Five Years Old

We’ve somehow made it to 5 years. Thanks to those who helped the business make it this far. I can’t believe some of you have put up with me for this long.  Thank you.

The Alive Juice Bar brand — its reputation, message, and style — is becoming better understood. But there’s still a lot of work to do.  We’re moving to a more spacious and sensible location. We’re continuing to evangelize the brand by adding two new businesses that will open this summer, a dance studio and a vintage clothing store.

The move and the two new businesses will mean some initial hardship, financially and emotionally.  My leadership skills will be tested and the financial stability of the businesses may be rocky at first. If we can get it done right, we can build a lifestyle company that’ll help us live more fulfilling and meaningful lives.

New projects for 2016 have been considered.  If all goes well, we can pursue them.  In the meantime, I ask for your prayers and patience as we begin new ventures.

Agape.

 

 

Job Application for Manager vs. 1.0

Alive Juice Bar is expanding, moving to a new location and adding a dance studio and a vintage clothing store. Seeking lead manager — for the juice bar business — who understands human nature, can set tone and contexts, and change people’s attitudes and behaviors. Someone who sees the world for what it is, and not as what he or she prefers it to be. Put simply, someone who isn’t delusional. Help make us better as we adapt to a new environment.

This is America, so most people are delusional, it’s the new normal. Every FBI agent knows this to be true.   Some clues that you might be delusional:

* You enjoy sentimental and contrived novels like “Art of Racing in the Rain,” films like “Good Will Hunting.”

* You start sentences with, “I’m NOT angry,” “I’m NOT jealous,” “I’m NOT _____”.

* You frontload on social media, posting to convince yourself that nobody knows the miserable truths about your life that you’d rather not confront and fix.

* You realize that the more you post those fake smiles, the more people see the cracks.  But it’s like being addicted to heroin, you can’t stop.

* You mistake your kid’s need for your affirmation as love.

* You think of yourself as a loving person because you feel so much love for everyone

* You stop reading any material that challenges your beliefs and sense of self.

* You love reading anything that affirms and legitimizes your beliefs and sense of self.

* You attend church because you’re insecure and/or frontloading, not because you recognize your own depravity and seek a community that will help you resist temptations.

* You’ve tried to convince people that you love someone you can’t stand.

It’s ok if you’ve committed any of the above. Life is about learning from our mistakes. To apply, take our psychological assessment and social skills test.

Test:

Earthquake during math class! Big enough to topple bookshelves. Nobody is hurt, everyone is okay, just jittery. What do you, as teacher, do?
a) Stop class, act jittery and anxious because that’s how you feel.
b) Have students clean up mess and continue class as if nothing happened. Assign double amount of homework and quizzes for rest of the week.
c) Stop class, bring in school psychologist to discuss how everyone is handling the event and “post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Your kid brings home a B on a math test. What do you do?
a) congratulate him for the B
b) bitch slap him for getting a B because B is for Bitch
c) act quietly disappointed

What makes people change?
a) Fear
b) Love
c) Hate

Why don’t people change?
a) Fear
b) Love
c) Hate

Efficiency or creativity?
a) Efficiency
b) Creativity
c) Can I pick both?

What do you do when a customer’s kid is throwing things at other customers?
a) Nicely ask customer to stop.
b) Tell customer to get the fuck out
c) Ask customer if she has a big dick as you pour coffee on her crotch.

Some dude is pissed off about something. What should you do to calm him down?
a) Gently and sweetly ask him if there’s anything you can do for him to make him feel better.
b) Act just as pissed off when asking him what the fuck happened. Act even more pissed off after he tells you.
c) Show him your tits if you have some fun ones. If you don’t, make a funny face and tell him a joke.

Fight between a couple. He calls her lazy. How should she respond?
a) I’m not lazy. I do all these things you never see or acknowledge.
b) Why do you think I’m lazy?
c) You’re the one who is lazy. Takes one to know one, asshole.

When you’re angry, what sort of music makes you feel better?
a) Loud angry music
b) Soft, soothing music
c) Funny funky music.

Pick:
a) Love, Goose, Love
b) Love, Respect, Love
c) Fear, Respect, Love

When was the last time someone called you a bitch or asshole?
a) Last 5 days
b) Past month
c) Never

How do you feel when someone calls you stupid/lazy/bitch/asshole?
a) Hurt
b) Happy
c) Indifferent

How do you feel when someone compliments you?
a) Happy
b) Confused, uncomfortable, and bewildered
c) Indifferent

Send resume and cover letter with responses to questions. Boldface response, example:

What’s the best way to get rid of an employee?
a) Fire him
b) Make employee miserable so she quits
c) Trip employee so she breaks her legs.

Perks: Free drinks and food, free dance classes, and a lot of good looking customers.
Shift: 10-6, negotiable
Compensation: Full health benefits after 60 days; 40k-50k per year, when salary plus tips are combined.  Salary review every 6 months.

Thirty Rules I’ve Learned About Building an Unbranded Business

List revised.

1. It’s not fun.  Nobody, nothing cooperates.  Things break, people are whimsical, weird shit happens all the time.

2. It’s a lot of fun. It’s fun when you figure out how to cooperate with an unpredictable world.   You’ll realize the fun is the chase, and the work is in maintaining the relationship.

3. You’re a stupid useless cunt every time you fuck up an order.  Doesn’t matter if this is true or not.  You have to believe it’s true.

4.  Don’t hire when you start.  I learned this one the hard way and it nearly left me destitute and homeless.  It takes time to build a competent army.  Hire because you’ve found the right person, not because you want a break.

5. People don’t change, they just become clearer versions of who they really are.    Don’t expect to change the person you hire into the person you want them to be, even if they want to be that. Our habits are addictions, we relapse when we think we can get away with it.

6. People change only when there’s enough peer pressure to do so.  That’s why she won’t lose weight until the flow of compliments about her appearance ends.  Until then, she’ll see what she can get away with.

7. Never say “no” to a customer.  It creates a communication barrier, such that they tune out everything else you say to them.  Create a place where customers don’t have to hear “no.”  They already hear “no” all day long, from their boss, their kids, spouse, bureaucrats.

8. If you have to say “no” to a customer, say it without saying “no.”  For instance, say “Fuck Off.”  Much more effective than “no.”

9. Never make excuses to a customer.  Assume that the customer doesn’t care if you’re late opening the store because your grandmother slipped and broke her hip and you had to take her to the hospital.  Just apologize for being late and continue work.

10. Never play victim. Once you start blaming the world for your problems is when it’ll soon be over. It’s especially important to blame yourself when it’s not your fault.  Learn to blame yourself when it’s not your fault. Only then will you figure out why IT IS your fault.

11. Don’t allow employees to play victim.  Once they do, it will become a part of the work culture.  Making excuses and playing victim are contagious behaviors.   We have a policy — three excuses per month and you’re fired.  Employees can make up for each excuse by writing an essay on why excuse was made, what will be done to ensure it’s never made again, and how making excuses prevents one from learning.

12. “If you are going to kill, kill 20, not just one,” someone once told Bandit Queen, Phoolan Devi. “If you kill 20 your fame will spread; if you kill only one, they will hang you.” And that’s exactly what she did — massacred 22 upper-caste villagers — and that’s exactly what happened — pardoned of all crimes after 11 years in jail, elected to office, and immortalized in books and film as a lower-caste gang leader.  Don’t just piss off a few people.  That’s going to happen, unintentionally, anyway.  Piss off a lot of people, INTENTIONALLY.  Don’t piss people off for the sake of pissing them off.  That’s just douchebag behavior.  Piss people off because you truly believe that there’s no other option, that they need to be pissed off, that they need a good shake to wake up.

