We lived in a strictly gendered world. We relied on it for everything. And then the power went out of gender norms. Everything stopped working. We weren't prepared. Fear and confusion led to panic. The lucky ones made it out of the hedonistic cities. The government collapsed. Women took over, controlling their own fertility and stockpiling their own money. We still don't know why the power went out of gender norms. But we're hopeful that Suzanne Venker will come and lead the way.
With apologies to the showrunners of Revolution, which I love.
So I'm listening to NPR the other day and some dude is chatting with a correspondent about words of the year - one of those fun end of the year type segments - and they're all like, oh, fiscal cliff is soooo gonna win, but hey, let's chat up some of the other woulda coulda shoulda beena word of the year entries. And one of the ones the dude mentions is...mansplaining.* Even tho, like, mansplaining as a word of the year is so last year. Remember when the NYT saw fit to tell us what mansplaining really meant? and how it actually had nothing to do with mansplaining, but was just a fancy new word for boor?
Well now, in this year's incarnation of mansplaining mansplaining as a would-be word of the year, we are told that it is basically just about dudes who like to explain stuff. That sounds pretty harmless, doesn't it! And sort of funny! Like your crazy old uncle who shows up at Thanksgiving dinner and can't stop nattering on about "when I was a young boy, we used to bla bla bla". But alas. Mansplaining is about men who like to explain to women things that the women already understand and/or are experts on, or to offer a totally wrong correction of a woman's correct explanation, or even to bloviate on a subject about which the man knows nothing, but about which he feels confident he can educate the little women, because she's a woman.
And again, alas! even Lily Rothman in the Cultural History of Mansplaining will only go so far as to say that is is "often" done "by a man to a woman" and bizarrely says that "the idea wasn't political in origin." Wasn't political in origin? WTF? Who's been mansplaining its history to her? Has she even read the Rebecca Solnit essay she references? Well, little ladies, I guess there's nothing political at all about the dudes telling you what you know. Until a politician tells you what's gonna be. Then it's offishully about politics!
Sweet baby Jesus in the manger with his little golden diaper! The. Personal. Is. Political.
Shrill old ugly hairy-legged Second Wave feminazi harridan
I'm feeling my Olympic groove this evening, when here comes a commercial break blurb for the local newscast. They're promising me all sorts of wonderfully lurid stuff if I tune in later. Here's one exciting pitch:
This man's wife and baby were held up at gun point!...Details later...
There is a very, very quick shot of a man, and then we see the woman with her baby telling us "He had a gun and he told me 'don't make me do this, you have a baby with you'."
Here's my question: Why "this man's wife and baby" and not "this woman and her baby"? In reporting crime against women, must we do it so as to make clear who owns them, in favor of that the crime was against them? When we say "this man's wife and baby were held up at gunpoint" we are implying that the crime, although committed on the woman and baby, was against the man.
There's no excuse for locution like this. News writers/readers, women are their own agents. You don't need to identify their closest male in order to report news on them.
People keep saying the dead-tree format is over and done with but you can still learn so much from reading the newspaper. Take for example this (for once) sensible editorial I chanced upon yesterday in the radical left-leaning Philadelphia Inquirer. If you are "poor", ask yourself: WWJD? Be prepared to shape up in a hurry because He'd tell you something like this:
Our Lord Jesus: Are you a tween working 60 hours a week sticking things on pots while rats gnaw at you, just so you can get your dad out of debtor's prison? No? What you are is lounging about in your air-conditioned paradise with your cable tv, maybe even going to the public library and using the computer to get on the Internet there, and you're whinging away because you're "hungry". If you're so hungry, why are you so fat? Riddle me that one, Batman! Your school (though I wouldn't let my kids go there) is free (for now, till we institute the voucher system) and your government pays for "much" of the tab of state and community colleges (if by "much" we include "ever decreasing amounts"). Why are you so dumb? You can be as "poor" as you want and we won't even put you in debtor's prison!
You see, being poor used to be about really suffering in a hideous manner unto death. If the impoverished people are fat, have cars, and aren't in jail, the system is working pretty good for them. But give the "poor" a little and they still aren't satisfied. It's not enough to be a wage slave in a rat-free environment.** They want equal opportunities, too! But the whole point of success is to give your children unusually good opportunities. But no, the "poor" want to make it about the size of the gap, claiming that if the rich get richer, the poor should too. That's just crazy talk!
**Well, I did hear today about a transport authority worker stuck in a booth all day who has to dodge rats running around his feet so, technically, I guess we haven't quite achieved "wage slave in a rat-free environment" yet. So close!
