Something is Burning in Foodie Land

Someone once wrote that America is the only country to move from decadence to barbarism without passing through civilization. If you want proof of this, watch the morning news, or the afternoon talk show. Whatever Paula Deen is or whatever she said, all I know is that I am deeply grateful to move on from Kim Kardashian’s birth of North West. Maybe Kim and papa compass will bless us by drifting off stage into the Puget Sound. Ah, the calm of it.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, who knows if Paula Deen is racist or not. What I do know is when moral alarms go off in foodie land something is burning. But please, let’s cut through all the self-serving “I’ve would never say that” nonsense. Take the pretense off the stove and remember what we would never say is already hypocrisy. Anyone who speaks long enough is going to say something stupid. Anyone. If you doubt this, hold up a mirror and exercise your memory.

Whether it is someone off-handedly flipping deep fried Confederate attitude on the food channel, or a noted clothing designer auditioning for a Third Reich promo, or a half-whacked actor drowning common sense in vodka shots, dumb, prejudiced, harmful things get said.  And if you listen to the commentary after these things you can’t help but shake your head and think on the difference between having to say something and having something to say.

Yes, ideas and spoken words can be destructive and nurture harm. The spreading fires of wars and genocide have a long history of being fannedby language. But nothing serves us less than serving up our holier than thou opinions as a Holy Grail. People in the media are going to make their mistakes out loud. If you don’t buy the apologies stop buying the products. Turn them off, push them away or push for prosecution. Just don’t think that you or I have not, have never, would never, say or think these things because we have, even as we forgive and grant ourselves clemency in the moment. Anyone who speaks long enough is going to say something stupid. Put money on it.

All of us have been personally offended by what we have heard come out of the mouths of others. However, all of us, should be honest enough to been self-offended by some of the things we have heard ourselves say when we were a little tired, a little tipsy, or just too enamored with ourselves and allowed our mouth to take the lead leaving us wondering when we became such jerks.

When I read my bio, it says I am a poet-philosopher. So let me go poet-philosopher on you and say this: Every time we start speaking we open an opportunity to saying something dumb or harmful. Denying this does not diminish the opportunity to be self-demeaning. The only saving grace is acknowledging that all self-transformation requires self-witnessing.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I will stop speaking before I say something I regret, again.

Noah benShea
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