Yogurt as a sexist, white-privileged product

As we wait for the U.S. to go down the tubes after Trump takes office, and for the rest of the world to fall apart from war, terrorism, and hatred, it’s nice to know that our university professors are busy concentrating on the really important stuff, like the implications of yogurt “culture” for feminism and white privilege.

Yes, we’ve had feminist glaciology and Pilates, and discourses on how pumpkins at Halloween are racist and oppressive, but one item heretofore left untouched is the pressing issue of yogurt.

No longer, for Perin Gurel, an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has published an incisive postmodern analysis of yogurt in America in the journal Gastronomica. The title is below (click on the screenshot to to go the paper; reference and additional link at bottom).

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-35-30-am

Her observations are simple enough, and I can state the facts given in the paper in a few sentences. Yogurt was for generations a staple food in the Middle East. It was then imported into the U.S., where it was initially seen as a strange and exotic food. Then advertisers decided to sell it to women as a “health” food that could help one lose weight. It then became mainstream, and some producers like Dannon added fruit on the bottom. It was later adopted by hippies and feminists, increasing its popularity, and even some men became fans. More recently, “Greek yogurt”, a thicker version, has been successfully marketed by Chobani, and even more men have adopted that, though the yogurt is really not Greek but Turkish—”strained” yogurt.

That’s the story of yogurt, although, in the one inadvertently funny sentence in her article, Gurel says, “The origins of yogurt are cloudy.”

The problem, as always with this postmodern persiflage, is that Gurel has to trick out her story with all kinds of feminist and racial overtones, to the point where I’m not sure at all what she’s trying to say beyond waving her Postmodern Feminist credibility card (she teaches a course on “Gender and Popular Culture”). And so we get thickets of words like this (emphasis is mine and, by the way, if you see a lot of words that end with “-ize”, like “problematize,” “contextualize,” and “historicize”, those are sure signs of postmodern gibberish).

In her groundbreaking book The Sexual Politics of Meat, Carol J. Adams coined the term feminized proteinto describe food sources derived from the imprisonment and domestication of female animals, whose bodies are manipulated as incubators of protein(Adams 2010: 112). Interested in the intersection of two overwhelming binary oppositions, between human and animal and male and female, Adamss analysis does not differentiate between, say,milk and yogurt. The recent work of Greta Gaard on feminist postcolonial milk studiesbuilds upon Adamss interventions to historicize and contextualize the femaleness as well as the whiteness of milk. Gaard (2013: 596) writes: Milka commodity that the American dairy industry has marketed as naturaland wholesome’—is not a homogeneous entity but one that has various meanings and compositions in different historical and cultural contexts.

Well that says about exactly nothing.

As for yogurt being a form of sexual oppression as well as cultural appropriation, there’s this:

Although feminization and exoticization go together in canonical feminist analyses of Orientalism, in the case of yogurts popularization in the United States, feminization as a dietfood has been a significant part of its cultural neutering. In the early twenty-first century, marketing campaigns for Greekyogurt have modified this cultural neutralization by foregrounding a nonthreatening whiteethnicity, while further feminizing yogurt consumption and obscuring connections to the food cultures of the Middle East.

It’s true that yogurt marketing was directed largely toward women, since that sex is more concerned with weight loss and appearance, but “cultural neutering”? Was the deliberate? There is no evidence for that, simply the author’s assertions. As for “foregrounding a nonthreatening ‘white’ ethnicity”, that’s just a gratuitous form of virtue signaling.

When Perin manages to admit that some men took to yogurt, too, as in some later ads, she lapses into complete incoherence. Referring to Yoplait ads featuring men enjoying yogurt flavors like “banana cream pie”—ads that were removed after complaints—Perin goes to town:

The original version of this ad was pulled off the air in 2011 after activists accused it of promoting eating disorders; it certainly encourages an incredibly problematic relation to food (Yoplait Pulls Ad . . . ” 2011). Having young men replace the women in this case follows a recent trend in media activism in which gender flippingdeconstructs the normatively gendered source text. As Patrick Jung, the co-creator of the parody video with Nick Taylor, wrote in his paper about this piece, gender flipping makes us ask, If it is uncomfortable to look at these flipped versions, then why was the original acceptable?It, of course, would not have been but for a specific brand of capitalist patriarchy predicated upon policing womens bodies.

Well, I saw those ads, and I wasn’t uncomfortable, so I don’t know what she’s talking about. And the stuff about “policing women’s bodies” is over the top, for yogurt companies were targeting that segment of the market most concerned with weight loss. Why are erectile-dysfunction ads aimed at men? Is that patriarchal policing of men’s bodies?

I needn’t go on except to give two more quotes about how yogurt is oppressive to women and people of color. To make the former case, Gurel notes that yogurt, while marketed to women in the U.S., is marketed to everybody in her native country of Turkey, but even there it’s oppressive (she also manages to throw in the Edward-Saidist buzzword “Orientalist”):

We must, therefore, be wary of a romantic, Orientalist binary opposition between Turkish tradition and American commercialism. Turkish and American ads for mass-produced yogurt both exemplify what Sut Jhally (1995) has called the image-based cultureof modern capitalism, which causally links positive emotions to the consumption of commodities. In all cases, the empty signifier of coagulated milk sold under a brand name is enriched with signification borrowed from preexisting values. Similarly, ads in both countries are gendered in rather limited and stereotypical ways. While Turkish ads primarily incorporate folk foodways and the communal practices of food-based nurturing (provided by women) and hearty ingestion (showcased by men and children), American ads focus on individualized feminine consumption for femaleills. Yet if staring at a fridge in doubt for minutes on end and eating controlled portions of artificially flavored yogurt alone on a couch is oppressive, what about slaving away at the kitchen all day to make sure store-bought yogurt can be consumed, mostly by others, alongside appropriately labor-intensive foods?

And here’s why yogurt is a form of white supremacy (I’ve removed the references for clarity, but you can see the full passage in the original paper):

Since the 1970s, popular American constructions of normative whiteness have pushed against the symbolic WASP and instead begun to celebrate white ethniccultures, such as Greek, Italian, and Irish immigrant ancestries (Jacobson 2006). Both a product of and a backlash against the civil rights movement, this aspiration for a special whiteness” beyond and within whiteness has boosted interest in ethnic dining,making available a cosmopolitan identity to those who can claim it by heritage or travel and consumption. Mass-produced Greek yogurt offers a tame version of this gastronomic cosmopolitanism to the masses. Of course, like more extensive practices of eating the Other,it does so without challenging the structural racism that generates asymmetric access to culinary adventurism.

