For three weeks in a row I’ve overheard someone at my local farmer’s market whine about the price of the produce. Frankly, I’m tired of it.
Every Saturday morning I drag my lazy, love-to-sleep-in-late ass out of bed and hustle on over to the market, various and sundry cloth and recycled plastic bags at the ready to haul home the beauteous, tasty produce. Every week I end up spending at least around $80, sometimes as much as $100. In return I get enough food and more for a week’s worth of meals for two and often am able to prepare some things to save or freeze for later meals. A sampling of what I can choose to take home on any given week: delicious yogurt, fresh raspberries, blueberries, juicy flavorful peaches, fragrant cantaloupe, watermelon, crisp greens (arugula, Swiss chard, kale, several kinds of lettuce, spinach), pears, apples, heirloom carrots, tender cabbage, yellow summer squash and zucchini, green and yellow beans, beets, turnips, salad turnips, potatoes (purple, Yukon gold, fingerling, red, baking), radishes, sweet corn, cucumbers (regular, pickling, yellow, curlicue heirloom ones), peppers (red, yellow, green, hot), sweet potatoes and yams, garlic and garlic scapes, fresh herbs, onions (yellow, red, sweet, and white and red scallions), several kinds of squash…ah, there’s way more, I can’t remember every single thing, but let us most definitely not forget to mention the TOMATOES!!!!
Of course not every item on that list of produce is available all year ’round. One of the pleasures of the farmer’s market is learning to eat seasonally, to savor each item as it appears on the stands, re-learning to eat food that tastes as it is supposed to taste, not as it must taste when it has been engineered to survive mechanical harvest and long transport and storage times. Oh, the wild pleasure of local strawberries with actual flavor! Such a brief season! But the grief of their passing is fleeting, for the next things are coming along, and one knows that soon blueberries and then peaches are on the horizon, and so it goes along.
I don’t spend much money at all in the supermarkets for food items during farmer’s market season. We eat meals made out of what I can create from the bounty of produce I haul home each week, and as a consequence we are much less likely to eat fast food or take out, so we save money there. I could probably shop more frugally at the farmer’s market – we don’t need the raspberries or the cantaloupe each week, but I like fresh fruit, and maybe I could get by with less yogurt, but I like that, too, so I splurge. You could grow your own herbs and not buy them at the market, and I probably don’t need to buy a bouquet of cut flowers, and maybe the eggs are cheaper at the supermarket, but I really, really like the taste of the eggs from the pastured chickens.
So yeah, maybe the farmer’s market produce costs more than the local mega supermarket, I don’t know, but I do know that you can’t buy the flavor you get at the farmer’s market in the local mega supermarket. In the local mega supermarket, your food dollars generally don’t do squat for sustaining local agriculture. If you need or want to shop there, that’s your choice, but if you show up at the farmer’s market, please leave the whine about how expensive it all is at home. I’ve seen people shopping at the farmer’s market using food stamps and, interestingly, they’ve never been among the whiners about the price. Maybe they are more interested in value.
We have to replace our furnace/ac. The AC is dead as a doornail, both are over 20 or 25 yrs old and horribly inefficient. So we’ve been getting quotes. Got two that came in at $6500 and $6800 for 3 ton 100,000 BTU 95% efficient 14.5 SEER variable flow and all that jazz. Third dude came today and did a long presentation after having measured all sorts of shit and went on about importance of proper installation, bla bla, explained all sorts of bla-di-bla about the equipment, how their employees are carefully screened and drug tested and they don’t allow any convicts to work for them because in prison they teach convicts plumbing and HVAC and here’s a picture of brown dudes in prison uniforms studying to come rape and kill your wife in your own home under the guise of installing your new furnace and ac, and you can get a heat pump too to further reduce costs, and bla bla more tech stuff, and voila! four options for your consideration, good, better, best, wow, ranging from $11k to $16k.
And I said, “WTF?”
But wait, don’t answer yet, there are rebates, and we can take this and that off, and discounts, and I can come down on price, and so on, and now the four options range from just under $9k to $11k or something like that.
And I said, “dude, you might want to rethink that one part of your sales pitch where you subtly scare me about the brown prison dudes coming into my house.”
And he said, “well, yes, but Ashton Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend was killed by an ex-con, and there are white guys in that photo too.”
