wouldn’t know it from reading The New York Times. Once they lived in modest studio apartments and stayed out late, talking about grammar, feminist theory, and ready-to-wear collections while their male counterparts appeared on cable television. Now the members of this “DC lady mafia,” as they began calling themselves because no newspaper style section deigned to give them a nickname, have become destination reading for — and respected by — the city’s power elite. Indeed, arguably they are themselves approaching power-elite status. [emphasis mine]

While we’re on the topic, I’m also kind of sick of this whole ‘brave new world’ of digital journalism narrative. Ezra Klein may have been delighted at discovering the act of reporting after he’d already been finding success as a blogger —

“I came here, and I had no professional affiliation,” Mr. Klein, 26, said over lunch at Potenza, a decidedly grown-up restaurant in downtown Washington. “I just had a blog that was mine, but I came out here and was trained as a magazine writer, and that was just a much more formalized way of journalism. You made calls. People answered calls. You took down what was said in a respectable account, and that began to influence my blogging. It became a lot less of an ‘Ezra affair.’

— but a lot of bloggers and web journalists I know (myself included) still started off at daily newspapers or student newspapers or some sort of outlet that required reportage first, opinion second (if at all). As Conor has eloquently laid out before, one of the problems with movement journalism is that it encourages blogging and opinion and analysis from young journos before they even learn how to tell a proper story. But that’s a rant for another day, or another blogger.

Anyhow, we may be the last generation of journalists to come-of-age if not primarily in print than at least not exclusively web. Although another problem I have with this narrative is that it’s generally only concerned with young journalists following the DC-baby-pundit/Gawker-media-mouthpiece model. These are the writers that are most visible, the ones that have made Names for themselves, so it makes sense. But I’ve got a friend who went from beat reporting at the Boston Globe to beat reporting for AP to a newspaper fellowship in Abu Dhabi. Another who started at the same Columbus, Ohio business paper I did and now helps run an online business magazine. These kinds of writers go under the radar as far as the general media story about young journalists is concerned. Exhibit A:

[…] Douglas Brinkley, the Rice University professor and historian who is working on a biography of Walter Cronkite, expressed nostalgia for an earlier, more in-the-trenches generation of correspondents who didn’t rely on Twitter posts and linking to generate content. “I’m not making a judgment,” Professor Brinkley said [Ed. note: Really? Than what the heck do you call that statement?] .

“What I don’t like is that before, people would start in foreign bureaus all over the world before making their way to Washington. You would be pushing into your deep 20s and have a really deep global background. What you’ve seen is a devaluation of serious journalism in favor of reporters who are able to create a brand identity.”

Besides negating the identity of tons of 20-something reporters out there, this idea (which one hears from older journalists all the time) is quite insulting, as if we’d all rather sit in an office all day than actually get to see the people and places we write about. Give us an environment where more than the most well-funded media outlets can afford to send their reporters out in the field to report—I’m not even talking the bureau in Dubai, dude; how about something happening down the street?—and, you know, I bet a lot of us degenerate young turks would be more than happy. But there’s not time, or money, for that at most places, and so reporting takes place through emails and phone calls. I get tired of being told to live up to a model of journalism that hardly anyone is willing to support anymore.

Huh. That turned into more than ‘just a few sentences.’ Let’s keep the rest of this brief then, shall we?

2. Blisstree talks about “orthorexia.” Which was not a word I even knew existed, describing a concept I am very familiar with.

3. Megan Daum has an interesting take on folks’ ire towards Planned Parenthood:

Here’s my theory: When it comes to parenthood, the whole notion of planning can be so overwhelming that it feels better to leave it to fate.

Sure, we know that the respectable, socially responsible thing to do is to think hard about when and how many children to have and to take the necessary steps – abstinence or birth control – to avoid producing a child that cannot be properly cared for. But as any parent will tell you, there is no “perfect” time to have a baby. It’s always going to be a showstopper.

And I suspect that’s why a lot of people, pro-life and pro-choice alike, like to think of parenthood as something that was foisted upon them rather than actively pursued.