It's December 29th, and I'm taking a little time out of the mad holiday rush to sit down, relax, and write out some Christmas cards. I know what you're thinking: Zuska, isn't this just a tad early to start working on the 2012 mailing list? You are correct. However, it's a dandy time for cranking out the 2011 cards. Hopes are high that they will actually reach a mailbox, maybe even in 2011. For lo these several years I've not managed to send out anything more than a card to Z-mom, but I feel a Christmas miracle coming on. Surely a month of incessant Christmas carols everywhere I go will have inspired me.
Last year while digging around in a cupboard I came across a box of Christmas cards with envelopes already addressed and stamped. A few signatures and a personal note or two were all that was lacking. I thought briefly about converting these abandoned cards to a 2010 mailing. But the amount of extra postage each envelope needed would tell the whole embarrassing story. Fortunately my township recycles paper.
"Yeah, I was wondering what you're planning on doing to get 'In God We Trust' back into this country again because our kids can't even celebrate Christmas in this country for fear of offending someone else," said the potential supporter. "Y'know, when we came here, we were founded on 'In God We Trust' and I'd like to see that back in this country again." [emphasis mine]
Could that be it? Iowan Man may be on to something here. I thought I was lazy and perhaps somewhat concerned about all the paper wastage. But I am fairly sure now that this is the problem: I can't celebrate Christmas by sending out cards for fear of offending someone else. It just has to be that.
In solidarity with Iowan Man, I offer below The Lament of the White Christian During Xmas Election Season.
We can't even celebrate Christmas in this country for fear of offending someone else. Sure, you can buy Hanukkah cards - some of your best friends are Jewish! - but it's just a pity card because you can't send them a real Christmas card. They probably know it and wish their second-class holiday was the real one, and that makes you feel soooo awkward. Just because your holiday is Number 1 is no reason for other people to make you feel bad.
Then you have your atheist friends (hah! as if). You can't even say Merry Christmas because they will call out the ACLU and sue you, even if you X-out Jesus and say Merry Xmas. What are you left with? Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays and Sparkle Season and other euphemisms that are just pushing "In God We Trust" right out of this country and making our kids afraid.
The worst of all is the Muslims, of which I don't personally know any, but they just get enraged when they hear anything about Christmas. They are going to take over this country and mark my words, we are going to have to celebrate Christmas in secret, because they will kill us if they find out. They have already gotten a Muslim elected president and pretty soon no Christian will be safe anywhere.
We need to get "In God We Trust" back in this country so that when the end times come, we'll be Raptured. So, what I want to know, Mr./Ms. Presidential Candidate, can you promise me that if I vote for you, your first priority will be to install the authoritarian white christian theocracy I'm pining for? Merry Christmas, In God We Trust.
Call me Zuska. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on t.v., I thought I would surf the web a little and see the bloggy part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever those apologists for the oppressor get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically puking on peoples' shoes - then, I account it high time to get to the blogosphere as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the posts and comment threads. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all hairy-legged feminazis in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the blogosphere with me.
Yes, you idiot. If the young girls are “inspired” by the cheerleaders now, why not move on to pole dancers? That takes some serious upper body strength! And you can earn money pole dancing to pay for your college tuition! Work nights and weekends, it won’t interfere with classes! Let us be inspired by the heartwarming tales of pole dancers, in costume, encouraging the wee ones to go into science. They could talk about physiology! And physics! It would be awesome.
I understand that it is fashionable to claim that things like cheerleading and showing off one’s fabulous tits in tight clothing are empowerful for the young girls today. This is a steaming crock of bullshit. When they are yelling "show yer tits!" this week in Nawlins and tossing beads at the compliant minxes, they are are not thinking "how empowered these young women are today! so in control of their own sexuality!" They are thinking "fuck yeah, I got that bitch to show me her tits for some plastic beads!" And don't go spitting that sex positive bla bla at me. I love me some sex as much as the next person. What I don't love is seeing women's sexuality debased and exploited, and I especially don't love seeing it done in the spurious name of recruiting young girls into science.
The vast majority of men, when pondering cheerleaders, think of one thing: fucking. There’s a chain of “gentlemen’s clubs” in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that goes by the name of Cheerleaders. Let’s compare. SciCheer or Cheerleader's Club? You make the call!
