May 16, 2010

Uncapped Sources Spew. Threaten States. No End in Sight.

Alas, the source of the threatening spew is nothing so simple as an oil spill off the southern coast. Instead, the source spews everywhere. It spurts up when you least expect it so dependably that you begin to expect it everywhere. Toxic, dark, and odious it sweeps in waves across the land staining and besmirching all it touches. A clean-up at this point would probably cost more money than there is money. Indeed it would only exacerbate the crisis since it is, for the most part, made of money. The toxic spew, uncapped and surging at more than 100,000 gallons per hour is.... bullshit.

Yes, after years of unremitting bullshit the bullshit spew shows no signs of lessening. It builds by the day, hour, minute. The most recent example of bullshit hit when I was on guard against it at the local source of contemporary American bullshit, the weekly "Farmers" market.

Everybody loves "Farmers" markets in America. They are everywhere now. They metastasize in our urban cores like eczema in a teenager's armpits. Every snoburbia has to have one or more in order to be a bona-fide snoburbia. Where else, I ask you, can white people go to be reassured of the proposition that small, local, "sustainable," and oh-so-organic farms can feed a nation of more than 300 million people for only three times to cost of current farming methods? Farmers Markets are malls for morons and we all love them. Pass the drool cup and the goat cheese samples, thank you.

I'm primed for the ordinary and established catechism of the Church of Eternal American Bullshit whenever I go to the "Farmers" markets, but I was unprepared for this fresh sign in an empty storefront on the hip Ballard side-street that supports merchants selling nut-butters at $50 a pound every Sunday. It promised levels of bullshit previously thought impossible:

Click on and study this sign of impending bullshit in detail. It's got everything.

Just for fun let's count the Lumps of Bullshit embedded in this "exciting" business plan.

1. Artisanal This is now federally mandated bullshit. Everything is "artisanal" these days, except, for only a moment, toilet paper. And that's coming.
2. Gelato Actually soft ice cream but we don't want anybody with just a high-school education coming in our store, our block, our neighborhood, our city and looking for a scoop.
3. "from scratch" Yes, we raise the free-range dairy cows ourselves.
4. "on site" And milk them in the back room.
5. "University certified" One of our investors is a UW professor of advanced anti-American studies and he certifies all people associated with this business are registered Democrats. Who is this moron disguising himself as in the "Fish Named Wanda" ice cream parlor?
6. Master Gelatiere Enzo D'Ambrosio Also known as "Master Fucking Gelatiere Enzo Fucking D'Ambrosio." As in "D'Ambrosio my ass."
7. Organic and Natural Because "organic" is not natural enough and "natural" is not organic enough.
8. traditional In the tradition of hippy rip-off artists since 1968.
9. Imported Those cows we're milking in the back room? Rustled them in Mexico and had six coyotes drive them across the border in the dead of night.
10. No additives and a catalog of same We add nothing except the finest bullshit. Taste the flava!
11. Low in Fat Have two!
12. Low in calories Fuck it, have ten!
13. churned Hard to get ice cream without churning, so okay we'll do it.
14. slow But we'll do it real slow so that your don't think you're buying a Happy Meal.
15. authentic As opposed to what?
16. experience! Oh the experience you get when you pay $10 a scoop is not one you will soon forget.

and of course the biggest stinkiest chunk of bullshit:

17. Italian Name: Gelateria Artigianele: Say that outloud three times and people will think you're gargling.

It's staggering that people crank out this crap when what they are up to is opening an ice-cream store in which they will sell you flavored churned curds at around one dollar a bite. But is the way these things get done these days. There has to be a thick layer of bullshit smeared on any new business opening around these "Farmers" market sections of our snoburbias and there is. And it does.

It works in these zones because they are thick with educated and intellectually insane white people. The business plan here is the one that we've been running from the control towers of the country since 2008. It is predicated on one simple notion; People dumb enough to vote in the Democrats and Obama will eat any bullshit you can serve.