13. It’s ok to fail.  Most of life is failure.  Failure is good as long as you learn from it, take responsibility for your failure. I fail several times a day.

14. Follow the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule.  I had never heard of it until someone mentioned it after noticing that I kept describing the world in 80/20 ratios. This ratio seems to be found throughout nature.  Like 20 percent of people own 80 percent of wealth.  Or 80 percent of people use 20 percent of software features, while 20 percent use 80 percent of them; 20 percent of agricultural land produces 80 percent of bounty, 20 percent of employees produce 80 percent of value. Fascinating.

15. Hang out with your customers and employees.  They’re the most important people in your life, they support you even though you’re a stupid, useless, cunt.  Treat them like family, know them better than anyone else in their life.  Don’t waste time on those  who can’t help you reach your goal.  There’s no time to hang out with college drinking buddies and reminisce about the time the two of you had sex with twins in a bathroom stall while…GROW UP!

16. Operate your business as stereotypical East Asian family operates.  If you have no idea what goes on in many East Asian families, read Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  It’s an extreme example, but it captures the essence of Asian identity and worldview AND how visionaries like Steve Jobs ran their businesses. While I disagree with her on some points, she provides general framework on how to run a business and treat employees.  I’ve tried the standard middle-class White American way of parenting and it doesn’t work.  It’s like they’re in competition to see who can be nicer to their kids and assume their kids are narcissistic, manipulative, and have strong sense of entitlement because they weren’t nice enough to them.  It’s fucking madness!

17. Don’t waste time.  Use off hours to identify all the mistakes you made during the day and figure out how to correct them.  The mistake could be a posture, choice of words, failure to spot a detail, possibilities are endless.  Spend leisure time only on activities related to business.  Don’t spend time talking to those who don’t add value to your life and business.  Again, don’t waste time. So obvious, but difficult to follow.

18. Be grateful.  Thank your customers for putting up with you being a stupid, useless, cunt, for actually paying money for your products and services.  Thank your employees for tolerating you. Treat them to lunch and dinner.

19. Don’t let customers control the business.  It’s your business, not theirs.  Don’t be scared of them.  The moment you let them run your business is when you lose passion for whatever it is you want to do.

20. Burn all business textbooks.  Some of the stuff you find in textbooks may work for Fortune 500 companies, but not for a start-up. Rely on street-smarts, not books that’ll be out of date within 10 years of publication.

21. Ignore consultants.  They’re mostly talking business textbooks.  Their advice is either obvious, asinine, or impractical at the moment.  Most of them don’t know your motivations.  You can learn a lot more from industry veterans.

22. Listen to Tupac, let him guide you, because you will be shot by someone five times and you better “take it and smile.”  When you recover, find the motherfucker who shot you and destroy him and everyone associated with him. It’s better to be feared than loved.

23. Always compare yourself to the best.  Not saying you need to aim to be the best.  You don’t need to be ambitious (I’m not).  But you need to grade yourself fairly.  (You need to recognize reality).  If you don’t like being compared — and we’re always being compared, like it or not — find a low stress, low profile, low standards job where comparisons will be implicit, not explicit.

24. Don’t get greedy.  Realize expansion is a slow process.  I’ve been by tempted to accept free rent to open a second store here and there even though I can barely run one store.  A lot of people lose everything when they open a second store or expand.  I remember Asteroid Cafe, a little hole in wall in Wallingford, owner was passionate about politics.  Great reviews, good prices, successful operation for nearly a decade, bursting at seams.  Decided to expand, moved to a fancy location in Fremont, tripling seating.  Lasted less than two years.  Owner crushed, has never recovered.  Sad story.

25. Don’t be lazy.  This is obvious, but it’s so tempting to slip up.  It’s Friday 7pm and you want to go home so you do a sloppy job of interviewing an applicant, cut it short.  Her incompetence ends up costing you thousands.  Or I once lost a bid for a large catering event because I didn’t respond to an e-mail a day earlier. (And even if my late response isn’t the reason for rejection, I have to believe that it is.  Create a reality that will encourage you to not be lazy).

26. Ignore focus groups.  Steve Jobs ignored them.  Focus groups are methodologically problematic and people don’t know what they want when they’re in a contextless environment. They also give you yet another excuse when something doesn’t sell.  Good sellers can sell anything, even bottled fart.  Ann Wigamore convinced people to pay a lot of money for something as useless as wheatgrass.

27. Exercise.  You need to be healthy to maximize productivity.  You can find the time for it.

28.  Don’t try to save the world. If your product sounds too good to be true — spirulina, wheatgrass, ionized water — then you are a liar.  Stay away from anyone who tells you buying their product will save the world (empower the peasants, save them from greedy capitalists!) and instantly bring you eternal life (wheatgrass).  There’s no such thing as an elixir.  Living well requires hard work.  Even then, shit happens.  We’re no longer in the Garden of Eden.

29. Believe in Original Sin.  Especially the Calvinist/Puritan version, where we are born responsible for and tainted by the sins of our ancestors.  If you don’t believe you’re depraved and deserve to burn in Hell, you’ll never be truly grateful for life and whatever else you have.  You’ll feel entitled to a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.  You won’t have the drive to keep going during the tough times.  You won’t be able to survive a day where you lose money despite working 16 hours. You have to see the tough days as penance for your sins, not as unfair.

30. Flattery is the sound of the Devil’s laughter. Flattery distorts reality, makes us blind to our total depravity.   Ignore salespeople who flatter you, they’re like the men who flatter women so they can fuck them.  Addiction to flattery feeds our narcissism and lowers standards.  That’s why those at the top rarely praise themselves and other people.  Flattery has ruined many promising careers and businesses. Low caliber people work for praise. High caliber people work for achievement.

Frequently Asked Questions VII

Links to Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI,

Business

When are you moving to new location?
Aiming for June 1st.  Depends on construction.

Why don’t you offer coffee and sandwiches?  
Lease restrictions placed by  Starbucks and Subway prevent us from doing so.

Why don’t you hire that person who works next door? 
We try to maintain good relations with our neighbors. Poaching creates problems.  Best to not fuck the neighbor’s daughter.

Will there be new menu items when you move to new space?
Yes.

What would you offer?
We’d like to expand our baked goods offerings, adding, for instance, vegan gluten-free brownies (made from black beans, so very protein and fiber dense). Random daily specials, similar to what’s offered in our to-go meals.  Example: salmon masala w/rice and beans and 3 veggies.  We’re considering self-serve cereal.  And maybe something that’s not quite a sandwich.  Suggestions are welcome.

What if Subway catches you making something similar to a sandwich?  
It’s not ok to fuck the neighbor’s wife, but it’s ok to fuck someone who looks like her.

Random

Why does the owner look pissed all the time?
Would you rather he not look angry when employee puts an unwashed mango that could be contaminated with E Coli on a cutting board?

Fine, but why does he have to get on their case for little things, like fishing for a compliment? 
Flattery is the sound of the Devil’s laughter.  It leads people to do stupid shit like contaminate a cutting board or get knocked up by someone she’s embarrassed to marry.  Poor character is not acceptable.

