The phrase ‘Fast Food’ has moved beyond describing just the typical American ‘eat and run’ habits, but become a way of referring to it’s general cultural methodology: economy of scales, profit at almost any cost – without much thought or pride in regards to the source of production or the impact of production methods on economy, health or community development. Enter ‘Slow Food’ movement, which claims to emphasize taste, health and making local connections. I’m amazed to see how quickly their mascot, that slimy snail, has become so popular.
The effort to delineate one kind of food from the other may seem ridiculous but as history demonstrates, government food policy and large scale production has not always made decisions which have been in favor of consumer needs and so our foodstuffs tend to be at the mercy of commodity prices and corporate agendas. Positivity is becoming less and less a forte of mine – because inevitably, it will be revealed that currently accepted practices are detrimental or a key player in a chain of events that lead to a slew of destruction. Why do we have to wait for data to come in when a bit of common sense and reason can help us draw conclusions about the things we consume?
In the introduction to his latest book, Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, Paul Chaat Smith writes of his fellow Indians, “The question isn’t whether we love photography, but instead why we love it so much. From the Curtis stills to our own Koda-chrome slides…it’s obvious we are a people who adore taking pictures and having pictures taken of us.” This statement ties in nicely with our first meeting which entailed a fair amount of picture-taking.
Luna in the San Diego Museum of Man, circa late 80s
James Luna is a visionary, a truth teller, a romantic, and a hanging judge. For these reasons, I wish he lived someplace other than up in the clouds on a mountain located on the extreme western edge of North America. Or at least that his mountain looked over a nondescript valley of crows and cows instead of the Pacific Ocean. And I really wish his mountain wasn’t next to the one named Palomar, in the state called California.
The truth is he does live up there in the clouds, on Indian land, sharing the sky with the Palomar Observatory, for much of the last century home to the most powerful telescope in the world. He lives in the richest state in the richest country in the history of the world, ten miles from the horizon where the continent meets the sea, where destiny became manifest. California: the end of the line, the final stop on the trail. It is the last destination and therefore the newest place, where everything could be remade and forgotten. Media critic John Leonard must have been in Los Angeles when he spoke about “the unbearable lightness of being American.”
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