Skip

We can’t download a banh mi.
May 11, 2013 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Chris Richards, formerly of DC post-punk outfit Q and Not U asks: Are foodies quietly killing rock and roll?
posted by capnsue (95 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Foodie food is entirely optional. What's more punk than sneaking in your own food to a show?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:28 AM on May 11, 2013


Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of the foodie class and decline of the record industry. Are the two related?

No, of course they aren't. What is wrong with you?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:29 AM on May 11, 2013 [89 favorites]


I love it when people think that rock and roll stops existing the minute they stop paying attention to it.
posted by capnsue at 10:32 AM on May 11, 2013 [31 favorites]


Food is the appetizer, not the focus of the experience. Sex, of course, is the main course. Foodies typically miss this important point.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:34 AM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rock and Roll: Has it gone from "Pour Some Sugar On Me" to "This Ceviche Lacks Acid"?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


When did we start talking about new food trucks instead of new bands?

When did we start writing NYT Op-Eds instead of talking about new bands?

People talk about new bands in lots of places. These places are typically online nowadays, though. Maybe there's something to that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Im pretty sure we can just load keywords into a markov bot and get this kind of linkbaity nonsense automated.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on May 11, 2013 [29 favorites]


"Are doofuses killing rock n' roll?" - By Josher71
posted by josher71 at 10:39 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


My friends are not as young as they used to be.
posted by box at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


fuck, if I could download a bahn mi, I'd be goddamn spherical. I'd blot out the sun. Thanks for making me aware of something I've always wanted without never knowing about it.
posted by boo_radley at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2013 [32 favorites]


Well, most people pay for food, for a start...
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are paleo millienials ruining organic babies - kustin beiber thinks so!
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 AM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is food providing the thrills that rock used to? Maybe, if you liked rock that sucked
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:53 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's only so much disposable income to go around... It does seem true that many people don't think twice about paying $20 for a gourmet burger, but paying that amount for a music download (never mind actual CDs) seems quaint.
posted by monospace at 11:00 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, of course they aren't. What is wrong with you?

I think the article suffers from the fact that it's an op-ed and has to make a bold and idiotic claim like "FOOD TRUCKS KILL PUNK ROCK", but his point (minus the headline) isn't a bad one.

In late capitalism, where it becomes less about the consumption of the thing and more about the consumption of consumption, then infinitely available music doesn't really give you any sort of cache. Anyone can become conversant on any musical scene in the world through tumblr, spotify, and torrents. The consumption of music loses any significance because it's infinitely and cheaply available to anyone who wants it.

Being a "foodie" (jesus christ, what a word. I'm an 'airie' I'm really in to the aerobic aspects of the metabolic process. I'm a 'sleepie' I like to refresh my brain through REM sleep), however, is something which still carries meaning. Being knowledgeable about, and having the money to pursue good restaurants in your neighborhood has meaning. You can't, as he says, download Banh Mi, and more importantly you can gain status by being the sort of person who discovers and eats Banh Mi. By its nature food is a limited and gated commodity with direct implications about your cultural ties; like music used to be, but no longer is. In other words, it still functions as an effective symbol of position, alliance, status, class, connectedness, w/e.

I feel that where the op-ed misses the mark (probably simply because it is an op-ed) is that it mistakes causation and correlation. Foodies don't kill music scenes, rather, exclusivity of consuming music-culture being destroyed by infinitely reproducible digital media and instantaneous online communication instead creates new paths towards exclusivity and identification. The habits of late capitalism don't disappear, but simply reroute to new paths. So if you've made your life by being a taste-maker and cultural touchstone in the old world you look at the shifting landscape and mistake cause and effect, and then you write an angry piece in the NYT about it.


If/when we get to the point that we can, in fact, download the recipe for Banh Mi and our chemical compositors can create a near-perfect facsimile, you'll see washed up rockstar chefs writing similar holo-op-eds in the NNYT (that's Neo New York Times).

Some theorists think that this collapse of intellectual property through the technological affordances of the network are one of the hallmarks of Capitalism's inevitable coming collapse (for as long as it's been inevitably collapsing, it sure is like watching a building implode so slowly that you might as well just be watching a still frame).
posted by codacorolla at 11:01 AM on May 11, 2013 [75 favorites]


Most times the headline is a question, the answer is no. One can pair food and music as surely as one pairs food with wine or social occasions.
posted by Renoroc at 11:04 AM on May 11, 2013


I think the article suffers from the fact that it's an op-ed and has to make a bold and idiotic claim like "FOOD TRUCKS KILL PUNK ROCK", but his point (minus the headline) isn't a bad one.

Why are you mellowing my harsh?
posted by josher71 at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


TBH unless you're irredeemably shallow defining yourself by music once you're on the far side of 30 looks pretty dumb as well.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


What?! No. The music industry killed rock and roll. See also: Clear Channel.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:13 AM on May 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, great. Now WaPo is pulling its headlines directly from Greg Nog's twitter account....
posted by schmod at 11:16 AM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


TBH unless you're irredeemably shallow defining yourself by music once you're on the far side of 30 looks pretty dumb as well.

