July 13, 2013

On the wings of giant ants, high above the 9th-floor rough-hewn floorboards, the first shall be last in order to be first again and other contra-Jesus notions.

"Rodriguez and the other bug mongers of San Juan offer their wares as 'pre-Hispanic' foods, a nod to the Aztecs, Mixtecs and other civilizations that flourished for millennia here on diets rich in grubs, grasshoppers and other edible invertebrates."
Insect-eating was long regarded with shame and disgust by elite Mexicans who viewed the practice as a vestige of rural backwardness. But bugs have crawled onto the menus of some of the country’s most celebrated eateries in recent years, as top chefs seek out esoteric regional ingredients for cuisine known as “alta mexicana” (high-end Mexican).

“These are foods that were eaten in pre-Hispanic times because there wasn’t meat, but now they’re seen as luxurious,” said Lesley Tellez, a food writer who leads tours of Mexico's markets and kitchens....
What is lowly will become lofty. What is lofty lowly. When the common people have beef and pork, the high-class people will pay $225 a pound for giant winged ants (chicatanas). When the masses of workers are sitting at desks, reading and writing, the literary writers will angst and relocate their elite enterprise onto the floor, back in that corner:

In Colum McCann’s apartment, on the ninth floor of an elegant building just off Central Park, there’s a room where he writes that looks as if it were airlifted in from the woods. It’s all rough-hewed floorboards and shelves made of unvarnished pine and two-by-fours and a long, thick cedar slab for a desk. At one end of that desk there’s a space that used to be a closet, but at McCann’s request, the friend who built the office took off the door and put a platform in there, and this is where McCann writes, “in the cupboard,” as he put it. “It concentrates my vision. No windows, two very tight walls.”
Rough-hewn floorboards and unvarnished pine? Is he inspired by splinters? What's for lunch? Termites? Bookshelf-grown West-Side-apartment termites with fresh-toasted splinter sprinkles.

When the lowly becomes lofty, how will the once-lofty become lofty again? Jesus said: "So the last shall be first, and the first last..." But the question is once the last make it to first, how do the old firsties refirstify themselves? We're seeing this idea of embracing the attributes of the erstwhile lasties, eating insects, working on the floor. Can these last become first again? Is there some sort of endless cycle to this ranking and reranking? Obviously, Jesus kept it simple. The order of things on earth would remain stable — "you always have the poor with you" — and there will be a one-time reordering upon death.

In America — I'm including Mexico — we're constantly redefining what is high or low. To quote John "Bigger than Jesus" Lennon: "No one I think is in my tree/I mean it must be high or low/That is you can't, you know, tune in/But it's all right."

No one I think is my tree... But check for ants, termites, and other bugs, because there may be someone else in your tree, quite possibly multitudes. Or, as Jesus might put it, "The least of these my brethren." Alternatively, what's for dinner?