Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Market Daze

I very rarely make posts like this but I suppose that, since I was referred to as "bubbly" today [probably for the first and last time], it's fitting and I can make an exception.

Today was the second Allen St. Farmers Market of the season. I volunteered at the market last fall semester for a class and was entirely smitten with it, and then volunteered at the Allen Neighborhood Center this spring. I decided to continue volunteering there this summer [and for the season], without the parameters of a class. Not limited by a class schedule or other school-related commitments, I told my boss that I would need Wednesdays off and plan to be at the market from set-up at 12:30 until tear-down at 7:00 for the summer.

Today was a fabulous day. It frosted last night and thunderstorms have been predicted each day for the past couple days, but today was clear, sunny and probably 70 degrees. Set-up only took an hour, and then I helped the East Lansing Food Co-op [where I also volunteer] set up their tent. As the market got underway I took a seat by one of the entrances as a greeter. The day flew by. There was a steady stream of people all day, some attending for the first time, some with babies, some with dogs, some I knew from previous markets. You just couldn't ask for a nicer day, and everyone was all smiles. You can buy everything from herbs to milk, flowers to brownies, and people came with cotton bags and woven baskets to carry their purchases home. Many people walk or bike from their homes or work, picking up ingredients for dinner that night.

I love the conversations you have with strangers. There's just something so intimate about a market, especially this little one, that you feel like you know the people around you already. You say "hello" as they come in and "see you next week!" as they leave. It doesn't matter that you don't know their names or where they work or anything about them. You know enough.

Ramblings About the Media, Whores, and Voting

VH1 just aired a multi-part show about the sexual revolution, covering everything from "free love" to homo-hysteria to the onset of the AIDS epidemic. For the most part it seemed informative and thoughtful.

Immediately following? The Maxim Hot 100. The intro described the chosen 100 women as "sexy and talented" or something like that. It's hosted by the Pussycat Dolls [a Barbie band]. Number 97 is Kim Kardashian, one of many party girls famous for being famous, or as tells it, "A sex tape with R&B star Ray J catapulted this stunner from daughter of O.J. lawyer Robert Kardashian to front and center of the blogosphere."

Granted, a network like VH1 couldn't care less about the irony of running these two shows back-to-back. They're in it for the ratings, like anyone else. But at the same time, if you're going to make an investment into a socially-aware program, it seems like you might want to cushion it with other shows containing pertinent themes. Did the average viewer tonight notice the dichotomy between these shows, or just pop another bag of popcorn and settle in for a night of easy viewing?