So yogurt is a backlash against the Civil Rights movement? And is a form of “culinary adventurism” that itself is a kind of racism? Seriously, that’s stretching her thesis to the point of breaking.  It’s ludicrous—and this is taken as serious scholarship.

My conclusions about this paper and its author?

  1. Gurel doesn’t have enough to do.
  2. She also needs to learn how to write without using obscurantist postmodern jargon.
  3. The paper says nothing that hasn’t been said before. What is true is not novel (weight-loss foods are marketed to women), and what is novel is not true (yogurt is a manifestation of racist white cultural and structural paternalism).
  4. The paper adds nothing to the store of human knowledge; it was written solely to advance the author’s career.
  5. Isn’t postmodernism over yet?
  6. Shoot me now.
Aug. 21, 2013; Perin Gurel Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Perin Gurel. Photo: Matt Sashore, University of Notre Dame

h/t: Barry
________

Gurel, P. 2016.  Live and active cultures: gender, ethnicity, and “Greek” yogurt in America

217 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Yogurt culture appropriation. The tastiest kind of appropriation.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      You shouldn’t be eating it anyway if it’s cultural appropriation. 🙂

      Seriously, this paper is one of the stupidest things I’ve read in my life. It’s the sort of thing I’d write as a joke post, but I can’t now.

      And she gives feminism a bad name, which always pi$$e$ me off. She’s given ammunition to those ghastly men’s rights movements.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Is it cultural appropriation if I’ve eaten yoghurt in both Greece and Turkey, as well as кефир in several parts of Russia, all sorts of soured milk products in Korea and several European countries?
        How did Larry Niven put it? “One man’s cheese is another man’s rotten milk.” People have been making use of “slightly old” milk (and older) since probably 3 days after the fist milking of the first cow/ horse/ sheep/ goat (pig? anyone heard of people using pig milk? Dog milk? Rat milk?) into a bucket.
        I’ll put the dog or rat milk on the ingredient list along with Dobbin Burgers and Bambi Bangers for the NewSaturnaliaMasBeltane pig-out.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Well since I think cultural appropriation is a mostly flawed concept, I don’t care what you eat or where you eat it, as long as you do it with your mouth shut. 🙂

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          So glad you mentioned dogs milk.

          From the inimitable Red Dwarf:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4HN1wdtpWw

          “Lasts longer than any other type of milk, dog’s milk.”
          “Why?”
          “No bugger ‘d drink it”

          cr

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            Shades of Dwarf Bread on the Disc.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        ‘Those ghastly men’s rights movements’

        But, there seems to be a never ending supply of ‘ghastly’ from the SJW, social ‘not science’ departments and other assorted ‘positions’.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I spend quite a lot of time on my blog complaining about the Authoritarian Left, but I’ve never bothered to write about “those ghastly men’s rights movements,” mainly because I rarely come across them. I mention them here, however, because they came up, so to speak.

          And they are ghastly, and just because there are other things that are equally or more ghastly, doesn’t mean men’s rights movements should get a pass.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Vegemite is ghastly and you’ve never written about it! 😉

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted December 6, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

              Vegemite is ghastly – I prefer Marmite!

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

                They both look and smell like axle grease. (Or worse).

                Probably taste the same too, I can assure you axle grease tastes pretty vile. (Can’t say for sure what Marmite / Vegemite taste like, the look and smell were enough…)

                cr

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

                Melty-Marmite – when the toast is hot and the melted marg or butter gets mixed in with the Marmite is delicious!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted December 7, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

                I was going to make a joke about them tasting like ass but your comment is just as good.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 6, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

                Maybe it’s like the durian – some people love it…

                cr

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Oh, no, no, no, it’s not cultural appropriation – quite the opposite. “Cultural appropriation” is when whiten borrow stuff from non-white cultures (a bad thing, mind you). When whites borrow stuff from other whites, it’s “celebrating white ‘ethnic’ culture”.

      • Richard
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:43 am | Permalink

        Was “whiten” a typo, or is it some new term meaning “oppressive colonial evil white people”, or some such, of which I was previously unaware? It’s really hard to tell what’s what these days.

        • Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          It was actully a typo, but I like your idea!

        • Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          *actually

          • Richard
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            Just not your day, is it? 🙂

            • Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

              So it seems… 🙂
              I was dog-tired when I wrote those comments. Hadn’t slept more than 3-4 hours a day since Saturday.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ll get right on telling my Indian friends that the yogurt they use in their cuisine is oppressive.

    • dabertini
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      NO!!!! PLEASE DON’T DO THAT!! It may end Indian cuisine as we know it and love it. My head is hurting for all the wrong reasons.

  3. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Re: #5:

    One would hope so, but what do you expect from people who don’t care about empirical evidence?

  4. Jonathan Dore
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    The utter triviality of it all is simply depressing.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      +1.

      She’s obviously intelligent. Imagine if her efforts were directed towards something useful. There are plenty of areas in her own field that need work. This ridiculousness should be sidelined as an embarrassing aberration.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely. There are plenty of legitimate areas for consciousness raising. Just one day of the Trump campaign could provide us with many lessons.
        Maybe the sort of problem that has occurred here is from a similar problem in other academic fields, in that there is pressure for a young perfessor to make their name with something ‘new’, like a new species of fruit fly, or a new enzyme. Here, we have the revealed truth about yogurt: the quick energy snack of white colonists as they punch down.

        The next step is to say something bad about chocolate.

        • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          “The next step is to say something bad about chocolate.”

          People who say bad things about chocolate are clearly mentally disturbed.

          • Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            That-there [chocolate] is cultural appropriation against the natives of Meso-America. And we commit heresy by putting sugar in it! Sinful!

            • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, imagine what would happen if it was cut with the traditional (in some places) tobacco …

          • eric
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            It grows on a tree. Therefore not meat. Therefore it’s not proper food, but rather its what proper food eats. 🙂

      • somer
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        I can’t believe anyone who could write this stuff is really intelligent.

        • rickflick
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Well, she does has the big words. 8)

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          You might have a point! 🙂

      • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        That was one of my biggest annoyances with a lot of the pomo stuff from the 1990s. The *topics* they claimed to be addressing were often very interesting and important (sexism in the social systems of science, scientific authority vs. the layperson; how did Darwin use language to help make his case, etc, etc.) but the *result* just fell off the deep end.

    • kelskye
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      That sums it up really well.

  5. Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    If Chobani comes out with a Milo Yiannopoulos “fruit on the bottom” edition, then I’ll take this problematizing a bit more seriously. Until then, I will enjoy some guiltless non-fat plain yogurt with a dash of fair trade cinnamon.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Chobani does have fruit on bottom yogurt.

