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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Blindfold Test (Won't You Have Some?)


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Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Blindfolding a tester of cooked dehydrated spinach at the regional agricultural research laboratory, Albany, California: photo by Russell Lee, June 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)



Is it better not to know?



Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Blindfold test for aroma of cooked dehydrated spinach at the regional agricultural research laboratory, Albany, California: photo by Russell Lee, June 1942 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)

6 comments:

aditya said...

O what a wonderful thought. To be coupled by Wittgenstein's brilliant rumination :

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.

and an aphorism I read in my school:

Ignorance is bliss.

And now:

Is it better not to know?

curtisroberts said...

"Is it better not to know?" is a fascinating question that I've been pondering. As much as I dislike feeling this way, I think the answer is sometimes certainly "yes". But having been blindfolded once (during the commission of a crime), actual material blindfolds (as opposed to self-imposed mental blindfolds) give me the creeps. Since I'm not the person being blindfolded, however, I think these photos are charming.

TC said...

Aditya,

And there is the Latin saying:

Mundus vult decipi

(Everyone wishes to be deceived)


Curtis,

I usually go with "yes", but I am weak, and an escapist. So I'll go with... Yes.

Actually, two things led me into the extremely obscure corner pocket of the agricultural research test station in Albany, California. One spark of motivation was the fact that the photographer is Russell Lee, whose archival trail I was blindly pursuing, snail-like, in the depths of night. Two is that if it were seventy years ago, I could actually hobble down on my failing stumps to that station myself, and be blindfolded, were I summoned, and/or so inclined (and of very few other historical locations is it possible to say this).


Anyhow, thank you friends for noticing this one... we here thought these photos quite interesting.

(There were about a hundred shots in the file, many of them wonderfully loaded with largely unintentional historical implication, but the wiser half of the decision team prevailed in the editing conversation.)


By the by, for what it's worth (zero), this pairing of posts, featuring a toothsome menu of Guano and Dehydrated Cooked Spinach, was intended as another hesitant foray into Food Blogging -- a stringent emergency-measures corrective, perhaps, to prior cholesterol-laden vessels sunk in the moat of the foyer of Chez Beyond, hauling to the murky bottom of the blogosphere a heavy cargo of

French Toast

Pie and Cake

Cheesecake

& c.

aditya said...

O damn !
How the heck did the saying escape my mind. Pardon the city which has occupied my membranes lately.

I do remember the post in fact. It might have been hauled it safely into the vault at the back of my mind for one of them nights.

~otto~ said...

Maybe it's better to know you don't know, like how I have no idea what chype is and I know that.

TC said...

I believe that in some parts of Polynesia dehydrated cooked spinach is referred to as "chype", and that when someone is invited over for a feast of chype, one is always blindfolded first, and then asks the ritual question, "So what's for dinner," and is given the usual answer, "You don't want to know."

In fact I believe it is rumored in certain quarters that the Polynesian Chype Feast was originally designed as a parabolic model of American politics.

That may or may not be true. I don't want to know.