Monday, February 13, 2012

Forwards or Backwards

My latest favorite saying, which I stole from someone (sorry I cannot remember who to credit), is that eating mostly local and eating organic is not some newfangled, trendy, snooty thing.  It is basically just eating like our grandparents did.  It is that simple.

Of course some people say that we should take advantage of all the progress that modern life has given us, whether mechanical or chemical or genetically-modified or whatever.  I am sure as hell not opposed to technological progress.  I am writing this on a laptop over WIFI.  However, we do need to be mindful of any unintended consequences and side effects of our "progress" and the choices we make.  Heck, we should make choices and not just accept the latest new thing that corporate America shoves down our throat.

Anyone who has grown their own herbs or vegetables or made their own bread knows the special feeling one gets from growing something or making something with your own hands.  It just seems to taste better.  It also makes us appreciate more fully what goes into artfully made (so-called artisan) products.  Nobody can do it all herself, from growing food and raising animals, to making soap and brewing beer.  Yet we can find some things we enjoy and do them well, while outsourcing the rest to our neighbors.  It is worth it to pay a little extra for something someone put some care into, rather than buying mass produced crap. 

That is one of the great things about living in a city like Seattle (or Portland).  There is such an intense appreciation for this idea.  I must admit that I sometimes feel slightly silly taking hours to make something from hand that I could have bought in 15 minutes.  Yes, the intensity can reach the absurd, as this video from the television program, Portlandia on IFC.

We can laugh at ourselves too, right?  Portlandia routinely forces me to do that.  I realize my obsession with quality food and products seems like serious "first world problems," but again we are trying to return to a balance where quality means something.  We want to know who is making our food and how they are doing it.  We do not want to eat processed meat goo, extruded into shapes, battered, and deep fried (at lease when we are sober).  Is that so wrong?

It is interesting to see young people question their relationship with technology because it has always been there in their lives.  They have always had laptops and cell phones and iPods.  Those of us with a little more "experience"  remember times without all of these gadgets.  Some of us love to adopt each new thing as it comes along.  Some of us have chosen not to adopt certain things or only adopt them kicking and screaming after their friends basically forced them into the 21st century.  I remember practically begging an older friend to get a cell phone.  Do you ever think about what it would be like to go back and live without them?  I do.

I wonder how many people watching this video and sharing it are people Jake's age questioning their reliance on technology and how many are older people nostalgic for simpler times.  I know I would never want to give up most of my technology, but it is still good to be mindful about how it is changing us.

I am cross-posting this on Art's Risky Biscuits.  This is the first time I have done this, but it seems to fit both places.  I will maintain the illusion that I actually have enough readers to justify such a thing.

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