Gelateria Artigianele? Just one little wavelet in the tsunami of bullshit sweeping across our land. If it keeps up you'll have to move onto a houseboat in the center of the oil slick in the gulf just to have a reasonably clean place to live.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 16, 2010 5:07 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I weep for my country.

Posted by: Fat Man at May 16, 2010 7:10 PM

So, greenity is not as important as snobisme? I only ask because of those ingredients imported from Italy.
That can't be carbon footprint-less.
Oh, wait- it's bullshit. So they're not Really Imported.

Posted by: Sal at May 16, 2010 7:29 PM

As a meat-eating, red state, God-fearing Midwesterner who raises and sells produce at our local farmer's market, I eagerly anticipate reading the responses to your blog post.

The irony of your sitting on a houseboat in the middle of an oil spill is quite appropos. Since virtually all fertilizer used today in industrial ag is derived from petroleum, you might as well be sitting in the middle of a corn field.

Posted by: Eric at May 16, 2010 7:43 PM

It's just hedonism for the anal retentive.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at May 16, 2010 8:01 PM

This was bound to happen when we were no longer preoccupied with finding our next meal, or becoming one.
Another bout of natural selection will be calling.

Posted by: at May 16, 2010 8:05 PM

Or as I've said: Foodie-ism has replaced sex as the primary sensual pleasure for over-educated, over-40 urban White liberal wimps.

Posted by: Aquila at May 16, 2010 9:02 PM

Sal writes..."As a meat-eating, red state, God-fearing Midwesterner who raises and sells produce at our local farmer's market, I eagerly anticipate reading the responses to your blog post.

The irony of your sitting on a houseboat in the middle of an oil spill is quite appropos. Since virtually all fertilizer used today in industrial ag is derived from petroleum, you might as well be sitting in the middle of a corn field."

Yes, but you're obviously in fly-over country, so who really gives.a.shit. what you're doing? /sarc off

Besides, gelato doesn't need fertilizer (more sarc).


Posted by: Old Salt at May 16, 2010 9:04 PM

Thank you. Farmer's markets used to be about farmers, but not so much, now. I don't know how many farmers raise bubble tea plants in our county, but there's a bubble tea hawker in the farmer's market.

Posted by: Jewel at May 16, 2010 9:32 PM

Meanwhile, inauthentic Italians in Toscana buy their mega-farm mass-produced gelato in an American style air conditioned supermarkets while they dream of crossing the border in Arizona so they can one day make it to the farmers market in America and pay fifteen times more for their gelato made by an ignorant smelly American hippie.

Posted by: at May 17, 2010 4:17 AM

Americans freely affix their lamprey lips to the sphincter of every new fad, including Obama.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck at May 17, 2010 4:34 AM

It has been possible for regular suburban moms to live in the gelato - world and never have contact with real life for about 30 years. Progs are not interested in the real world, but the real world will soon be interested in them. It can't end well.

Posted by: dr kill at May 17, 2010 4:35 AM

Old Salt,
Poster's names are below the comments. That was Eric.

Posted by: Sal at May 17, 2010 5:40 AM

Manna from SWPL heaven.

Posted by: lordsomber at May 17, 2010 10:54 AM

Move over Mr. Häagen-Dazs, "Master Gelatiere Enzo D'Ambrosio" offers so much more green cred and hippie cool-whip to the select masses; and at superior* prices too!

*More expensive

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 17, 2010 11:54 AM

I had the priviledge of living in Italy for 5 years of my childhood. All this "trendy" elitist food is what I ate as a matter of course. It's peasant food that I ate at peasant prices.

I liked my gelato right from the pedaled gelato wagon at the beach, sometime accompanied by a slice of coconut from the gelato man's cousin with the coconut wagon. I treated my very first girlfriend from those wagons (si chiamava "Gina," with great hazel eyes. We were both ten).

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 17, 2010 1:37 PM

The farmers' markets near me are great. Fresh--and I do mean fresh, as in just-picked--vegetables and fruits, varieties that the supermarkets don't carry, choice of organic or conventional, and even the organic ones are cheaper than anything you can find in the grocery stores. Really amazing.