I do not think we will be buying the fancy expensive heat pump furnace from this dude with the laminated pictures of scary brown men in prison uniforms studying earnestly to come rape and kill me in my own home.
Over at Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker says “I wanted to know what actual female scientists thought” about the boring blah blah John Tierney barfed up this week in the NYT. And then gives links to four different responses, included the fabulous Isis’s awesome take on why she is bored to tears with this topic.
Personally I would rather be forced to watch the second Transformers movie on constant repeat for the next 10 years than continue to have this discussion, but since the New York Time’s John Tierney seems to have his head shoved so far up his own ass that his can lick his own tonsils, I suppose we must. But, just know that I am doing it for the people. Not at all for my own amusement.
Isis makes the case in her inimitable and infinitely hilarious manner, but it is, as she states, tedious and boring beyond belief to have to go over this ground again and again. The only point in doing so is for the people – to equip any readers in need with useful talking points, jabby little things they can poke at clueless douchebags who are likely to come up to them and say “But I read in the NYT that ‘Physics needs genius men or western civilization will CRUMBLE! 7th grade SAT scores CLEARLY show gender differences! Innate! Biology!’ “
Because what Tierney’s saying isn’t new. He isn’t making any new arguments, covering any new ground, he certainly isn’t being “daring”, he hasn’t put forth anything that wasn’t mocked, rebutted, deconstructed, and debunked a hundred different ways to death before this.
So why is he saying it? Is he really just that stupid that he is completely unaware of all the arguments against his points that have gone before him? Is he really that incapable of interpreting data, or of using google, or of researching a topic thoroughly to find out ZOMFG! There really ARE valid arguments against this stupid steaming pile of horseshit I’ve just typed!
No, of course he’s not stupid, and he’s not incapable of doing the research. He’s not talking to us, either. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Zuska or Isis or any of the readers of our blogs or any other women scientists think about his steaming pile of misogynist horsecrap.
He is talking to those people who aren’t sure. Who maybe never thought too much about this topic before. Who can be stirred to unease with visions of peoples’ free speech being stifled with turns of phrase like this:
I’m all in favor of women fulfilling their potential in science, but I feel compelled, at the risk of being shipped off to one of these workshops, to ask a couple of questions:
See, I like the little ladies, I do! Let ‘em go into science, if any of them actually want to, and “fulfill” themselves, till they get distracted with a pilates class, or a baby. But Jesus God, they are going to ship real manly men off to the gulags, and no one is going to dare to say what they really think anymore! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR FREEDOMZ, PEOPLE???!!!?!??!
Dr. Summers was pilloried for even suggesting the idea…
They came for Larry, and I did not speak up. Now they are coming for all of the manly man scientists. Will you speak up? Because when they come for you, there will be no one left to speak up. They will all be zombies in state-run feminist workshops.
Would it be safe during the “interactive discussions” for someone to mention the new evidence…How could these workshops reconcile the “existence of gender bias” with careful studies…
Manly man scientists will be FORCED to do touchy-feely shit about gender that has NOTHING to do with evidence or careful studies!!!!!!! Science will be killed!!!!!!
Some have claimed he was proved wrong by recent reports of girls closing the gender gap on math scores in the United States and other countries. But even if those reports (which have been disputed) are accurate, they involve closing the gap only for average math scores — not for the extreme scores that Dr. Summers was discussing.
“Some” = those angry activist women who are trying to take away your freedom of speech. Can you trust them? Would you give as much weight to the “claims” and “reports” of “some” as you would to a manly man like Dr. Summers and his X-treme scores? I think not.
But before we accept Congress’s proclamation of bias, before we start re-educating scientists at workshops, it’s worth taking a hard look at the evidence of bias against female scientists.
I’ve just given you a lot of blah blah with numbers and percents and right tale of the distribution, and I know you, John Q. Public, are mostly math illiterate and don’t like to be made to think too hard. What you do understand, however, is Congress taking away your freedomz!!!! And the freedomz of other manly men! Are you going to let Congress send manly men scientists off to the gulag to be re-educated Soviet style? Let’s take a hard manly look at this so-called evidence for the so-called bias against female scientists. Puh-leeze.