I think defining yourself by anything external to you is kind of a sucker's game anyway. If you identify yourself as a musician or a chef, okay...but to define yourself as a person who likes music or likes eating seems quite lame. Who wants to be defined as something they're on the outside of, passively consuming? If you're a creator, okay.

That said, I have to admit that a person whose primary interest is music just sounds a lot more interesting to me than a person whose primary interest is eating, because eating just...I don't know, it seems like such a shallow and narcissistic pursuit. I want to compare it to someone who is a serious masturbation enthusiast; but as soon as I went to type that, I realized I could actually see such a person as a compelling conversationalist, possibly a really compelling conversationalist. Like, a very...but a person who talks about stuffing his/her face all the time? A person whose hobby is stuffing his/her face? That person just sounds kind of sad and gross to me. Kind of boring. It's food. Get over it, right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I tend to have some novelty value within some social circles because I am cool about food. I know where the good food is. I can, in fact, direct you to the best bahn mi in Albuquerque. (It's at that place in the old Ta Lin market and it's less than $5 and the best one is the grilled pork and if you can find a better baguette at high altitude then please tell me about it because I want to eat it, thanks.) I am obsessed with food. I can talk endlessly about food because I love food.

But, honestly, I read like one good food blog for reviews sometimes. I used to hang out with foodies some and I got a lot of good recommendations for food then.

Here's the thing, though: that's EXACTLY the same as my musical education. I used to hang around people who listened to lots of cool music, and so I listened to some of the stuff they do, and now I sometimes know about new stuff from reading about it here. But to people who are either not into music or into different genres than me, what I am into seems just as... I don't know, arcane?

But the whole "You're looking for a good bowl of ramen? Try this little Japanese place in a strip mall, I'll give you directions" thing tends to have a really similar effect to "Have you tried listening to Marian Call? You might like her" as far as social status is concerned.

The thing is the "foodie" phenomenon as we're seeing it now is something that's been going on for a long time really it's just more widespread connoisseurship of something that sort of bridges the art/craft gap, since you need to eat to live. But there's definitely a scene there. And it's not replacing any musical scenes, but it does operate on similar terms, in some ways-- you want to be in the know about new restaurants opening, chefs you like moving around, places under new ownership, daily specials, happy hours, chicken and waffle night, etc. in the same way you'd want to know about shows that just got announced, bands breaking up and getting back together, stuff like that.

But music and food, in this case, aren't competing for attention-- we're not going to stop listening to music because we're eating, we can do those at the same time-- but they occupy a similar social space, so I can see how that, combined with the fact that about 30% of adults seem to develop a weird terror that music is dying when they hit 35, could make it seem like they're playing a zero sum game.
posted by NoraReed at 11:26 AM on May 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


the chefs sport tattoos by the armful while the rock musicians wear boat shoes

What?
posted by scratch at 11:28 AM on May 11, 2013


I ate at Sammy's Rumanian Steakhouse the other night, which I suppose is the culinary equivalent of listening to old Led Zep records: not that edgy but still really tasty.
posted by jonmc at 11:32 AM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most times the headline is a question, the answer is no. - aka Betteridge's law of headlines
posted by stevil at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, great. Now WaPo is pulling its headlines directly from Greg Nog's twitter account....

30 OF THE BEST KITTY CAT RECREATIONS OF OLD TAXI EPISODES
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does any music genre 'die'? Seriously, once it's part of the public knowledge base, doesn't it just kind of stick around like Baroque?
posted by _paegan_ at 11:36 AM on May 11, 2013


The consumption of music loses any significance because it's infinitely and cheaply available to anyone who wants it.

I think you've made a good observation, but I'd argue that this isn't true. One of the meanings of the consumption of music--that you have the money, and more importantly the dedication to the "scene" to spend that money--has definitely been lessened with the availability of free downloading.

However, it's not just about having the money to buy the music; it's about knowing what to buy. It's not true that music consumers these days are easily and automatically conversant in their music scene. Acquiring in-depth knowledge of any particular scene is easier with the internet, sure, but it still takes active dedication. Most people aren't that engaged. They download whatever tickles their fancy and don't put much "work" into it.

The online music blogging scene is, I think, a really great example of how this makes knowledge the new cultural capital among music fans. And the more obscure the knowledge, the better. People who run music blogs, who are creating an online identity as an involved fan of music, don't just upload the latest pop album. They upload stuff that most people probably haven't heard about, that is harder to find, and they often create stories about how they, the fan, encountered the music.

There are excellent blogs focused on vintage music, on music found in bodegas, about "world" music, and so on and so forth. Fluxblog, which focuses on pop, including many well-known artists, is kind of an anomaly these days. (And it's also really old in internet time.)

