My Beautiful Wickedness

Holy crap! (The “New Yorkers will buy anything” edition)
November 23, 2007, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I don’t know about you, but I would not be paying $120 a night to work on someone else’s farm. How very Tom Sawyer. Mack, I’m seeing a business opportunity…


7 Comments so far
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Do you think any one would pay me to come work around my house?

Comment by patti

I went to a meeting on Tuesday of the Long-Range Planning committee for the college and someone mentioned a proposal for an “agritourism” program. I’m not sure I get what training one needs to bilk the parasitical classes of their hard-exploited wealth.

On the other hand, I’m sure our local farmers would jump at the chance to get people to pay them in order to provide labor.

Comment by Gerald

I really want someone to pay me for putting a roof on my house. Do you know any suck…I mean, any earnest types eager for an honest day’s labor?

Comment by bridgett

Skeptics, the lot of you.

Comment by Mr. Mack

Ya know, until you’ve spent time in NYC and met people who grew up there, you don’t understand how utterly removed from the agricultural world people can be. Most cities, you can get into the car and head out of town, and in a couple of hours, at most, you’ll be in the middle of farmland. In NYC, you don’t have a car, and if you drive for a couple of hours you’re still in the middle of a megalopolis. A friend of mine in grad school was rhapsodizing about being in England and taking a bus tour to the countryside to see crops in various stages — in grad school, studying an agricultural society, and she had never been within reach of an experience like that in her life before. So I don’t see this as quite the indulgence for the spoiled rich that you do: I met a lot of people who had never so much as walked up to a field with cows in it; never been able to grow a vegetable; never been able to see first-hand the effect of weather on anything alive except a couple of trees. And I can understand feeling that you’ve been missing something, and being willing to pay for the experience. I mean, that price is cheaper than just about any hotel room in NYC, so it’s not all that extravagant.

Although if Mack wants to try it, I don’t want to discourage him.

Comment by nm

Driving north out of NYC for a few hours, you’re either in the Catskills or Dutchess County. Another hour gets you into the Berkshires and the lower Adirondacks. All these locations are pretty rural.

I get that there are people in NYC who lack any sort of connection with food production and would find it terribly quaint to visit a “dude farm.” It’s part of their self-indulgence and a continuation of their notknowingness that they feel that it’s sufficient effort to buy themselves a chance to spend two hours being a nuisance to some underpaid kid from Lithuania who is working a summer exchange job and turn up a couple of potatos. Then, when they are hot, they can go back to the farmhouse and get some lemonade, sitting on the porch watching the Lithuanian kid work. It makes a great story to tell at their Kundalini Yoga class. Notknowing is a choice. Agritourism makes notknowing morally sustainable for privileged people who are troubled by their lifestyle choices.

In other words, I don’t see how this helps them “get it.” I do see, however, how it contributes to wage suppression in the already fragile agricultural wage market in places like rural NC.

Comment by bridgett

Well, Bridgett, I think your “a few hours” is substantially longer than my “couple of hours,” and therefore harder to achieve, especially for people who don’t have cars in the first place. It’s certainly too long for a school field trip to a working farm. The Fresh Air Fund gets some poor kids out of the city for a couple of weeks every summer, and the wealthy can afford a week or two in the Catskills or the Poconos, but for the middle class if it’s not a day trip it doesn’t happen, and for most of the poor it never happens at all. I’m not saying that pretending to work on a farm is the solution to this deracination, but I think that the impulse that makes people want to do it is not trivial. I like cities, but the NYC given that nature is (only) what you go to Central Park to see is what drove me first out of Manhattan and then out of the state.

Comment by nm

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