Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What would Coriolanus eat at the Iowa State Fair? Caprese Salad On-a-Stick?

The ultimate reality show has begun: Who wants to be America's next president?  It is one heck of a freak show in the early stages, until it comes down to something like a semi-final.  This being the dog days of summer, the reality show was recently hosted at the Iowa State Fair.
The internationally-acclaimed Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is Iowa’s great celebration, a salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement.
And well known for the political reality show where the presidential wannabes show up in their summer, casual, regular-person, attires.  It is like how beauty pageants have swimsuit competitions ;)

It is all a part of the pretense that the regular Joe and Jane matter to those patricians.  They need to put on a jolly good show that they defer to us, the plebians.  And they want to make sure that they don't make the mistake that Coriolanus did:
Coriolanus is a patrician warrior who serves Rome with unequalled military prowess and bravery, but he is devilishly proud and utterly disdainful of the lower orders. He even blames them for smelling: which brings to mind a German saying, ‘It smells of poor people here,’ and George Orwell’s observation that to accuse people of smelling is the most hurtful insult that you can direct at them.
Unfortunately, after his great victory at Corioli (hence his honorific title), Coriolanus stands for the office of Consul, one of the most important political offices in Rome. To be elected he needs the approbation of the plebeians: and, rather as in a general election in a western democracy, to obtain it he has to abase himself before them for a short time.
He has difficulty in doing even this because he is so haughty; for although the plebeians know full well he has fought many battles and been wounded many times, they want him to expose his scars to them in person. This, of course, is much beneath his dignity, but Coriolanus manages to come to some kind of accommodation with the plebeians, until their own representatives, the tribunes, inflame them against him by telling outright lies about him. They do this because they see it as a way to increase their own power, to which Coriolanus is an obstacle. They succeed in having Coriolanus exiled from Rome. 
Shakespeare does a masterful job, as he always does.  Oh, incidentally, the story does not end with the exile--watch the play; it is phenomenal.

One of ways that the patricians, er, the presidential wannabes abase themselves before us plebes is by going to the Iowa State Fair and eating crap, er, food that they would normally run away from.  Not merely eating but making sure that the photos and the videos are transmitted all around, even to the plebes in other countries who cannot vote here anyway!  Apparently most of them chose to eat pork chops on a stick:


There are, count 'em, 75 foods that one could eat while holding them on sticks!  Seventy-five!  I could not imagine how they get to serve fried butter on a stick; so, I checked it out on YouTube and I am grossed out already ;)

I suppose a modern day haughty Coriolanus would not care about the regular folk who eat all things fatty and rich in cholesterol.  He would not be a wimp like that other patrician who wisely walked away from his arugula comment.  Instead, Coriolanus would arrogantly order a Caprese Salad On-a-Stick and tell the people to go to hell, or even deliver that awful Dick Cheney line! ;)

A final note: are you also wondering how they make a Caprese on a stick?

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