Posts tagged: food
What, it’s June already? I’m sure a I had a whole year here a minute ago. In any case, summer means humidity, allergies, and a sad lack of home AC. This year, it also means squirrels in the roof (don’t ask. No, really).
And that means it’s time for my annual bitch column. This month I’ll kvetch about the things that really bug me about the Romance Genre. As usual, I’ll be general rather than specific; there’s no need to single out any one particular book when there are so many bad examples to choose from.
Every April we like to mix things up at The Gutter, this month Comics Editor Carol writes about romance and Agnes And The Hitman:
Growing up in a town where Elvis was sighted post mortem, I despised and mocked The King. Now, I have held wakes in his honor. I used to only like punk. Then I used to say I liked everything but country. Now I don’t even bother arguing that I’m listening to “Americana,” not country. It is a truth universally acknowledged that something I once despised I will come to appreciate and, often, love. So when both Chris and alex recommended Jennifer Crusie, the author of many romance novels, and in particular her collaboration with Bob Mayer, Agnes And The Hitman, I knew I needed to read it.
Like many a horrible child, I despised romance novels. I have made easy jokes. I have snickered at romance covers at the grocery store. And I have been foolish enough not only to judge a book by its cover, but to dismiss an entire genre because of those covers. Some of it was likely internalized sexism. Fortunately, romance readers and writers are are a lot less pissy about their dismissal than some lovers of other genres. They just write hilarious blogs and quietly keep the publishing industry going.
"Festive Christmas Meat House" from Chatelaine Magazine (also, collected in a Chatelaine cookbook). via crooked house.
I’m not the squealing type, but couldn’t help but let out a delighted squeak at the sight of this illustration of famous writers’ favorite snacks by Wendy MacNaughton for the New York Times. MacNaughton confesses to munching on garlic croutons as she works, which I can totally get behind. Personally, I go for Red Vines.
Last week we introduced you to the Fruity Samurai, a series of animated short films that perfectly captures the look and feel of the classic samurai film with the key exception being…
Over at the Vault of Horror, B-Sol has a nice piece up about General Mills’ Monster cereals.
When we break it down, every single one of the General Mills cereal monsters is technically a dead person. Quite jarring to analyze it that way, but also quite true. They are based on beings which do nothing if not remind us of our own mortality. This is the basic source of the horror they all inspire; whether ghost, mummy, vampire, or flesh golem.
And so we do what we always do—we protect ourselves from what we fear, in this case using one of the most tried-and-true methods. We take away its power by turning it into something which is a parody of itself, a harmless representation suitable for small children—so far removed from its origins that one really has to do some mental gymnastics to make the connection.
Making figures of horror and representations of death cute and edible is a way of transforming the fear of death and the knowledge of its inevitability. But personally, I am always more aware of my sympathy for the monsters. The monsters represented in the Monster cereals—Frankenstein, a werewolf, a vampire, a ghost and a mummy—have become more sympathetic throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st. And I think that part of it is that those monsters, while capable of great evil, just can’t compete with human-created, industrially efficient horrors that marked the 20th Century in so many ways. And while a lot of people may not deal with the day to day reality of death all that often, we do have a great deal of immediate intimacy with human atrocity.
It’s not that I think that monsters have lost their power. It’s that maybe we—at least being horror creators and audiences—feel worse about humanity and see ourselves as more horrible than vampires, werewolves, ghosts and mummies. And I see this in the rise of the zombie as the monster of our time, and in “torture porn,” which explores the suffering of the innocent at the hands of other humans, not only reflecting death and decay, but also other horrors that we see around us and fear in ourselves.
Just some thoughts in response.