People are simple. Face it, they are. They seek homogenization. They shy away from complexity.
Diversity means complexity. Time tends to create diversity along multiple fronts which makes life more complex and requires decision making between increasingly more subtile shades of color. They idealize a flawed past and look for a clear black and white that doesn’t exist, though they want to believe it does, or did. They rationalize. They are easily conned, accordingly.
A good friend and I were sharing our weekly coffee the other day and began, as we often do, discussing history as both of us are amateurs of such. Said discussions are almost always concerned with European history because it’s most prominent in media and experience. But I made the point that Chinese history is just as flamboyant and textured, we’re just not as aware of it, to which he agreed heartily, illustrating the great cultural diversity which exists there by pointing out, “That’s why there are eight schools of Chinese cuisine”.
Absolutely true, folks! Here they are:
But, of course, there’s also American Chinese cuisine, which differs significantly from what is offered in China and has been adapted to American tastes. I offer as evidence that Springfield, Missouri concoction known as ‘Cashew Chicken’, or the more universally recognized ‘chop suey’, neither of which are Chinese at all.
Regional adaptation is not necessarily a bad thing; after all, one of my favorite ‘Chinese’ dishes is crab rangoon, which is also on Wikipedia’s list of Chinese dishes that are not actually Chinese. Unfortunately, if one looks back at America’s past they find that by and large authentic Chinese cuisine was segregated into well defined urban neighborhoods (Chinatown) with only the Americanized versions proliferating. So was the cuisine of many cultures - growing up in a tiny rural village in the 60’s I remember believing Chef Boyardee represented ethic cuisine. America became a nation by repressing (through segregation) as much diversity as possible, thus propagating a simplistic vision that could not possibly be sustained.
Diversity, complexity, saved my palate. It has likely also influenced my approach to art.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.