Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hot Tamale

Table of Contents, 2/2/06:
I. Harmless Banter
II. Controversy

I. Harmless Banter
I've been pretty lazy about posting lately. Sorry about that. We just finished creating our two front rooms (the living room and the
library) so I'm having post-room creation lack of ambition. Some might call this pure laziness, with no additives, like guar gum.

I began my first day as a Tutor today and must say that I had a great time. The old stereotype about kids being more interesting than adults may be applicable. At least that's how I'm feeling today. Yesterday we set up our music gear in preparation for demo recording. It was great to play again. Sometimes I fear that my arms will be like jello (w/out gelatin, of course) and I won't be able to play drums after long breaks. But alas, that was not the case.

Last week I helped Jon of Vegan Outreach leaflet UNC, Duke, and NC State.
We handed out close to 4,000 "Even if You Like Meat" brochures. Mostly it went well and people were pretty supportive. The common "I like meat!" or the less common variation "I enjoy killing animals!" were heard only a few times. A couple of people at NC State claimed, while quickly passing by, "that is Bullshit!" (In this case "that" refers to "a brochure about helping animals.") As Jon tried to point out to these passerby, the brochure is referenced and most of the references are cited in their textbooks (NC State is an agricultural university). But they were running by too quickly to listen.

One moment - I have to check my vegan tamales, which are ste
aming at present. OK, they are done. Delicious and filling! This is the first time I've made them the right way. Before I tried to short cut by not using corn husks. I researched the proper way to make the masa (see bowl),
then made up a filling of beans, corn, and salsa myself. If you want the recipe, let me know. Here are the little tamales steaming:

And here they are all done, husk removed, ready for eating:

II. Controversy

OK, so first of all, you better not have skipped over all the above heartfelt information about me and my tamales. I know the attraction of controversial subjects, and combined with limited time in our busy schedules, I can almost sympathize.

Regardless of merit, if a group of people are upset about something, that something will most assuredly sell like the last hotcakes on the planet. What are hotcakes? I think they are like pancakes, except extremely hot, rather than luke-warm. In any case, mine are vegan.

How important is honesty to you? Most of you may know where I'm leading with this. Are you honest? I don't believe you, that is, if you say you are. That's too easy. Here is what I'm thinking: you lie about yourself. Your family perhaps. Your feelings. Your role in an event. Your knowledge.

But are these lies significant? What is our measuring stick for an appropriate amount of complete truthfulness? Does what you lie about make the entire difference, or the motive behind your lie?

People are more upset with James Frey than they are with the US war on "terror." My gawd, I have never heard such an embittered barrage of calls on NPR talk shows, unless the topic was abortion. One might think, from these callers, that their beloved has stepped out on them. The feelings communicated are similar: I trusted you. You decieved me.

Should Mr. Frey's book be fiction or non-fiction? Should it even be published? If you follow the link above you will learn that Random House is reissuing new copies with a note from Mr. Frey. One man who had suffered from addiction called in and said that when A Million Little Pieces (AMLP) came out, his sister read it and called him immediately, saying she can now relate to what he's been through. When she learned that part of AMLP was made up, she called him back and now feels uncertain again. Her previous suspicions about addicted individuals returned. The book was widely prescribed by therapists. Class action law suits have now been filed against AMLP. Oh, and it looks like a movie is forthcoming.

Certainly when writing a memoir you will not remember everything correctly. Ideally one should not make up events in their life story. This aside, is his book valuable?

So, anyway, I'd like to know your thoughts. I'm off to start working on my own memoir about life in the Greek civil war. I was a fighter pilot.


ZenLy said...

I forgot to mention that the finished room looks beautiful. I just read this article on eco-friendly painting that you might find useful once you get up the energy to continue on to other rooms:

Autumn said...

The tamales were excellent! I'm so lucky to be a local taste-tester.

Binge Cafe said...

Hey Ly, thanks for the link, I'll check it out. Some (not all, for sure) of our paint comes from the Scrap Exchange, where people donate unused materials, like paint, but much, much, more, for reuse. Here is there link: Next time you visit, we'll take you there, it's pretty cool and great for artists. Wood galore! There are many shapes, textures, etc.
Autumn, thank you for your comment. I didn't know you had a tamale, but I wouldn't put it past you to sneak one while I wasn't looking...

Asa said...

I don't care that A Million Little Pieces is partly (mostly ?) fiction. I enjoyed the book, it made me think, and if it helps people with their addictions, so much the greater. I do think it's pretty slimy that Frey claimed that it was true. I don't think there is any excuse for lying, especially deliberate ones like what he said on the Oprah show. But, as a book, it's entertaining and thought-provoking. In fact, I plan on reading the sequel, My Friend Leonard over my Spring Break.

Laki said...

That's pretty funny that people actually got upset at receiving a flyer. A simple "no thanks" would probably have done just fine. Maybe you should have passed out some of those good looking tamales with the flyers and those couple mean people would have been a bit nicer. As far as the book goes, I haven't read it so I am only going on what I have heard and what I assume. I agree that he should have been honest and not marketed it as truth. There are plenty of people that write self-help books, and there is no guarantee that there is truth to those strategies. It's just advice that one persons giving another. I don't think it should make the book any less useful being that it is not entirely fact, but the reality is that people are less likely in general to believe something that is fiction than something that is advertised as fact.
I think it goes to show how gullible the majority of people are, and that they will assume that anything written down is fact and will not debate the truthfullness of information that someone else has called fact. Conversly, the majority of people are also so short sighted that they cannot learn valuable lessons and information fron fiction. Err, I take that back, there's lots and lots of people reading the Bible quite literally, and I'm sure that is chock full of truth!

Sven said...

I like tamales, and I am not making that up.

Neutral Lippy said...

I like tamales too! They were great and filling.

Anonymous said...

Nice Tamales.

Binge Cafe said...

So...I finished reading the book. I found it boastful and uninteresting. I wondered whether knowing about his lying about many things tainted my reading experience, but I don't think that's it. It's more that he struck me as trying to seem tougher than he really is. The frequent fuck this and that's were irritating. Not because I'm against swearing, but because I'm against such blatant, boring repetition. It's also as if one were to utilize all CAPS - at some point, one would tire from this and the impact would be lost. So, I give the book 3 stars out of 10.

Anonymous said...

book seemed a bit over the top to me regarding some the details like the dentist scene where they couldn't give him anesthesia. i couldn't finish as i didn't care a whole bunch about the character. currently reading unbearable lightness of being 2nd time around. i think the lightness v. heaviness commmentary and insight is breathtaking. to this day (12'ish years later) i still look at people as Tomas people vs. Tereza people...check it out....haptax

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