Unfamiliar to those outside the United States, Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to history, heritage, giving thanks and giving back. The historical premise surrounding Thanksgiving is a heated debate over the decimation of North American indigenous populations and the colonization of North American. Coming together at end of harvest season, the these two contrasting parties purportedly had one glorious meal. Today this idea of coming together unites those less fortunate with those able to give, as well as diverse families and friends. Besides watching the Macy's Day Parade, Westminster Dog Show, and American football, overeating is the most honored tradition.
The idea of stuffing food is nothing new, in 1807 the Almanach des Gourmands, gastronomist Grimod de La Reynière presents his rôti sans pareil ("roast without equal") which was a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler. Although most of these animals are seemingly unknown or extinct, modern societies equivalent is the Turducken.
Engastrastic is the act of stuffing meat into meat. Obviously this is a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey. Although mentioned in 1994 in the New York Times, It's a Bird, It's a Bird, It's a Bird. The turducken became popular when former American football player and commentator John Madden unveiled and carved the turducken 2001. It was also promoted on Fox Sports by awarding winning Thanksgiving Bowl football teams with a Turducken. The term "Bring Back the Turducken" was coined which resonates as a fixation of the past. With this revelry of the past, we can only reflect on our meat eating paleo neanderthal lineage which has moved into our cholesterol loving society. Fixated with one holiday dedicated to overeating and overdrinking, one can only wonder if it is real. Give thanks one duck, one chicken, and one turkey, one drink, and one fight with the family.
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.