Sunday, February 21, 2016

Straight carrots

A while back there was a spontaneous outcry about what was happening to our vegetables. Through some sort of consciousness-raising process, people had noticed that all the carrots in the supermarket were getting to be more or less the same length, the same colour, clean from soil and so on. What had happened to the earth, to the dirt that usually clings to them? And more importantly where were the misshapen ones? Well they just didn't fit, did they? Given a choice of vegetables Deleuze and Guattari would have favoured the mushroom because of its rhizomic character, but the fate of the misshapen carrot would I'm sure have worried them too. In fact it is carefully described in AntiOedipus. The misshapen carrot is in fact 'trapped within the residual or artificial territorialities of our society' (p. 37), referred for therapy or simply consigned to the mixed vegetable soup factory. It is surplus. Let's face it, supermarkets are homogenising the food shopping thing. Tesco is anywhere; just like Whole Foods Market and all the rest. Everything looks the same. A carrot is a carrot  wherever you are. And is it such a leap to think about how this sort of conformity, this market standardisation or whatever applies to us, too? Does the architecture of social media force us all to be certain kinds of carrots on display - and if not carrots, shiny aubergines, or even 'exotic fruit' of a certain size and shape (and country of origin). It doesn't stop at social media, though. Time and again we are required to perform certain kinds of identities and not others. And certainly not troublesome ones. Heaven forbid! But slowly though, we reach our use-by date. We become reduced. That is if we have not already been removed!