      Also, the author didn’t take much time to find out about the politics of the company. They employ many middle eastern refugees, and give jobs to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find one, such as felons who have served their full sentences.

      Also, the popularity of Greek style yogurt pretty much turned the dairy industry around in upstate NY. Because of the amount of solids/protein that is required for the thicker product, much more milk is needed than to produce traditional American style yogurt. The dairy industry is now booming, providing many more jobs.

      Bravo to Chobani, both for their products, and for their politics. L

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I dunno, maybe it’s “fruit on the power bottom” in Milo’s case?

      Those Greeks, one minute they’re eating strained yogurt, the next <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_love"they're boning boys, the way Plato and Herodotus used to — wonder if Prof. Gurel got into that aspect of the it.

      • Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        I saw Milo drinking a strawberry-flavored Oikos at the RNC, and his hair was perfect.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          Musta got 86’d from Trader Vic’s.

          • Michael
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            Werewolves of Cleveland?

  6. jt512
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “Milk is not a homogeneous entity.”

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      It is in Canada. 😀

      • Gamall
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        What in the world is “homo” short for here?

        • Claudia Baker
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          ‘homogenized’

        • Derek Freyberg
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Homogenized (or “homogenised” if you favour the British English spelling).
          Pretty much all milk that I’ve seen sold in the US seems to be homogenized, and I don’t think the homogenization is even commented on; but I remember as a child/young man in New Zealand that most milk was sold unhomogenized, with the cream as a layer on top of the milk. You’d shake the bottle to mix it before pouring, unless you wanted cream and could get away with not shaking (“get away with” because you left the low-fat part for the next user).

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            I remember the cream on top of the milk. At different times of year, depending on where the cows were in their natural cycle, the cream was thicker than others too.

            On the farm, after milking the house cow, the milk would be left to settle for a bit. Then grandma used a special hand scoop (designed for the job), which was only slightly curved and had tiny holes in, to scoop the cream into a separate bowl. At some times of the year the cream was so thick you could stand a spoon up in it.

            Grandma also made butter from the cream.

            • Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

              and there were the “fun” times when the cows had mastitis and there was blood and pus in the milk/cream which seperated. The milk often tasted of wild carrot (Queen Anne’s lace) when that was all they ate.

              give me homogenized milk and the ultrapasteurized heavy cream. Living on a dairy farm often wasn’t the fairy tale told by people who haven’t lived the life.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            I worked in a land job with an American programmer one time, who came back from getting lunch (sandwich and a carton of milk) one day, then complained that despite being “in date” the milk was “off”. PAssing round the carton, nothing sniffy ; nothing off in the taste. Then I realised – yes, the cream had separated a bit.
            We deduced that the concept of unhomogenised milk didn’t exist in the Houston part of America, to the point that the homogenisation of the milk was never mentioned.
            That was much my reaction when I first poured кефир onto my muesli instead of молоко (it being horrible o’clock in the morning). Once I knew what it was – I started making my own кефир because I quite like it.

            • barn owl
              Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

              I grew up in the Houston part of America, and I’d never seen unhomogenized milk* until I went to the UK for my postdoc. My flatmates had it delivered to our doorstep, and I soon learned to vie for the cream part to put in my tea or coffee.

              *My dad grew up on a farm where they had dairy cattle, and my mom’s grandfather also had dairy cattle, so of course they were familiar with fresh milk and cream. I’m a city girl though.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

                From other comments here, probably that’s the case for most Americans. It’s probably becoming the case for most Britons too. Since the demise of the glass milk bottle on the doorstep, it’s been opaque cartons agitating their way home in the shopping bag – which re-homogenises them sufficiently.

              • Jonathan Wallace
                Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:05 am | Permalink

                The milk that is delivered in glass bottles to the doorstep in the UK (a declining practice but still persisting – its how I get my milk) is mostly homogenised these days. In the 1970s there was a widespread phenomenon of blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) pecking through the foil bottle tops before the householder took the milk indoors and stealing the cream from the top of the milk. This behaviour has completely died out because there is no cream on the top these days (exacerbated by the popularity of partially skimmed and fully skimmed milk).

          • stuartcoyle
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:02 am | Permalink

            I remember cream on top of the milk too. Often our cat would pierce the bottle top with a claw, remove it and nom on the cream.

          • kieran
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:43 am | Permalink

            Homogenised as in the correct way to spell it, not only do you take their language then you change the way to spell words! That has to be cultural thingymawhatsit

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Homogenized.

      • jt512
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        I was just getting over my shock at the heteronormative microagression “fruit on the bottom” and you post that image. I’m going to need counseling.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          In NZ the fruit is either mixed through or on the top.

        • eric
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          My kid is fond of Muller choco ball yogurt. This Germanic yogurt company keeps the chocolate bits and the white yogurt in separate compartments, and you mix them the way you want (or not at all, if you prefer).

          Oh, the postmodernist analytic possibilities. I wonder what our American Studies professor would think about this.

      • Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Is that a bag of milk? Do Canadians get their milk in plastic bags?

        • Claudia Baker
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Yup, we do.

          • Anna
            Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Not in BC yet! We get our homo milk in either plastic or cartons.

            • nwalsh
              Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

              “Not in BC yet” they tried pawning that bladder bad stuff on us20 years ago. The howling brought them back to sanity.

          • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

            Depends on where. Ottawa, where I am now, one can get both cartons and bags. Ditto Montreal, where I grew up. I do not remember seeing any bags in Vancouver, though, when I lived there. I always buy cartons and it *was* ~15 years ago, so maybe I’m misremembering …

        • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, that threw me for a loop when I visited my friend in Montreal when I was in college.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Yes, many Canadians buy their milk in plastic bags. I like posting pictures of bagged homo milk to weird out Americans. I think bagged milk is common in some parts of Eastern Europe and I’ve seen it in New Zealand.

          • eric
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            IIRC most of your milk is not pasteurized either, its irradiated instead. That process allows it to have a much longer shelf life (than US milk). Both the very long shelf life and reference to irradiation can also weird out Americans. 🙂

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

              No our milk is pasturized. There was a big stink from people who wanted unpasteurized milk and I don’t think you can sell unpasteurized products.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Very popular in many industrial kitchens. Efficient.

      • tubby
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that what Pastor Manning says is the secret ingredient in Starbucks lattes?

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I thought that phrase was hilarious.

  7. Tom Czarny
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Though her earrings are likely puzzle pieces, they strongly resemble inuksuit, the human-made stone landmarks used by the Inuit and other Arctic peoples. Ms. Gulin has entered the shadowy realm of cultural appropriation. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/9e/94/78/9e9478ee6ae4e53c539b6108fa089edb.jpg

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. I think they’re that well-known oriental good luck symbol the Hakencrueze or swastika.