I've been involved in music blogging off and on for a long time and I've definitely noticed a change in what I feel is "worth" sharing. Everyone wants to bring something to the table. There's no real point in uploading the latest greatest pop single when it's so easy to get, so you have to find something else to offer.

And the side-effect is, unfortunately, a lot of snootiness and a valuing of "obscurity" over quality sometimes.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


A person whose hobby is stuffing his/her face? That person just sounds kind of sad and gross to me. Kind of boring. It's food. Get over it, right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:21 PM on May 11


Dude, you need to start eating better food.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2013 [26 favorites]


I find the link very, very tenuous, but as others have already mentioned, there is at least one similarity—the whole element of discovery and scenesters. There's an extra dimension to it, too—music scenes used to be very local, and there was a local sound of sorts led by the brightest lights of each scene. I feel like that's not really the case anymore—now the internet sucks them all up and removes their context. That's great for individual bands that manage to gain wider attention, but it comes at the cost of the local community to an extent. Those local scenes are still there, but without the bigger names, it's largely bar bands and up-and-comers—more underground, harder to find, harder to get into.

Food, by contrast, doesn't travel well across state lines. You don't find a whole lot of food trucks with a presence in multiple cities. The local context might be a bit weaker because I don't think the same sense of community and camaraderie exists between food trucks versus bands (it's not worse, just different), but on the other hand you only really compare food trucks to other food trucks in the area, not to every other food truck in existence like you might with music.

CAVEAT: I'm getting old, so maybe the way I think about music isn't the way you're "supposed" to think about music, or rather it might not be the way the young folks think about music. Also, I'm not a foodie in any sense of the word.
posted by chrominance at 11:40 AM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude, you need to start eating better food.

I'm not averse to food or anything, but who even cares, it's food. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:40 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


That might be because of the kittens thing. If my breakfast was 90% fur and bones, I'd be totally over food too.
posted by NoraReed at 11:44 AM on May 11, 2013 [25 favorites]


"I love it when people think that rock and roll stops existing the minute they stop paying attention to it." capnsue

"My friends are not as young as they used to be." box

I am not saying that you have to agree with what the writer says, but these snarks are not apt. The writer pays a lot of attention to what's going on, in music, here in DC.
posted by sheldman at 11:44 AM on May 11, 2013


And the side-effect [of the music blogging scene] is, unfortunately, a lot of snootiness and a valuing of "obscurity" over quality sometimes.

Which is why music itself might not be enough for a festival. People still love music and shows, but food can be a more reliably enjoyable social experience. Not everyone is going to want to put up with the stereotypical music blogger who will be bringing up unfamiliar music and artists. In my experience, it's much easier to have actual conversations about food and drink.

I'm not averse to food or anything, but who even cares, it's food. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool.

Lots of people care. Lots and lots and lots. Food and drink are an absolutely central part of many, many, many cultures and subcultures. There's nothing amazing about food becoming a bigger part of many music festivals, especially since music festivals had often suffered before from $5 water bottles and $10 pretzels.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:45 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's nothing amazing about food

This is my entire thesis in a nutshell
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2013


CAN YA HEAR ME METAFILTER
YA DOING ALL RIGHT?
I CAN"T HEAR YOU
I SAID, YA DOING ALL RIGHT?
WE"RE GONNA SLOW IT DOWN A LITTLE WITH A SONG FROM OUR FIRST ALBUM


this will never die
posted by thelonius at 11:52 AM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't want to get into it over being a "foodie," but in DC it seems to me there are more people going to clubs and more bands/artists selling out shows here than ever before? You used to be able to just show up at the door for most shows at Black Cat/9:30, and now lots of shows sell out, and the prices have gone up significantly. It's kind of a bummer, I usually like to have tentative plans and now I often have to decide, talk friends into making up their minds, and pay like $25 in advance or don't go. There are a lot of young people with a lot of disposable income in this city supporting all the restaurants and concerts. But I get the writer's point.. it seems like they are far more likely to spend their money seeing artists with internet buzz or DJ nights than local bands. Not to mention the 30somethings happy to pay $30/ticket to see an indie artist they loved in college. (ok I've totally done this a couple times.)

I bet lots of local bands/artists are priced out of being able to live/practice in DC now, and might have an easier time in Baltimore. if it is some weird, interesting band playing that's actually based in DC I can probably still catch them at Black Cat backstage for like $8. I feel like it has to be harder for DC bands now despite having more concertgoers spending more money in the city.
posted by citron at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really like snails am I a "snaily"?
posted by windykites at 12:04 PM on May 11, 2013


Historians, curators, people who care about things that they do not themselves create (anyone who likes things outside of their own skills or time constraints, e.g. moviegoers or readers), librarians, etc., are all lame and sad?