Written by ENB

April 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Big in ’11

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Pantone announced recently that the Color of the Year for 2011 is “honeysuckle.” Last time I checked – which was at about age 9, the last time I lived in a house with a honeysuckle bush in the backyard — those suckers were yellow. But Pantone’s honeysuckle is a pinkish color. No, “pinkish” is wrong; it’s just pink. Plain old pink. I am not sure who decided to call it “honeysuckle.” And what the heck is a “color of the year” mean, anyway?

But that is the funny thing about late December and early January: Suddenly, everybody is trying to define the upcoming year, to shade the contours with their own particular whims and wishes, to be the first ones to CALL IT aha! 2010 is the year of the overall. Pie will be big in 2011. We’ll all be “exergaming” and “piloxing” to stay fit! And drinking macha tea while decorating our houses with bamboo! “Trendcasting,” the market researchers like to call it. And the media? Oh, boy, we eat it up.

I am smart enough to know it’s mostly a racket. But I also frivolous enough to enjoy it anyway. And since my friends are obviously way smarter and hipper and prescient than your average trendcaster (seriously, I don’t know why I hate this word so much, but I do), I thought I’d ask some folks I know what they think is going to be Big in 2011. Their predictions, in varying degrees of seriousness, recorded faithfully below:

“Well, one off the top of my head is that we’re going to see a lot of mediocre video/movies.  With cameras like the 7D making it really easy and cheap to get a ‘quality’ image there are going to be a lot of people making work that looks great (in a very uninteresting way) and gets a lot of praise, whether it actually deserves it or not  (see here: http://bit.ly/fyKSjE).” – Gina Telaroli, independent filmmaker // Brooklyn

“Obviously the trend in 2011 will be that everything will be on iPad. And when I say everything, I don’t just mean books and movies and magazines. I mean food, clothing, laundry, washer and dryer repair service.. Press a button for dinner. Download an app for starched shirts. If this sounds insane, or like a misunderstanding of what tablet technology can actually do, you obviously haven’t been to a digital strategy meeting in the last 6 months, where ‘make an iPad app’ has become to 2010 what ‘you need to Tweet a lot and get on Facebook’ was to 2008.” – Peter Suderman, associate editor, Reason magazine // Washington, D.C.

“Classic cocktails will jump the shark officially and we’ll see a Sazerac on the menu at T.G.I. Friday’s made with Jack Daniels and peppermint schnapps. The cool drinking kids will make their own bitters and learn how to cure their own olives for martinis. Mead is in a good place to make a comeback with all the renewed interest in hard liquor. We’ll see more fashion that makes women look ugly, more things like look like they came off an 80’s hobo. Like this schlumpy top or these shoes that look like they fell off an orphan in the 1800s. For crafts, first it was knitting, now canning, next is needlepoint and embroidery. And, I still stand by scones. The next bakery treat. Although, I really wish it was cannelles. I love those things.” – Cat Meyers, cannelle lover, orphan hater and cocktail enthusiast // Columbus, Ohio [Ed. note: What is a cannelle? Also, we should use the word ‘schlumpy’ more often]

“I’ve been pushing punch for a few years but I’m sticking with my prediction– punches will be the drink of the new year! Whiskey punches, particularly. Punches are easy, inexpensive, fun and absolutely delicious. Plus a big vintage glass bowl will class up any party. I also think unique bitters will be more become mainstream. Angostura and Peychaud bitters are already standard but I think more bars will start using flavors like grapefruit, celery and chocolate and more bartenders will start making their own bitters, since they are an easy and inexpensive way to add depth and flavor. Oh, and fennecs are the new black.” – Courtney Knapp, punch maven // Los Angeles

“Although Pantone claims this disgusting shade of pink is the new hotness for 2011, I think all eyes are going to be on peach. Peach and shades of a pale dirty dusty rose. Nude, even, too. Long Chloe Sevigny-like braids (think Big Love) are going to be the ticket, with possibly super deep side sweeps (i think i may have read the latter on refinery 29). Based on American Apparel’s shift towards preppy- I think we’re headed in that direction majorly as well. With hints of industrial-inspired “plain” garb.