  8. Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I always wonder why they label their various subdisciplines and specialities as “postcolonial.” It seems to be a critical feature of all of their work to communicate that colonialism is alive and well in every facet of human life. Wouldn’t “neocolonial” be a better descriptor? Or is this further proof that these authors just use words that sound cool without considering their meaning?

    Also, “…two overwhelming binary oppositions, between human and animal and male and female…” – this is a massive pet-peeve of mine. Humans are animals! Perhaps the author forgot to check her species privilege.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      They have to be post-colonial rather than neo-colonial in order to disassociate themselves from the evils of colonialism. It’s more virtue signalling, telling people they reject the evil deeds of their ancestors.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        …rejecting the evil deeds of their ancestors all the while enjoying the advantages of privilege, money and position that those evil deeds secured.

      • eric
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Except that Ms. Gurel is Turkish. Granted, the Ottomans had their colonialist period too, but the Turks generally aren’t considered amongst the evil western colonial powers. IOW, she seems to be virtue-signaling that she disavows the historic actions of colonialists she has no heritable/biological connection to.

  9. Damon Minvielle
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The assistant professor’s name is Perin Gurel ? Maybe her name should be Ripen, Gruel.
    And she looks way too hot to be a postmodern analyst of yogurt.

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Umm. . . .the topic is the woman’s ideas, not her looks.

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I was just thinking that this might be the only site on the internet where someone can post a photo of a woman without some sexually incontinent freak spurting out a comment about her appearance.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry, I considered making such a gruel comment too. But I found better ones. Maybe.

  10. Kevin
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I will raise her one brown cow, chocolate. Now that’s definitely racist. 😭

  11. Mark R.
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    What a meaningful analysis. That’s it, I’ll never eat raita again!

    “Shoot me now” LOL!!!

  12. Avis James
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank-you Jerry. This is wonderful!

  13. Christopher
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    So what does my daily consumption of kefir as a “white” working class/very lower middle class male mean? Have I been unconsciously -ized or -izing others? Should I become a vegan, or would I just be switching to genderized carrots and plums, thus emphasizing my masculine authority via a meta-metaphor for my meat and two veg? I also drink almond milk. Does that make me a racist?
    I’m clearly guilty of something, I’m just not sure what.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Careful mate! You’re signalling your desire to be part of the cultural milieu that I belive inhabits the trendier parts of New York.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      I’m clearly guilty of something, I’m just not sure what.

      That’s the point.
      Just contemplating trying the Polish shop on the High Street to see if they’ve got some live кефир.

    • somer
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Im growing zucchinis and tomatoes at the moment. As a woman, does that mean I have gender disphoria?

  14. nicky
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    As a child I was told that yoghurt was Bulgarian. And that Bulgarians were the descendents of the Huns (as in Atilla the Hun).
    Was I told stories? Or is there some truth underneath.
    Gurel (doesn’t that sound Turkish?) should publish in the Onion.

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I suppose that yoghurt and similar products were independently invented by many cultures as animal breeders sought ways to preserve milk and to make it more digestible by depleting its lactose.

      Bulgars bred sheep and horses and produced varieties of yoghurt. At one time, they were included in the Hun Empire. Later, their most successful tribe invaded the Balkan Peninsula and founded the state of Bulgaria together with Slavic invaders. As Slavic language prevailed, yoghurt was called kiselo mlyako (“sour milk”).

      A Lactobacillus subspecies widely used to make yoghurt was described in Bulgaria and named “bulgaricus”:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactobacillus_delbrueckii_subsp._bulgaricus

      (Note that “Lactobacillus” is a misnomer. These bacteria are not real bacilli because they are not spore-forming.)

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the original definition of “bacillus” (and “coccus”) on the basis of cell shape, back i n the “bad old days” of Pasteur, Koch and Petri (of the eponymous dish). So spore habits are not part of the definition (though they might be for some modern groups.
        Yeah, Wiki agrees with me on the meaning, but says nothing on the dates.

        A bacillus (plural bacilli) is a rod-shaped bacterium. Bacilli are found in many different taxonomic groups of bacteria.

        Coccus is an English loanword of a modern or neo-Latin noun, which in turn stems from the Greek masculine noun kokkos (κόκκος) meaning “berry”.

        • somer
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          They also always form endospores – though wikipedia entry for endospores says they are not true spores because they don’t reproduce

          quote below from Medical Microbiology on ncbi site

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7699/
          “Bacillus species are rod-shaped, endospore-forming aerobic or facultatively anaerobic, Gram-positive bacteria; in some species cultures may turn Gram-negative with age. The many species of the genus exhibit a wide range of physiologic abilities that allow them to live in every natural environment. Only one endospore is formed per cell. The spores are resistant to heat, cold, radiation, desiccation, and disinfectants. Bacillus anthracis needs oxygen to sporulate; this constraint has important consequences for epidemiology and control.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            That sounds as if “Bacillus” is being used as a genus name (note the capitalisation) rather than as a morphological term. And with a range of properties like that, whether “Bacillus” is a monophyletic genus (if you use the term generically) is a good question.

            • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

              With prokaryotes and their damn horizontal gene transfer, you never know whether a group is monophyletic.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

                We’re trying to catch up with our jellyfish-glowing mice and things. Long way to go.

        • Posted December 5, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          True. As the same source says, “Some microbiologists have forsaken the general “bacillus” term because of the confusion it can create.”

    • Gareth
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been assured by some Greens and Ex-Yugos that the best yoghurt is Bulgarian.
      I think its because Bulgarian cuisine uses yoghurt in a larger variety ways.

      I always found it strange when moving ‘home’ to the UK as a young adult, after growing in mainland Europe. Having been used to buying yoghurt in 1 litre cartons or even 2.5 litre buckets, to only find tiny little ‘healthy’ (often with added sugar) tubs of yoghurt sold at ridiculous prices. So I took to making my own, just like my nan did.

      • Gareth
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Greeks not Greens, bah.

      • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        We often make yoghurt for young children, for whom commercial yoghurt is too sour. But unless it is eaten quickly, it can become sourer than the commercial varieties.

        (Alternatively, for milder taste, you can of course just mix yoghurt with milk.)

        • PierreDC
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          Sour yogurt! Mmmm my choice!

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Yogurt was known to the ancient greeks and to Pliny (the elder IIRC) and was known throughout the Caucasus regions, India as well as Turkey and the middle east. Also it was originally marketed in USA, UK etc to both genders as a health food, not a slimming aid for women, because bulgarian peasants who ate a lot of it lived to ripe old ages (supposedly).