How’s the porn novel coming along?
Working on chapter where she tattoos her name on his penis.  Seeking someone with tattoo on penis to help with details.

Can I add marijuana to the drink?
No.

Do you take orders over the phone? 
Yes, and be concise when placing it.  Don’t ask how we’re doing, just get it done. You don’t know what’s happening on our end.

New Businesses

When did owner come up with idea for dance studio and vintage clothing store?
Been planning vintage clothing store for 2 years.  Dance studio was unplanned, wasn’t expecting twins.  Tried to put it up for adoption but no takers.

Which dance genres and vintage clothes will be offered?
Click here for dance.  Here for clothes.

Does owner take investment money?
Not yet.  Let’s work on his leadership skills and improve his character before letting  him play with other people’s money.

Relationships
I got preggers from guy who was supposed to be a fling, I wasn’t planning on marrying him.Now my parents want me to marry him so I don’t seem like a low class slut to their friends. Should I?
No, people don’t change.  The baby won’t change him.  And there will be disaster when you and your parents try to change him.  Better to get through this alone. Americans are forgiving.  Prove yourself and you’ll be fine.

But it’s wrong to raise a baby without his father!
First, that sounds reactionary for someone who supposedly supports gay rights.  Second, no father is better than a shitty father.

 

Moving to New Location

Same complex, five doors down, sometime in June (hopefully).  There’ll be three businesses in the location: Alive Juice Bar, a vintage clothing store The Privileged Poor, and a dance studio, tentatively named Yuliya’s Dance.

The new location will enhance store visibility, expand customer parking options, and improve efficiency of juice bar operations.  The interior will be more spacious and sensible in design.  There will be bar seating.  There will still be graffiti in the bathrooms (two). The build-out will be done by professionals, not by me, so expect a more professional look.  The customized infrastructure will allow the juice bar to expand menu offerings and to provide better service.

The motif that ties together the three businesses: the struggle to reclaim American immigrant heritages. The relative youthfulness of the American nation is the origin of its strength, ingenuity, and resilience. It is also America’s most troubling source of weakness, tempting its citizens to become arrogant, ignorant, and complacent. The search for immigrant heritages will provide the checks — time tested wisdom — against the excesses and short-mindedness typical of a young nation.

We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the build-out.

For more information on the vintage clothing store, check out The Privileged Poor blog.  And the blog for Yuliya’s Dance.

How Americans Became Picky Eaters

“You have to know the Past to understand the Present” – Carl Sagan

Thorstein Veblen publishes Theory of the Leisure Class: an Economic Study of Institutions in 1899. He’s trying to figure out what makes people act like douchebags by studying their consumption habits. Like why Sara buys clothes at this store; Marty drives that car; Vivian drinks obscure coffee. Pre-test:

1. Who owns a Corvette?
a) Vascular Surgeon
b) The commercial plumber
c) The tenured college professor

2. Who owns most amount of clothes?
a) White trash girl living in trailer park
b) Old money girl attending exclusive boarding school
c) Middle-class girl living in middle-class cul-de-sac

3. What does middle-class woman eat on her birthday?
a) Surf and turf
b) Sushi and tempura
c) Raw oysters and beef tongue

4. What is upper-class woman eating Friday evening?
a) Cocktail shrimp and beef tenderloin steak
b) Acai bowl with quinoa, kale chips on side
c) Grilled beef tongue and fried shrimp heads

5. Who is most likely to have read a violent pornographic novel (eg. Georges Bataille, Pauline Reage, Marquis de Sade)
a) Upper-class woman, undergrad from Wellesley and PhD in Comparative Literature
b) Middle-class home economics teacher
c) White trash woman with boyfriend who beats the shit out of her.

Answers:
1. b
2. c
3. a
4. c
5. a

Surprised? Oblique explanations in main text.

Why People Act Like Poseurs and Douchebags

For our purposes here, the only thing we need to take from Theory of Leisure Class is that imitation is the driving force of American capitalist consumerism. In Feudalism, social mobility is limited by birth and the serf works for subsistence, not social mobility. Capitalism, promising unprecedented (upward and downward) social mobility, makes imitation possible, accessible, and encouraged by the logic of economic growth.  “Keeping up,” as Americans put it.  The capitalist “Leisure Class” signifies not only Old and New Money, but anyone with discretionary income, or at least anyone with a credit card.

Whom do people imitate?  Those they *perceive* as just above them.  What do people imitate? The *imagined* sensibilities and habits of those they *perceive* as just above them. Pay attention to the choice of words: “perceive” and “imagined” because people from all social classes tend to have trouble at not only figuring out what those outside their social circles are thinking and doing, but also a person’s social status. That’s why the not-quite-middle-class teen thinks the woman with a deep tan and a tit job is high society. The Old Money woman thinks the young tow truck driver is being ironic when he’s not. The woman who reads The New Yorker has no idea who Jimmie Johnson is. The guy with collection of Jimmie Johnson autographs can’t imagine an Ivy League college professor who listens to Outkast and has tickets to Venus in Furs and The Vagina Monologues, both of which the Time and Oprah magazine reading home economics teacher with tickets to The Nutcracker Suite finds dirty and offensive.  Which is why all this imitation looks more like self-parody than “faking it till you make it.”

History of American Cuisine: Colonial Era

Pick:

6. What’s most likely on the menu at a two year old casual fine dining restaurant in New York City that just won its first Micheline star?
a) Lobster alfredo with chantrelle mushrooms
b) Bone marrow with jerk spiced duck hearts
c) Wagyu tenderloin served with roasted rosemary potatoes

7. Who sucked the most dick by age 18?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Working middle-class Anthony who attended public school

8. Which family is most likely to own Emily Post books on etiquette and send children to etiquette school?
a) Conservative middle-class family, mom is homemaker, dad is bank manager.
b) Old Money family, mom is art curator, dad is opera singer.
c) New Money Google millionaires, Mom and Dad are executives

9. Who sucked the most dick by age 28?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Old Money Sarah who attended public school

10. What vehicle does single Korean man who runs with his parents an established Teriyaki store drive?
a) Toyota Camry
b) Ford Mustang
c) Porsche Cayenne

Answers:
6. b
7. a
8. a
9. b
10. c

Seventeenth century, White Europeans from varied backgrounds started moving to The New World. The English soon became dominant, assimilating the Dutch and the Swedes after kicking their asses, but they couldn’t reach a deal with the French (Acadians in Nova Scotia) so the English told them to fuck off, relocating some of them to Louisiana where they begin Cajun culture. Point is, American cuisine began as variant of British cuisine, and in contrast to the French, who adopted Native American hunting and cooking methods and incorporated indigeneous ingredients into their diet, the Americans used Old World Methods to prepare New World ingredients and tried to grow Old World ingredients in New World climate, with mixed results.  Where reliable trade with British Empire was established, Old World ingredients were imported, making American (New England especially) cuisine intentionally British.

There were lots of regional variations that cut across socio-economic lines — American cuisine has never been monolithic —  with, for instance, upland Southern Rednecks eating possums and squirrels with cabbage and potatoes, and African and Caribbean ingredients and cooking methods influencing the pork based lowland Southern diet.  Pennsylvania Germans brought sausages, sauerkraut, and beer from the Old World. But colonial British mercantilist policies that limited American trade to within the Empire ensured that British traditions would dominate until the Brits began taxing alcohol starting with the Molasses Act of 1733 and the Sugar Act of 1760, and then luxury goods with the Quartering Act of 1763 and tea with the Tea Act of 1773.

