18 December 2007

Turmeric, Cougar and Althusser

A weird thing happened last night. I got home from the archive, after not eating all day, cracked opened a beer and started making dinner—spicy fish soup with noodles. Now, maybe drinking that beer on an empty stomach led to my usual crack eyeball-measurement system being a little out of whack, so I went heavy on the turmeric. (I know, I should have paid heed to and extrapolated from Arnold’s advice in Raw Deal: “You should not drink and bake!”) But since I tend to like the fish-turmeric pairing, I didn’t mind so much. I moved on to a second beer and ate my dinner while watching this horrible Russian romantic-comedy-coming-of-age-move-to-the-city-action-movie Nulevoi kilometr on DVD. After the cliché ending, I brushed my teeth and curled up in bed (read: sofa) with Trotsky’s Problems of the Chinese Revolution.

Waking up, I went to put on the coffee and take a shower. In the bathroom, I couldn’t help but notice that all the bristles on my toothbrush had turned a bright yellow-orange color. I rinsed and rinsed, but I could only get a lighter hue of the same, which, frankly speaking, was even less appealing.

As I think about it, I’m less surprised by the result than I am by the fact that this has never happened to me before. Has this occured to other turmeric-eaters? Or are Russian toothbrushes made of some particular absorbent material?

There are individuals walking along. Somewhere (usually behind them) the hail rings out: ‘Hey, you there!’ One individual (nine times out of ten it is the right one) turns round, believing/suspecting/knowing that it is for him, i.e. recognizing that ‘it really is he’ who is meant by the hailing.

Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" [emphasis added]
Then, there’s that one time when the wrong guy turns around thinking it’s for him.

The turmeric incident reminded me of when I was a little kid in Tennessee, listening to John Cougar (or was it John Mellencamp?) singing, “Honorable Sikh in the USA, hey! Honorable Sikh in the USA, hey! Honorable Sikh in the USA, todaaaay, he’s rocking in the USA.” From my vantage point, it wasn’t odd to have an immigrant anthem about a rockin’ honorable Sikh, sung by a Hoosier hero. Only later was my heart broken when I saw the song title in a magazine: “R.O.C.K. in the USA.”

I still think my version would have been better.

Anyway, both the turmeric incident and my imaginary honorable Sikh left me with that awkward "Does this happen to anybody else?" feeling. It does, right?

Right. Now, back to washing my clothes, packing and getting ready for some sun, a new nephew and fresh produce.

p.s. Dmitri Minaev brought his "day in history" post on the 1963 protest of African students in Moscow to my attention. Another scholar who works on this topic and has rummaged through the US State Dept. and Russian archival material told me that between the propaganda, counter-propaganda and counter-counter-propaganda, all he could write about, at the end of the day, was the State Dept. and Soviet propaganda. All the same, it's an interesting moment in the Cold War.


nicole meredith said...

i'd wager stuff like that happens to other people as well . . . some people get blue teeth from eating blueberries. it's all a crapshoot.

the mellencamp bit is classic.

safe travels. x.

Sean Guillory said...

Interpellated by turmeric. Better than by Mellencamp, I guess. Just goes to show how sneaky those state apparatuses really are.

kg said...

As a non-native English speaker, I was pretty embaraced to learn that the classic oldie song was "Dragging the Line," not "Dragon the Lion." I think my version would've had a lot more potential for excitement, particularly if one wanted to get stoned to it...

McFry said...

maybe the X-factor was in the chemical reaction between the turmeric and the Baltika's plastic bottle residue?

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

Nikki, I'll travel safe and hopefully meet up with your man on the other coast after his 12-hour slow jam set.

Sean, of course those ISA's are sneaky--they were thought up after reading Lacan.

KG, I'd love to hear, or better watch a video, for "Dragon the Lion!"

And McFry, did I ever tell you that McFly is still a little offended by you biting into her handle? And I don't drink out of the plastic bottles. It was a glass Tuborg pull-top that fine night, as I recall, and look at my "recycling." Did you read Loom of Ruin on Sam's trip to see Drew Carey on The Price is Right. It's that classic formula, again.

McFry said...

i'm sorry that i don't know who McFly is!
but anyway, can't we just share?