Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Did you know that pumpkin spice latte is a serious gender, racial and class issue?

I invite you to read this abstract for an article titled 'The Perilous Whiteness of Pumpkins' and draw your own conclusions.

This article examines the symbolic whiteness associated with pumpkins in the contemporary United States. Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, a widely circulated essay in McSweeney’s on “Decorative Gourd Season,” pumpkins in aspirational lifestyle magazines, and the reality television show Punkin Chunkin provide entry points into whiteness–pumpkin connections. Such analysis illuminates how class, gender, place, and especially race are employed in popular media and marketing of food and flavor; it suggests complicated interplay among food, leisure, labor, nostalgia, and race. Pumpkins in popular culture also reveal contemporary racial and class coding of rural versus urban places. Accumulation of critical, relational, and contextual analyses, including things seemingly as innocuous as pumpkins, points the way to a food studies of humanities and geography. When considered vis-à-vis violence and activism that incorporated pumpkins, these analyses point toward the perils of equating pumpkins and whiteness.

Want more?  Here's a paragraph from the article's examination of Halloween pumpkin carving.

Less obviously racialized than the [pumpkin spice latte] consumers, imagined gourd decorators parodied by Nissan nonetheless manifest intersections of class, race, gender, and place in today’s pumpkins. Standard October and November cover images for magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, O Magazine, Real Simple, and Southern Living feature increasingly stylized pumpkin-scapes. Gone are days when a kitchen knife making triangle eyes, nose, and an uneven grin sufficed for pumpkin carving. Stencils, paint, specialty gourds, and dedicated battery-powered or leather-encased artisanal carving tools combine with multilevel displays, electric lights, or expensive candles to mark the season. Even when people are absent, labor (of self or paid others), leisure, and aspiration are implied. We move from a pumpkin-spiced world where race was (over)stated to one of allusions, implications, elisions, and obfuscations of race, class, and imagined rurality.

Moonbattery exemplified!

I honestly couldn't tell at first glance whether the authors are serious, or whether this article is one of the finer examples of parody.  Margaret Wente of the Globe & Mail has no doubts.  She comments:

How does this stuff get published? Because critical thinking has gone out the door. The standard methods of research and inquiry do not apply. In fact, they are widely thought to be sexist and racist, because they’re rooted in white male ways of thinking. Science that built on the foundations of masculine rationality and abstract logic can’t possibly reflect the experience of women and minorities. Therefore, feelings, anecdotes and “lived experience” vastly outweigh what used to be known as “objective truth.”

Why am I so irate about this? One reason is that such work is a discredit to genuine academics and the pursuit of knowledge. Another is that race, gender and oppression studies have metastasized far beyond their little enclaves and spread to many other disciplines, including much of the humanities and parts of the sciences. Some universities have launched feminist biology programs because regular biology is too sexist. No one seems to mind that kids are squandering their time and our resources (to say nothing of their parents’ resources) on rubbish. I believe the damage to the public image of our universities is not inconsiderable – something their administrations might want to ponder in these straitened times.

The worst part is that these bad ideas metastasize into the wider world, into politics and public policy and ordinary life. Today we think the only way to fight racism and sexism is to identify everyone by race and sex – and that the only way to respond to people who claim victim status is to grant them special privileges. And so we find ourselves with the pronoun-rights movement. It will insist that people use the terms “they,” or “ne” or “ve” or “ze,” or whatever a person desires, and it will call them wicked and intolerant if they don’t. And God help them if they drink pumpkin lattes.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading for those who like to observe moonbats in action.



John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Margaret keeps an eye on the alternate universe, bless her.

Former Prof said...

Open access journals are pay to play, even the high end ones like plos. Anything will be published as long as it looks reasonable, you get to pick the people who review it and have $2000 cash to send the journal. Magic, your article is published.

Old NFO said...

GAh... Really???

SiGraybeard said...

To borrow a quote from a Margaret Wente, "Another is that race, gender and oppression studies have metastasized far beyond their little enclaves and spread to many other disciplines, including much of the humanities and parts of the sciences." Today, a University of Virginia Engineering lecturer is deep doodoo because he dared say - on his own time, on his own twitter account - that Black Lives Matter is racist.

In the constitutional republic we used to be, this would hardly merit a "meh". Private speech, and not representing the University. I'm afraid the republic is long gone.

Rolf said...

It is nearing the point where the US has well and truly jumped the shark. Which leads to the question: now what?

I mean, where can I move to that would be better, and doesn't have even more and larger problems in some ways? Where is free speech still allowed, taxes are not stupidly high, regulation reasonable, the election system reasonably trustworthy? That used to be the US 30 years ago (no, I'm not saying it was perfect, just better and trending in the generally right direction). But where are the trend pointing in the right direction now? Or do I just need to pick a different state, move, and wait for the coming break-up of the nation?

Duke Norfolk said...

It's the relentless agenda of demonizing and marginalizing Whites. And apparently they're foolish enough to think that there won't be serious pushback and backlash from those who they're pushing into a corner. (And they're puzzled and indignant when they see this backlash developing.)

And if that pushback can't succeed politically due to a corrupt system, it will come in the form of violence. It's gonna get ugly.