The Brits soon learned that when you fuck with people’s alcohol and caffeine supply, there’s going to be a revolution. Americans began boycotting British goods and finally went native out of frustration with British laws. Whiskey had been looked down on by American high society types, who preferred Old World British goods and habits. Now Northern whiskey, made of rye (non-native European ingredient), was becoming fashionable, and Southern whiskey was considered patriotic due to its use of corn, an indigenous ingredient. Rum was out, as it was seen as a symbol of British power.

Another significant change was the shift from tea to coffee.  John Adams wrote to his wife in 1773: “Tea must be universally renounced and I must be weaned, and the sooner the better.” When word got out that a group of housewives in Massachusetts united to serve — as a fuck you to the Brits — only coffee, many were inspired to do the same.

It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person by what he or she eats.  We can probably tell a lot about a nation by what its people eat.  Shifts in eating habits aren’t accidents and they’re an index of what’s to come politically. You can smell a revolution that’s waiting to happen.

Independence – Immigration Act of 1924

Independence achieved, Americans stopped shitting on French cuisine, which they had disdained during the seemingly never ending conflict between the British and the French. Before the War, cookbook writer Hannah Glasse, wrote in Art of Cookery: “the blind folly of this age that would rather be imposed on by a French booby, than give encouragement to a good English cook!” On French recipes: “an odd jumble of trash.” Those insults disappeared in the first *American* post-war edition of her cookbook, probably because the French had helped with American war effort. The French-American alliance also led to French chefs migrating to the States during the French Revolution, which would’ve been unthinkable during British rule.

Free from the constraints of British mercantilism, American cooks gained wider access to foreign goods.  As an expanding industrializing nation requiring more White people (1790 Act limited citizenship to White people) to populate conquered lands and to work in expanding factories, the US began to accept more and a wider range of White immigrants — now including many from Eastern and Southern Europe — who further diversified American culinary habits. By 1924, Americans are eating all kinds of peasant-redneck-soul food — pig’s ears, raw oysters, raw beef, possums, ram testicles, squirrels, chicken gizzards, cow brains, pig’s feet, and blood pudding.

I use year 1924 as a bookend because it marks the end of liberal immigration policies and the beginning of the modern kitchen.  Growing concern about the “Whiteness” of some European immigrants — Italians, Slavs, and Eastern European Jews — the Immigration Act of 1924 limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the US. It was a way to ensure that the US remain a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) nation, not overrun by Irish and Italian Catholics, Jews, Slavs, and other undesirable not-quite-White European “races.”  And by severing the flow of people and cultural habits from undesirable parts of Europe to ethnic US neighborhoods, the not-quite-White people of the US would finally lose their immigrant heritage and assimilate to become fully White and American.

And it was around 1924 that modern refrigeration was becoming common in middle-class America, which led to the rise to mass produced industrialized foods such as frozen meals.  Refrigeration in rail cars meant farms no longer had to be located near population centers and more land could be farmed, resulting in lower prices of prestige items such as beef.

The Federal government and academia were also getting involved in what Americans ate.  Nutritionists and home economics professors introduced a scientific approach to nutrition and eating. They began telling Americans which meals and cooking methods are safe and proper.

Modern American Cuisine

Why did some American ethnic and regional foods become popular nationally, while others remained marginalized or disappeared?

Test break!

11. Who sucked the most dick by age 45?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Old Money Sarah who attended public school

12. It’s 1973, in some middle to upper middle class suburb. What do the Johnson’s have in their kitchen?
a) A dead body, cut up, probably neighbor’s daughter
b) White Wonder bread, margarine, and Tang.
c) Pickled beets, sauerkraut, and offals.

13. Where has Old Money Sarah never eaten?
a) McDonald’s
b) Harold’s Chicken Shack
c) Red Lobster

14. Who lost a toe while on vacation?
a) Upper middle-class Ginger
b) Lower-middle class Tiffany
c) Upper-class Wes

15. Who spends the most on nails and tan?
a) Old Money Sarah
b) Upper middle-class Jimmy
c) Lower-middle class Tiffany

Answers:
11. a
12. b
13. c
14. c
15. c

By 1965, the year immigration was liberalized, the US had finally developed a national cuisine and palate. Coca Cola, orange juice, hamburgers, fortune cookies, peanut butter, apple pie, fried chicken, hot dog, steak, pizza, french fries, spaghetti…these are some regional foods that went national (a few, like Coca Cola, went international).  Why not mutton, smoked salmon, collard greens, pig trotters, fried gizzards, baklava, gyros, Philly Cheesesteaks, and knishes?

Some food became less had because eating them was a sign of low status.  Offals (organs) and possum, for instance.  Perhaps fried chicken made the cut because it was special occasion food for the poor, and fried gizzards didn’t because that’s what the poor ate everyday.  Those who grew up poor traded liver, horse meat, and beef intestines for ground beef when they finally could.

Some food became more popular because they represented modernity and science. The middle-class household in 1970 drank space-age Tang to be modern, used margarine instead of butter to be health conscious, and ate canned soup to be family-on-the-move efficient. Now Tang is one step above kool-aid, margarine is for out-of-touch geriatrics relying on out-of-date info, and canned soup is for the lazy.

Other food and preparation methods became rare because of warnings from government agencies.  “You shouldn’t consume raw seafood or meat of any kind,” warns the FDA. So most stopped doing so, even as steak tartare was served throughout Europe, as it had for centuries, and sashimi throughout Japan, as it had for centuries.  You’re supposed to drink cow milk and eat cereal and bread and cheese…everyday “we’re told by USDA food pyramid. So we did, even though 70 percent of the people in the world are lactose intolerant.  “Cook poultry at 350 degrees,” taught the home economics teacher.  We did and learned to make dry meat palatable by adding to it extra extra gravy.  “White meat is healthier than dark meat,” announced the nutritionist.  So we became one of the few nations in the world to prefer white over dark, even though dark is more flavorful and moister.  (And then we make white meat better tasting by frying it or drenching it in gravy, making it even more calorie dense than its dark counterpart). Americans were being taught to distrust their immigrant heritage, to become more modern (American) and less ethnic (backward). American cuisine was narrowing palates and limiting the range of cooking methods. American cuisine was becoming a disaster.

Thesis: government meddling and the loss of immigrant heritage fucked up American cuisine.

Postmodern American Cuisine

If Modernity is about living as one imagines one would in the future, Postmodernity is about living as one imagines someone had in the past.

—————————————————————————–

The Japanese, not Julia Child, saved American cuisine.

It’s the 1980s and the Japanese are on a roll. Americans are starting to think the Japanese are going to take over the world.  They show up in Manhattan to buy all sorts of vanity properties, their cars run better than American ones, and they make Americans feel lazy, and stupid. One could smell the power shift when business between Japanese and Americans was conducted not at Peter Lugar steakhouse, but in a basement level izakaya.

The growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in the US during the 80s and 90s gave Americans an opportunity to reconsider everything they’d been taught about proper cooking and proper meals.  Sure sure, there were American servicemen who loved Japanese cuisine before the preppy douchebags got to try it, but these were working class types everyone ignored, not the preppies middle-class kids emulated during the materialistic Eighties. The preppies made Japanese food cool and eating it became a sign of sophistication and high social status.