Scott Walker, you'll recall, is the Rethuglican who has creatively called his union-busting scheme a "budget repair" bill. Once we've finished stripping workers of all their rights - collective bargaining is just the first step! there's so much more that can be taken away once the collective bargaining is gone! - we can bring back many useful practices from the good ol' days. The history of Blair Mountain is instructive in this regard. Maybe you'll want to go visit Blair Mountain, and see the historical marker, but I'd do it now if I were you, before Mr. Peabody rips it off the face of the earth to get at the coal underneath.
Two years ago, Blair Mountain was entered into the National Register of Historic Places. And then, just a few months later, it was taken off by state officials.
Lawyers hired by West Virginia's largest coal companies came up with a list of landowners who, they said, objected to the designation.
"There's apparently a lot of money to be made by blowing this mountain up and taking all the coal out from it," labor historian Gordon Simmons says, referring to mountaintop removal.
Fuck you, coal companies. Isn't it enough that your predecessors had a hired army of goons and federal troops dispatched by the president to keep coal miners from forming a union? Now you want to literally erase the history from the face of the earth? Fuck. You.
Well, Scott Walker's not calling in the troops yet on the citizens of Wisconsin. I'm sure that's just crazy to even imagine. Why, people have the right to collective bargaining! Oh wait, he's taking that away. Well, they have the right to be in a union! Oh wait, he's trying to make it really, really, really hard for there to be a union at all, what with the yearly votes for the union to exist, and the optional dues, and the fact that once your union can't bargain, and pay raises are strictly limited, you're going to wonder why you should pay dues or be in the union at all. You might as well join the Elks and spent your union dues on beer; at least you'll get drunk for your money.
So once the union is gone, and the plutocrats can pay us whatever they deem we are worth, and fire us whenever they feel like it, and take away our benefits on a whim - oh wait, you're saying, that's my life now? Because you're not in a union. Have you grumbled about unions in the past? A union exists to protect you from all that. But they talked you into thinking that the union was making your life hell, not the top 400 of them who hold more cash, stocks, and land than the bottom 155 million of us combined. Crabs in a barrel, they wanted to make us, and it mostly worked.
Anyway, as I was saying, once they've taken us back to the point where we have as many rights as those coal miners at Blair Mountain (maybe they'll start paying us in scrip again!), they can imprison us even faster than they do now. Pennsylvania's prison population has grown 500% in the last 30 years - that's a promising industry! A caller to Marty Moss-Coane's radio show this morning suggested that prisoners be placed 3 to a cell, but only two of them in the cell at any given time; one would always be out working an eight hour shift. Put the prisoners to work! Well, at least they'd have an eight hour day, if not a five-day work week. But why be limited by the arbitrary eight-hour day? We could pack them four to a cell and take out two at a time for 12-hour shifts. It's not like they have a union or anything.
Yeah, where did you think your eight-hour day and five-day work week came from? Oh, you say, not me, I'm a professional, I'm a scientist, I'm a grad student/postdoc/professor, and I work long hours. I'm k3rntastic! Science demands no less, I work for the love of it, I work long hours because if I don't someone else will step right into my place and work just as hard and take my job. Oh crap, that last one sounds just exactly like what the coal miners used to say before they got themselves organized and formed a union. You know what? Coal miners are professionals too, and take pride in their work, and love what they do, too. They like having a union that regulates working conditions, and says if you work overtime you get time and a half. What do policies like that do? They create more jobs, and make employers think twice about overworking the employees they do have, because it costs more. Oh, unions won't work for science. Science is so different! Believe me, baby, if you wanted a union bad enough, you'd find a way to make it work.
Listen up: Philip Dray, author of There Is Power In A Union: The Epic Story Of Labor In America, will be on Fresh Air this afternoon, to put the Wisconsin union battle in a historical context. Listen live at 3 pm or audio available online after 5 pm. Read the little blurb about the show - it's fascinating. Here's the piece that was a real shocker even for me.
[quoting Dray]: Every city in America has these large brick armories in the city. I used to think they were there for soldiers to gather to go abroad but those were built in an era when authorities wanted a place where soldiers could gather to bring down local labor unrest.
Yeah, they didn't teach me any of this history in school. Certainly not in the coal patch public schools. They did not tell me how the tax dollars of our forebears went to constructing buildings for the express purpose of gathering troops to suppress the formation of unions by those same forebears. Well, not the tax dollars of the Blair Mountain coal miners, per se. They were paid in scrip, which could only be spent at the company store.
