the dirty dozen, part two: fruit of the luge

the sexy peaches i brought home from the columbus avenue farmer's market this weekend seemed to want to be made into something other than a dessert (probably because i'm not especially handy with desserts), so i got very excited about the peach chutney recipe* i found yesterday afternoon. it is indeed a very good recipe (the kind that makes your kitchen smell fantastic, and it doesn't require any hard-to-reach exotic spices - i had everything but the fresh stuff in my kitchen already), although whoever noted that it yields eight cups of chutney is smoking the crack: i'd say i ended up with three cups of savory-sweet peachy marvelousness. i haven't actually followed the serving suggestion of chutneying with goat cheese and flatbread, but if the combo tastes as good as it sounds, i may have a new secret weapon for potlucks. apparently i am now the sort of person who uses "secret weapon" and "potlucks" in the same sentence; maybe i'm ready to turn thirty after all.

05 i was tempted, while politely explaining to a terrified-sounding obama fundraiser that i'll almost certainly donate to the campaign again but am unlikely to drop $100 at once and/or give my credit card information to some guy over the phone, to ask about the infamous "politics of fear" new yorker cover. the local news told me yesterday morning that i should be buzzing about it, and buzzing about the buzz about it, but i'm having a hard time: even the missus, a professional democrat, said, "enh, it's more that it wasn't very funny," and lost interest. the buzz-about-the-buzz is a bit juicier, especially (when i'm wearing my magazine journalist hat) the part about how it's the media's responsibility to present information in small, soft chunks for society's most vulnerable thinkers. then again, as i find myself arguing every election cycle, conservatives consistently underestimate the american people, and we liberals overestimate them - and we frequently get our asses handed to us for doing so. is "the politics of fear" a recruitment poster for the right wing'? probably, but what isn't?

06 friday was a dark day here at the ladymag: someone gave me a facebook transcript to support a few facts we're including in an upcoming piece. social networking as bibliography: really, internets? i hate facebook, hated myspace before it, and hated friendster before that. i'm not a public figure, and ye olde kidchamp is the only patch of web i need to expose myself to strangers; most of the people who need my contact information already have it, and searching for it online can't be all that difficult for the few who don't; i am perfectly satisfied with my non-facebook access to scrabble. but! my editor in chief is registered, as are most of the senior editors and all of the associates and assistants i know. that transcript feels like a last straw, and i sometimes feel that i should suck it up and join for professional reasons. i also feel that caving would mean having a high school / college / family reunion in my office, except some people would be tipsy, others would have no pants, and there would be weird strangers milling around trying to sell us shit. and i am too old for that shit.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 any other peach recipes i should know about? potluck weapons in general?

02 what's your take on the new yorker cover?

03 facebook: evil?

*the link is currently down; perhaps oprah's site has been overwhelmed by survivors of those who spontaneously exploded after following her lead** and trying the vegan-no-sugar-no-caffeine-no-booze-no-gluten quantum wellness cleanse.

**that link is down too, natch. don't worry, i'm sure the oprahbots will be on both of them soon.


tom said...

I'm with my mom on this (who made this comment pre-cover): unless there is a major, long-form policy announcement (or long-form responses) on the substance of the candidates' positions, campaign staffers, surrogates, and full-time supporters who are quasi-connected with the campaign, should just SHUT UP until the conventions.

Seriously: Wesley Clark, Jesse Jackson, Phil Gramm, whoever else is thinking about opening their piehole? SHUT UP. Press release being cooked up? SHUT UP. First Amendment? Yes, yes, you are very smart. Still: SHUT UP.

Did this whole thing about the New Yorker's magazine cover tell anybody anything -- except that Obama's rapid-response folks are on a hair-trigger? No. Was the cover worthy of the heritage of Dorothy Parker? Not really. Was it worth anyone's time to hear about it over and over again? Hell to the no.

My annoyance with both campaigns and the hangers-on is reaching critical mass. Could you tell?

Meg said...

1) Peaches. I love them so much I just eat them up sans cooking. One of the few things the east coast has going over the west coast. California peaches, very "ehhh."

2) Funny, David and I just finished discussing this. It hasn't gotten as much buzz out here, and I just saw it and my eyes sort of bugged out. David's take was that it was pointed satire not funny satire, it just wasn't very good. My take was that if it was pointed, it wasn't pointed very precisely, and it was so over the line that it was hard to see the point. It just made me think the New Yorker staff was asleep at the wheel.

3) Facebook, mostly just overrated. My participation is halfhearted at best, and internet reunions have been extra awkward of late. In fact, so awkward that I shouldn't speak of them in public. So, overrated maybe leaning towards evil.

Ma said...

The chutney sounds terrific---try putting it over a wheel of brie, wrapped in phyllo and baked 'til oozy, then scooped up with thin crisps of baguette.
You can always slice and freeze them, then blend them into frozen peach daiquiris...

tangodeltagolf said...

01 Cobbler has always been a favorite of mine, especially with a nice bread crust. I'd be willing to bet that you could make a nice creme brulee out of peaches with a decent recipe.

02 The big media's ability to spoon-feed small soft chunks to anyone has been dead for some time now, the 2004 experiences with the swift boat thing and the Texas Air National Guard documents in evidence. Aside from that? The best immediate action that anyone has been able to face a whispering campaign with that I've seen is the "right face", face into the rumors and counterattack in full force (again, the different responses to the swift boat and TANG events in evidence).