Soon Americans are watching Iron Chef! Eating raw fish! Now they’re trying eel and loving it! A few even develop a taste for natto and live sea urchin.  Everything Americans were told not to do they were doing when they were eating Japanese food. For some, it was exhilarating.  Trying “weird” food became a legitimate hobby, and a new brand of foodie emerged.

By the start of the 21st century, Japanese cuisine had gone mainstream and Japanese cooking shows like Iron Chef inspired American versions of them, transforming chefs into rock stars, Ivy League graduates into line cooks working to become chefs, and cooking into a hobby instead of a chore. Sushi was no longer for Wall Street pricks and Californian champagne socialists, you were not middle-class if you didn’t eat and like sushi (even though sushi is a small portion of Japanese cuisine, and not had very often in Japan). Soon we had Japanese food for the masses: conveyer belt sushi, all you can eat sushi, even Chinese people serving (disgusting) sushi.  And as Japanese food ceased to be the new in thing, White Americans, now accustomed to trying “weird shit,” became interested in rediscovering their European roots because being White wasn’t cool anymore.  More restaurants started serving dishes that would’ve been unthinkable in the mainstream 70s, from raw oysters to bone marrow, duck hearts to steak tartare; using cooking methods, such as sous vide, that freaked out health inspectors. Underground dinner parties served beef tongue and shrimp head. Eating such dishes became a sign of sophistication and American cuisine was becoming not just an archetype of postmodern nostalgia, but also vibrant and challenging. For the first time in a long time, American palates and culinary repertoire were expanding and a new generation of American chefs wanted to show the world that there’s more to American food than McDonald’s.

Why We Eat What We Eat

Some think that the standard middle-class American cuisine is based primarily on proper nutrition (as determined by government agencies) and ethical behavior (as determined by soft science academics).  It is not.  If it were, we’d be eating crickets instead of beef for protein and we wouldn’t let ourselves get suckered by the latest health fad that confers an ingredient undeserved powers and fucks up another nation’s ecology.  Some of us would like to believe our cuisine is *proper* because it justifies our personal preferences (built on habit) and confirms our sense of self as belonging to a righteous nation. Those unhappy with status quo want to make American cuisine *proper* — nutritious and ethical (eg. localvore movement) — so we can feel like we belong to a righteous nation.

If American cuisine is, as argued earlier, built on political intrigue, social maneuvering, and economic brinksmanship, then there’s a good chance that its present is an expression of our competing political beliefs and anxiety about our socio-economic future.  Reading the food we eat as such makes it possible for us to see ourselves as tools when we drink orange juice every morning for its Vitamin C content, douchebags when we order kobe burgers for the prized fat that’s cooked off, cranks when we promote acai berries as ethical superfood, and human when we binge on McDonald’s fries.

Perhaps in the end — weary of reading all those conflicting articles about what’s healthiest and what’s more ethical and what’s better for the economy and environment — eating well has less to do with what we eat than how we explore what’s possible to eat. If only God can determine the righteousness of a nation and its citizens, the best we can do is build a spirited cuisine that challenges and expands, rather than accepts and limits, our palates and imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Hate McDonald’s

Would you work for a Fortune 500 company with the following profile:

* Has an African-American CEO
* Honored by Black Enterprise as one of the best companies for diversity at staff and corporate levels
* Provides all expense paid college credit eligible education at its business management school.
* Promotes from within and doesn’t discriminate against those without college degrees when hiring for executive level positions, including CEO.
* Invests in progressive businesses — ie. Chipotle — that raise the standard of fast-food and build green storefronts

Who that? You know the answer, title gives it away:  McDonald’s. If you feel thrown off, then we’re ready to begin.

Why We Hate McDonald’s

Top 5 reasons — qualitatively gathered — in no particular order:

1. They treat their employees like shit.
2. Their food tastes like shit.
3. They put shit in their food.
4. Their food makes people look like shit.
5. They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.

All of which need to be translated, those are just codes meant to deflect attention. There’s something else going on here.  Not just projection, there’s sublimation, that “mature” defense mechanism, says Freud: when you replace urge to do something that *you* think is socially unacceptable with socially acceptable stand-in. Like Luke becoming an NFL linebacker so he doesn’t end up in jail for beating the shit out of that motherfucker.  Jenna marrying ultra-stylish Jack the hairdresser to keep Dad proud. Sam becoming a proctologist because he was raised Catholic strict.

Top 5 Reasons to Hate McDonald’s, Deconstructed and Debunked

They treat their employees like shit
Pay for non-managerial staff is comparable to what a typical hospital pays its resident MDs; similar to what the university pays its graduate student TAs and RAs ; almost as much as what a community college pays its adjunct professors to teach. (I could go on). Yet people aren’t boycotting their hospitals and schools due to employee pay and career growth opportunities.

In providing career growth opportunities, McDonald’s has most businesses — Alive Juice Bar included — beat: you can be of humble origins and degree-less and still become its CEO, as Charlie Bell (who started working at McDonald’s at 15) had.  Free education for its management trainees. One of few businesses willing to give those with no experience and skills (and the wrong color) a chance.

Their food tastes like shit.
It’s how you frame and present something.  Watch this prank: 

Summary for those who can’t watch it: pranksters pose as chefs of high end restaurant.  They serve samples of their food — McDonald’s fare, actually — at food expo.  Some who sample rave about taste and high quality of food:

The ‘Chicken McNuggets’ were neatly cut up and served by a charming young waiter, complete with tidy uniform. “Rolls around the tongue nicely, if it were wine I’d say it’s fine,” an older and presumably more experienced food critic commented.

“The structure is good, yes. Not too sticky,” said one expert about a McMuffin. Then it was onto the ‘real classics’.

“You can just tell this is a lot more pure,” came another comment from a young lady operating an organic stall.

It’s like those studies that show a painting of, say, a boy pissing on a tree. Take that painting, make two of them, date one at 1500, another at present day and attribute it to someone who doesn’t look like a painter. Most will describe the first as some Renaissance classic.  The latter as ghetto trash.  Which is it?

baroque shit

Renaissance era painting or two boys tugging on each other’s penis. A classic or kiddie porn?

 

Point is, we’re tools.  We’re not trained to think or to ask questions, we’re trained to respond on cue, like caged rats in an experiment:

Organic……..Fresh
Gluten-free……Healthy
Grass-fed…….Tasty
Fat-free………Healthy
Wild………..Fresh

Even though organic has nothing to do with freshness, gluten-free isn’t healthier if you’re not celiac, and grass-fed isn’t necessarily tastier, you get the idea.  Our brains exaggerate and mix and match correlations.

They put shit in their food.
A few examples: 
Earthworms (1978)
Mutant Lab Meat (2000)
Cow Eyeballs (2006)
Random Rot Preventing Chemicals (200?)

Blood libel, definition (Wiki): “accusation that Jews kidnapped and murdered children of Christians to use their blood as part of their religious rituals during Jewish holidays.”  The world may change, but human nature remains the same: we’re still mean-spirited and vindictive. About what, we’ll get to later.

Who is more dangerous, the person who created this hoax, or those who believe it?

Who is more dangerous, the person who created this hoax, or those who believe it?

