Let's Tidy-Up Some Misunderstandings of Marie Kondo's New Show


#21

Just got through the second half related to US agriculture. If you are at all interested in this subject, I highly recommend Michael Pollan’s 2006 book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Like, I can’t recommend it enough, as I consider it one of the most important books I’ve ever read. The article is, essentially, a greatly-compressed version of the information found in the industrial agriculture section of Pollan’s work.

Pollan clearly explains exactly how the industry came to exist in the state that it does, and goes into incredible, fascinating detail on the twisting paths that resulted in the food that industrial agriculture produces today. Things like: the reason white flour is generally preferred is because of incredibly archaiac notions of cleanliness as seen in the whiteness of bleached flour vs. natural flour; that cows are fed corn simply because there is an enormous surplus, and the beef grading system (“Grade A”) is shaped around the fat marbling in cows who eat corn vs. grass, favoring those eat corn; and other ways in which one branch of industrial agriculture supports another, to deleterious effect on farmers and consumers.

Again, I highly recommend this book! All of this information is couched in a road trip format, in which Pollan explores four different methods of food production & consumption, and goes to places that embody those principles, participating in their systems. A more digestible, food-focused (vs. system-focused) work that shares similar bits of info to support its thesis is his shorter, more recent book, In Defense of Food. Also good.

I suppose the weirdest part of listening to this article analysis is that apparently, nothing at all has changed since 2006 when the book first came out. Everything they say the article says, the book also said. I guess this highlights the political takeaway of the article: Democrats came into power and changed…nothing at all.


#22

RE: Farmers and having unions, farmers (referring to people who own and operate an individual farm, not billionaires who own dozens and operate nothing,) as in those who own and operate farms, are much more small business owners than proletarians. There’s a complicated network of contracts with larger agricultural corporations that complicates that but fundamentally, they own their property, they probably inherited it, and they make their living selling their product, not from a wage. Many of the smaller ones employ help, I myself worked on a small industrial chicken farm where my job was to literally walk between the isles of feeders, pick up dead chickens, and put them in a bucket. Farmers will never have unions because they’re actively in competition with one another and are owners of capital, their path forward will always be, at it’s core, an expansion of profits. And anecdotally, they tend to be some of the most right wing people I’ve ever known, with the odd exception of the center-left all-organic hippy types, and I’ve spent my whole life in Virginia and North Carolina.

I remember when Hillary Clinton came to North Carolina (I believe it was Greensboro,) during presidential election season and gave a speech. I was in a McDonalds just outside Pittsboro and caught some of it, and she made some hilariously bad attempts to speak to “small farms,” and “small-time farmers,” which basically amounted to just repeating those two phrases over and over. I could’ve told her it was a waste of her time, not that I’m very invested in democrats getting elected, because at least of the quarter of the people she’s talking to more or less believe she’s a direct emissary of Satan and were gonna be with Trump no matter what because they despise Mexicans (they don’t bother figuring out where people are actually from,) as a core part of their identity. Lots of them view themselves as the last line of defense for good white folks, on account of how the towns themselves have been “taken over,” and all they’re the only ones left out in the countryside on this land their great great great whatever stole from the Cherokee. When I’d stay over Saturday night with my best friend from high school, I’d have to go to church with them Sunday if I couldn’t figure out how to get a ride home before then. This was one of the situations where they only went to church cuz their grandparents would be really upset if they didn’t, which is why we went to church when I was a kid. This church was like 75% farming families. It was an evangelical church, and one time the preacher, who was deeply homophobic and misogynist, gave a sermon about how interracial marriages were not sinful and were actually totally cool. Literally half the entire congregation left to go to another church after that, and about a quarter were threatening to do so unless the preacher apologized.

I’m kind of rambling but I’ve been exposed to farming culture a lot since I’ve lived in central NC and I’ve been thinking about it a lot more lately, it’s not really something you’re as likely to get intwined with in SW VA, at least my part of it, cuz there’s fewer farms and not as many jobs surrounding them, fewer slaughterhouses and chicken plants and stuff. I guess something else to talk about would be how a lot of these “Old South” small-town aristocrats, at least in rural central NC, are being replaced with “New South” aristocrats who are busy gentrifying said small towns by buying up abandoned or cheap property and putting trendy coffee shops and health food markets and stuff in them. Most of them live in houses that used to belong to farmers, but they make their living working over the phone and from the internet in corporations based out of Durham and Raleigh. It’s nice that they’re not as viciously racist, but property values have shot up around here and my mom was just getting close to finally being able to afford a house for the first time in her life, but not any more. People are already being forced to move, and it’s only going to get worse. Ironically the old guard are gonna get their wish, these towns are about to get very very white again.

EDIT: Something else I just wanted to mention: rural economies in the US are not necessarily farming economies. Plenty of rural places have historically had economies much more based around timber, coal mines, salt mines, fiberglass factories, paper mills, textile mills, gasoline, to name a few, and presently have economies based on “Does a highway or interstate run by/through your town yes/no, is there a McDonalds near said highway or interstate, yes/no.”

EDIT EDIT: Also furniture factories. How could I forget the ubiquitous 50+ year old southerner talking about a furniture factory they used to work at.


#23

Mods, I have request for the Waypoints podcast episodes and don’t know if this is the right place for it.

Is it possible to include timestamps in each episode indicating when the crew starts talking about each topic?

There are some shows/movies/etc that I know I’m going to get to soon, and I’d rather listen to the crew talk about it after I’ve had a chance to think about it. Timestamps would make it easy to quickly skip ahead to the next topic, and to come back when I’m ready.

To be clear, if this isn’t possible, or would add too much work to the Waypoint crew’s busy schedules, then please disregard. It would be a nice to have but is in no way essential.


#24

It took me from 2012 until now to realize that KonMari method is literally “Kondo Marie Method” except she’s taken out the parts of her own name that don’t spark joy and that is a fucking powerful move

also, (stolen from twitter)


#25

I think the thing that gets confusing is that people feel like she’s telling you to do something. But it’s really more of a suggestion. There are times on the show where someone says “I can’t wear this anymore, but I want to keep it” and there and no protesting or coercion.

Also, this is a show featuring people who made a choice to invite her into their home specifically to help them change it. I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind. It’s not like other shows I’ve seen where someone is concerned about their parents and surprise signs them up for a service.


#26

Not a mod, but the “site feedback” category of post is usually how you get requests like this seen by the crew.


#27

It’s probably less powerful if you note that this is basically how you make all portmanteau words in Japanese, ever. (See, eg, Pokemon.)


#28

fuckin’ 'ell today is not my day


#29

Just chime in to say I unexpectedly feel that shitty combination of jealousy and self loathing when I watch people who achieved cultural milestones too, even when I don’t want them.


#30

Oh that’s right! I forgot about that. Thanks