If you have a few extra dollars in your pocket this month, consider donating to a union to help fund organizing struggles, general strike funds, etc. You can become an associate member of the United Mine Workers of America for $5 a month. Write to your congressperson and insist that Blair Mountain be placed on National Register of Historic Places, not ripped apart by coal companies. Speak up when someone is union bashing and say you wish everyone had the kinds of benefits and job security that a union can negotiate for its members. Don't be a crab in the barrel that the plutocrats and Rethuglicans are constructing for us all.
My grandparents lived through the union-organizing hell of the past. Let's not go back there in Governor Walker's handbasket.
At SciO11, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Anne Jefferson, Joanne Manaster, and Kathryn Clancy did a great session titled "Perils of blogging as a woman under a real name". (See summary here.) The discussion ranged over a lot of topics, and near the end, someone in the audience said "I don't want to get a [job/fellowship/grant/whatever] because of affirmative action, I want to get it on my own merits." I said, why do you imagine that the dudes getting those jobs now all got them all on their own merits?
Not that they aren't qualified, but do you imagine they had no help along the way, that there was no one pulling levers for them, no one setting them up, no one greasing the wheels for them, no one opening doors and helping them glide along? Why do we imagine everyone else who gets stuff got there all by their lonesome with no assistance from anyone else? I don't even know what the fuck it means to get somewhere all on your own merits. You can't even learn to wipe your own ass all on your own merits.
The conference proper hasn't actually started yet (okay, many worthy souls are busily workshopping even as I lounge about in the hotel room typing this) but it's already been totally worth the trip. Why, you ask? Three reasons.
1. Robert Krulwich's keynote address last night. Interesting, useful, entertaining, inspiring, could have listened to another hour of it. First time I can recall ever wanting to give a keynoter a standing ovation.
2. Joseph Hewitt's "2010: The Year In Science Blogging" comeek in the swag bag (which itself will make another nice grocery bag). Josephe Hewitt is a genius.
3. Hanging out with Commenter Extraordinaire of Science Blogs Everywhere, Becca.
Item #3 has two sub-parts of wonderful to it. 3(a), last night at the Open Mike session, Becca instigated a performance of Ripple and inveigled me to sing along with her and Sandra Porter, with Kevin Zelnio backing us up on guitar. Sandra and Becca can actually sing, and Kevin can actually play the guitar. I screeched along as best I could.
3(b), you can always count on Becca's astute observations to generate a comment FTW. Last night at the intro to the keynote was no exception. Up on the screens in front of the room we were treated to a slide full of the names of supporters of this un-conference - sorted, as is so often done, into three categories. You know how it's done. Sometimes it's platinum, gold, and silver. My local arboretum has oak, ash, and willow. Whatever it is, you know the first category is Top Dawg, second category is Still Pretty Good, and third category is Well, Not Bad, Your Name Is Still Here, Someday When You Can Give More You Can Be A Top Dawg. The categories chosen for SciO11's supporters are as follows:
Top Dawg = Charles Darwin Level
Still Pretty Good = Albert Einstein Level
WNBYNISHSWYCGMYCBATD = Marie Curie Level
Oh yes they did.
Becca's comment: "That's an active disincentive to donate more money."
There's just something weird about associating Names of Famous Scientists with supporter levels in this manner. When supporter levels categories are given somewhat innocuous names - like platinum, gold, silver, or oak, ash, willow - everyone understands that there is a ranking involved in the categories. The ranking is there to distinguish and honor the supporters, and also to generate a little competition - oh, I see the Jones Company supported at the oak level, notes Smith Company. We have got to try and keep up with the Joneses in this important arena. Maybe next year we ought to be mighty oaks as well. Marketers can use it as a selling point: You know, the Jones have been mighty oaks for five years now. We'd like to see you getting your name out there with the same level of recognition and influence, Smith Company. Wouldn't you like to consider moving up from ash to mighty oak this year? So you need the ranking system, both to sell to the supporters, and to recognize the supporters. Everybody knows how the coded system works. When you slap some Famous Scientist names on top of this system that everyone understands, it cannot help but send an implicit message along with it - Top Dawg is the scientist this particular community worships values most, Still Pretty Good, is still pretty good, and WNBYNISHSWYCGMYCBATD is somebody we had to come up with as an afterthought, and we'd better make it a woman or the ladee science bloggers will complain, so let's pick Marie Curie because she's the most famousest woman scientist.
Blargh. Revise and resubmit for SciO12, please. Squid Level, Polar Bear Level, Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Level. Sea, Land, and Air levels. Book, Blog, and Twitter levels. Ha ha ha! my little joke. See how that ranking thing works?