Their food makes people look like shit.
You can do a lot worse at a neighborhood Greek diner or Chinese take-out or Tacqueria, where portion sizes and calorie counts are even more ridiculous.  Or at a fine-dining steakhouse like Metropolitan Grill or El Gaucho — 3,000 calories easy for someone who orders 1 entree, 1 salad, 1 drink, and a desert. Grande Frappucino plus blueberry muffin at Starbucks is 700 nutritionally deficient calories. Not saying McDonald’s Value Meals provide the balanced and diverse nutrition we try to get customers to consistently eat, they don’t. I’m just wondering why McDonald’s gets blamed for the obesity epidemic when they don’t serve anywhere near the most nutritionally appalling meals.

They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.
Anthony Bourdain describes McDonald’s advertising tactics as “Black Propaganda.” (He exaggerates, but let’s work with it). And so?  Try to think of an (effective) ad that isn’t manipulative, that provides a cold, detached, balanced review of a product’s benefits and a brand’s purpose. Is there a nation that doesn’t use propaganda to control its populace?  Find me a person who isn’t manipulative and I’ll stop charging customers $1 for Better Service.

How to Figure People Out
Asking what someone likes doesn’t reveal much about the person.

“The woman I like is smart, sexy, confident, tomboy by day, sex kitten by night, looks good in either jeans or a dress…” which reveals that this guy is a fucking tool, a dull one at that.  A better way to figure out who someone is — personality and social status — and how they’ll act is to mix it up and ask what they dislike. Here’s a real life example, from an interview with an applicant:

Interviewer: What are your career goals?
Applicant: I hope to work at Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) food stamps program.  I want to help the poor make better choices with their food stamp money.  I want to help the poor eat better.
Interviewer: What do you think about Roger’s Market?  (Roger’s is an independent grocery store in Mountlake Terrace, primarily serving low income residents.  Lots of food stamps).
Applicant: It’s disgusting, everything about it.  I try to stay away from there.
Interviewer: Then you won’t last 2 weeks working at the WIC.
Applicant: Huh?
Interviewer: You just told me you hate poor people.  If you can’t stand shopping at Roger’s, where those with food stamps shop, then how are you going to work with them on a near daily basis?

Not saying she’s insincere about her desire to help the poor eat better. Just saying this desire is driven by a conflict within herself she doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to acknowledge because it’s too painful to do so. When we cross-check this interview transcript with applicant resume and Facebook page, what emerges is a standard lower middle-class female who’s one wrong move from becoming White trash.  That’s why she spends money she doesn’t have on microbrews and listens to college radio. That’s why she goes into debt to get a bullshit degree at a bullshit college, to gain some psychological (but ephemeral) distance from the wrong side of the tracks, even at the risk of having the debt force her to stand in line for food stamps.  And it’s precisely that risk — unacknowledged but instinctively recognized — that makes her hate those she’s afraid of becoming. That’s why she expresses — not represses — her hatred by seeking a career that allows her to “help” those she hates, that confirms her identity as not one of them.

Why We Actually Don’t Hate McDonald’s
Hating McDonald’s is like hating your great-grandmother for being a racist.  She’s an icon for lasting this long, so you forgive her faults. McDonald’s is an American icon, and they know it, which is why they’re using sentimental ads to make you less pissed off at them, to remind you of a time when everyone, regardless of social class and race, ate at McDonald’s without guilt.

Thesis: those who hate McDonald’s don’t hate McDonald’s.  They hate McDonald’s customers. They hate the stereotype of those who regularly eat at McDonald’s. They hate poor people, and the ones afraid that they themselves will end up poor probably hate themselves too. Let’s return to the 5 reasons why people hate McDonald’s.

1. They treat their employees like shit.
2. Their food tastes like shit.
3. They put shit in their food.
4. Their food makes people look like shit.
5. They use manipulative advertising to get kids addicted to eating shit.

Above 5 is how we routinely describe the poor.  It’s the poor, the thinking goes, who get paid and treated like shit.  It’s the poor who eat food that tastes like shit; who are pathetic enough to eat food that literally is shit; who are obese; who are stupid enough to be so easily manipulated.

But we’ve been taught that it’s socially unacceptable to shit on the poor. So we displace our hate onto the biggest piece of cultural flotsam we see, the number one fast food company in the world. Calling out the Greek diner or Chinese takeout or the dive bar that serves too much alcohol is too politically problematic — these are hard working immigrants making a living by providing what people want and blaming alcohol will lead to riots.  But blaming a giant corporation for serving what people want *is* socially acceptable, a lot more so than telling your daughter she needs to lose 50 pounds.

It’s easier to blame McDonald’s for making people fat than to blame fat people for making themselves fat, *possibly* from eating at McDonald’s.  It’s more comforting: “It’s not my fault my kids are obese,” rationalizes Mom’s defense mechanism. “If we just get rid of fast food and raised wages, these people wouldn’t act as they do,” the Champagne Socialist who has never lived among non-immigrant American poor surmises. In other words, it’s more comforting to believe that we don’t control our destiny, that virtue and character don’t emerge from that struggle within, it’s simply a matter of public fucking policy.  Fix the policy and we’ll have Heaven on Earth, the thinking goes, as people wait and wait and wait for the government to get it right.

The problem isn’t McDonald’s.   McDonald’s is just providing what some people want and making McDonald’s disappear isn’t going to make a difference — none at all — because people will get what they want and what they deserve, regardless of public policy and intervening laws. The problem is us.  We’re the ones who are suspicious instead of skeptical, gullible instead of judicious, and fearful of our place in a rapidly changing society.

Nietzsche on the Monsters we fight (from Beyond Good and Evil):

“Those who fight Monsters should look to it that they themselves do not become Monsters.  And when you gaze long into the Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you.”

And the only experience more terrifying than the abyss gazing back into you is when it offers you a Big Mac and Fries, which you then eat alone.

 

 

 

Alive Juice Bar Seeking Hate Mail Contestants

(Posted on craigslist)

Alright Motherhuggers,

The *quality* of the hate mail we get after we post a job ad sucks. Example (real):

o
“What a fucked up job posting. Who the hell would want to work for you after reading that shit? You can tell by what kind of person you are with the attitude you portray on Craigslist. You don’t have the right to talk like that. I feel sorry for the slaves that have to labor under an asshole.”

0

Boring. Unacceptable. To improve the quality of hate mail we receive, we’re hosting Alive Juice Bar’s first annual Hate Mail contest. Winner gets $100 gift card. Employees select finalists to be judged by customers. Your name will be redacted, we will protect your privacy so don’t go chickenshit on us, ok? So let’s get this going, Motherfuggers.

Guidelines: we want well-written, we want art. Don’t just tell us what you think about the person who wrote this ad, tell us WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO DO TO HIM, or HAPPEN TO HIM. Dig deep, find your inner rage, reveal your inner freak — we know there’s some Marquis de Sade in you, we can feel it. Example:

“To the sick fuck who wrote this piece of shit ad, I hope you get gang-banged by giant orangutans until your butthole looks like a donut. You deserve to be buried alive in your own shit because even horse shit is too good for you.”

Some keywords you might want to use or at least consider to get your creative juices flowing: porcupine, jalapenos, Wonder Woman, chainsaw, pink, King Kong, handcuffs, mini-me, dolphins, charcoal, pirannahs, Justin Bieber, North Korea, Michael Jackson, Hello Kitty.