      As a matter of curiosity what does a degree in gender studies qualify one for? Starbucks? McDonalds? Surely those are classic parts of the oppressive capitalist hierarchy that no true GS graduate would wish to join?

      • Richard
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        I think it qualifies one for an academic post teaching… wait for it!… gender studies.

        No need to let a little thing like reality intrude in any part of the endless closed cycle.

  15. Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Just think how mental she’ll go when she discovers we eat eggs.

  16. Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Yeast cultural appropriation? Back to the garlic and Tea Tree Oil, then?

  17. Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of medieval scholastic theology when they had highly educated academics writing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      As a representative of PLF (the Pin Liberation Front) … oh, you can fill in the rest.

  18. Kiwi Dave
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been eating yoghurt for breakfast for 30+ years under the naive impression that it

    1) was white because it was made of milk;
    2) tasted nice – sweet with fruit;
    3) was a convenient speed food;
    4) had modest amounts of calcium, vitamin D and protein;

    when I had actually been fooled into eating it by TV ads linking with with positive emotions (who knew?) and my white racism. This is just a little puzzling though: I don’t like chocolate dairy foods (obviously racism!) but do like dark rye bread – surely symbolic racist rape.

    What will follow astounding revelations such as this? Perhaps I will learn that even without a record of literary publication, I speak prose, Europe’s bureaucratic written tool of colonial domination.

  19. Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I thought it difficult getting past the abstract but persevered for the sake of inquiry.

    May I make a suggestion for those yet to embark upon tackling the whole paper?

    I found it easier to read – and more fun – by opening it in a text editor and replacing the word ‘yoghurt’ with a culturally appropriated food product of my choice prior to reading.

    I chose ‘egg fried rice’

    Anvil.

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      that’s a wonderful idea. we can make a list of foods

      pierogis
      tacos
      sausages (ooh, maybe not that one)
      boiled sweets
      tortellini

      • Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        That’s a fantastic idea.
        I think I’m gonna go with pork butt. Because it’s delicious when cooked slowly in a smoker, plus it’s got the word “butt” in it, which makes it a little bit funnier.

        • darrelle
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          I just smoked one yesterday, breaking in a new smoker. About 10 hours over hickory. It came out very nice. Does smoking butts make me a bad person?

          • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            It would make you a very poor person (or an inmate) in the UK. Divided by a common language…

            Anvil.

            • darrelle
              Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

              I’ll definitely have to watch myself in the UK. Smoking a fag is fine but butts are just not on.

          • Posted December 6, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            not in my book

  20. zl84841g
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Did you hear the one about the postmodern gangster? He makes you an offer you can’t understand.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      😀

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      :D:D

  21. bric
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I was introduced to thick Greek Yoghurt by my Greek landlord in the 70s, was he secretly Turkish all along? He also introduced me to Cavafy; I’m eternally grateful for both.

  22. kelskye
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t postmodernism over yet?”
    It’s Academics writing for other academics – I expect people going out of their way to sound impressive, and in the case of this strain of humanities, that means absurd claims dressed up in obscurantist language.

    I’ve never understood why people don’t just write clearly. If you’ve got the language skills to write arcane jargon-laden prose, you have the skills to communicate without it.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 4:04 am | Permalink

      I read this thinking it was a spoof, it’s so full of deepity it must have be written by Chopra.

    • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Maybe not. Bunge says somewhere that one of the effects of pomo education is that students unlearn to write.

  23. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    If you look for oppression hard enough you will always find it (whether it exists or not). Keep on looking for years and years and you end up oppressing yourself.

    Yoghurt philosophy:
    “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the yoghurt the yoghurt gazes also into you.”

    ― Fage Nietzsche

  24. Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “5. Isn’t postmodernism over yet?
    6. Shoot me now”.

    I’m reading this in a coffee house and that last bit made me laugh so loud that people are staring.

  25. Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    sigh. isn’t it time yet to announce a disaster coming to the earth, so we can put these useless people on space ships and get rid of them?

    • Bob Murray
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      We keep the telephone sanitisers this time. Lesson learnt.

      • Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        hah! 🙂

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        🙂

        cr

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        I use a spray of isopropyl alcohol in preference to a humanoid telephone sanitiser.

        • kieran
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink

          I just give a wipe with my towel

        • darrelle
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          Why waste an opportunity. Use whiskey instead.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Having had to sanitise the lab’s ExD phone after one of my colleagues had an infected cut to the ear lobe … I wouldn’t waste drinking alcohol like that.
            I wonder … No, Gods Above, Below and Sideways, and by the Four Balls of Jesus Mary and Joseph NO!. It exists!
            https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=homeopathic+disinfectant+spray

            • Richard
              Posted December 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

              Surely the less of it you spray on the more effective it is?

              Available in three sizes:

              100cl: for minor cleanliness issues
              50cl: for major health hazards
              1cl: for life-threatening situations

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

                Ah. Solution (sorry) to the Fermi Paradox.
                They (for many “they”) discovered homeopathy, discovered homeopathic telephone sanitising fluid, then some schmuck tried to clean out the empty bottle and wiped out life in their planetary system.
                If they threw it into a supergiant star – Eta Carinae or the “Pistol Star”, for example – they could potentially sterilize the galaxy. Cluster.

  26. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    In this week’s news, since the Pisa 2016 survey is released this Wednesday, the Swedish steep dive in school results is blamed on the postmodernism that ravaged the policy of education in the early 90’s.

    So … no, likely postmodernism hasn’t stopped hurting mankind yet.

    • somer
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Its here too, disdain for science and general preference for things apparently more profitable than STEM. Coinciding within the denouement of PoMo at the turn of the century

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38178763
      we came just below Khazakstan in a STEM ability test of 600,000 school students from countries around the world. Nice.

      “In 2001, Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, dropped the requirement for students to study maths or science to graduate from senior high school. Three others among the eight states and territories mirrored that step, while the rest require very minimal study of the two subjects compared with other countries.”

      “England introduced teacher standards tests in 1998 that all teachers had to pass in their first year,” she said. “Australia has only started doing that now, and it’s still set the bar pretty low.”
      “When she [an Australian student] did a [Australian] nationwide maths exam, her results were great,” Mrs Lam told the BBC. “When she did an international test, she crashed. Her school had covered only one of the five areas tested. The students who did well all had after-hours coaching.”

