Thursday, September 9, 2010

The final countdown and three right turns

My thesis is due to be handed in on the 5th of November.  It still needs a bit of work but I hope to have a draft finished by the end of the month, which means I have lots of writing to do.  I've currently got about 25,000 words out of the 30,000 I'm supposed to have.  I still have to write about gender and blogging (back to the kitchen) which will be exciting because of all the great material I received from people commenting on my blog - and on their own blogs - about whether or not the kitchen and/or food blogging can be empowering.  If you have any other thoughts or insights to add about this, please do!

I have been thinking about the differences between the Weston A. Price Foundation self-affiliated blogs in the US and those in NZ.  I may have mentioned this before but many of the US blogs often have right-wing, old fashioned conservative (and religious) overtones; a distrust of big business and of government subsidies given to large scale farming, a strong emphasis on small farming and growing your own vegetables and often ideas promoting sustainability, self-sufficiency and caring for the planet.  Many of these principles are in line with the NZ WAPF sympathetic blogs which tend to be more left-wing.  It reminds me of a theory I heard which claimed that if someone's political perspective is extreme enough  in either direction - right or left - it ends up closely resembling the other side - three right turns make a left.  In searching for an image for this post I re-discovered Information is Beautiful, which linked me to a wikipedia entry on the political spectrum - apparently it's more of a diamond shape.

I have to say, and it's probably obvious anyway, that I have more left-wing leanings.  I value community and social services and all those crazy hippy things.  Libertarianism scares me, large corporations scare me, economics scares me, fundamentalist Christians scare me - or any fundamentalists, really.  It must sound like I spend a lot of time being terrified, but generally I try to focus on things that are worth my energy.  In January I came across a Nourishing Days blog post which scared me so much I immediately unsubsribed from this food blog.  I suppose this is a good example of patriarchy and I can probably use it when discussing gender.  I suppose the kind of empowerment that comes from food blogging may be an entirely different issue from the hegemonic forces governing the individual lives of the bloggers.  It is possible that these messages are being reinforced through blogging - along with information about nourishing food.  This particular blog contains a post I'm using in my analysis which carries the same kind of conservative, religious message, but also focusses on sustainability in a way which could be quite empowering - got gender-specifically, but in an anti-corporate fashion.

This is probably the sort of thing I ought to be writing about right now in my thesis, rather than blogging about...


  1. Hi Isa I've been thinking about this post since I read it in the weekend and want to post at greater length in response soon (but past my bedtime already tonight). Briefly though:

    Have you seen reference anywhere to the 'pastoral idyll'? It's a hazy memory, but basically the idea that going back to nature will bring happiness, serenity, spiritual fulfilment and health is in poetry and art and goes back hundreds of years. I think nourishing food blogs fit within the same framework. Altough the specific food rules assertions (e.g. eat lots of animal fat) are radical by the standards of mainstream dietary advice right now, the idea of getting back to the land, looking after our resources carefully, nurturing communities, is about as radical as when we (no doubt like our parents before us) thought we had invented sex because it was so much fun and older people couldn't possibly have done anything so exciting.

    "I suppose the kind of empowerment that comes from food blogging may be an entirely different issue from the hegemonic forces governing the individual lives of the bloggers." - yes. Blogging allows a person to create their own world with visitors, preferably admirers, to drop by and endorse that world. It can function as a useful antidote to a world which does not 'understand'. Conformity pressures within blogosphere are slight compared to those in non-internet life.

    Have you seen this blog: ? Julie's recent reflections on what people seem to want to hear and how she really feels are quite interesting. Raw and powerful too, I thought.

  2. Thanks Sandra,
    The 'pastoral idyll' seems like it fits with this whole movement. People often construct 'natural' as better, healthier, more authentic and so on and I have to keep remembering, when looking at Nourishing Traditions, that it is a particular construction of 'nourishing' and 'tradition' that seem to be along similar lines to the pastoral thing. I wonder if this is independent of political leanings, but it seems to me as if it can be quite tied in with both the extreme right (conservative) thing and the extreme left (hippy) thing. I suppose a disillusionment with the modern world can logically lead one back to something that idealistically seems superior.

    That looks like an interesting blog - very honest and reflective.

  3. Hi Isa - thanks for the link to the Information is Beautiful site - I wasn't aware of it - it's fantastic!

    Your post puts me in mind of homeschooling communities and some of the political battles we've fought in the past for homeschooling rights, where fundamentalist Christians and greenies find themselves standing shoulder to shoulder!! (It was particularly interesting when some some homeschooling political issues were going on at the same time as debate over the anti-smacking bill!!!)

  4. Wow, Jonanna, I've never thought about that. I have noticed that there seem to be a few different 'types' of home schooled kids - the religious ones, the hippies, the ones with really crazy parents (which could be also be religious etc.) and the circumstantial ones, eg. no good schools in the area... It is interesting how people with some very conflicting ideas can passionately share other convictions which can bring them together.

  5. Sorry for misspelling your name - my brain is saturated!

  6. So, what happened to your thesis? From the sounds of it, you still had a lot of work to do for the project! But the good this was that you already had the materials for it. Well, that would certainly be a big thesis help having the right resource for the work. It would really save a lot of time researching and finding data and information for it.