January 15, 2021

"Oh, hello, nice to see you, have a seat — let’s stress-eat some chips together. Let’s turn ourselves, briefly..."

"... into dusty-fingered junk-food receptacles. This will force us to stop looking, for a few minutes, at the bramble of tabs we’ve had open on our internet browsers for all these awful months: the articles we’ve been too frazzled to read about the TV shows we’ve been meaning to watch.... For nearly a year now, many of us have been locked in a controlled environment, a closed lab of selfhood: the Quarantine Institute of Applied Subjectivity. Our homes have become biodomes designed to study the fragile ecosystems of Us. All our neuroses and addictions and habits are under the microscope. Willpower, productivity, resilience, despair. We have turned into scientists of ourselves. And so I watch myself eating chips.... The chips come like ocean waves, like human breaths, serial but unique, each part of a huge eternal rhythm but also its own precious discovery.... I believe we have reached the point, in fact, where it would be shameful to leave only what’s left.... If we stop, it will end, but if we keep going, it might last forever...."

40 comments:

tcrosse said...

At least it's not Cheetos. Orange Snacks Bad.

Lucid-Ideas said...

You haven't lived until you've had a genuine old-school style lard-fried potato chip. They used to be way more common but Grandma Utz's (menonite company) is now the only producer still offering a lard-cooked product.

It is obviously a joy to be savored in moderation. Your eyes will bug out of your head if you read the nutritional data on the back.

Greg Hlatky said...

TimesPeople are so cute.

rhhardin said...

It seemed like a normal year to me, except the bicycle commute no longer includes a store.

Mike Sylwester said...

<... to study the fragile ecosystems of Us

I don't like the grammar here.

The phrase should be corrected to:

<... to study the fragile ecosystems of Ours

... or ...

<... to study the fragile ecosystems of Ourselves

... or else ...

<... to study the fragile ecosystems of We.

gilbar said...

Mike Sylwester said...
<... to study the fragile ecosystems of Us
I don't like the grammar here.


how about:
<... to study the fragile ecosystems imposed on us, even though We did NOT want them
???

Shouting Thomas said...

Couldn’t sleep last night. Finally, just got out of bed at 2 a.m., put on the earphones and worked on my organ pedal technique.

The time for playing and singing for an audience again is coming. Three to six months.

Dem mayors + governors ready to junk the shutdowns now that Trump is dispatched.

BarrySanders20 said...

Neuroticos is a new Frito Lay chip rolled out for the East Coast market. Motto: “You can’t eat just one — if you try it will be very difficult and you feel threatened!”

Fernandinande said...

Sure, whatever.

Leland said...

The chips come like ocean waves, like human breaths, serial but unique, each part of a huge eternal rhythm but also its own precious discovery.

I hope he wears a mask for that experience, because I don't want him breathing like that around me.

Static Ping said...

There is an infamous scene in the anime "Death Note" where the anti-hero protagonist makes a big production out of eating potato chips. The scene is a sign that the protagonist is both a clever genius and borderline insane. Read into that what you will.

Oh well.

I'm Not Sure said...

"dusty-fingered junk-food receptacles"
"bramble of tabs"
"the fragile ecosystems of Us"

Good Lord- is it all like that? I'm afraid to look.

Howard said...

Thanks Lucid Ideas. I'm sending away to Jeff Bezos for Grandma lard chips. Everything's better with manteca.

tcrosse said...

Bet you can't eat one.

Nonapod said...

Salty snacks are a serious vice of mine. When there's an open bag/box/can of potato chips, pretzles, cheese doodles, Wheat Thins, peanuts, ect. in my vicinity I have to be careful. I've been known to go into almost a weird fugue state where I'll eat the entire thing without even realizing it. Of course I'll feel a little sick and ashamed of my gluttony. I like sweet things too, but I have far more self control with cookies than I do with Doritos.

Howard said...

Here's the antidote to Covid binging. The wife has been doing it for a while. I joined in last week and am hooked.
Gin Miller's Everybody Steps

Mike Sylwester said...

... a closed lab of selfhood

... the Quarantine Institute of Applied Subjectivity

... the fragile ecosystems of Us

... scientists of ourselves


The parallel construction here is dubious.

The words selfhood, Subjectivity, Us and ourselves have similar meanings, but the first two are nouns and the second two are pronouns. I am bothered most by the third phrase (ecosystems of us), because the grammar seems wrong.

Also four parallel phrases is too many. Three should be the usual maximum.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Nonapod

You, like I, are a fellow man of taste. Ditto.

My real weakness is Crunchers Sweet Hawaiian Onion chips. I go out of my way to ensure that any such bags are not in my shopping basket, home, or car, that is unless I've committed to eating the entire bag.