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Now to inspire you Motherfuckers, to get you angry enough to turn on the (she)Hulk so you can write some hate mail art: here are a few reasons owner deserves hate mail from you:

Owner is insulting, rude and abusive. Examples:
1) Charging customers $1 to change the music.
2) Telling customer to go to Jamba Juice
3) Calling customers Dumbass for asking for wheatgrass
4) Forcing employee to call customer Fuck-Face. And then charging customer a dollar for the abuse.
5) Charging customer $1 for better service when customer is unhappy with and requests better service
6) Inhumane, slave driving owner who does unspeakable things with jalapenos
7) Telling customers how they fucked up their kids.
8) Calling employees “Stupid, Useless, Cunt.”
9) Demanding improved quality of hate mail sent to him
10) Calling Oprah Winfrey a “House N#$gger”
11) Rants about how White people are fucking things up
12) Random misogynistic musings.
13) Routinely playing misogynistic music like “Me So Horny” and “Taught Her How to Fuck.”
14) Calling his customers batshit crazy.
15) Making customer change the garbage

If you want examples of owner making misogynistic comments, read: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/frequently-asked-questions-part-v/

Examples of owner calling his employees “stupid, useless, cunt,” read: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/why-we-dont-change/

Owner telling customers how they fucked up their kids: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/how-the-cult-of-self-esteem-produces-fuck-ups/

Owner calling Oprah a “house n#%#gger”: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/why-we-dont-carry-wheatgrass/

Owner forcing employee to call customer a Fuck-Face: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/how-to-break-rules-and-get-away-with-it/

Owner calling customers who ask for wheatgrass dumbasses: https://foodyap.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/why-we-dont-carry-wheatgrass/

Why People Don’t Change

She’s a White trash girl trying to escape her White trash world.  At 21, she’s got one foot out the door: 50k a year plus benefits as head manager of an independently owned retail store, where she’s been working since 13. She saves enough to help her White trash family —  grandma is especially proud of her, her siblings look up to her. She’s saved enough to put 20 percent down on a modest house in a gentrifying not-quite-middle-class neighborhood.  She has her shit together, a lot more so than those panicking college seniors who looked down on her but are now worried if they’ll ever have a job that pays enough after graduation. Not bad for a high school drop out.

A customer — executive at publicly traded company — is impressed with her work ethic, resourcefulness, and thoughtfulness.  Hooks her up with a job as head manager of one of his struggling retail stores, where they’ve gone through three managers over the past year. He tells her she has the force of character to turn the store around, that she’s a perfect fit. Compensation is 80k a year plus bonus plus vacation time and better bennies. Better career growth opportunities, potential for stock options, more sophisticated supply chain and IT infrastructure to work with, and those college educated bitches who made fun of her are now her bitches, making $12/hour. Fuck yeah.

She verbally commits, but can’t sign when it’s time, even though she’s submitted her two weeks and reservations for going away party have been made by her colleagues.  She ultimately stays put with same business at same position and lives out rest of her not-quite-middle-class life in what quickly turns into an upper-middle class neighborhood, leaving her isolated and estranged from her surroundings.

What happened? What made White trash girl prefer the embarrassment of *not trying* over the *possible* embarrassment of failing?

(If you tell me it’s low self-esteem, I swear, I’ll graffiti your house with Hello Kitty stickers and paint your windows black).

“People Never Change, They Just Become More of Who They Really Are”

Marketing experts predicted that the recently promoted 28 year old woman buying the BMW was going to do so when she purchased her VW Jetta 5 years ago.  Grandma didn’t stop being a racist when she stopped using the N word sometime around 1974, she started watching her mouth because she’s a chickenshit conformist. The only reason Johnny stopped doing anal 14 years ago is because his dick doesn’t get hard enough for it anymore and he’d rather not think about that.  The not-quite-middle-class teenager deleted all Facebook references to Jersey Shore only when she figured out that middle-class folks aren’t supposed to admit to watching such shows, and not because she’d learned better taste and how to use her time more wisely.

Above examples illustrate the dictum, “people never change, they just become more of who they really are.”  Most changes are behavioral and not attitudinal (remember this distinction). Behavioral changes occur not because of fundamental change in a person’s character, mindset, and sensibility, but because (pay attention, here comes the thesis) they’re obligated and given the opportunity to change to confirm their sense of self and reality. Change, and the discipline and willpower that makes it possible, is rooted in the act of regulating, sculpting, and imagining identity. That’s why peer pressure works and New Year’s Resolutions don’t.

Real change is change of mindset and attitude, not just behavior.  Behavioral change alone is about maintaining status quo, it’s about being fashionable, keeping up with the times instead of becoming a different person. Those who want to change their lives must change their mindset and attitude.

White Trash Girl Part II

White trash girl started working at 13 because she wanted things other kids had that she couldn’t afford.  She soon makes enough to become responsible for herself, buying not only her own toys, but also her own food and clothes.  A few years later she makes enough to become responsible for her family, picking up some of the rent even when she stopped living with them.  She becomes known as the responsible one, the caretaker, Santa to her siblings, the one who gets shit done — those archetypes combined became her primary identity.  Her family and colleagues confirmed her identity.

One foot out the White trash door, why couldn’t she get the other foot out and make a run for it? The opportunity was there.  The scenarios if she takes the job:

* She fails at her new job, returns to her old job.  Or a similar one making same as she did before. Back to same old same old.
* She succeeds at her new job and eventually gets promoted to district manager, or is given a shot at corporate ladder.

Both of which seem a lot better than embarrassing herself to her colleagues and family by turning down a job she’d accepted. But she’s playing on tilt, which is why she can’t think straight, why she’s emotional instead of rational.  All she can think:

 If I fail, that will be evidence that I’m not responsible and competent, and the world will reject me and I’ll lose my identity as the responsible one, the caregiver, I’ll be a loser again, they’ll laugh at me again, everyone will make fun of me again…

At 13, she worked for toys.  At 17, she worked to take care of herself.  At 21, she worked to confirm her identity.  She crumbled at the first perceived threat to her identity.  Happens all the time. Check the socio-economic mobility data for non-immigrant Americans if you don’t believe me.

What Makes People Batshit Crazy
Who is most likely to become batshit crazy?  Pick:
a) White trash who knows she’s White trash.
b) Middle-class who thinks she’s high society
c) Rich kid slumming it with the hobos and peasants.

My picks: b, c, then a.

Who has the highest self-esteem?  Pick:
a) White trash who knows she’s White trash.
b) Middle-class who thinks she’s high society
c) Rich kid slumming it with the hobos and peasants.

My picks: b, c, then a. What am I saying?

Being poor and having low self-esteem doesn’t make one batshit crazy, but not knowing one’s place does. White trash girl who knows she’s White trash not only isn’t batshit crazy, she isn’t offensive because she’s authentic, and that’s why people want to help her, why we like her and root for her.  Middle-class girl who thinks she’s high society will never move up because she can only impress — with her contrived sensibilities — those who can’t help her, and those who can either ignore her or gently laugh at her to put her in her place.  Rich kid slumming is just a confused fuck trying to sort out feelings of guilt, pride, and ennui.

Dissonance between one’s sense of self and “reality” is what makes one batshit crazy.  That’s why the middle-class girl who thinks she’s high society avoids hanging out with rich kid slumming, who doesn’t want to hang out with her anyway.  She’ll only hang out with those who confirm her sense of self, her identity.  And that’s precisely why she’s not going anywhere except to therapy.

Self-Defense Mechanisms 

You know, like rationalization.  Projection.  Denial.  Google them.

