Burned rice gruel for the fashionistaWhile flipping through men’s fashion magazines at my hairdresser’s recently, I noticed something paradoxical.
The magazines, which were filled with pages of high-society parties and flashy advertisements, also included a number of interviews with the cultural elite, from dissident poets to high-flying intellectuals.
Most fashion magazines I grew up with were nothing but supermodels draped in Chanel. Of course things do change. The current image du jour is a male model draped in an Armani suit driving away in a Jaguar XK8 convertible with a designer laptop on the passenger’s seat. But it’s a bit shocking to flip to the back pages and find some rather high-brow articles.
Maybe I am just old fashioned. But how can something have such a different front and back?
Some of us might be open-minded enough to accept that a man in an Armani suit with golden cuffs would enjoy reading dissident poetry in his penthouse as much as a grungy activist would after an all-day rally.
Maybe our Armani man reads about humanity’s suffering because he feels a guilty fascination. Or maybe it’s just to avoid admitting to his bourgeois taste.
But for the trammeled underclass and those who speak for them, is it right that stylish, rich men take intellectual pleasure in accounts of their suffering?
For me, it doesn’t matter.
Our Armani man in the penthouse probably reads this stuff in response to societal pressure to live well in moderation. People often feel the pressures to balance something refined with something crude or cheap. If they feel their taste had gotten too fancy, they look to the other end of the spectrum. If it seems too cheap, they try to elevate it. You could covet a Gucci bag or a $300 key chain, but if you don’t read a book by a dissident poet, you might as well be the worst capitalist monster.
Moderation seems to be a modern mantra. But is it so bad to just leave things as they are, follow our natural way, live and let die?
In the end, balance is part of nature itself. Eating too much meat makes you crave broccoli. Indulging in creme brule makes you crave a humble rice tea that will rinse the rich flavor from your mouth.
Wouldn’t it ease everybody’s burden to stop pretending that we live in a state of perfect poise without any bias? Could we just leave it up to our appetite?
How to Cook
Ingredients: 1 cup of water, 1 cup of left over rice
1. Save the leftover rice or rice crust on the bottom of a pan. In a pot, pour the rice.
2. Pour the water. On a low heat, boil the grains until they get soft and watery.
3. After 10 to 15 minutes, serve them with side dishes.
by Park Soo-mee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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