Once Pandora's bag is open, it can never again be closed.

Quayle said...

If you found the ecosystem fragile, now would be a good time to move it onto a more solid foundation. There could be storms still coming, some of them even tougher. (This was a practice run - a readiness check - to what is likely headed our way as things wrap up. We need to huddle closely in loving communities for warmth and protection.)

tim in vermont said...

"You haven't lived until you've had a genuine old-school style lard-fried potato chip.”

I can still remember the day and who I was with when first I ate one of those vegetable oil fried french fries at McDonalds and our reaction was WTF?!?

Moderation in all things, as they say, and the way I achieve moderation with salty chips is to keep them out of the house entirely. As noted above, since they went to vegetable oil, they are far easier to resist.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

to study the fragile ecosystems of Us

Who is this "Us" that the author is talking about? WE are not all in this together. Some of US have different lives and different experiences. I know that is hard for NYT writers and people who read NYT to comprehend.

Eat the damned chips and snack food if you feel like it......Too much navel gazing.

Fernandinande said...

“You ain’t tasted nothing until you’ve tasted a corn chip right off the line.”

tim in vermont said...

DBQ, the New York Times is not written for the likes of us lot. We simply don’t matter.

Mikey NTH said...

Self-reflection and examination is necessary, but not so much that you become a human mental Ouroboros.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Tim in Vermont "Moderation in all things, as they say, and the way I achieve moderation with salty chips is to keep them out of the house entirely."

Our solution to that (over snacking) is to have small individual bowls for snacks and don't eat out of the bag. Bowls like these

Pour some chips or pretzels, chex mix, or nuts into the small bowl. Eat what is in the bowl and THAT is IT. No more snack for you!!!

Quayle said...

“ I know that is hard for NYT writers and people who read NYT to comprehend.”

DBQ is right, again. Seems like the kind of article that came from an attempt to overcome a writer’s block. “Start with something around you and just write. Humm........there’s a bag of chips ........”

rehajm said...

The palate cleanser between the you must never dine out course and the you must only dine out course.

Temujin said...

Reminds me of a Mad Magazine issue from when I was a kid. It had a parody of the great movie, "The Days of Wine and Roses" starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. The movie was about a couple that falls into alcoholism together. Mad Magazine made it an addiction to potato chips instead of alcohol. I can't believe I remember that, but I guess it was so good it stuck with me.

And I think it fits here. A sophisticate, stuck in his NYC apartment, just him and his chips, and his laptop to let the world know.

Howard said...

I know for a fact that NYT writers purposefully write articles like this just to make Trumpers isolated. It's always about you people, especially when it is disguised to look like it's not.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Eating another human being such as the author of the NYT article is disgusting and repellent.

But pigs will eat them, and pigs are tasty.

Let us go then, you and I...

Old and slow said...

A common bar snack in Barcelona (perhaps everywhere in Spain, I've only lived in Catalonia) is potato chips fried in olive oil drizzled with a sort of purplish black olive and olive oil puree. I once had a girlfriend who drank too much and vomited it all over herself. Never did order it again...

Lucien said...

I try to avoid reading the NYT, but the thought I have upon reading the quote is English "chips" or American "chips" (English "crisps")? The comments seem premised on the American usage.

Shouting Thomas said...

No, Howard, it’s not about “you people.”

It’s about me.

I like the fact that you get either your Biggus Dickus or “you people” thing in on almost every post.

Sort of like a stand-up comic trademark. Repetition is the key.

tommyesq said...

For nearly a year now, many of us have been locked in a controlled environment, a closed lab of selfhood: the Quarantine Institute of Applied Subjectivity.

Of course, as a writer for the NYT, Sam Anderson was all too much a part of locking all of us into solitary confinement, and continuing to keep us there.

mikee said...

The marvelous webcomic Wondermark has in one episode a fellow who eats Cheetos with chopsticks, to keep the orange goop off his fingers. He is hailed as a genius of his age.

Howard said...

It's a lazy troll tactic, Thomas, but you and others with hare triggers eat it up. I slept like a rock last night.

I recommend eliminating sugar, alcohol and increased exercise Grandpa.

wildswan said...

A NYT writer, working on the Faux Normality Project, tries to create a bond with He Who Must Not Be Named supporters by talking about his own love of chips in the style of Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust who wrote À la recherche du temps perdu. Ironically deep shallows deepen ironically at each crunch.

catter said...

Have you ever talked with a flavor scientist? I have. They can explain in molecular detail the strings being pulled to animate the puppet that wrote the this. Fascinating.

Night said...

Obviously he is advocation violence and needs to be deplatformed.

Night said...

RNC flavored Soylent Green. I hear Bill Gates has been buy soybean farms.