The former high school beauty queen can’t figure out why she isn’t getting as much attention from guys (she’s attracted to) as she used to even though she’s gained 30 pounds since graduating from college 5 years ago. “Men around here are sissies, no courage to ask me out” she tells herself and her besties. Then goes to a beauty lounge and takes glamour photos of herself to post on Facebook.  Since she’s a nice girl and has a lot of friends, she gets the responses she needs to confirm her sense of self: ‘like like like like like…’ and comments like: “wow, this is like bringing a gun to a fist fight” from nice guy trying to convince the crowd that he is in fact a nice guy who therefore deserves some pussy; and the ubiquitous “you’re so beautiful” from frenemy fishing for a similar compliment.

Self-defense mechanisms make us do some fucked up shit.  Like purchase accessories, including houses, we can’t afford. Like make bad business decisions that sink life savings. Like get a bullshit degree from a bullshit college, despite warnings about choosing the “wrong major” at the “wrong college.”  And then get another bullshit degree (Masters or JD) from yet another bullshit college when it turns out the first degree is useless.  It’s fucking madness but the madness continues because we filter out the information we don’t want to hear and keep reading the articles that tell us we’re right even when it’s obvious to the Aliens watching us that we’re not.

————————————————————————

Ten young women on a trip in some faraway land are stopped and robbed. The robbers choose five to rape. What do you think the five not chosen are thinking and feeling?  You think they’re counting their blessings, “whew, at least I wasn’t raped”? Or is NOT being picked WORSE than being raped?

(long pause)

That’s how powerful self-defense of identity can be. That’s why White trash girl turns irrational and quits life. The possibility that those who confirm her identity will stop doing so is too much for her to handle. She’d rather be miserable than risk losing her identity.  Ironically, she ends up miserable AND loses her identity. The spark that made people want to help her is gone.

White trash girl was robbed the moment she was born.  Fate wouldn’t let her just be born poor, she had to be poor AND White, which is almost as bad as being Asian and the dumbest kid in school — there is no sympathy, there isn’t even affirmative action, she’s free game to be fucked with.  When given a chance to grab the gun and shoot the dicks off the motherfuckers, she chose to do nothing.  Did she do nothing because it wasn’t worth the risk, or because she was hoping they’d pick her to be raped?

Choose a Reality That Will Make You Change    
Cornell University study: stupid people don’t realize they’re stupid.  That’s why they’re stupid. And the smartest don’t realize they’re that smart.  Socrates said the same thing.  Bill Gates said something similar: “Success is a lousy teacher.  It makes smart people think they can’t lose.” Thanks for the confirmation, Cornell University.

Here’s how it works: those who think they’re “brilliant” or at least “not stupid” will rarely recognize their own stupidity.  They will see and hear only that which confirms their identity. “Nah nah nah, I didn’t do that, I didn’t say that, that can’t be me, I’m not that dumb.”  Oh yes you are, we have the e-mail transcript to prove it, the evidence is there, you’re in denial, you’re purposely misreading it. Or we make excuses, blame others: “but it was raining, but it was busy, but the test was unfair, but the teacher is a racist, but but but but.” Which are all short-term fixes that fuck up long-term goals. People grow and change only when there’s failure failure failure AND the CAPACITY to learn from them. We stagnate when we avoid (the possibility of) failure, or worse, deny failure ever happened. Which is the same as denying our Original Sin, our total depravity, thus elevating ourselves to deity. One can do no wrong when one is god, right? So what happens when we have a room full of gods?  You get Greek mythology: madness and batshit crazy. (see How Cult of Self-Esteem Produces Fuck ups).

Socrates again: it’s easy to tell a person who thinks she’s stupid that she’s done something stupid. She’s expecting to do something stupid, so she’s looking for instances of her stupidity that will confirm her sense of self. Which is precisely why she grows and changes and moves up in her career, while Mr. Perfect blames reverse discrimination for not getting promoted.  Once she masters a task, her sense of self demands she find a more difficult challenge, one where she fucks up and looks like a dumbass all over again.

Stupid, Useless, Cunt

If you really want to change — you’re tired of banging your head on the same ceiling — choose a reality that will make you change into the person you want to be. “Manager didn’t screw up on inventory, she was just testing to see if I’d catch the mistakes.” “Girl who rejected me isn’t racist, she simply found me obnoxious and rupulsive.” Test isn’t biased, I just didn’t study hard enough.”  “I’m late not because car battery died, but because I didn’t change it before it died.” “The CEO of Walmart isn’t a lazy and greedy piece of shit who works 30 hours a week, he puts in 100 hour weeks and has done so his entire life.” What I tell employees and those who ask me for advice on opening a restaurant:

You want reality?  How’s this for reality. For a month, make a three egg omelet every morning. Make it in less than a minute.  If you can’t make a perfect omelet in less than a minute, find a mirror.  Now stare into your eyes and call yourself a “stupid, useless cunt.” Three times.  Because that’s what someone is thinking every time you fuck up an order.  And even if that isn’t true, it NEEDS TO BE TRUE, YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IT’S TRUE. If you don’t, you’ll fail, I guarantee it.  “Stupid useless cunt” is what I call myself every morning.  Makes my piss smell good, helps me piss straight. If you can’t handle treating yourself this way, you’re not going to last a month working here, much less running your own unbranded restaurant.

Choose the reality that’ll make you the person you want to be, and not the reality that makes you feel good, short term. Choose life, not escape.  Happy New Year, 2015!

Frequently Asked Questions Part VI

Links to FAQ I, II, III, IV, V

General

What the fuck are we listening to?
A fight on a bus that’s driving through San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Aren’t you worried about people not paying off their tabs?
No.  That’s between customer and God. We have enough to worry about.

There’s so much information about health and nutrition, politics of food, agriculture, environment.  Which sources do you rely on?
Variety of conflicting sources, including Voltaire Network;  Russia Today (Russian propaganda in response to US propaganda); China Daily (lots of censorship, but most reliable for facts and accuracy); independent journalists such as Lizzie Phelan.

What’s in the “Really Weird Shit”?
Examples include duck tongue, chicken feet, and pig uterus.  We’re looking into insects like grasshopper.

What’s the point of the “Weird Shit” and “Really Weird Shit”?
Reminds customers what’s possible when it comes to food.  It pushes us to expand our palates and to consider more eco friendly alternatives. Insects instead of beef, for instance, may be next frontier.

 Can I have her number?  
No.

Relationships
Is my boyfriend cheating on me?
Yes.

Are you fucking my boyfriend? 
No.

Why am I bored of my boyfriend? 
Because you’re in love with love.

Why is my kid so screwed up?
You told your kid she could be this or that but failed to prepare her to become that or this.

How do I prepare my kid to work at Alive Juice Bar?
To start with, teach them to choose the right reality.

Gossip

Is owner being sarcastic…
Owner is rarely sarcastic.  He prefers to be blunt than make hostile jokes that aren’t funny.

Did the owner tell  my kid to drop out of school? 
Probably.

Is it true that an employee chased down, with a knife, someone who stole her tip jar?
There’s some truth to that.

Is it true an employee kicked a customer in the ass, hard? 
Yes, but she was off hours.

Did employee really ask an annoying customer to show her his penis?
It happens.

I’ve heard a former employee still has nightmares about working at Alive Juice Bar.  
Only one?

Is owner trying to open a Vintage clothing store?
Yes, business plan submitted, in negotiations with landlord.

 

 

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