Wow, I sure said a lot of things that I never actually said, didn't I? Let me clarify for you. In my opinion, the sadness comes in when your level of interest in a thing dramatically dwarfs the degree to which you are meaningfully engaged in it in an influential way. Historians, curators and librarians are, to my mind, meaningfully engaged in culture in a way that I, a dude walking around a museum checking out stuff, am not. If something is the biggest deal in my world, but I am just a passive consumer of it, is that not sad? I'm sorry, but I think it is; I would not want to be a person whose primary focus was on something that I wasn't really a part of. I for damn sure wouldn't want to base my identity on that interest. I don't think that's much of a thing to hang one's hat on. I don't think that's a terribly controversial notion, but if you think so, okay; we can disagree.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:21 PM on May 11, 2013


Put it on a plate, you'll enjoy it more.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on May 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


I couldn't enjoy it any more Artw, mmm mmm, this is swell.

"Rock-and-roll", if it were to be dying of anything, it would be old age.

But it's not. "Rock-and-roll" is doing just fine. The record industry might not be, and good riddance to it. Maybe "rock-and-roll" isn't something people will be able to keep getting rich off. Only assholes get into "rock-and-roll" to get rich though.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:39 PM on May 11, 2013


Does any music genre 'die'? Seriously, once it's part of the public knowledge base, doesn't it just kind of stick around like Baroque?

Art genres work less like a canary that lives for a while and dies and more like the main sequence of a star. They coalesce, start burning bright, reach a critical mass in their core, go FOOM and expand like mad for a bit as red giants, then collapse and burn dimly for ages and ages as a white dwarf.

You can tell when an artform is in the red giant stage when everybody is asking "is X dead?" and really cares if it's true, and you can tell when the artform is in the white dwarf stage when everybody pretty much stops asking except for maybe one guy once a year or so.
posted by furiousthought at 12:45 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


guys go for lox, girls go for haggis
there are so many meals where this is just how it happens
guys go for lox, girls go for haggis
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2013


Let me tell you what killed music: NOTHING. IT'S NOT DEAD.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:55 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, the heart of rock 'n roll is still beating, but, if it doesn't stop adding butter to everything, that might stop being the case.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:59 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


you can tell when the artform is in the white dwarf stage when everybody pretty much stops asking except for maybe one guy once a year or so.

Is jazz dead?
*dusts off hands briskly* My work here is done now.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:00 PM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is MMA choking out knitting circles?
posted by benzenedream at 1:01 PM on May 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


What a ludicrous thesis.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:05 PM on May 11, 2013


If something is the biggest deal in my world, but I am just a passive consumer of it, is that not sad?

1) Not necessarily, but more importantly,
2) Music enthusiasts and foodies are not merely passive consumers. They pick, sort, rank, discuss, debate, and very frequently have social events surrounding their hobbies, and also,
3) Every "foodie" I know also cooks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:10 PM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


“The rock guys tried to ride that for a really long time. . . . But no matter how glamorous it is, no matter how much you pay for dinner, chefs are still doing things with their hands. . . . In a time when guitar solos are incredibly uncool, somebody has to be doing something that has a physical manifestation to it, right?”

musicians don't work with their hands? - really?? - music, especially over 100db, doesn't have a physical manifestation? - really??

how utterly idiotic
posted by pyramid termite at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


“Cuisine exists in a cultural realm where people can engage in status displays,” says Kyle Rees, communications manager at the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

As far as I'm concerned, the time when this guy gets a real job battling genocidal robots from the future can't come soon enough.
posted by escabeche at 1:31 PM on May 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


DESCENDENTS - I LIKE FOOD

I like food, food tastes good!
I like food, food tastes good!
Juicy burgers, greasy fries
Turkey legs and raw fish eyes

Teenage girls, with ketchup too!
Get out of my way, or I'll eat you
I like food, food tastes good!
I like food, food tastes good!
I'm going to turn dining back into eating.
posted by evilDoug at 1:45 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


thank god finally a rejoinder for 'you wouldn't download a car' i'll say 'you can't download a bahn mi' game set and match riaa
posted by klangklangston at 1:50 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


In my experience people who don't really enjoy food tend to be numb to other sense-based pleasures too, including those of music and sex.
posted by jamjam at 2:05 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent consumer expenditure survey, the amount of annual income that Americans younger than 25 spent dining out increased nearly 26 percent between 2000 and 2011. For ages 25 to 34, the increase was nearly 20 percent. (That’s without adjusting for inflation.)

So, these figures are completely meaningless, then? Great, glad we got that straightened out.
posted by ostro at 2:28 PM on May 11, 2013


evilDoug: "I like food, food tastes good!"

Do you want whale sperm with that?
posted by idiopath at 2:39 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh. I haven't seen a new band perform live in... in... dammit. I follow the local music scene on tumblr though and I enjoy the flyers for upcoming albums/shows in the same way I enjoy restaurant reviews. The idea of new experience without the actual effort. [hangs head in shame]
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:41 PM on May 11, 2013


Some theorists think that this collapse of intellectual property through the technological affordances of the network are one of the hallmarks of Capitalism's inevitable coming collapse

IP is a form of government-granted monopoly. Is there anything that you would not interpret as a hallmark of capitalism's inevitable coming collapse?
posted by lambdaphage at 2:41 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If/when we get to the point that we can, in fact, download the recipe for Banh Mi and our chemical compositors can create a near-perfect facsimile, you'll see washed up rockstar chefs writing similar holo-op-eds in the NNYT (that's Neo New York Times).