Food wise, bacon will continue to be an ever-lasting fad and cupcakes are unfortunately here to stay. I think this lardcore movement will gain more momentum in brooklyn (or at least i hope so!!!) And i think duck is the new pork. Oh, and bone marrow is going to be HUGE!!!” – Brooke Green, Fame & Frippery // Brooklyn

“Taxidermy. Honestly, I see it everywhere, from art to fixtures and it’s becoming more and more mainstream. People are doing crocheted taxidermy, there are now two shops in San Francisco. This brings me to the my next movement: Victorianism is back. I’m not sure how it’s going to manifest, but the idea of death and beauty — I just see it making a comeback.” – Rachel Steinberg, blogger, PR Consultant and aspiring vegan taxidermist // San Francisco

As for me? Well, I’ve been pushing macarons (are the new cupcakes) and pantsuits (are the new overalls) for a while now. And I agree with most of the above folks’ predictions: punch and peach and bone marrow (ugh) and taxidermy (scones, however, WILL NEVER BE THE NEW DESERT, Ms. Meyers). Vertical farming is the new rooftop farming. “Blood” is the new “bells” is the new “wolf.” A friend who works at a perfumery tells me we’ll see more natural/botanical perfumes. A friend who works as a shoe merchandiser tells me we’re going to see lots of “nautical/preppy shoes” this spring, and wedge-heeled boots this fall. Curated, subscription-based email lists are the new blogs (so are ‘zines). The Hairpin (love, p.s.) is the new Jezebel. People will learn the word “Phytotherapy.” Westerns will continue their neo-renaissance. Borderline is the new bipolar. “Yipster” is the new “folkstr.” Amaranth will be the hot grain. And I promise I’m gonna stop this inanity right now.

Happy 2011, y’all.

P.S. Now it’s your turn …

Written by ENB

January 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm


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Written by ENB

October 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Fetishizing the Good Wife

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The problems start with the subhead: A new generation of female bloggers is championing the importance of being a good wife and partner.

Yes, a new generation of bloggers, eons removed from those paleolithic female bloggers of 2003 who, incidentally, aimed to be terrible wives and atrocious partners! But blah blah blah; people like to cover housewives. The green/locavore/whatever movement is providing a wonderful new hook for doing so.

What’s more interesting, I think, are things like this:

And then there’s Taryn Cox, who isn’t afraid to put it all out there, unabashedly writing about stereotypically uxorial topics ranging from themed baby showers and creating her own cocktail-style dresses to the art of ironing a newspaper and how to clean with vodka at a blog she has titled TarynCoxTheWife.com.

Cox’s posts showcase classic glamour and gorgeous parties as songs such as “Sunny Side of the Street” play in the background.

“I’ve always just been so completely fascinated by the idea of marriage and dedication,” says Cox, a trim 26-year-old with a penchant for pastels and an e-mail address that starts with “stepfordwife.”

No, she’s not married and she doesn’t have kids, but “this [blog] is for those dreams and fantasies. I believe my own vision. I believe there’s an art to being a good wife.”

Clearly, Taryn is taking things a little far. But I think for a certain subset of post-post-feminist (or whatever we are) Gen Y women—especially the particularly horrifying strain who perhaps read a lot of Sylvia Plath or worked in a vintage clothing shop in high school, who were raised by Republicans or Catholics but later got a lip ring or an ill-advised Kanji tattoo, and who appreciate a good cocktail, a man who will take out the garbage and the erotic possibilities of gender roles—well, it’s not too hard to get sucked into the ‘good wife’ allure. Not to the degree Taryn has, heavens no. Just a little bit.

Maybe it’s seriously all libido. Or maybe it’s just another facet of that grasping 20-something desire for some model for how to be Good at Life®.

The rest of the article—which ran in Sunday’s L.A. Times—is mostly a rehash of some book about being your husband’s “at home business partner” or something that came out a few years ago, sprinkled with a little bit of two-bloggers-as-Trend anecdotes. And of course there is the Angry Feminist response:

