A note to those who are imprudent enough not to follow the Japanese side of Frog in a Well: Jonathan Dresner has a smart, witty, and informative piece, Credentialism and Other Modern Traditions which riffs on the proposal to make 和食 [washoku, Japanese cuisine] an “intangible cultural asset.” Jonathan is especially sharp about the idea that Japanese food is uniquely unique, which plays along with my comments on “authenticity” in my piece on Chop Suey.
Meanwhile, Bruce Springsteen’s keynote speech to the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin took on the critics who wanted to keep rock and roll pure. Springsteen said we live in a “post-authentic world” with new forms, genres, influences, and instruments he couldn’t have imagined when he started out. Whether an artist is using a computer or a guitar, “there is no pure way of doing it, there’s just doing it.”
It’s all chop suey. We can still decide that something tastes awful, but we can’t dismiss it simply because it’s not “authentic.”