I call my chemical compositor a 'kitchen' and I download recipe books for free from a 'library'. I call the future you dream of 'the past'.
posted by srboisvert at 2:44 PM on May 11, 2013


In my experience people who don't really enjoy food tend to be numb to other sense-based pleasures too, including those of music and sex.

There are exceptions to the rule. I am not a "Foodie", I want food to show up in front of me, magically-suddenly. I can appreciate good food for what it is, but more importantly I can stomach bland food because I didn't have to do it. I would, along with many many science geeks switch over to just a magic pill that gives me all my nutrients. Admittedly, previous rule overrules how much I am willing to pay for a meal. There is a delicate balance, but I doubt I've missed out on some great things only because I won't pay $560.00 per person, and the few occasions were someone else paid for my $$$ meal, I thought they were crazy. I am also very unclear who coined/created "Foodies", was it Baby-Boomers or Hipsters?

As for the music, I appreciate all kinds, and deliberately go on a daily search for new artist, as for the sex-I have feelings at times that everybody on my block knows how great my sex life is.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 3:24 PM on May 11, 2013


rock music was a thing at a time
for children.


today children have this other thing

.. that is not rock music.




since we are not children we should be worrying about other things. anyone who gives a fuck about foodies or 'rock and roll' needs an enema to the brain.
posted by waxbanks at 3:28 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is kind of a lazy little essay, and it's quite obvious that rock and roll is not going anywhere nor being supplanted by foodie-ism, but I do think he makes an interesting observation about the current state of foodie culture. The sort of curatorial expertise that music snobs of the pre-internet era had, and its corresponding social cachet to people who cared about music, has been, to an extent, replicated in current foodie culture.

Nowadays if someone tells you about an obscure band, you can just go home and look them up, and most likely be listening to them in a matter of minutes. If somebody tells you about the great new ramen place that just opened up or whatever, you still sort of have to take their word for it, until you can maybe go check out the ramen place, but then maybe you can't get in right away or the place is closed on Tuesdays, etc. Compared to checking out a band, there's still a certain amount of work you have to put in, and in addition there's an inherently local nature to foodie activities.

In other words, it's still a little bit inconvenient to be a foodie, whereas it has become significantly less inconvenient to be a music fan. Or, yeah, you can't download a banh mi.
posted by whir at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2013


When I was working as a freelance writer, there were weeks when I was so desperate to get another writing gig (I had bills to pay!) that I pitched some awfully silly stuff. I was just frantically throwing shit at the wall and hoping something, anything would stick. Sometimes a very silly pitch would actually get accepted, and I would find myself writing an article with a premise that was trivial and/or laughable. I knew this thing I was writing about was total bullshit, but it was either that or starvation.

What I'm saying is, there's a fair chance this guy was sitting there at 3 AM banging out this silly article and wondering what the hell he was doing with his life.

"anyone who gives a fuck about foodies or 'rock and roll' needs an enema to the brain."

Hush now. Food is just food, but great rock is sacred.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:02 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In late capitalism, where it becomes less about the consumption of the thing and more about the consumption of consumption, then infinitely available music doesn't really give you any sort of cache. Anyone can become conversant on any musical scene in the world through tumblr, spotify, and torrents. The consumption of music loses any significance because it's infinitely and cheaply available to anyone who wants it.

While I kind of dislike the phrase "late capitalism" because it seems like a constantly moving target, I will absolutely agree that a lot of the music I purchase these days seems to go woefully underconsumed, just bloating up space on my hard drive. (Of course, I think that people like myself have often been really taken by music when it's late and we're sleepy that would otherwise be something we'd ignore. I just have access to the ability to purchase it. In related news, anybody want 50 classic dubstep tracks?)

Food, on the other hand, is pretty much always delicious.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:05 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


anybody want 50 classic dubstep tracks

I''ll take them off your hands for $20. You can use Paypal to send me the money.
posted by thelonius at 4:17 PM on May 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I want to echo what citron said -- I do see a lot more shows selling out in DC than I used to.

DC is very much a "going out" culture but I think due to the economy, people are picking and choosing a bit more than they were. I know I am. I'm not just going to the Black Cat and seeing a show because "why not?" like I used to. I am however, still happily going to quite a good number of shows (some with local bands even!).

But I think people are being more selective when it comes to food, too. Maybe if they used to eat out three times a week, they're only eating out once every two weeks. And because of that, the food needs to be good. It needs to be special. And maybe that means they don't go to a rock show (and maybe if they go to a rock show, they don't go to dinner).