“They want to live in this perfectly art-directed world,” says Michele Kort, senior editor at Ms. “It’s an illusion that if you have all the right clothes and right accessories that your life will be perfect. This is a throwback to stuff like [Marabel Morgan’s 1974 self-help book] ‘The Total Woman’ … that a wife should be subservient and be all about making a man comfortable and having the perfect household … for the women of the ’50s, it wasn’t so happy-making.”
Which is one of those arguments that just seems silly, for anyone to endorse or for anyone to take as the standard belief of all feminists. To me, it seems that for some women of the 50s, it probably was “happy-marking,” to use Kort’s awkward phrasing. It’s possible that then, as now, there were some women who really did enjoy being completely dedicated wives and mothers. And that this being true in no way negates the fact that many women do not enjoy being full-time housewives, and that women should pursue whatever path makes them happiest. I mean, while I appreciate all the current research and publicity about how women who don’t work could be in for a lot of financial misery if their husbands dump them … at a certain point, god. All of our life paths are a gamble. If we really want to protect our young women’s financial futures, we should tell them not to become journalists, or actors, or major in sociology.

Written by ENB

May 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Where Have All the Vegans Gone?

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I would like to state for the record that I almost never earnestly call anyone a “hipster” (except Peter Suderman, obviously) or describe things as “hip” myself, but editors are always inserting the words into my headlines, subtitles or copy! Sigh. It’s shorthand. It’s a common cultural indicator, I get it. I get it. I just still wish it wouldn’t happen.

But, anyway, here’s a story I wrote for City Scoops NY months and months ago, “Where Have All the Vegan’s Gone?,” that’s finally appearing online:

Picture a restaurant in Williamsburg, or maybe the East Village. The decor is eclectic and artfully bohemian. The clients are youngish, thin, disheveled, and artfully bohemian themselves. In another time, they may have been slinging back soy smoothies, or gobbling down black bean burgers and tofu scramble with tempeh bacon. But this crowd is, instead, ordering the pork-shoulder sandwich, the ostrich-meat sliders, and the salad topped with bone-marrow butter and rabbit paté.

Aside from the “hip” reference, I’m pretty pleased with the article. It was something we began talking about last spring or summer, before it seemed like everybody was talking about the meat resurgence, just because we noticed that most of the restaurants we went to around Brooklyn had been shifting their menus. And it turns out we were right! Plus, I got to talk to Ms. Kathy Kirkpatrick, co-founder of the famed (i.e., in Rent) Life Cafe, who was super-sweet and interesting and gave me some hard numbers about meat and vegan menu-item sales to back up my postulating. It’s always fun when that happens.

Written by ENB

April 2, 2010 at 9:31 am

The “Hipsters on Food Stamps” Phenomenon

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The way the reporter (Jennifer Bleyer) wrote this article itself was like she was just begging people to mock her subjects:

Savory aromas wafted through the kitchen as a table was set with a heaping plate of Thai yellow curry with coconut milk and lemongrass, Chinese gourd sautéed in hot chile sauce and sweet clementine juice, all of it courtesy of government assistance.

Every descriptive word Bleyer uses is designed to imply maximum offensiveness, or to make very normal things—like vegetables, for goddsakes— seem exotic and luxurious.

So what if some people on food stamps buy more healthy/weird/international cuisine than do others? It’s not like they’re getting extra money to buy this food; they’re getting the same amount as the guy who’s buying fucking Wonderbread and store-brand Kraft singles. And yet …

Magida, a 30-year-old art school graduate, had been installing museum exhibits for a living until the recession caused arts funding — and her usual gigs — to dry up. She applied for food stamps last summer, and since then she’s used her $150 in monthly benefits for things like fresh produce, raw honey and fresh-squeezed juices from markets near her house in the neighborhood of Hampden, and soy meat alternatives and gourmet ice cream from a Whole Foods a few miles away.

People are always railing, of course, about how people on food stamps don’t buy enough healthy food. But heaven forbid the food they buy is too healthy, or healthy and also outside the mainstream. It’s absurd. Fresh produce is a luxury? Soy protein (which costs about the same as meat) the height of libertine-ism? Not to mention that things such as Chinese gourd and coconut milk are the very kind of corner-store staples in ethnic neighborhoods that often sell these sorts of foods cheaper than mainstream varieties (at the Asian-run market in my neighborhood, I can get three large hunks of fresh, homemade tofu for $1, compared to $2.50 or $3 for the packaged stuff; the Polish corner store sells an abundance of large, quite good Polish beers for cheaper than domestic varieties).

