28 March, 2015

Mason Jars

The existence of a twitter account like We Want Plates tells us that we have reached saturation point with hipster cafés – and for the purposes of this piece, “hipster” can be taken as too trendy by half, even for the types of people who are usually impressed by cafés that are too trendy by half.

A recurring theme among these bizarre alternatives to cutlery is a kind of poverty chic. Personally, I think if you insist on serving my breakfast on something that looks like it saw better days in an earlier life as a fence paling, you could at least pass the savings on and not charge me 17.5 (That’s café-menu for seventeen dollars fifty). Nearly 20 years after Jarvis Cocker mercilessly mocked the cultural tourists who “think that poor is cool,” the most ubiquitous example of poverty chic today is the use of Mason jars as drinking vessels.

For a start, they’re not designed to be drunk out of. They were made for preserving but they were also used for drinking because for a time in the southern US, a lot of people were too bloody poor to have anything else. That was economical and, long before its time, sustainable.

This is not.
The fact that the embossing says Ice Cold Drink is a bit of a giveaway.
It’s great that your local hipstercaf has locally sourced free-range eggs (no, really, it is. Happier chooks lay better eggs. It’s a fact) and artisan breads, but let’s not pretend those retro looking Mason jars weren’t made in Chinese sweatshops where they have mastered the art of predicting what kinds of cheap tat westerners will pay for, and sourced by the crate-load from the $2 Shop.

If you’re ever wondered when you should consider using Mason jars, I made a handy chart for you:
With straws? No!
Ooh, but they're coloured! NO!
BPA Free? Why would they be advertising that? Because they're plastic! Plastic Mason jars! I ask you!
I had just about completed this rant when my twitter friend Interrogativus sent me this:

My first reaction was “kill it with fire!” (yes, I know glass doesn’t burn, which goes to show how devious their users are!), but the more I looked at it, the more I came to like it for showing and revelling in how silly and pretentious Mason jars are.

Then, just a short while later, I saw this:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached Peak Mason Jar.
That means it’s over now. Move along.

PS: It's really good to have Things I Want to Punch in the Face back. It was tempting to write this post in her style but I resisted.

25 March, 2015

The standard you expect of others is the standard you will be held to

If you were writing a morality play where a party, or a faction of that party, claimed the US president was a heathen foreign communist, and then went and put up a candidate who is a Canadian born Cuban, it would be dismissed as being too obvious.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution states that:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Ted Cruz, the “tea party” Republican who has just announced his candidacy for the Office of President (at exactly the same point in his freshman Senate term as the “inexperienced” Barack Obama did), was born in Canada.

Canada, mind you – where the socialists are!
Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?
Haha! Trick question! Nobody needs him. For anything. Ever.

And what a surprise it has been to see the so-called tea party suddenly discover nuance and reason. Of course Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president! Why would anyone think otherwise?

The argument goes that since Cruz’s mother was a US citizen at the time of his birth (and for all anyone knows, still is) he has automatic US citizenship by birth and therefore, is a natural born citizen of the United States. I have no disagreement with that interpretation.

What I have a disagreement with is anyone who didn’t make that argument during all the “birther” nonsense over Barack Obama’s citizenship. Obama was born in Hawaii and as such, is a natural born US citizen. However, even if he were born in Kenya as the lunatic fringe alleged, having an American mother would make him just as much a US citizen as Ted Cruz is. Now why do you think people like Herman Cain weren’t making that argument six years ago?

You don’t get to be an originalist only when it suits you. If you believe the Second Amendment entitles every man, woman and child to carry an assault rifle anywhere they want, then you don’t get to claim wiggle room on the definition of a natural born citizen.

Equally – and I want to make this quite clear – if you believe the US Constitution needs to be read in the context of the times and has room for interpretation based on circumstances, then you don’t get to be absolutist about Article II. Frankly, if your best argument against Ted Cruz being president is his heritage, then either he must be a pretty good candidate or you haven’t done your homework.

While Cruz’s supporters may not have been birthers, I’m pretty sure they were happy to sit back and watch the conspiracy theorists trying to destroy a president on a technicality, which makes them complicit if they knew better all along. So this is where they reap what they have sown. They have no right to complain. The standard you expect of others is the standard you will be held to.

Unless – and I am just asking the question here – unless the motives behind Obama birtherism were not constitutionality after all.