So yeah, I don't see it as foodie culture killing rock culture at all. But I do think people are going out less or going out in a different way than they used to around here.
posted by darksong at 5:50 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck Banh Mi. I was a big Fan early on but once I saw a Banh Mi truck on the corner of Wall and Water I knew Banh Mi was over.

Ditto for hole in the wall dumpling places, they are full of bridge and tunnel fucks wearing pink polo shirts. Used to be there were like three people there , we loved dumplings. Now it is all about being seen eating dumplings.

What I been doing recently is working my way through the catalog of local restaurants. Restaurant that don't get much attention but put in work year after year hoping for that big break.

When I find a spot that has middling to bad reviews online I get intrigued. They must be doing something interesting to anger the masses. I just ordered chicken and broccoli that one online reviewer called "gross" and suggested it may have been made with rabbit instead of chicken.

That is the kind of shit I am interested in. Places that do their own thing. They don't give a fuck about the latest trends, they don't get Bieber haircuts or try to be like lady gaga. They don't want to be part of the industry, and snort blow off a supermodels ass, they just want to make kick ass chicken and broccoli.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:04 PM on May 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm not averse to food or anything, but who even cares, it's food. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool.

I lead a life that I find satisfactorily interesting, and food is one of its better adventures. It satisfies a lot of needs. Aside from just the nutrition I require to stay alive, it's also a sensual adventure, an opportunity to learn something new about the world, an opportunity to try something I haven't before, or in a way I haven't before, and an opportunity to expand what I know. Best of all, food can be pretty cheap, especially if you make it yourself, so, unlike other adventures, it's in my price range!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:20 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are foodies quietly killing rock and roll?

No. But this shit and the people who write it are killing journalism.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:45 PM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a banh mi in the refrigerator right now (grilled pork, veggies on the side), bought from the place next door to the BEST pho place in the DC-metro area (though not in DC), which I ate at tonight with my daughter. I also see lots and lots of live music in the area, big bands, small bands, funk, jazz, jam, folk, bluegrass, what have you. You want to see some good music and/or eat some good food in DC, I can totally hook you up.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:49 PM on May 11, 2013


who coined/created "Foodies", was it Baby-Boomers or Hipsters

Hipsters. First time I heard it was maybe 2000. I was sitting at the bar at the old Veritas, which became somewhat legendary among NYC foodies, enjoying the chocolate souffle paired with a delightful Syrah. There was a group of people sitting near me, people I would expect would be at a show. Two of them were wearing fur vests as was the style at the time. It seemed, among themselves, they had concocted a tasting menu that contained every item on the menu. They passed the dishes around so they could each try every dish. That was the first time I saw a woman wearing a fur vest eat squab with her hands. They refered to themselves, sort of self mockingly, as foodies.

I knew foodies before they were cool, I am a foodie hipster.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:53 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Two of them were wearing fur vests as was the style at the time."

Gimme five bees for a quarter!

"who coined/created "Foodies", was it Baby-Boomers or Hipsters"

War babies in the '80s, when post-boomers were yuppies, and now yuppies and hipsters are indistinguishable except hipsters are younger (except to friends of yuppies, who call them hipsters as humblebrag).

Which was the style at the time.
posted by klangklangston at 7:17 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're wondering whom to thank or blame for its coinage, look no further. According to etymologist Barry Popik, former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene appears to have used it in print first in 1980:

Gael Greene of New York magazine used the word “foodie” in a story on June 2, 1980, and then used “foodie” several times in 1982 and 1983. There were several London-based citations of “foodie” in 1982 and 1983. It appears that Gael Greene’s 1980 “foodie” and [U.S./British author and food journalist] Paul Levy’s 1982 “foodie” were independent coinages.

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:18 PM on May 11, 2013


I hate this article and the attitude of the writer, but I grudgingly think he's noticed something real even if he doesn't know what it is or how to describe it.

I agree with whir, that while the internet has made it harder to be an elitist jerk when you talk about music, food retains some of the same characteristics that music had, so that now it's a lot easier to be an elitist jerk about food than about music.

Judge for yourself what it says about someone who laments this change.
posted by straight at 7:20 PM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everything from the '80s is new again minus that nuclear war/contras/AIDS thing
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, Mr. Fantastic would sprain something trying to make this kind of stretch.

The defensiveness in this thread, however, is telling.

I mean Christ, neither being a "foodie" or being super "into" music is cooler than one another. Nearly everyone has their 'thing' they have a budding interest or expertise in, something that has to be just right, and along with it, about a thousand things that they don't give a shit about.