Let me explain it to you. As I understand it from reading Andrea Kuszewski's post, cheerleaders are there to support the team. They aren't on the team. They are typically attractive, and are supposed to do stunts to draw attention of the crowd to the team, and to the larger institution. That is definitely a great role model for drawing young girls into science!
Scene: Friday lab meeting
PI: "Jane, what results do you have to present this week?"
Jane: "Goooooooooo SCIENCE! "
Jane: "e to the x dy dx! e to the x dy! cosine secant tangent sine! 3.14159!"
Andrea asks, "[What is wrong with] being intelligent AND a sex object?" And I answer, what is wrong indeed. If one has no problem with being a sex object in the first place, then it hardly matters if one is also intelligent. So it totally makes sense when Andrea implores
Feminists should be screaming at the top of their lungs in SUPPORT of [Science Cheerleaders]—strong, intelligent, independent, confident women who are trying to be good role models for young girls—showing them you don't have to give up your womanhood or your femininity in order to be a successful career person.
Here's my top of the lungs scream in SUPPORT of Science Cheerleaders:
All girls love cheerleaders, unless they are (a) ugly hairy legged feminazis who can't get laid, (b) ugly hairy legged feminazi lesbian bulldyke ballcrushers, or (c) ugly sad pathetic uncoordinated wannabes who didn't make cheerleader in high school. It's a fact. Groups (a), (b), and (c) are at high risk of becoming scientists. This is unattractive and unappealing for dudes in science. Occasionally, a hot cheerleader sneaks through and becomes a scientist. In the interests of Dude Nation, it would be good if more Hot Babe Cheerleaders became scientists and focused on Looking Hot While Doing Science. In the interests of Women Who Support Dude Nation, it would be good to draw attention away from the gender non-normative aspects of doing science or engineering by emphasizing Hot Babe Cheerleaders Of Science - And You Can Be A Hot Cheerleader Sciencey Babe, Too! No ugly lesbians over here in nanotechnology, nosiree! Genomics is chockfull of pom pom waving blond bombshells in booty shorts! Rest assured, Science will not make you less of a Real Woman! Dude Nation will still want to fuck you up the ass!
And now...now what? You know what's next. The zombie St. Kern wannabe PI hordes are gonna come crawling out of their nicely appointed offices, borrowing the language of "I was walking around this weekend and didn't see you slaving away over the bench at 11 pm on Saturday" and "you gotta have PASSION! PASSION, I tell you!" and "Science doesn't stop at 5 on Fridays" and "the children! think of the poor children with cancer dying because you had to go home and kiss your baby." The "5 on Fridays" bit is a direct quote from my master's thesis advisor a month or two after the sudden and unexpected death of my dad, when I told the advisor I was having a bit of a hard time coping with everything and wanted to drop an elective course. The St. Kern's we have always had with us.
Well, my puke's too good for the shoes of those d00dches, but I'll tell you what. I don't know about you, but I didn't go into science to work like a mule in a coal mine.
When my parents scrimped and saved to send me off to college, it was so I could get out of the blue collar life, and have a job that paid reasonably well with decent hours "where you don't have to work shift work" my dad said. Come home in the evening and be there with your family. His dad told us the story of the mules he worked with in the mine when he was younger. How if they found a good mule that would work for them, they worked it and worked it and worked it until it dropped dead in its traces. "Don't be that mule" he told us.
I was stunned (in a good way) to see that the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (cover-dated August 13) had a full-page column about [the Bechdel test].
You have got to read this post! And don't you just know it, the first comment is from some d00dche, arguing about how d00ds are totes given a hard time in the film credits:
Although, the one point I would make is that names like “Guy on Bus”, “Drunk Guy At Party” are very prevelant. The “character not named, but described” is extremely common for men- few characters outside the supporting cast get actual names, especially if they are only in one scene. If secretary is present throughout the film and has dialog in more than one scene-she probably has a name. Otherwise, it was a great column and I am both surprised and pleased that the test has made as big of a splash as it seems to have over the last two weeks.
