10 thoughts on “Sunday, November 28, 2021

  1. Hi, Robert in Davis. I, too, used to be crazy about Shostakovich when I was your son’s age. Much later in life, I read an excellent novel about him by Julian Barnes: The Noise of Time. It explains how Shostakovich, expecting to be arrested and’ disappeared’ at any moment, would wait outside his door at night, fully-clothed with a packed suitcase for that fateful interview with Stalin. Visitors to Stalin usually took two pairs of trousers with them because even if they came out by the right door (i.e. even if they came out), the first pair would have been soiled.

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    1. My son has read the Barnes book, and several others about Shostakovich! I’ve not read them, but feel as though I have from my son’s re-telling of all the dramatic parts.

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  2. Robert: “free range, organic, and local,” fits well with Thorstein Veblen’s work on class consumption and Pierre Bourdieu’s on distinction, both sociological classics. Do you know George Saunders’ little satirical gem, SEMPLICA-GIRL DIARIES? A good holiday read.

    I prefer Xicano’s “I know it’s horrible but it’s delicious and in front of me so I do it anyway.”

    More (on this) anon.

    H@M

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    1. I am familiar with Veblen, and very familiar with Bourdieu, so I know right where I fit in their analyses. What can I say? I’m a creature of my social class. But I also think that in addition to a marker of class distinction to impress my guests, there is a value to buying meat from farmers and ranchers who provide more humane living environments for their animals. To anticipate another question, no, I don’t have the equipment, skill, or courage to hunt my own meat. It is interesting how hunting cuts both ways. It can be a signifier of working-class authenticity or of upper-class distinction. (Oh, and I am not familiar with Saunders’ piece).

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      1. I think the question is not do you hunt but have you worked on a factory farm or in a slaughterhouse (where almost all local, organic birds are also killed).

        Equipment needed: brown or black skin.

        Skills needed: lack of money, lack of english, a starving family back home, and an expendable body.

        The organic, local animal flesh market exists on the backs of the conventional factory farm one, both empirically and in the creation of niche market demand. Morally, it’s a distinction without a difference. But hey, people will pay good money for a clear(er) conscience when it comes to superfluous pleasures that require the suffering of others.

        Thanks for the engagement.

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  3. Kent – I was intrigued with your memories of Peter Gould books so I went to eBay and searched his name. Lots of his books are available cheap enough to give for gifts. Some hardcover and also paperbacks. What better gift for a birthday or holiday than a book?

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