  27. tubby
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I bet Gurel missed those awesome Athens Greek yogurt commercials featuring an angry yiayia criticizing the female, and (I think always) white consumer of yogurt. The compliant is usually that yiayia sees the woman as immodest and sexually active, and the woman is confused as to what yiayia’s problem is. It’s played as a joke that even though yiayia disapproves of everything modern she approves of Athens Greek yogurt. Clearly, this is an oppressive, anti-sex message that is deeply damaging to women in addition to perpetrating negative cultural and ageist stereotypes on top of the unforgivable whiteness and cultural appropriation.

    (But I still giggle at the image of yiayia yelling, “You look like prostitute!” at a normally dressed woman.)

  28. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    “Signifier”? “Gendered”? “Normative”? Serious po-mo territory here, folks. Stand clear!

    I don’t suppose that the anti-intellectuals in Trump’s court might try to nail this sort of stuff rather than real scholarship? (Only a joke, sorry).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      You beat me to it. Time for Buzzword Bingo. Leaving aside all the -izes, here for starters are:
      intersection
      binary
      interventions
      problematic
      normatively
      signifier

      cr

      P.S. I hate yogurt, but I support anyone’s first-amendment rights to like it.

    • Posted December 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      ‘Signifier’ is always a give-away. It’s from Saussure – meaning she is entirely ignorant of any linguistics from the Fifties onwards.

      She probably thinks psychoanalysis is cutting-edge psychology and that Marx has capitalism nailed.

  29. jeffery
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Like I’ve said before, the “postmodern” movement and its adherents has its head so far up its own ass that it’s come out the mouth and is circling around, headed for the ass again!

  30. Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    How about eating yogurt while doing yoga?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Careful! you might ‘urt yourself!

      Sorry.

      • merilee
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        and do it all in a yurt?

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Yo-yo for short.

      In Britain there is a restaurant chain called Yo-Sushi. It should be possible to make a nutritious diet using foodstuffs that start with yo-.

  31. Historian
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    For the fall term 2016 at Notre Dame, Prof. Purel is teaching a course called “Islam and America.” Here is the course description:

    _________________

    ISLAM AND AMERICA
    Perin Gurel
    AMST 30151, M/W 2:00-3:15pm

    According to President Obama, “The United States is not now nor has ever been at war with Islam,” instead, “we are at war with people who have perverted Islam.” The United States, however, has expanded its military power over multiple Muslim-majority countries and regions under the president’s watch. It held Congressional hearings on “Muslim radicalism” within the country. The United States is also posited as a land where Islam can be safely practiced by many Muslim leaders, and the country hosts the most ethnically diverse Muslim community in the world. Obviously, the formulation U.S. vs Islam is too simplistic. What, then, are the connections, confluences, and frictions between the United States and Islam and how have they changed through the centuries?

    A more productive way of working out these multivalent aspects of Islam and the United States would be to look at

    – Islam in the United States (that is, the practice and practitioners of a religion within a nation-state)

    – Islam and the United States (two ideological constructs, or imagined communities, variously conceived to be compatible or incompatible)

    – Islam of the United States (Islamic theology in so far as it has been influenced by the American experience and U.S. policies).

    On the most basic level, then, this is a survey course introducing students to Islam and the history of Muslims in the United States as well as the history U.S. interactions with the so-called “Muslim World.” While placing a focus on Islam in/and/of America, the course will also take a critical attitude towards viewing sociopolitical and economic developments between the United States and the Middle East through (only) religious lenses. Assignments include a midterm, a final, and mini reflection papers.

    _______________

    Is it too late to sign up?

    • Historian
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Correction: I meant Prof. Gurel.

      • Posted December 4, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        If she were Purel, she could sanitize as well as problematize, contextualize and historicize.

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

          lol!

  32. rickflick
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Her philosophy sucks, but she really has the BIG WORDS!

    feminization
    exoticization
    canonical
    Orientalism,
    cultural neutering
    foregrounding
    ethnicity
    “gender flipping”
    deconstructs
    normatively gendered
    Orientalist
    binary opposition
    “image-based culture”
    signifier
    food-based nurturing
    American constructions
    normative whiteness
    backlash against
    “special whiteness”
    “eating the Other,”
    asymmetric access
    culinary adventurism

    It pays to increase your canonical word power.

    • barn owl
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Cultural neutering sounds like a bad idea if you’re trying to make yogurt.

      Humans all over the world have been producing and consuming fermented foods and drinks for centuries. It seems nasty and resentful of people like Gurel, to strive to limit access to different foods by labeling their consumption with postmodern virtue-signaling buzzwords and attempting to shame those who enjoy culinary experimentation.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      backlash against
      “special whiteness”
      “eating the Other,”
      asymmetric access
      culinary adventurism

      Is that from the article or someone’s PornHub search history?

    • darrelle
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      I don’t know if it’s appropriation exactly, but she has certainly done something tragically horrible to the English language.

  33. Alpha Neil
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    This shouldn’t come as

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Aw crap…I’ll try again

      Thi shouldn’t come as a surprise since yogert is an acronym for yummy oppressive gender exploiting repressive treat.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        [SELF adds “backronym” to my PornHub search preferences.]

        • Alpha Neil
          Posted December 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Acronymphomaniac?

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            Been used for decades by the contributors to APF on AFP for people who contribute more than they do on acronymic comments. I’m not sure if it’s a neologism from there though. [Checks OED] No, not in OED yet. I note that http://www.lspace.org/faqs/acronym-faq.g.html still hasn’t been edited since 2006.

      • somer
        Posted December 4, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        Anything beginning with “yog” is culturally appropriating ….yoghurt, yoga, yogis etc

  34. majo
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I realise I’m in a very small minority here (probably of one), but I’d like to stand up for Gurel just a little. I’ve only read this post and the abstract (I can’t access the whole from home without registering), but I don’t feel this kind of study to be a priori worthless or ridiculous. I’m in literature and cultural studies, yes, so I’m aware that my own interests might seem just as absurd to the rest of you – but when I see this kind of ridicule, it reminds me of Sarah Palin and the fruit-fly research funding comments. I don’t like to see academics evaluated in terms of “usefulness” like this – it reminds me too much of high school when my peers would tell me that studying literature was no “use.” I’m not doing this to be useful – I’m doing it because it is what fascinates me.

    I can see lots to criticize in this article – both in the argument, which indeed seems to have some major flaws, and in the style of writing – but I don’t see it as flawed in its very conception. I think that in cultural studies we study the way that cultures produce meaning, and however insignificant a packet of yoghurt might seem, it is a product in the contemporary world with meaning attached to it (consciously and unconsciously, in the mind of both marketers the customers).

