Thursday, October 29, 2020

No Quiz for Me


Oh how the mighty have fallen. The New York Times is running an online quiz that asks, “Can you tell a ‘Trump’ fridge from a ‘Biden’ fridge?” 

Oh, brother.

Truth in advertising: I have not read much of the accompanying article nor participated in the quiz. I have read responses on Twitter, from people who have, saying that the quiz essentially reinforces the stereotypes they had already. Great. We definitely needed more of that.

As this is a local blog, I wondered if there could be a local version of this quiz, as ridiculous as I think it is. So far, this is what I have come up with:

Interesting things to note about what’s in the refrigerators of people in Columbia/HoCo:

  • Grocery store affiliation: Whole Foods? Food Lion?
  • Foods made by local businesses like Neat Nicks, From Momma’s Kitchen, Althea’s Almost Famous, Farm Boy Pickles, etc.
  • Foods from one of the Howard County Farmers Markets, local purveyors like Jenny’s Market or Breezy Willow, or a CSA.
  • Locally made beer vs. national brands.
  • Does the food come from a store within walking distance of the house, or does purchasing it require using a car?

Probably the most important thing to look for in Howard County refrigerators is food, plain and simple. If you have adequate or ample food, you are doing okay. Little or no food? Struggling, if not in outright crisis. No refrigerator at all? You might be homeless.

Those are really the most critical concerns to have if we are going to be looking in people’s refrigerators. Assumptions that certain kinds of healthy yogurt or name brand soda pop indicate one's political leanings are shallow at best. Perhaps there is entertainment value in taking a quiz like this. But if it merely reinforces stereotypes, it’s sadly misinformational. 

Especially in a time where a pandemic has put so many people out of work, looking in refrigerators for some kind of higher meaning is more than specious. It hovers on the edge of cruelty. I’m going to suggest that most of us in Columbia/HoCo have better things to do with our time.

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