Now you can argue with whether food stamps should exist in the first place, or at what level, or in what way, and that’s something different entirely. But the folks in this article had to have been at some certain pre-determined level we’d set as the threshold for food stamp eligibility, you know? And as long as we’ve already set that threshold, whatever sustenance one buys with those stamps (and in spite of whatever hobbies/passions/desired-careers they may have) is really nobody’s business.

Says Jessica Grose on XX factor:

I’m not sure that “hipster” food stamp recipients are anything but a fake trend, but it does appear that no article about food purchasing or ingesting can be written without irate and judgemental comments. The twenty- and thirtysomethings in the article are predictably called lazy and overly indulged, for example: “Of course people are going to be pissed that they’re busting their asses every day in real jobs so that some douchebag can satisfy his ‘flexitarian’ gourmet diet.” But even if these hipsters were using their own money to buy their organic food they’d be slammed. Or if they were buying the stereotypical foods purchased with food stamps—which is to say, heavily processed—they’d be criticized for contributing to the so-called “obesity crisis.” Eating is now a major moral issue in America, and whatever choice you make is wrong.

Written by ENB

March 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Simone de Beauvoir Made Me Keep Chickens

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My goodness. When I first read this Amanda Marcotte post on Double XX about the New York Times article on upper-class housewife chicken keepers, I thought Marcotte was probably right about the gist but must be using her characteristic hyperization when she said it was “was yet another one of those expensive NY Times pieces about how some rich ladies found an out from the supposed demands of feminism, a space where they can stay at home without being so bored they have to subsist on Valium.”

But that is actually what the article explicitly says.

All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper. “Prior to this, I felt like my choices were either to break the glass ceiling or to accept the gilded cage,” says Shannon Hayes, a grass-fed-livestock farmer in upstate New York and author of “Radical Homemakers,” a manifesto for “tomato-canning feminists,” which was published last month.

Writer Peggy Orenstein goes on to actually call it “femivorism,” and asks, “who these days can’t wax poetic about compost?” Plenty of people, Peggy Orenstein!

I get that this is a style section article. I think she’s trying to be, shall we say, tongue-in-cheek. But still … She actually suggests that should a wife no longer be able to rely on her husband for financial support, homemaking and chicken-cooping skills may be better positioned to “provide a family’s basic needs” and “guard against job loss (and) catastrohpic illness” than a salary or savings.

Orenstein does end on a skeptical note, to be fair. And it’s not that the article itself is inherently uninteresting (Marcotte made pains to point out that she loves organic gardening and once considered keeping chickens; I’ve got a hallway full of seeds sprouting and a boyfriend who sells raw vegan nut pates around town). It’s just … why does everything women do – and I was going to say outside the realm of paid work, but really, it’s everything: working, not-working, part-time work, hobbies, etc. – have to be considered as a reaction to or against “feminism?” Why can’t we accept that there have, are and always will be myriad ways for arranging domestic, social and professional life, and the periodic, cyclical “discovery” of them by magazine or style section reporters says close to nothing about the state of gender relations, the nature of egalitarianism, feminism or the rejection thereof? *

* said with love, as one whose greatest ambition is secretly to write these types of articles.

Written by ENB

March 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

But I Draw the Line at Beaver-Fur Hats

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New York Times notes:

As with home design, where curio cases, taxidermy and other stylish clutter of the Victorian era have been taken up by young hipsters, many of today’s popular men’s styles have their roots in the late 19th century. There are the three-piece suits once favored by mustachioed Gilded Age bankers; the military greatcoats and boots of Union officers; and the henley undershirts, suspenders, plaid flannel shirts and stout drill trousers worn by plain, honest farmers.

This is just to say: I approve.

Written by ENB

November 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Asides, The Best Things

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The Internet is a Weird Place, Brat Pack Mashup Edition

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A few months ago, my friends made a tribute to this Brat Pack Mashup of Phoenix’s ‘Listomania’ that was posted on YouTube. Now, a group of Phillipino kids has made a tribute to their tribute, complete with footage from my friends’ video of the New York City skyline spliced in and re-creations of the Brooklyn kids’ mistakes (a hat falling off, one of the boys falling down).

Globalization at its strangest?

