Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

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  1. Music Links

[Mu1] Music is art, music is a language, and-according to this piece-music is a pretty good format for abstract algebra as well.

[Mu2] This chartered music club is 88 years old, and has gone from phonographs to singing along with Alexa, and is now looking for new members…if you can pass the audition.

[Mu3] The blessings and curses of being a singer-songwriter who goes from working musician to international stardom when your single breaks big. In this case it’s Irishman Hozier, and how his mega-hit “Take Me to Church” did and didn’t change him.

[Mu4] I like both, but color me skeptical that playing Metallica during, or more specifically at, the distilling whiskey is much more than a marketing gimmick. The vibrations during aging is an interesting idea, however…

Art Links

[Ar1] This is a cool idea: “Who can curate a professional art museum exhibit in St. Louis? Teens can.”

[Ar2] This is a well thought out piece: “Art Spaces Can Bridge Social Divides—But First You Need to Know Your Neighbor”

[Ar3] Steven Murphy has an interesting perspective here; he compares how streaming actually has increased interest in music, so has Instagram and social media changed-and in some ways increased-the appreciation for art.

[Ar4] After kicking it around in the comments this week, an article on how tattoos and body art are actually becoming part of the planning when it comes to wedding dresses and formal attire; not to cover up, but to emphasize.

History Links

[Hi1] So how exactly did we come to get the first Monday of September off? The history of Labor Day.

[Hi2] The history of that one time in the ’40s when a little girl’s lemonade stand nearly become a national epidemic.

[Hi3] The legend goes the west discovered fireworks as one of the many wonders Marco Polo discovered. But the actual history of fireworks goes back several hundred more years before that.

[Hi4] The lost history of a TV show you probably never heard of, but might just have changed entertainment forever: “When Steven Spielberg and Steven Bochco Worked on the Same TV Show (With Sean Penn’s Dad and Noam Chomsky’s Cousin)”

[Hi5] That time during WW2 that a US destroyer fended off a Japanese submarine by slinging potatoes at it.

Food Links

[Fo1] One dealer hacked another to death with a hatchet, turf wars among distributors, riots between customers, counterfeit product that was dangerous to consume…drugs? Nope, the great Tamale Wars of turn of the century America.

[Fo2] What do you do when you can’t find the right beer pairing for your favorite Mexican food? This guy gave up and just started making his own.

[Fo3] Guy Fieri gets some flack for being a big personality, but the “Triple D” effect when his “Diners, Drive-ins, and Divers” show explodes a restaurants business is real, and the result can be life changing for the owners.

[Fo4] News you can actually use: Food places offering free food over the Labor Day holiday.

[Fo5] Bao buns have long been a personal favorite, first the Japanese version called hirata and later the Thai versions I had once from a vendor, can’t pronounce, and haven’t found anywhere else since. This details gua bao, a Taiwainese version with coriander, pickled greens, powdered peanut, braised pork, and of course the steamed bun.

[Fo6] Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver got himself in some hot water this week for “cultural appropriation” because he made “jerk rice.” This column pushes back on that.

Religion Links

[Re1] Pew takes a crack at a new metric for religious typeology: “The new typology sorts U.S. adults into seven cohesive groups based on their answers to 16 questions about their religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, the value they place on religion, and the ways they find meaning and fulfillment in life.”

[Re2] Interesting angle to take: “Our research suggests, given two people who feel equally disconnected, the individual who feels more connected to God will have a better sense of purpose in life.”

[Re3] Does religion drive politics, or vise versa?

[Re4] This will probably be the real measure of how much rank and file Catholics are outraged, if they stop giving to the Catholic Church in significant numbers.

[Re5] Ahmad Ajaj is suing the federal government for violating his religious rights. The catch? He was a prisoner at ADX Florence at the time, and the fabled “supermax” was so restricted his law student representatives had to watch proceedings via video. That security happens when you are serving 114 years for your role in the first World Trade Center bombing.


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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11 thoughts on “Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

  1. Hi2: so there’ s a precedent for bureaucrats coming down on kids selling food out of their front yards. (Though I suspect the risk today is lower because they almost always use disposable cups).