Ahahahahahahhaha!!!! Yes, the one point I would make! About d00ds! The poor d00ds! Let us not forget the d00ds! Not even for one microsecond! Not even when we are talking about whether or not films ever, ever, ever, for an infinitesimal minute, allow women to have a tiny conversational interchange in which d00ds are not the point of the conversation! Ahahahahahahahahahaha! No fucking wonder the Hollywood wunderkinds think they cannot show two women talking about anything but how to get a d00d. Because anywhere you go in the universe, there you will find a d00d, piping up about how d00dly d00d shit is so fucking important and needs to be attended to. The Hollywood wunderkinds must think this stuff is God's truth. And that all women, everywhere, breathlessly await further instruction on the endlessly fascinating topic of How To Get A Dude. Like as if the d00ds aren't every fucking where we go every fucking minute of every fucking day. Or like they are so fucking difficult to get. What I want is a Hollywood film on how to get rid of the d00dly d00ds who haunt our waking existence. That would be an awesome film. I am not holding my breath.
Oh wait. There was Men Who Hate WomenThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I hear Hollywood is gonna remake that. I am sure that remake will be totes fucking awesome.
Yesterday I took one of my cats to the vet. It was supposed to be both of them, but Fraidy Cat wised up to my machinations five minutes before departure time. He normally spends 23.5 hours of the day sleeping on top of the bed, but he roused himself at my approach and dived under the bed, which required him squashing himself flat as a bug to make it under the footboard, and parked himself dead center, unreachable. So I left with one cat and made a second appointment for another day. Hopefully he will be in more of a stupor on that day.
At the vet’s office, the person who scheduled me for the second visit asked solicitously what time of day and day of week I preferred. I told the person that I was flexible since I was not working, and that the first available appointment would be fine. The staff person laughed and said “don’t rub it in about all your free time!” Well, I couldn’t help myself. I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, but I’m not working because I have health issues.”
For three weeks in a row I've overheard someone at my local farmer's market whine about the price of the produce. Frankly, I'm tired of it.
Every Saturday morning I drag my lazy, love-to-sleep-in-late ass out of bed and hustle on over to the market, various and sundry cloth and recycled plastic bags at the ready to haul home the beauteous, tasty produce. Every week I end up spending at least around $80, sometimes as much as $100. In return I get enough food and more for a week's worth of meals for two and often am able to prepare some things to save or freeze for later meals. A sampling of what I can choose to take home on any given week: delicious yogurt, fresh raspberries, blueberries, juicy flavorful peaches, fragrant cantaloupe, watermelon, crisp greens (arugula, Swiss chard, kale, several kinds of lettuce, spinach), pears, apples, heirloom carrots, tender cabbage, yellow summer squash and zucchini, green and yellow beans, beets, turnips, salad turnips, potatoes (purple, Yukon gold, fingerling, red, baking), radishes, sweet corn, cucumbers (regular, pickling, yellow, curlicue heirloom ones), peppers (red, yellow, green, hot), sweet potatoes and yams, garlic and garlic scapes, fresh herbs, onions (yellow, red, sweet, and white and red scallions), several kinds of squash...ah, there's way more, I can't remember every single thing, but let us most definitely not forget to mention the TOMATOES!!!!
2009 Heirloom Tomatoes - Multiple Varieties
2009 Heirloom plum tomatoes
Of course not every item on that list of produce is available all year 'round. One of the pleasures of the farmer's market is learning to eat seasonally, to savor each item as it appears on the stands, re-learning to eat food that tastes as it is supposed to taste, not as it must taste when it has been engineered to survive mechanical harvest and long transport and storage times. Oh, the wild pleasure of local strawberries with actual flavor! Such a brief season! But the grief of their passing is fleeting, for the next things are coming along, and one knows that soon blueberries and then peaches are on the horizon, and so it goes along.
I don't spend much money at all in the supermarkets for food items during farmer's market season. We eat meals made out of what I can create from the bounty of produce I haul home each week, and as a consequence we are much less likely to eat fast food or take out, so we save money there. I could probably shop more frugally at the farmer's market - we don't need the raspberries or the cantaloupe each week, but I like fresh fruit, and maybe I could get by with less yogurt, but I like that, too, so I splurge. You could grow your own herbs and not buy them at the market, and I probably don't need to buy a bouquet of cut flowers, and maybe the eggs are cheaper at the supermarket, but I really, really like the taste of the eggs from the pastured chickens.
So yeah, maybe the farmer's market produce costs more than the local mega supermarket, I don't know, but I do know that you can't buy the flavor you get at the farmer's market in the local mega supermarket. In the local mega supermarket, your food dollars generally don’t do squat for sustaining local agriculture. If you need or want to shop there, that’s your choice, but if you show up at the farmer’s market, please leave the whine about how expensive it all is at home. I’ve seen people shopping at the farmer’s market using food stamps and, interestingly, they’ve never been among the whiners about the price. Maybe they are more interested in value.