Written by ENB

November 4, 2009 at 11:10 am

Department of Half-Formed Ideas: Carnivore Cool?

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One of the things we’ve been noticing for a while now is that there’s been a move away from the interesting/hip/cutting-edge/talked-about/whatever restaurants in Brooklyn serving an array of vegetarian and vegan options, and much more of a focus on meat, meat, all things meat. I’m slowly forming a grand unifying theory/article pitch about this in my head, but I want to know if anyone else outside of Brooklyn has noticed similar things in their cities?

Written by ENB

October 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Education of an Urban Farmer

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Folkster alert? Next American City interviews Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. I liked this passage:

JL: But did you really call it urban farming at first?

NC: We never called it anything in Seattle. It’s like we were weird people who had chickens and bees and there was no kind of identity surrounding it. I think California is really obsessed with identity and so I became obsessed with identity as well, but I also started encountering people who were doing similar things and they called it urban farming. I was like, wow! That’s what I’m doing! I’m urban farming.

And this one:

What’s interesting is that in the developing world, urban agriculture is huge. It’s what people do. I had a guy from Nigeria come over to my house and he was like, “I heard you have goats. I want to go see them.”  I brought him into the backyard and the goats are all running up and down the stairs. It’s not a big backyard. He said, “It’s just like Nigeria.” And so I started to realize that it is an affectation a little bit for white people to talk about urban farming. But at the same time it’s a cultural identity for them in the same way.

But here’s what nudged my folkster radar:

JL: You talk in your book a little bit about distinguishing yourself from the Berkeley hippies and the like. How did you distinguish yourself from them?

NC: I don’t know that I’m necessarily trying to distinguish myself from them. Because I think what I realized is that in some ways, wow,  I’m doing similar things that my parents did, but it’s in a different era. It’s in a totally different time and the fact that I’m doing it in a city made me feel a little bit better about it, because I have access to all these different cultures and I can plug into the music scene or the art scene or whatever is going on in the city. So it is different.

Anyway, I could pick out too many more good passages. Read the whole thing.

Written by ENB

July 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

Media Zeitgeist: Farm Love (or, is farming the new twitter?)

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Are we reaching a media zeitgeist on interest in farming/gardening/ag policy? (Oh, no! Do I only get interested in things once they reach zeitgeist proportions? I like to think of myself as at least a Late-Early-Adopter of all cultural trends …).

The MSM is teeming, teeming!, with farm/garden related trend pieces. Urban rooftop gardening! Chicken farming in suburbia! Real estate developments built around organic farms! Women farmers! “New-age agrarians” flock to farm internships!

Even the (not-particularly-zeitgeist-y) AARP Bulletin Today has gotten in on the action.

I had previously never seen an advertisement seeking agricultural reporters on journalismjobs.com; last week I saw two in a row.

What exactly causes these things? What has caused this one in particular? Some cryptic combinaiton of the recession (both in its economic affects, and it’s attendant subconcious push toward localism), the frequent food contamination outbreaks, the release of Food Inc., the rise of food politics author/gurus, and the summer time? Does it start with the New York Times and then everyone just follows suit? Is it just something to fill space now that twittervangelism has died down? Is there a secret farmer cabal behind the whole thing? What is going on?

Written by ENB

July 7, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Rise of the Folkster

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urbanhippieNew York Magazine calls them “urban hippies,” but my friends and I, a few months back, coined a much catchier term: folkster.

We even toyed with a ‘Look at This Fucking Hipster‘ style tumblog, Rise of the Folkstr, chronicling this phenomenon, which of course came to naught, ’cause we’re not that fucking snarky. But.

The Folkster. I’m calling it here now, okay?

‘Cause it rings of NYT style section, I know, but I think there really is something to it. Particularly in Brooklyn, where my boyfriend lives, and I visit frequently. It’s kind of like recession-influenced hipsterdom, I think, excerpt that it was gaining momentum before all our money troubles. The recession, though, has helped the folkster movement gather steam, as young folks secretly, just a little bit, like all the chaos, finally able to feel themselves a part of some coherent generational turmoil we’ve so long been scolded for having absent from our lives.