Posted by: Tarragon Rose at May 17, 2010 1:45 PM

The hijacking of the farmers' market label breaks my heart. When I was a kid growing up in the Pa. Dutch country, the Lancaster farmers' market was neither pricey nor elitist-- it was just where ordinary folks went to buy the best fresh vegetables, home-smoked meats and sausages, and Amish pies and jams anywhere. I remember my dad often cooked sausages from the farmers' market for a summer picnic on our small 1950s charcoal grill. The powdered fastnachts (Shrove Tuesday donuts, traditionally made to use up butter and sugar before the beginning of Lent) were another ethnic treat that you couldn't find just anywhere. I don't know which is worse-- to have these markets taken over by foodies or by the nanny-state food police (no fastnachts or sausages for you!)

Posted by: PA Cat at May 17, 2010 2:23 PM

Like Dad used to say:

"A fool and his money are soon parted".

Besides I like frozen yogurt better. And in my town there's and old line ice cream/frozen yogurt store with really good products and no hipsters.

Posted by: Glenn at May 17, 2010 2:52 PM

Gelato, is, of course, not "ice cream". It's a custard base (mixture of eggs, cream and milk cooked--not low cal by any stretch of the imagination or waistline), so Gerard is actually quite correct that it's essentially soft serve. But soft serve used to have bentonite in it to make it nice and smooth. That's clay. So gelato works for me. I can get it at the localish supermarket (it is so super) and it's $2 for a good sized cup. They do make it there. Fresh.
It's Yummo. We're not elitist around here, we're just rubes. We're those farmer-types the rich people love but won't have anything to do with except when they want something from us.

Of course, I just make it at home in my Kitchen-Aid. I'm not paying two freaking dollars for a little cup of gelato I can make myself. (And yes I did write a book about ice cream.)

Posted by: Kate Rafferty at May 17, 2010 3:08 PM

If it were possible to pluck only four turds from our modern linguistic bullshit soup, I would choose "diversity", "discrimination", "prejudice", and "profiling" … the Four Horseturds of the Apocalypse.

"Diversity" … held up virtually everywhere as an unalloyed good. Once a neutral term, a mere moment's reflection reveals that societal diversity elevated to a sacrament -- as now practiced -- is a source of gigantic tragedy, farce, and dishonesty.

"Discrimination" … denigrated everywhere. Long forgotten, this is merely the capacity to assess the general properties of things and to distinguish between the more and the less desirable.

"Prejudice" ... also denigrated everywhere. It's the great mental gift allowing us to form useful opinions without delaying sometimes life-saving action while accumulating idiotic levels of court-sanctioned evidence (which won't be forthcoming anyway).

"Profiling" ... what all human beings with functioning brains do every moment of their lives, sleeping and waking. We seek to find objects among their prior typical environment. We save valuable time by not questing for terrorists at Baptist bake sales or seeking virtuous statesmen among the Democrat party.

Posted by: Matt Burchett at May 17, 2010 3:37 PM

I don't mind this kind of thing so much; I might not buy it, but it's not the sort of thing that I condemn entirely. I prefer to focus on things that might actually have an impact on something at some point in time.

Posted by: Tom Dickson-Hunt at May 17, 2010 4:37 PM

Tarragon Rose: Bet you live in ag country. I do too— our farmers' markets are like wholesale produce shops. Cherries at half the cost of the supermarket, in stunning quantity. Fresh fruit stalls with one price per pound, rounded at the register to the nearest quarter so as to facilitate speed or purchase, since there's so many people. Veggies of obscure origin sold at stands by folks who use them in everyday cuisine.

Love them. Keep forgetting to go to them and have to pay more for inferior product at the store.

Posted by: B. Durbin at May 17, 2010 4:39 PM

If it were possible to pluck only four turds from our modern linguistic bullshit soup ...

I'd like to add my personal pluck - social equality.

