Oral Sadism and The Categorical Imperative

A column in the Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri caught my eay with its title “The Kitchen Has Become Our New Bedroom”. It quoted an article written by the Hoover Institute researcher Mary Eberstadt called “Is Food the New Sex?” where she argues that we now have stronger moral issues related to food than to sex.

I have no idea why, but this made me think of a book I was given a really long time ago by a former boyfriend called “Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality”. I still have it and it contains some really funny articles from the Journal of Polymorphous Perversity. When I googled to see what has happened to this fine publication, at the top of my list I found quotes from Google Scholar…

A recent debate article by famous health-oriented people in Sweden also made the connection between sex and food, by pointing out that porn magazines have lower VAT than vegetables. However, none of the bloggers saw the Hoover connection. I’m on to something…


Life is What Happens

John Lennon (and others) said that “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”. After writing my 2009 summary and also transferring photos from my computer to my new TV it struck me that portraying my life as consisting of more or less exotic journeys really wasn’t to give it the right perspective.

In my computer I have lots of photos from workshops with many of interesting persons, from walks around my green hometown, from visits to my parents’ lovely house in the country, cosy family gatherings, from various activities with friends around Göteborg, from Frisksport meetings and activities (such as skating, see picture below).

What is missing completely is documentation of all the endless commuting between Göteborg and Stockholm as well as Mölnlycke and Lindholmen, the numerous although still too few aerobics classes, the weekly jogging tours, a few running competitions, lots of TV-watching, much less cleaning, washing and ironing, all too much shopping, reading newspapers (especially now that I’s subscribing to both GP and SvD), books and magazines (More Intelligent Life is one favourite) and so on.

Future etnographers will not lack material with all the new technology available and creating an endless river of blogs, videos, podcasts and so on. But will they truly capture people’s lives? Would we recognize ourself in future descriptions?

Or present ones, come to think about it. For more than 20 years, I have subscribed to National Geographic (one shelf left in my yellow cabinett). I just love looking at all the great pictures (some taken by Dewitt Jones), the clever use of graphics and reading all these stories. Some years ago, there was an article about Sweden. It gave me a totally new perspective. Not on Sweden, but on how biased all articles are. I didn’t like the article and thought it portrayed just a tiny fragment of the Swedish culture and not perhaps the most interesting one. I didn’t want this to be the only impression non-Swedish readers were left with. And then, of course, I realized that most likely all the other articles are met with the same kind of reaction from the people living in the areas exposed.

One idea would be to have a random alarm set every day, urging me to take a picture right then and there. That album would then be the true recording of that year. Or maybe that’s a project for an etnographer? Of course, this is not a new idea and there are already products on the market. So, what are we waiting for!?!