Tierney’s column isn’t written to be accurate, or survey the literature, or communicate with women scientists. It’s written to get across a subtextual message to an audience of the general public, who doesn’t want Congress taking away their freedomz, and conservative male scientists, who by god do not want to be forced to sit in one more goddamn workshop just because some stupid women still have their panties in a twist over Larry Summers, let it GO already, ladies, will ya? I’m tryna get some science done over here!
The legislation Tierney’s disingenuously writing about still has to pass the Senate. He’s writing to rally the troops. He only sounds stupid when you aren’t in his target audience.
Ladeez! Please remember not to be too fat, because James Watson doesn’t want to hire your ugly ass. Everybody knows fat people can’t do science. But they don’t care if we say so, because they are so jolly, and lack ambition!
Likewise, it is also not good to be beautiful and curvaceous, and wear clothes that fit you. For alas, Citibank will have to fire you. Your tailored clothing is “too distracting”. You distracting ladee, with your distracting turtlenecks!!! Begone from our stolid gentlemanly banking establishment!!!!
Too thin, too thick, too sexy, not sexy enough – clearly, there is no good way for you to appear in public, ladeez. Why do you even leave the home? Unless you are on your way to a gentleman’s club to do a pole or lap dance. (Thin ladeez with double D’s only, please! All others, please stay home and mind the kids.)
Jeebus, people, you have GOT to get some new whiney whines, you Whiney McWhinersons.
I’m talking about you, you whiney whiners. Those of you who get all whiney and defensive whenever anyone dares to point out that you have stepped in the dogshit. Stepping in dogshit is an accident and it is something that all of us do upon occasion. Now, when you step in dogshit, do you want to just go blithely prancing about the place, spreading the dogshit hither and yon, stinking up the place to high heaven? Or do you want someone to point out that, jesus h. christ, there’s a great big steaming heap o’ smelly dog turds trailing off your right shoe, why don’t you go scrap ‘em off? Or better yet, just get yourself a whole new pair of shoes, for sure Isis can recommend something stylish.
What you do not what to do, under any circumstances, is trot out that old whiney whine about “oh noes! a witch hunt!” Because now, not only do you have dogshit on your shoe, you have “I am an ignorant fool” tattooed on your face. Perhaps you are not familiar with the google? Try typing “witch hunt” into it. Your friend, Wikipedia, says:
A witch hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials.
Crying “witch hunt” every time someone points out that you stepped in the dogshit is an insult to the horrific suffering and deaths of the thousands of women who truly were persecuted just because they were women. It’s also an insane mockery to liken people speaking up for diversity and social justice to killers of women.
Have you been burned at the stake? Drowned? Pressed to death with stones? Hung? Tortured? Forced to give false witness identifying other “witches” who will subsequently be questioned, tortured, hung/drowned/burned etc.? Is mass hysteria sweeping your local village or region, and hundreds of women are being killed? No? I do not think, then, that you are part of any “witch hunt”.
No. I think you have dogshit on your shoes. Which is a lot stinkier than some poor grad student who doesn’t share the U.S. obsession with showering, deodorizing, and perfuming away every last trace of normal body odor Real Americans find so disgusting. Still, stepping in the dogshit, as I said, happens to us all now and then. It’s not a measure of our character or our self-worth. How we react when it’s pointed out is a different story. Do we cling to our shitty shoes, track the shit all over the place, and then point at some foreign brown dude who, you know, you can hardly understand, and his food smells funny, and he just won’t use Axe body spray? Or do we stop a minute, lift our foot, and look at what we’re unintentionally dragging around with us? Oh shit.
Oh, I know. You’re just trying to help them deal with The Way Things Are. And those idealistic diversity nuts just don’t understand How Things Work Around Here. But the issue is not, how do things work around here. It’s how are you going to work around the things that are here.
You can help people negotiate their way through a treacherous, oppressive, racist, patriarchal hierarchy in a way that lets them come out the other side with some part of their soul still intact. Or you can apologize for the oppressor. Whiney “oh noes! witch hunt!” McWhinerson, are you aiming for the former? Or defaulting to the latter? Are you somewhere in between? Do you even know? Maybe you should take some time and think about it.
I wrote this all in English, the official language of How Things Work Around Here. I hope that’s not a problem for you.