Posted by: Sadie at May 17, 2010 4:58 PM

Matt Burchett

Once upon a time on a house-sitting job I had a conversation with a couple hippie chicks - old school types with teeth that turn green under a black light unless obscured by rum. Anyway, sitting on the deck enjoying the early morning BS over a cup of coffee I "admitted" that I discriminated freely and often; the previous evening being a not entirely regrettable exception. They were horrified! Horrified that the guy they had grokked to be nice enough to bang would be [GASP!] "a discriminator". They apparently did not intuit that someone who's got more mutt in his veins than the local animal shelter, and a browner complexion than the president of the world and the entire ethnic studies department at Berkeley combined, could harbor such a bad consciousness.

I explained to them what the word "discriminate" meant to damn near everyone outside of rock candy mountain to no avail until I finally had to break out a dictionary to prove that I wasn't bent on force-feeding them brown babies for breakfast.

It was a fun weekend once we cleared away the bad cultural vibes...But little did they know that I'm frequently guilty of harboring a "prejudice" or three from time to time.

Among them being...I don't do breakfast salad, buckwheat, or brown rice.

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 17, 2010 5:21 PM

I must be living in the wrong place, because the farmers' markets around here (Milwaukee) are more expensive than the grocery store. For sure, they are more expensive than the produce bargain counter and than the Vietnamese grocery store. I like going to the FM for the atmosphere, but I'll wait until Sendik's puts a bunch of zucchini on the bargain table for 89 cents to buy it. I don't care if I have to cut out a bruise or two. Better yet, I'll wait until it's ready in my backyard garden.

Posted by: class factotum at May 18, 2010 5:32 AM

"I only ask because of those ingredients imported from Italy. That can't be carbon footprint-less."

They were imported via sailing vessel, on ships built entirely out of recycled paper and plastic bottles. After arriving in an American port, they were transported overland by mule train. (Only pacifist vegan mules, of course.)

Posted by: Sundog at May 18, 2010 12:14 PM

Back to bed with you, try getting out the other side.

Hand-made gelato is /much/ tastier than some overrun frozen plastic. That's why I make my own!

As far as this stuff goes, if it's too expensive for you to support small business, don't buy it!

The ad claims look reasonable to me, though I'd agree that "the" maker's name is pretty funny.

Posted by: KBK at May 18, 2010 1:56 PM


Were their names Gretchin and Hannah perchance? I recall a request for breakfast salads from two overnight guests in the early 1980s, which propelled me into one of my confused tirades. It ended well as those things go. Say "hi".

Posted by: Matt Burchett at May 19, 2010 3:44 PM

Nope...But those are two fine names.

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 20, 2010 12:38 PM

About this sign: It is really too bad that you do not know the differance between ice cream and gelato. It has to do with air, fat content and the rate the two are mixed. Most gelato is ice cream and what this person is doing is trying to show the variance, as no real gelato is being made in Seattle as of yet. I happened to meet the family that is starting this business and they are not doing anything extrodanary as in italy and most of europe the food you buy is seasonal and local as this is they way it has been for centuries, farmers markets have been running for centuries as well. It is here in the US we have put a middle man between the consumer and the producer which leads to a lack of accountablity if something does go wrong. So this business is not revolutionary but it is authentic crafting but made locally. Before you comment you should at least have your facts.

Posted by: jwolff at May 25, 2010 10:47 AM

Having lived in Italy and France I can assure you I know the difference between gelato and ice-cream.

I also know full-on bullshit when I see it. Which is the point.

As to the authentic famers markets being somehow "better" please explain to me how exactly you feed 300 million + people out of farmers markets, local farms, and the organic/sustainability scam?

Can. Not. Be. Done.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 25, 2010 2:17 PM

"in italy and most of europe the food you buy is seasonal and local"

Absent Spain (as big as Europe) traditional Europe (absent post USSR and EU add-ons) is about the size of New England.

It would also seem you've missed the explosion of the Super-Marche across that particular part of the landscape.

For present Europe I assure you that the bulk of the food is imported and is not just sucked in from small "artisan" truck farms.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 25, 2010 2:22 PM