In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, predominately an American-made holiday, lets discuss Mexican Jumping Beans. It is not a bean, but rather a seed seed which jumps around when heated. Basically the tiny moth larva living inside generates the movement. Although not actually a bean, the seed is native to Mexico coming from the mountain states of Sonor, Sinaloa, and Chihuaha. Sonora is the "Jumping Bean Capital of the World."
Aside from tequila, tacos, narcotics, mescal and manual labor; Mexican Jumping Beans' are Mexico's fifth largest export. Sold across the United States as well as North, Central, and South America. Everyone loves the bean, even longtime Debbie-Downer and Negative-Nancy, Karl Pilkington from the English television program an Idiot Abroad seeks the cute little trinket during his visit.
Agriculture and animal-rights groups have interest in banning Mexican Jumping Beans. The US Department of Agriculture along with the Department of Food and Drug administration have an uphill battle. The moths infest and destroy crops, peoples' homes, all the while idiot Americans' are so confused by the word bean, they just boil up these bad-boys with some rice and fried chicken, thus making a toxic moth-Molotov cocktail. Now PETA, otherwise known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have denounced the purchasing and personal enjoyment found with Mexican Jumping Beans. Essentially you are tampering with the moth's home which is detrimental their their mental and physical well-being, essentially torture. Imagine having someone constantly heating and shaking your home. PETA asks us "How is a moth's life any less valuable than yours?" So this Cinco de Mayo forgo the Mexican Jumping Beans for Margarita.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.