    Fo3: Sophisticated people like to snark on Guy Fieri but everything I have ever read about him suggests he’s a good guy – on several occasions he’s arranged to feed people who were, for example, put out of their homes by wildfires. I also read somewhere that when a business he had featured burned down, he called the owners to be sure they were OK and made an offer of help. To me, that kind of thing overrules the odd hairstyle and loudness.

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    • Fo3 I saw him doing a live in-studio spot on one of the morning shows, I forget GMA I think, and they were doing normal banter and host commented he looked tired and his reply was “Not yet, but I’m going to be I have to leave straight from here and fly home for a PTA meeting.” NY to CA for school PTA meeting. Little things like that I find impressive.

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  2. Fo6 Jamie Oliver’s Jerk Rice

    First and foremost: Cultural Appropriation is a stupid concept

    Second, and almost as important: The concept of Cultural Appropiation should die

    Now that the important bits are out of the way, let’s talk about Jamie Oliver’s Jerk Rice Fiasco

    Cultural Appropiation is stupid, but Origin Denominations are not.

    Jamaican food is surprisingly good and tasty. The reason is both the spices and the cooking techniques they use. You cannot throw non Jamaican spices like Jalapeños. non Jamaican foodstuff like eggplant, and non Jamaican techniques (*) and call it Jamaican X. He might as well have called it Kung Pao Rice, and claim it was inspired by the Chinese flavors.

    He’s essentially “appropriating” the reputation of the Brand “Jamaican Jerk” to sell (apparently lousy) stuff to people. It’s not different from bottling fizzy alcohol flavored by potatoes and call it Champagne Vodka.

    Had he had the same (IMHO deserved) pushback without the words “cultural appropiation” being uttered, no one would have disputed his fake rice deserved to die. The culture war makes everything culture war. I hate it.

    (*) You can’t “jerk” rice. Jerk is a cooking technique that is done in a barbecue. Try barbecuing rice.

    On a separate note, I ate at one of his restaurants last Thursday. It’s good, but not good enough to justify the price tag. His food is quite simply, with good, but basic ingredients. Neither the techniques nor the ingredients justify paying twice as much as you would pay in another place

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    • I have an eternal dislike for Oliver for other reasons, namely when he tried to launch his TV show stereotyping my
      Appalachian brethern, got his self-righteous arse handed to him by the locals, then proceeded to whine and cry about it in the media. Granted I’m biased, but I can take a good WV joke or two. This wasn’t that, he was purposefully mocking people under the guise of helping people, which is the worst sort of hypocrisy.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/west-virginia-eats-jamie-oliver-for-breakfast-1925393.html

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    • I was writing my own comment before reading this, and while I agree with you on cultural appropriation, to me the issue is more that if someone gives me something that they call Jerk rice, a Jerk BLT, or Jerk Ice Cream, there should be something about it that is connected with “Jerk” cooking or flavoring.

      The piece also indicates that Oliver has designed menus for schools, which I think is worthwhile. When the schools were required to offer only low-salt items, the food became flavorless and kids stopped eating it.

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  3. [Fo6] I believe this Indian writer has just appropriated “jerk” cooking as an Indian dish:

    the word “jerk” is traditionally used to adjectivally describe pork or chicken or some other meat turned into a spicy Caribbean curry. . . . In the case of jerk pork or jerk chicken, which I have eaten in London and in Jamaica, I get a distinct taste of Indian spices in the curried dish. I have never thought it appropriate to abuse the chef or the institution that served this dish of “expropriating” my Indian culture.

    I wonder if he’s actually eaten any “jerk,” or whether it was some fusion cuisine. Jerk flavoring is from habeneros and allspice, both indigenous to the Americas. Still agree with the writer’s basic point, that particularly in the context of the Colombian exchange, a lot of food origin stories are suspect.

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  4. Hi5: The sea stories from WWII and before are a lot more ‘bad breath distance’ kinds of tales. A modern Navy would be very unlikely to have such a tale, since often enough, the crew of the ship doesn’t have to have actual human eyes on the target.

    I have a few, but nothing so life and death.

    Regarding the Metallica video, they do a fair job, but I still prefer The Dubliners.

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