Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shit Hole Countries

I'm shocked by the shock at "shit hole".

Americans refuse to pay double digits for the cooking of shithole countries, while sky's the limit for French/Italian/Scandinavian/Japanese. We label the rest "ethnic", condescendingly shoving them into a "miscellaneous" drawer of spicy cheap chow. Lesser stuff.

Also: star chefs don't cook your food. Those guys earn millions fronting while shithole chefs anonymously perform the actual miracles. Name one Mexican or Central American chef in NYC! The immensely lower value of people from shithole countries is so intrinsically baked into American socio-economics that I find today's outrage completely inexplicable.

Sure, they're considered "shitholes" on the right, which at least talks straight. But the careful euphemisms from the left are just as condescending. The language isn't what matters. It's the respect, and these countries are nearly universally deemed shit holes by the vast majority of Americans, whether they want to admit it or not.

How immersed are you in the culture or politics of shithole countries? How many shithole friends do you have? How do you pay your shithole workers, compared to the natives? What's their advancement track?

What's your spending limit for the music, food, films, etc., of shithole countries compared to native culture? Name some cultural aspect of a shithole country you've explored and admired to the point of close familiarity (tacos don't count). Can you talk with shithole people with familiarity about their culture and experience? Are they something other than a "menacing brown wash" (right wing) or "peoples of color from developing nations" (left wing), neither of which affords much individual humanity?

Nervous condescension toward The Other is no better than brusque dismissal. These countries will be considered shitholes by Americans until actual interest is taken, and real respect is paid, and the Ecuadorian dude who mows your lawn doesn't need to underprice his service to get traction, and it finally strikes you as odd that the guys who actually conjure the deliciousness in fancy restaurants do so in utter anonymity, or that nobody will pay thirty bucks for Dominican or Ghanaian food....even when it's great.

Even if you're too busy to study and too broke to travel, consider: you probably have 50 things you could say about France, England or China. Would it kill you to know a half dozen things about Guatemala, Haiti, or Senegal? If that sounds strange to you, it's because you deem such places shitholes. There's no getting around it. Even if you're too polite to use the term.

This whole issue, btw, is one of the unspoken agendas behind my smartphone app, "Eat Everywhere".

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