    Actually, it’s a subject close to my heart – I’ve spent a good amount of time since coming to the States standing in supermarkets and wondering about the American relationship with yoghurt, especially since so-called Greek yoghurt took off here. Both the product itself (strangely flavorless) and the marketing/packaging (the symbolism, for instance, of those instantly recognizable “Greek” frieze patterns on the lid, and the particular font the marketers choose) – all of this has a cultural… dare I say… context. I think it bears some exploration.

    Granted, I wouldn’t have gone in Gurel’s direction – but I defend her right to do so. I think it’s possible to criticize the argument without shooting her down completely.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think anyone is disputing Gurel’s RIGHT to write nonsense. We all have a right to say stupid things. We don’t have a right to be insulated from people pointing out stupidity.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Of course. Sure seems like we end up having to point out this distinction frequently, here.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Both the product itself (strangely flavorless) and the marketing/packaging (the symbolism, for instance, of those instantly recognizable “Greek” frieze patterns on the lid, and the particular font the marketers choose) – all of this has a cultural… dare I say… context. I think it bears some exploration.

      The fact that this starts with the choices by advertising people divorces it completely from the actions of real people. Skilled practical psychologists (advertisers) are trying to use their assumptions about what susceptible will fall for in order to increase sales.
      To be honest, it’s the zeroth Golgafrinchian Ark for the whole advertising profession. That’s the one that Dentarthurdent wasn’t told about which leaked like a sieve in vacuum and carried a repair kit consisting of two sticks of chewing gum and an Ikea “Ark Instruction Sheet”.
      Why people tolerate this contemptible assault on people’s minds is hard to comprehend. I guess someone, somewhere makes a profit on it.

  35. angelaevans773
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, I think it is time to shut-down every gender studies program in North America!

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I would disagree if post modernist nonsense and its substantiations into academic programs would be inconsequential (minus the fact that post modernist “scholars” get fat salaries). However this madness has bad consequences in real life, since some of the indoctrinated students end up advising or writing policies and legislation, and many end up working in human resources department where they can push absurd Orwellian training (i.e. against unconscious bias). It is not just about young SJWs trying to find a wrong way to change the world, here we are talking about dangerous nonsense with no ground to reality that becomes public policy.

      I think that gender studies and similar do not belong to universities for the same reasons why theology doesn’t. Graduating in gender studies without a course in biology is paradoxical.

  36. Merilee
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    “Shoot me now” +1

  37. Hrafn
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    “Feminized protein”, as opposed to ‘masculinized protein’, i.e. Beef, which is the result of the males being castrated and then killed on maturity. I think there’s a strong argument to be made that the protein industry is more misandrist than misogynist.

  38. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Although yogurt is a Turkish word, the earliest literary references to it are in the writings of Pliny the Elder, while the earliest Turkish references to it are from the 11th century.

    Greek yogurt has been strained to filter or remove the whey, which is the way it is most commonly prepared in Greece, though this is not unique to Greece. In England, you may not use the word unless the stuff really is from Greece. Otherwise, you must say “Greek-style”.

    I never thought that food was meant to fight racism.

  39. keith cook +/-
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Yoghurt is a culture in it’s own right and accordingly, subject to all the freedoms other cultures are entitled too.
    I think this little yoghurty postmodernism has soured relationships somewhat, what happened to taste? is that to be ignored? it’s not all about white!

    “New Zealand pleaded not guilty to 63 counts of misrepresenting frozen yoghurt as yoghurt” very culturally insensitive.
    It’s just not safe to be white and eatable anymore.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Very good. 😀

  40. Mary Drake
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    This article reminds me of some of the junk I had to read in college in the 60s. I was very naïve and couldn’t believe that my professors would ask me to read garbage, so I blamed myself for not understanding. Much older and a little wiser now.

  41. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    My anecdotal recollection is that American yogurt-eating started with the hippies and radiated out from there. By the time I first ate any in college in the early 70s, it was making its way from the health-food stores and head-shop reach-ins to the waxed containers lined up in the dairy sections of grocery stores and convenience marts.

    • Gareth
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure it was promoted a bit earlier in the US, a certain Mr Kellog had interesting ideas for healthy ways to erm, use yoghurt.

      Basically yoghurt wasn’t mass produced until the turn of the 20th century, and a certain Greek man from Salonica (then Ottoman Empire) started a company that mass produced and distributed it, which I suspect, perhaps reinforces the ‘greek/greek style’ = better connection.
      I suspect its had its image reinvented numerous times in different ways in different countries ever since.

  42. Hempenstein
    Posted December 4, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    In all cases, the empty signifier of coagulated milk sold under a brand name is enriched with signification borrowed from preexisting values.

    So – the signifier……is enriched with signification… .

    Jesus Haploid Christ!

    Or, as one of my old colleagues (a molecular biologist and now another emeritus) once said of such people, “I’ll never understand how they think.”

    • Jbaldwin
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Here’s a straight translation of this sentence: coagulated milk alone has no special meaning; it is what it is. However, once labeled with a brand name, it becomes meaningful, communicating the values and beliefs associated with the brand.

      Why she doesn’t just say that is a harder question.

  43. Dimitris Klaras
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    There is a brand called “Greek Yogurt”, like feta cheese. Is not Turkish “really”. Recently was a ruling against Chobani using “Greek” in UK: Googling:

    http://www.law360.com/articles/562611/chobani-can-t-say-greek-on-us-made-yogurt-uk-high-court

    • Gareth
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, in the UK Greek yoghurt has to come from Greece, though you do see some local made ‘Greek style’ offerings.
      There has been as similar ruling for Belgian Beer afaik.
      For whatever reasons, yoghurt from Greece is seen as better quality and more ‘posh’, where as ultra cheap yoghurt of this kind doesn’t even bare the word ‘Greek’, just sold as set-yoghurt or strained-yoghurt.
      So the UK association is one of Greece = superior quality and Greek brands as worth being ripped off for.

  44. Pierre DC
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this thread but saw nothing about gender, genetics, epigenetic or hormonal levels in explaining yogurt consumption. These factors might play a significant role as do culture and education. This could explain that some forms of yogurt are naturally preferred by young women, others by older women, others by men. Companies are just surfing on these biological differences to target specific groups with their advertising and packaging.
    A famous similar case is Coca Light aimed at women and Coca Zero aimed at men. These drinks differs in their receipt of artificial sweeteners and their effect on the taste buds. They are thus differently appreciated by women and men. I suspect that Coca Cola made a confidential testing of the gender effect before specifically marketing these two cokes.

  45. Lauren
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    The foodstuff referred to as “yogurt” sold in supermarkets is very different from home-made, traditional yogurt. I milked my own dairy goats for six years for the purpose of making yogurt and cheese. I wanted the protein and calcium from these products.