Folkster attributes: farm-ier hipster clothes. Flannel. Beekeeping. Brewing ginger beer or mead. Rooftop gardening. Music like Bonnie Prince Billy or William Elliot Whitmore or Welcome Wagon or Woods. Returning to pre-industrial production methods. Localism. More urban and tech-savvy than your typical hippie, less likely to irrationally hate Starbucks. Knowing at least one person who has, since the beginning of the economic turmoil, packed it up from the city and moved to a farm/mountain town/California. Arthur magazine.

[If you’re wondering, I am not sure myself whether I’m being tongue-in-cheek about all this]

Written by ENB

June 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

Gladwell on the Politics of Outliers

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My interview with Malcolm Gladwell/write-up of Outliers went up on the AARP Bulletin site yesterday (clearly, we’re not really so big on the whole timeliness thing). If you’re at all interested in Outliers, I’m sure you’ve already read all there is to read about it, and my article has little new to recommend it (clearly, I’m not really so big on the whole self-promotion thing, either). Regardless, a little passage that might be of interest:

“There were brilliant people who just never made it in the world because they hit the Depression at the wrong time and they hit the Second World War at the wrong time,” Gladwell says. “Let’s be clear: The world is not fair. It’s always going to provide more opportunities for some than others.”

“The reason we have government and institutions that create policy is to try and even that up,” he continues. “The world sets up these inherent advantages for some and these enormous disadvantages for others. You’ve got to level the playing field.”

For someone who started his career at the conservative American Spectator and counted William F. Buckley among his heroes during adolescence, Gladwell professes what may seem a surprising faith in government intervention.

“I used to be a conservative, and I am no longer,” Gladwell says. “But I don’t think of this book as being political one way or the other. It’s a defense of collective action. When I think of the proper role of government, it is to provide opportunities for people to help themselves.”

Written by ENB

December 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Posted in My Life, Self-Promotion

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Color? We can't afford color!

Color? We can't afford color!

A PR-exec friend of mine said yesterday that concern over “greenwashing”—the “unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public,” according to SourceWatch, which says it better than I could—is so last year.

The next thing to watch for, she said, is “bluewashing,” which somehow involves faux-activism on community water partnerships, or something. I wasn’t really paying attention to the last part, because I was busy coming up with my own term for a dastardly new kind of corporate/governmental hypocrisy:

Sepia-washing (n.): The unjustified appropriation of fiscal restraint or economic hardship by a company, industry, politician or non-government organization to create a recession-friendly image, sell a product or policy, or tr to rehabilitate their standing with the public. See: auto CEOs driving to Washington; this whole train business

Synonyms: recession-chic, depression porn

Pass it on.

Written by ENB

December 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Culture, Media

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I Can Haz Prozac-Induced Angst?

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The most interesting thing about this Gawker post is not that Elizabeth Wurtzel didn’t pass the bar exam but that Elizabeth Wurtzel is 40. Forty! The poster child for Gen-X-over-medicated-self-obsessed-anomie is now middle-aged? Eek! If I were not technically in Gen-Y, I think this might make me sadly nostalgic. As it is, it is just surprising—almost as surprising as finding out from this Salon article that the adorable pestilence that is LOLcat was only unleashed on the world less than two years ago.

Time is all sorts of weird.

Written by ENB

November 18, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Is Belgian the new Tapas?

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I have a friend who has a theory that the surest sign of a neighborhood’s yuppification is a tapas restaurant moving in. Ever since I heard this, I’ve been noticing that it holds up pretty well in D.C. (ahem, Gallery Place/Chinatown).

Last weekend, a friend and I were looking for apartments in Columbia Heights, sitting at Red Rocks Pizzeria on Park Road with an area landlord very excitedly telling us about the “up and coming” nature of the area. He pointed to an abandoned storefront across the street with great pride and said, “See that? That whole building is being gutted, and a Belgian restaurant and bar is moving in!” This reminded me of all the buzz around Dr. Granville’s Moore’s, the Belgian place that opened not long ago on H Street NE, and a co-worker bolstered my theory by telling me that about three years ago, two Belgian restaurants opened in the Eastern Market area of Capitol Hill.

This is the way a neighborhood ends; not with a bang but with mussels and Hoegaarden …

Written by ENB

June 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Culture, Food, Food

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