My mechanic doesn't give a shit about obscure industrial music, and I'm not in a terrible rush to know how to replace a motor mount. Somehow we get along just fine.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:36 PM on May 11, 2013


Wait...why is it rock & roll and not music? This article is just a spacefiller, isn't it?
posted by asra at 7:39 PM on May 11, 2013


Personally, i think people that don't feel either way about food or music cannot be trusted.
posted by palbo at 7:52 PM on May 11, 2013


I used to run an Asian food blog. Get up in the morning, translate a recipe, buy the ingredients, cook, photograph, write, post, respond to comments, maybe do just a little bit of marketing. Every day. Often I'd hold dinner parties just to offload the food I was cooking, but my middle class foodie friends were constantly asking when the next one was, and whether they could be invited.. Anyway, the blog was distinctly niche, focused on a cuisine that was then little known in most developed countries, but it had a fairly loyal fan base (mainly the same middle class friends and other bloggers who were interested in relatively unknown and tasty foreign foods), a significant number of daily hits, and eventually someone came along and offered me a (very reasonable) advertising contract.

Then my host got hacked.

During the course of the the convoluted mess that was getting the thing back online in a form that wasn't selling fake Florida real estate, something came to mind that one of my medieval history profs had once said during a chat we had sometime around 1992. She was a funny, wise, charming woman with a set of interests that ranged from Indonesian politics through chess, maths, programming, science fiction, female medieval peasant authors and literature, Viking culture, the epidemiology of bubonic plague, etc. In short she was a friggin genius and a polymath to boot, but never the sort to rub it in. She said (and I paraphrase just a little) "What is it with all these dinner parties I go to where people just talk about food? The food's there to be eaten. The conversation is what makes the thing enjoyable. And if there's no discussion beyond the food on your plate, there's not a lot of wit or charm to it. Just seems recursive and soulless is all.."

Remembering that, watching the ever rising number of Western Iron Chef "Hey! Lets compete! With food!" rip-offs on TV, and questioning whether I as a western bloke really needed to be providing competition in a niche internet publishing market that was just beginning to be entered by the real people whose food I wrote about, left me with the sense that I didn't really want to be spending all my time talking about food. I put the project to bed at about the time the term foodie gained widespread currency.

I still translate cookbooks, I still eat wonderful food, but (mostly) the need to talk about it is gone. The desire to share it with people who want to talk about food and nothing else is gone too. It's food, it's good, the pleasure in it can be taken quietly and without fuss while having a decent conversation about something else. Perhaps even music. At a stretch, rock.
posted by Ahab at 7:53 PM on May 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Whelk: "kustin beiber thinks so!"

note to self: new rec. pot strain name "kushtin beiber"???
posted by boo_radley at 8:03 PM on May 11, 2013


I think we should definitely go back to the golden age of music here in Australia, which was maybe the late 70s-early 80s, and enjoy the cuisine of the age with it.

Which is why I would like to present my fellow mefites with the Chiko Roll.
posted by jasperella at 9:18 PM on May 11, 2013


citron: "I bet lots of local bands/artists are priced out of being able to live/practice in DC now, and might have an easier time in Baltimore."

I'm a programmer, and I work for a big consulting firm. I'm starting to worry about being squeezed out of DC, so I'd have to imagine that no artist in their right mind would choose to locate themselves here, especially when Baltimore and Richmond are nearby.

While I honestly don't know much about Baltimore's music scene, Richmond's got a fairly well-established punk/hardcore scene, a handful of good venues, and inexpensive cost of living (I'm generally bullish on Richmond's future -- the city's got a lot going for it, despite being the seat of one of the worst state governments in the nation)
posted by schmod at 10:40 PM on May 11, 2013


So then, Bacon is the new Beatles?
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:02 PM on May 11, 2013


Hipsters. First time I heard it was maybe 2000.

A store called "Foodie's Kitchen" opened in New Orleans in 1999. It was decidedly not hipstery, and the term was explained to me at the time by my extremely yuppie aunt.
posted by brundlefly at 1:24 AM on May 12, 2013


According to analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent consumer expenditure survey, the amount of annual income that Americans younger than 25 spent dining out increased nearly 26 percent between 2000 and 2011. For ages 25 to 34, the increase was nearly 20 percent. (That’s without adjusting for inflation.)

Wait so 26% over 11 years (without adjusting for inflation) ? - um so that is equivalent to about a 2.1% increase in spending every year. *
i.e. the apparent increases in spending may be entirely due to CPI. Thats a bit of a problem for the argument isn't it?

* (1+26%)^(1/11)-1 = 2.1%
posted by mary8nne at 2:49 AM on May 12, 2013


No. Shitty rock and roll bands are killing rock and roll.
posted by Decani at 2:58 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


jasperella - a Chiko roll, a Fanta and a Mars Bar.
posted by goo at 4:00 AM on May 12, 2013


Horace Rumpole: "'Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise of the foodie class and decline of the record industry. Are the two related?'

No, of course they aren't. What is wrong with you
"

Well, they both stem from consumers being less willing to consume mass-produced shit.
posted by HFSH at 4:39 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember the line in When Harry Met Sally: "Restaurants are to the 80s what theater was in the 60s." And I found that so unspeakably depressing. Still do.