Further, why this might be an issue, and whether this thing has any legs or not, may be in part a question of identity politics. Opinions may differ, but the argument is out there, maybe with Samuel Huntington making the best case, that with the end of the Cold War and the demise of big ideological battles over big, impersonal, overarching historical and political narratives like capitalism and communism (Francis Fukuyama's whole "End of History"), other, more intimate social cleavages, such as ethnicity and religion, have come to the fore. In domestic politics, after 1990s Clintonian "third way" politics and the apparent end of the Reagan era in conservatism, that trend of decreasing significance in substantive political differences may be mirrored in US domestic politics as well.

People around the world today may focus more on whether their neighbors, or their leaders, are "one of us" or "one of them" in an ethnic or religious sense. We've gotten an early and sustained taste of this since the 1970s and the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (Muslim, Christian, Hindu, even Jewish if you look at the Israeli right): Gilles Kepel's "revanche de Dieu" following the mid-20th century conceit that "God is dead".

Since the end of the Cold War, we've seen in a significant number of countries around the world a partial or complete political devolution or incipient tensions along ethnic, religious or linguistic lines: the former USSR, the former Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, ethnic tensions in China (the Tibetan situation being the best known), communalist politics in Southeast Asia, left-right tensions in Latin America with an underlying ethnic tinge, party formation on linguistic lines in Belgium, the devolved parliaments and legal systems in the UK since the late 1990s, etc.

In the US, we've been somewhat insulated from this trend by the maintenance of an ostensibly secular and non-ethnic "propositional" open national identity based on political ideas. No telling whether or not we will continue to be. And I put little stock in anyone's claims to being above and beyond such things for the good of "all Americans", or that identity politics is simply the hobgoblin of small minds (what exactly was that thing the Democratic Party spent the last six months thrashing out, over whether it was a black man's or a white woman's hour in the sun?)

03 I express no value judgment on Facebook. Maybe after we've all joined the Faceborg collective, you can be the last free individual for us to assimilate.

lauren said...

The best immediate action that anyone has been able to face a whispering campaign with that I've seen is the "right face", face into the rumors and counterattack in full force (again, the different responses to the swift boat and TANG events in evidence).

it could be argued that the cover was just such a counterattack, couldn't it? i admit that the more i think about it, the more i'm starting to like it. it's not especially funny, it's upsetting, and it forces some horrible, hopefully anaerobic stereotypes right into the checkout aisle (that non-subscriber copy half-page teaser thing notwithstanding).

this morning (while ye olde kidchamp was languishing in Lazy Hosting Company hell) i got an e-mail from carol jenkins, president of the women's media center (a group i've worked with and have often agreed with), urging me to sign NOW's petition for a retraction ("The Women's Media Center joins our colleagues at NOW, The Feminist Majority, The National Council of Women's Organizations,The Women's Coalition for Dignity and Diversity in the Media, The National Council for Black Civic Participation, The Coalition of 100 Black Women, and others--representing over 15 million women and men--in calling for retraction of the cover."). where were the messages urging me to stick up for michelle obama back when the cover was a mere twinkle in barry blitt's eye?

Maybe after we've all joined the Faceborg collective, you can be the last free individual for us to assimilate.

[stabs self with fork repeatedly] fuck your canoe!

G said...

01 peaches are basically perfect in everything. peach and rum marinade for meat/tofu? peach bellinis? charred peach and corn salsa? peach ice cream!

02 what's the New Yorker?

03 not evil, but not my favorite thing in the world. I support your boycott! down with facebook! booooooo!

tangodeltagolf said...

it could be argued that the cover was just such a counterattack, couldn't it? i admit that the more i think about it, the more i'm starting to like it.

Yeah, that was kind of my point. The Obama camp reaction has been somewhat muted in fact (this seems more the typical cannibalistic media feeding frenzy). He had his campaign people go at it head-on, while he went on to call it out for stereotyping Muslims.

You know, and I offer this Thomas Friedman piece from 2 months ago as a point of reference, most of the noise I've heard about Obama being a crypto-Muslim or fellow-traveller or what-have-you has come from Jews, rather than from "society's most vulnerable thinkers", who I picture most likely living in trailer parks or some other mean place. I freely concede that that's as likely a function of the fact that I personally know far more of the former than I do the latter. Mostly some of Laura's older relatives, who have childhood memories from India of Muslims rioting or who lived in Israel and served in the IDF; and some of my "hawkier" younger friends associated with Tikvah or other Zionist groups. Still, folk memory and concerns about the Jewish people's ever-threatened contemporary presence in the Holy Land perhaps play into the points that I made earlier about tribalism and identity politics being a factor in a particularly pointed way.

j said...

03: facebook. i dragged my heels on the social networking things for a good long time. my justification was similar to yours: my blog is my personal creative space/public persona. why would i want to put the effort into trying to create and maintain additional online identities in a less flexible more structured coding environ?

but after getting dragged in, kicking and screaming, i discovered that the value is not what i put in but get out: with minimal effort i can maintain a public face on myspace/facebook that don't need to be regularly updated/policed, and in exchange, i get to hear/see/interact with all you sexy people. many of whom don't have blogs or other easy short-hand ways for me to stalk you without actually calling because i'm afraid of the phone. no, really.