Monday, April 30, 2012

Authenticity Shopping

Why is shooting fish in barrel looked down upon?  The immediate reason seems to be the excessiveness of it all.  Make it less excessive.  Dipping a net in a stocked pond does not have any respectability.  Before indulging in too many assumptions, let's hit the other end.  Commercial fishing is little more than dipping a net in stocked pond, but the people employed in the profession enjoy some respectability.  Likewise, the advances in aquaculture are actively studied at various universities. So while the degree of "sport" may play into things, there seems to be more going on.

While getting a feel for the landscape, let's move on to excessive things that are widely respected.  Take gardening.  10 hours of labor, watering, weeding, and finally the reward of 5 pounds of carrots.  There are a few kooks who attempt to justify this on economic grounds.  In particular, you can find eccentrics in the organic  gardening community.  Yes, there are non-economic grounds, but in order to maintain relevancy, advocates of course ground a significant portion of their appeal in economy.

One of the non-economic factors in both cases is authenticity.  The argument over sport is an argument over authenticity.  Gardening is seen as authentic.  Where authenticity has fallen is a bit arbitrary.  Dipping a rod with a hook in the water may be sporting, but the use of nets was quite common in fishing.  As for agriculture, things are far more complicated.  Gardening has never been egalitarian.  Agriculture has most often been done by servants, slaves, or some combination of the above.   Perhaps, the superintending portion of gardening in the part we wish to retain.  More likely is that the authenticity we seek is the one of being upper class.  Gardening for sport after all is to be identify with the elite of the past.

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