Once upon a time, part of being a "sophisticate" was displaying some knowledge of art and culture. The Playboy man was expected to know something about James Joyce and Jackson Pollack. The cosmopolite knew she had to know something about The Living Theater and Ferlinghetti as the price of admission to the smart set. Today, it's all about knowing celebrity chefs and exotic foods. People are mistrustful of art that's unfamiliar, and spend their adventurousness on unfamiliar food. It's pure consumption, an alleged art form whose only purpose is to give sensual pleasure (which encourages the idiotic idea that all art exists mostly to give sensual pleasure).

It's disgusting, and destructive, and says everything about how culture disintegrates from disuse. Foodies are revolting.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 5:23 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Democratic administrations also generally tend to do a bad job at producing punk bands.
posted by schmod at 9:38 AM on May 12, 2013


I'm not averse to food or anything, but who even cares, it's food. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool.

The thing is food CAN be very interesting. Any given dish is a blend of chemistry, geography, history, culture, and presentation. I just got done reading a book about the history of milk consumption. I learned about religions, class issues, chemistry, biology, early and later feminist movements, medical theory from the Greeks to modern day, politics, I was introduced to a couple of poets and essayists I had never heard of, and found out the Miss Muffet was an actual person. And that's in a history of milk.

I've found that just about any subject can be interesting, if you bother to look.

It's disgusting, and destructive, and says everything about how culture disintegrates from disuse.


Food is part of culture you know. Food has inspired great artists, philosophies, and political revolutions. J.S. Bach wrote an entire cantata dedicated to coffee. There was a genre of paintings during the Dutch Golden age that were still lifes of dairy products. Some of the great Arabic poets were writing about wine. Historically the same people and philosophies that tend to rail against the enjoyment of food are the same people who tend to warn against the dangers of music, theater, poetry, etc. That's what the article gets wrong. There's never been a choice between food and music. They're not competing, they're complimentary.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Playboy man was expected to know something about James Joyce and Jackson Pollack. The cosmopolite knew she had to know something about The Living Theater and Ferlinghetti as the price of admission to the smart set.

The middlebrow has lost much of his cache, that's for sure. But I'm not sure if there ever truly was a dedicated middlebrow population or if they were mostly a popular culture invention, celebrated in the films of Woody Allen, the pages of the New Yorker, and the unread parts of Playboy. I grew up in the 70s, and my friend's parents, all doctors and scientists and engineers, had bookshelves that were simply loaded with trash, from Helter Skelter to Wifey to Valley of the Dolls. Not a copy of A Coney Island of the Mind among them.

There must have been a few, though. I mean, all those copies of Blue Rondo ala Turk didn't sell themselves. But, sheesh, you were far more likely to find a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull than Dubliners in any house I ever went in.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


And the side-effect [of the music blogging scene] is

I'm late to respond to this, but I just wanted to point out that this isn't what I said. The music blogging scene -- and the changing focus of those blogs -- is an example of how knowledge is what is valuable now, not a big music collection. (That's incidental.)

The music blogging scene does not, in my opinion, cause snootiness towards "mainstream" music tastes or valuing obscurity over quality. It's not that influential. It just is an example of the trends. Plenty of people who have never read a music blog are snooty as all get out about what they listen to.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:49 PM on May 12, 2013


All this talk of using culture, be it art, music, or food, as some sort of keeping up with the Joneses pursuit sounds like the worst. The point of any of this is discovering what you enjoy. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who legitimately enjoy finding good food or trying out some chef's new restaurant because it excites them. That is wonderful. There are lots of people in rock 'n roll that feel the same way about music which is also wonderful! I doubt the rock 'n roll people are lamenting the loss of those who view music like some cultural completist who compete to see whose checklist of bands is more filled.

Now I can't speak to how the music business has changed over the past 20 years but in other art forms it seems like it's never been easier for people to find an audience that actually enjoys their work due due to convenience in sampling. Maybe there's a sense of accomplishment that's lost from music lovers having to plunge into the dark mines of Pearl Jam soundalikes to find a few diamonds but just because you no longer have to risk developing 'black ear canal' when trying to discover new music doesn't mean rock 'n roll is dead (I am stretching this coal mine analogy too far methinks).
posted by crashlanding at 5:09 PM on May 12, 2013


I'm not averse to food or anything, but who even cares, it's food. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool.

"I'm not averse to music or anything, but who even cares, it's music. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool."

"I'm not averse to books or anything, but who even cares, it's books. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool."

"I'm not averse to travel or anything, but who even cares, it's travel. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool."

"I'm not averse to theater or anything, but who even cares, it's theater. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool."

"I'm not averse to film or anything, but who even cares, it's film. At any given moment, it's about the seventeenth most interesting thing in my world, and my world isn't even that cool."

We can apply a dismissive, snotty attitude towards anything that other people like, but we're not terribly into, really. But what's the point? Different people groove on different things, and being interested in any one of the subjects above does not automatically preclude one from being interested in any of the others.
posted by MissySedai at 12:23 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older 60 life-changing minutes   |   Japan's love of meals, sandwiched Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post