Diaries Magazine

About Authenticity

By Danielleabroad @danielleabroad
One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Kelsey, recently ranted (albeit mildly) about what it means to be "authentic", and thus, hipster cool. Personally, I'm all for artisanal products, fairtrade goods, and market-driven meals. What I don't appreciate is the attitude and price often attached to them. It's not okay that "authentic" things are only available to those who are able to afford them. The trouble is, of course, that it often costs creators and purveyors more to offer quality from real people as opposed to that from technology.
about authenticityI think our reinvigorated obsession concern with "authenticity" is a direct result of our simultaneous overconnected-ness and lack of connection. A few days ago, Erin reflected on an NPR podcast which discussed the history and shifting evolution of housework. "For many household duties, the rise of technology brought a rise of isolation, trading outlets and plugs for outdoors and people." Most other community experiences we once depended upon have been lost and replaced in the name of facilité as well. It's why businesses like that of Barbora Veselá (via Erin) are able to exist and thrive. It also explains the growing sharing/peer/collaborative economy. In this era of exaggerated consumption, we so desperately long to remember the who, where, why, and how again.
about authenticityUnfortunately, we have yet to see a true shift in the way we earn and exchange money, and we need to preserve their livelihoods. More often than not, that doesn't allows for locally-roasted filtered coffee imported directly from Ethiopia on the regular. So what does that leave us with? Thoughtful choices. I'm hesitant to advocate for the “neoliberal assumption that capitalism itself can cure societies’ ills,” (Anderson, "Shoppers of the World United: (RED)'s Messaging and Morality in the Fight against African AIDS," 43), but, most of us can choose who and what we surround ourselves with. And this is where attitude comes in, the good kind. We can decide to act in gratitude and treat all parties involved with kindness. Because the "authenticity" that matters to me, may very well not matter to you, and to better tomorrow, it's essential to respect our passionate diversity. I hope I don't seem naiive for saying so.about authenticityIf you're reading this, for example, you're familiar with the high priority I give to eating well. I prefer to meet s/he who cultivated my seasonal produce in environmentally-friendly conditions. I'll also save for weeks to afford unforgettable meals and apparently, wait for months for popular tables, too. But even fabulous "cosmopolitan market cooking" can be ruined by an apathetic sommelier. Last winter, my then-boyfriend and I went to the wine bar and were overwhelmed by the hectic crowd. And last month, at the resto with Rachael and Lorelei, my thoughts were echoing those of Ann, "I began to suspect that Frenchie is a victim of its own success."
about authenticityFor me, the true nourishment is in the shared experience that "authentically" good food calls for; the stuff that heartwarming memories are made of. I'm almost tempted to say it's never really about the food :), though last night's dinner at Le Richer may have convinced me otherwise. The pumpkin crème brûlée blew my mind. And even if my former coworkers spent the entire meal joking about the fruit rouges and épicé finish of the wine, I know I wasn't the only one who savored every moment we spent drinking it.
about authenticityGosh, I'm going to miss so much of what I might call my authentic Paris. And you know, that's the kicker when it comes to authenticity--it's so much rooted in how we as individuals experience and interact with absolutely everything around us. If we are to use the word less carelessly, maybe we'll be able to actually make tangible good, as opposed to simply fitting a cool aesthetic.

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