The Insider’s Guide to Life: Vox Clamantis in Absurditas

ColumnWhere we’re going, little lady, you won’t need this.

Edward Abbey had his dust and rocks from which to cry; I have my HTML. Today I hone my hypertext on Hammacher Schlemmer, proud purveyor of uselessly clever objects and distraction of last resort from the pressure earaches I always get when the plane’s about to land. One word: Skymall.

Allow me to introduce for posterity the self stirring pot. This is, of course, making the rather bold assumption that we will have posterity springing forth from the kind of stupid sires who invent things like self-stirring pots.

I discovered this marvel of ingenuity not seen since Billy the singing bass by way of Roger Ebert on Twitter. EcoSalon retweeted Ebert, helpfully adding @hammacher. (Only on Twitter will you find a movie critic, a green publication and a manufacturer of wasteful gadgets keeping company.)

The nonstick self-stirring electric pot, with its built-in autonomous spatula and virgin ore, will set you back $99.95 and civilization back a bit more, as noted by perennially snarky Jezebel and Calorie Lab. (Year ago, the latter’s publisher sagely advised a much younger me to pick up the phone before embarking on a product rant, but Scrimscher, you’ll have to forgive me this one. My hands are both too busy stirring.)

Meanwhile on the tweet, one reader, @abbesol, declared it “Lazy!” while another, @rufola, staked out the gray area: “At first glance: bad. But my Mum loves to cook and has bad arthritis, maybe this would help.”

Hammacher’s own defense was charmingly no-means-yes:

Upon further grilling (but not stirring), Hammacher explained that the product is great for those who are busy doing other things when preparing the meal. I thought stirring was part of preparing the meal, or at least a boring chore to entrust to a fourth grader. Once again, I am out of touch with what’s going on in hands.

I’m unfamiliar with the Hammacher demographic but I’m duly impressed by its cohort’s apparent adherence to cooking so many courses simultaneously at least one pot is left to a tragic fate of sink or swirl. Too many cooks in the kitchen? Try too many hands. The EcoSalon audience, by contrast, prefers to stumble along in the beleaguered darkness of doing more than one thing at the same time. And I, your fearless leader, shall stumble, as well as possibly burn, clump, stick and scald right along with you, most likely because I didn’t get off the phone. On the multitasking brink of the twentieth century, and also every century before that since the invention of cookery, we stand firm.

This is the latest installment in your editor’s column, The Insider’s Guide to Life, exploring topics such as media, culture, sex, politics, and anything else. Cheers and spellcheck!

Image: ginnerobot