Monday, April 26, 2010

Movie Reviews

Here are two videos that are perfect for lunch or procrastinating at work. Each are the first segment of a YouTube movie critique by RedLetterMedia. They are hilarious and surprisingly insightful.

The Phantom Menace: I never realized just how much this movie sucks.

There are 7 videos to this one. I was sad to finish the last one.

Avatar: when plot the isn't the focus, something is missing

Friday, April 16, 2010

Redesign Redesign

Here's the new Del Monte. Started at Sterling as I was just leaving, I think the final product looks great.



This image is from a blog post I did back in Sep. '08. Horizon had redesigned. This post is related to another one with a blurb about the food industry giving me the heebie jeebies. This feeling grew since then, which is why I wrote my thesis on the food industry.

Here is the re-redesign, a change in the central banner and the addition of the pasture image. I loved the original design and hate the pasture. It adds clutter and takes away from the clean, premium look of the original redesign.

There's a good reason for this change. Horizon the biggest organic dairy brand in the country, has come under a lot of fire for not being organic enough. Blogs are blasting them for not being truthful in their claims and acting like a regular industrial dairy. This image is an attempt to tie them back to the farm and the roots of the organic movement. Not sure it works, but hopefully my company can help them do something about it.

WARNING - here's a thesis out-take that ended up on the cutting room floor:

In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Food and Production Act which established the national standards for organic food and farming. Organic farmers, unlike most traditional farmers, held on to a stringent set of values that guided the movement long before major food corporation wanted a piece of it. They were pushing for stricter standards, while food companies pushing for leniency so they could capitalize on the marketing potential of the new and fast growing category.

This turned into a 10-year battle "within the USDA between Big and Little Organic, or put another way, "the organic industry and the organic movement" (Pollan 2006, 155). Through industry insiders arguing on behalf of Big Organic, industry beat out the movement. In the final legislation that passed, "many of the philosophical values embodied in the word organic did not survive the federal rule making process" (Pollan 2006, 155).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thesis Update

It's awful. Got feedback from my professor:
- My writing is not scholarly enough. Basically, I'm writing so that anyone can read it, whereas I should be writing in a style that is more dense yet fits within the academic tone that references the scholarly materials that my arguments are based on.
- From what I could find, nobody in academia writes about food. When they do write about food, they write about things so specific (the development of the olive oil trade in Italy, flavors of soda in India) that I can't use them.
- I reference some major thinkers (Saussure, Bourdieu, Marx) but do not go into detail on their arguments. This is giving them "short shrift" and is not sufficient for a scholarly paper.
- I would need another 3 months to do a paper that takes a Marxist view of branding. It sounds awesome, actually. Brands hide the production value of commodity items and create an artificial trade value. But I'm traveling all this week, half of next week, and I can't get my head wrapped around Marx and neo-Marxists philosophy by May 2nd. It would be giving them 'short shrift.'
- She didn't read the last 17 pages of my thesis. Or my appendix, which is 12 pages.
- I'm getting feedback now but can't help feel like I've been given no help. I feel like I've written this paper on the fringe of academia, a place where I am not comfortable nor familiar. No wonder my sources have gone mainstream (Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle).
- Almost every book on branding is some asshole trying to sell his/her ideas. Its not scholarly.
- My paper is repetitive and the order needs to be rethought. There was a very good reason for this repetition: I needed to remember what the f*&k I was talking about in each section.

I have lost all heart for this paper and academia. I just don't care anymore. I will do whatever it takes to pass, and no more than that. It's sad, but I need to move on in my life. I am fearful that my next draft will not be passable and graduation will be delayed. God forbid, cause I will make such a stink at NYU they'll graduate me just to et rid of me. This is not a threat but a warning.

In the words of Trey Anastasio, from the song Carini, here is what I hope to say by mid-May: "The thesis that you're writing is a piece of shit, but I'm glad you finally finished it."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Organic Industry

This image, taken from a professor at Michigan State, shows that the Organic industry is for the most part an extension of the mainstream food industry. They bring the same government influence and profit drive to bear. Stlll, it's better than nothing!

Philadelphia, My Home Town

Philadelphia to ease marijuana penalty

The city's new district attorney and the state Supreme Court are moving to all but decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in an effort to unclog Philadelphia's crowded court dockets.

Offenders will be charged summary offenses rather than as misdemeanors.

"We have to be smart on crime," said District Attorney Seth Williams, who took office in January. "We can't declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who's smoking a joint on 55th Street. We have to go after the large traffickers."

The goal is to sweep about 3,000 small-time marijuana cases annually out of the main court system, freeing prosecutors and judges to devote time to more serious crimes.