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Meg lives in WA, where she noodles around the internet, plays computer games, and studies a combination of psychology and computer science.

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  1. The Amazing Kim
    The Amazing Kim at |

    I’m sure deception has been going on as long as people have been exchanging goods and services – I’m thinking of chalk and sawdust as fillers in Victorian-era bread, quack medical cures, and early mail scams. That’s why we have food and pharmaceutical regulation now (for what it’s worth).

  2. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    These food issues aren’t new either. I remember as a kid there was a scandal about horsemeat in sausages, some said kangaroo meat was put in there as well. This was before kangaroo became an accepted meat source for majority of the non-Aboriginal population. I don’t recall anyone getting sick, just feeling ripped off.

  3. Megpie71
    Megpie71 at |

    TAK, Mindy: yup, there’s that aspect of things as well – there are always going to be people trying to deceive others in order to make a quick buck. And yeah, this is why we have legislation and regulations to stop these sorts of things (and why the gLibertarian proclamations about the power of “the market” to deal with such behaviours are so much horsepucky[1]). But there’s also the realistic point that when you’re buying beef burgers, burgers which cost less than the equivalent weight of beef mince are not going to be 100% beef. Yes, ideally the adulteration should be with things like egg, breadcrumbs and such, maybe a few herbs and spices. However, more realistically it’s going to be whatever’s cheapest for the manufacturer.

    (And I say this as someone who has previously lived a lifestyle where hamburger patties are the most affordable form of meat product, and who has the sad expectation of being back there again in the near future. There’s a reason I cook hamburger patties ten minutes a side and never serve them rare).

    [1] Simple explanation for any gLibertarians[2] reading: the various laws and regulations about how things can be made, what’s a permitted additive and so on are all what happens when “the market” takes care of things. Government in this instance is the concerted will and action of “the market” making it clear people don’t want to be sold things like shonky “medicines” or unsafe food.
    [2] The g is silent and invisible in the normal spelling of the term.

  4. AMM
    AMM at |

    Thinking about how performers are expected to always turn out a perfect product, even in live performance, I’m reminded of Lucy in the comic strip “Peanuts”, when told “life has its ups and downs”, saying “I only want ups and ups!”

    There seems to be an unwillingness to accept that life isn’t perfect. In fact, in both life and in art, perfection is sterile.

    In life: Atul Gawande (the surgeon who writes essays about medicine) wrote an essay about the learning process in surgery. One of the issues is that everyone wants an experienced surgeon, not somebody who’s doing his/her first operation (or first central line (?)), but unless someone is willing to be treated by the inexperienced, there won’t be any experienced surgeons.

    In art: a large part of the fun of a live performance is the possibility that you will see/hear an artist do some awesome thing that zie has never done before (and may never do again.) But that’s only possible if the artist is allowed to do something different, and risk doing something crappy, or even disastrous. So perfection is the enemy of the awesome. (Besides, if you’ve got the right attitude, even the disasters are part of the fun.)

    On the other hand, there are plenty of areas of life where I can do without surprises. I _would_ like to know that the ground beef I buy doesn’t contain dead rats or salmonella. And those who are deathly allergic to, say, peanuts would just as soon be able to depend upon the french fries they buy not killing them.

  5. mimbles
    mimbles at |

    There was a lovely moment when we saw Regina Spektor at the Opera House where she lost her place in one of her songs and stumbled over what came next, she laughingly said “I’ve forgotten the words!”, the audience laughed with her and it made the performance seem more intimate. It was also a great thing for my budding performer Mr11 to see – yep, everyone stuffs up sometimes and that’s ok.

  6. Emily
    Emily at |

    I agree with you about Beyonce and Lance Armstrong but I disagree with you about food standards. The horsemeat example is more like paying for a ticket to see Beyonce sing or Lance Armstrong cycle and being shown a completely different person.

    There is an understanding that cheap meat products will contain non-standard kinds of meat but there are minimum standards that are supposed to be enforced to make sure it is safe to eat. I don’t have a problem with eating horsemeat but I have a deep concern that this was hidden by the burger manufacturers and what other things they have added without being detected.

  7. Sarah
    Sarah at |

    Re shortcuts without lowering standards – my partner and his colleague were once asked by their manager if they could do some programming faster (and therefore cheaper). Looked at each other, one said ‘can we do it faster?’ and the other said ‘nah, we can’t do it any shittier’. Ha, I always think of that when I see/hear about cost cutting – what’s being done shittier?

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