    Most of the yogurt in the stores today is quite high in sugar and would cause weight gain, IMO.

    Now that I’m back in the city, I can’t abide store-bought yogurt, even the very plain yogurt, but this is mainly due to the plastic waste from store-bought yogurt.

    Now I have Natto (home-made) every morning on my steel-cut oats. As long as I’m appropriating someone else’s culture and not creating too much plastic waste, I’m happy.

  46. Posted December 5, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Whatever can a “canonical feminist analyses of Orientalism” be? She’ll start talking about hermeneutics next, another sure sign of post-mod jibberish.

    In case anybody does not yet know the Post-modernist generator, go check it out. Have to look at it at least twice (reload).

  47. Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    In Australia this paper would be described as “Intellectual Wanking”

  48. Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I maybe should not have done it, but I was so incensed about this that I actually sent her an email. I told her that she should stop wasting her obviously impressive intellect on a subject so irrelevant. She actually responded that I should have thought twice before writing to her because of the “emotional harm” I can cause! Quoting PCCe, “Shoot me now.”

    • Merilee
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      For realz??

      • Posted December 5, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Totally true!

        • merilee
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          argh

          • Sixtus
            Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            So she can dish (or spoon) it out, but she can’t take it.

            • Merilee
              Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

              Lol

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Ha ha! Oh how she is unsuited to live in our world.

      • Richard
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        I know that this is really, really bad of me, but I just can’t help thinking of that scene in the Eastwood film ‘The Eiger Sanction’ where Ben Bowman (George Kennedy) is watching the climbers through a telescope, and a woman comes up to him:

        Woman Journalist: Tell me, Mr. Bowman, in your opinion do these men climb to prove their manhood, or is it more a matter of compensating for inferiority feelings?

        Bowman: Lady, why don’t you go get yourself screwed? It would do you a lot of good.

        What a wonderfully earthy response to pretentious nonsense!

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, no, I think that’s crossing the line.

  49. TJR
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    As usual, Mitchell and Webb did it rather better in their yogurt adverts:

    “Hey honey, you look great since you started eating more yogurt, now I’ll stop sleeping with my secretary!”

    “Yogurt: because milk gets better with age even if you don’t”

  50. Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I think the whole “Greek Yogurt” thing is another miracle of modern marketing. It’s just drained yogurt! I do prefer the texture; but it’s nothing new at all.

    I guess “Greek” sounds better than “drained”.

  51. eric
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Turkish and American ads for mass-produced yogurt both exemplify what Sut Jhally (1995) has called the “image-based culture” of modern capitalism, which causally links positive emotions to the consumption of commodities.

    Of course companies selling a product will causally link positive emotions to the consumption of their product. What else do these folks expect them to do?

    “Oh no, advertisers are advertising! We must do something about it!”

    • Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      This is an example of what I mentioned earlier – studying attitudes changed by advertising is very important, to both the capitalist and the anticapitalist. But doing it from the – well, armchairs are for traditional philosophers, I don’t know what cultural studies folks use – uh, no.

  52. anon
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    She deleted her twitter account. Hilarious.

    • J.Baldwin
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what’s so “hilarious” about it. People on Twitter hurled insults, called her names (stupid, fool), questioned her motives (she’s Turkish criticizing Greeks ergo genocide), and so on. That’s just the public stuff. I can’t imagine all the DMs she got from the knuckle-draggers. It’s a shame, really. Her ideas are fair game for critical examination. Personal attacks are a big problem…and so is cheerleading those attacks.

    • nicky
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Agree with Baldwin that being forced to close your Twitter account because of mobbing is not hilarious at all.
      However, for reasons pointed out by Torbjörn and Somer at 26, PoMo nonsense is not some innocent folly, it actually harms our society and the lives of our children.
      So not hilarious, but a deserved punishment? Hopefully it will get her to question her whole ‘genderstudies’ indoctrination she must have gone through in order to produce such piffle. People are known to have come out of it.

  53. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Yes, wherever bag milk is offered, you usually can find cartons and plastic jugs as well.

    For those who are curious, this is how your pour milk out of bags.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      oops that was supposed to be to reply to Keith Douglas about milk bag availability in Canada.

      • dabertini
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        You forgot to mention the little contraption to cut the bag open so you can, you know, pour out the milk.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          I’m a barbarian I guess – I just use scissors.

          • Merilee
            Posted December 6, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            Me, too, with the scissors. I remember enlightening a more recently arrived Yank that she didn’t need to cut a 2″ long slit in the corner and have the milk come gushing out😖

    • Merilee
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      I found the bagged milk “weely wisible when I first moved to Canuckland but have to admit I did find them handy when I had two growing kids. I even kept some extra bags of milk in the freezer. Now with the kids grown and moved out, we just buy a liter at a time in cartons. The bags come in bigger bags of 3 1-liter bags.

  54. Posted December 5, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    For a while I was on a raspberry yoghurt with maple syrup binge. (Instead of “French” vanilla ice cream, which is also good with MS.) Who do I tick off with that? 😉

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 5, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Republicans.

      Better go with Freedom Vanilla.

      • Merilee
        Posted December 5, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Freedom Vanilla
        +1

      • Posted December 6, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Oddly, “French Vanilla” is not a unequivocal phrase: here it means the white vanilla as opposed to the yellow. In other places, the reverse is true: I seem to remember that being the case in Pittsburgh.

        As for ticking off republicans, I don’t regard political affiliation as a class I should avoid offending, especially the two mainstream US parties. 😉

        • Diane G.
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:07 am | Permalink

          Thanks, I’ve always wondered what was “French” about French Vanilla. Now I still don’t know.

          😀

  55. eric
    Posted December 5, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Ah, but wait! She has a book coming out in 2017. From her work web page:

    The Limits of Westernization: A Cultural History of America in Turkey (forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2017), explores how gendered stock figures and tropes associated with the concept of “westernization” in Turkey have intersected with U.S.-Turkish relations in the twentieth century.

  56. Posted December 6, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Professors really should concentrate on important stuff.

    Like the field they actually work in, as opposed to fields they don’t actually know anything about.

    (Talkin’ to you, Jerr.)

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Which is the specific expertise needed to talk about postmodernist nonsense? Perhaps the capability of keeping a straight (forgive the heteronormative term) face while reciting bs?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Oh nicely put. I couldn’t have put it better myself. (I tried. Gave up)

        cr

    • rickflick
      Posted December 6, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Don’t you think all fields can benefit from thoughtful outside criticism? Thinking outside the bubble? Another perspective?

    • Posted December 7, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Michael, but that’s a Roolz Violation. Have fun on other sites (Talking to you, Mikey).


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