Categories
Social Change

We Do Not Want War.

The world right now is in chaos. It is hard to look at anything and not feel anger, hatred, the desire to scream, to fight something even if we aren’t sure what that is. The police? The politicians? Rioters? White supremacists? Communists? Who? What?

Today, Dave Chappelle released a 27-minute long special that, in my opinion, is the work of a genius. His anger is palpable, his words are poignant, and his calls to action, and warnings of the consequences, are strong. Before I get into his special, the climate as a whole needs to be addressed.

Black Lives Matter.

For those that know me, I have been outspoken and loud about police reform for years. This is not me hopping on a trend or virtue signaling, as I may be called out for. I have dealt with their violence, and their childish bravado many times, and it would be irresponsible if not completely contrarian to my integrity that I should not support black lives matter and the agenda of reform however so I may do it. And so I do: I devoutly support black lives matter. It is our moral obligation as brothers and sisters in this country, if we are to save it, to SCREAM that BLACK LIVES MATTER and to demand actionable change.

But I believe we are stumbling upon a tipping point, one that is unrecoverable and one that must be considered with the absolute sheerest of trepidation and caution:

War.

Protesters outside the Des Moines Police Department on the first day of protests in Iowa, May 29. (Photo by me.)

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back.

The murder of George Floyd sent this country over the edge. Rage permeates through every level of society, at different intensities and directions. A free state in Seattle was declared, with absolutely zero consistent reporting coming from the area. The right has disassociated from the left. Threats of terrorism are everywhere. Protestors appeared in droves on the White House lawn, prompting the President to be escorted by secret police for a photo op with heavy weapons.

In the midst of it all, police are being killed along with more civilians. Police reform is sweeping the nation, with Iowa passing restrictions on chokeholds and officer review and Kentucky passing laws on no-knock warrants. Is it enough? Most importantly, when is it justified to fight?

A mural at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis is seen on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Three artists painted it near the spot where George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody. (Dane Mizutani / Pioneer Press)

The War on Terror, At Home.

In my time as an adult, I have become incredibly familiar with war. I have seen it on screens as an analyst, where ISIS and al-Qaeda murdered people wholesale. I’ve dissected it at university in classes about rhetoric, and about history, and about its moral atrocity. I have seen it in person during the Arab Spring in Bahrain when bodies washed up on shore and government officers were torn apart by homemade explosives and shaped charges.

I have seen its affects on survivors of war, both refugees and combat veterans. I have lost several friends to suicide, and I have friends who came to Iowa as survivors of conflicts in Bosnia, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, and Mexico. Some of my very close family friends were survivors of the genocides in Rwanda.

In all of it, I never saw justification. I saw hate, I saw fear, I saw death. There was no God, there was no humanity. During the Boston marathon bombing, the first time I ever worked as a real analyst on a developing situation at 19 years old, I saw children shredded by nails and ball-bearings, limbs tossed around like mannequin pieces. I saw nothing of goodness, nothing of valor.

That is what war looks like at home. No matter how you view the Tsarnaev brothers: they viewed themselves as warriors.

Runners run towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon as an explosion erupts near the finish line of the race in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2013. (REUTERS/ Dan Lampariello)

8 Minutes, 46 Seconds.

And so we get to Dave Chappelle’s words in his newest special, “8:46.” The title comes from the length of time that George Floyd had a knee on his neck by Officer Derek Chauvin before losing his life.

In the special he looks at the myriad of violent incidents springing up around this country. He looks to Chris Dorner, an African-American former police officer that wrote a manifesto declaring Chappelle a genius before going on a killing spree of police officers. Chris Dorner killed 4 police officers, and was met by 400 police officers in Big Bear where he was killed in California.

Chappelle notes that the response was proportionate to the anger the LAPD felt at losing their own. Then he asks the question:

How do they not understand our rage at losing thousands of our own to the police?

In 27-minutes, Chappelle tears through the history of violence in our country. He recounts the killings of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, the eventual lead up to the killings of 9 police officers in Baton Rouge before the police retaliated again. Then the uprisings in Minneapolis and across the country, and the perpetual cycle of violence.

All of the police killings he mentioned shared a common theme: the murderers were all African-American servicemen. Why is that? Chappelle believes that like all servicemembers who have joined since 9/11, it has been to fight acts of terror.

Still-photo of video footage moments before the police murdered Daniel Shaver on his knees, unarmed, in his hotel-room hallway. (Photo courtesy of BBC.)

All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.

And the police are painting themselves as terrorists.

In 2013 I attended the award ceremony of the Marines who fought bravely during the 2012 Camp Bastion attack that resulted in the single largest loss of U.S. aircraft since the Vietnam War. The Marines awarded were not infantry. They were aircraft mechanics, maintainers, and refuelers. But when terrorists came crashing through those gates with RPG’s, machine guns, and AK-47’s, they grabbed their rifles and laid down lethal fire against an unknown enemy in the blackness of an Afghani night. They did not question their ability to win that battle: they recognized the intense need to fight to defend not themselves, but each other, and victory was the only option.

That is where the heroism I saw in war was. There was no Hollywood glamour. It was terror, it was hate, it was the fierce devotion to life and safety that meant putting oneself in the way of harm to prevent it happening upon your brothers or sisters. Is that where we are now?

Chappelle calls out to America at the end of his performance that the streets must do the talking and people must keep acting, because it is the “last stronghold of civic discourse.” He says after this, it is just shooting with no talking.

National Guard soldiers on patrol in Minneapolis following 3rd day of continuous riots. (Image courtesy of Daily Mail)

Those Who Forget History…

This rhetoric has been seen before, and it is alarming. The anger feels good, the rage feels good, it feels like things are going to change.

But the streets have gotten a taste for the violence that the state is capable of. The improper use of rubber bullets, the overwhelming gassing that has caused deaths, the flashbangs and the shootouts from Louisville to L.A.

War and violence in the streets will lead to horrors you can not imagine. We need to listen to Chappelle, we need to keep that civil discourse open. We need to allow for people to talk and understand each other again.

It will be easier now to learn about each other’s point of view than try to rush your family to the safety of the countryside as your loved ones bleed to death under police and soldiers boots under martial law.

It will be easier now to ally yourselves with people of different opinion than to pull your wives and husbands out from the rubble of your bombed-out home.

It will be easier now to accept diversity than to accept death as a part of everyday life.

A Syrian man takes a young girl away from the rubble of a funeral-site bombing; Aleppo, Syria. (Image courtesy of NBC News.)

The Eyes of the World are Upon US.

We are privileged, most of us, in that war is an “over there” foreign concept that doesn’t live here. But some of us remember the Arab Spring. ISIS was once thought to be an exaggerated rumor that couldn’t exist because no group can be that cruel.

If the citizens of Rome knew it was going to burn, they would have left.

It is upon us to face this threat with resilience, firmness, and courage to do what is just. When this is over, the growing pains may resonate for a while, but at least we will still have our country. If we give in to primal aggression, tribalism, and hate: we will not.

Before we talk of war and revolution, we absolutely constantly remind ourselves of the unholy abomination that it brings with it. We must remember that we do not want war.

Invoking a symbol of distress, a protester carried a U.S. flag upside down on Thursday night in Minneapolis. (Credit: Julio Cortez/ Associated Press)

Categories
On Food & Cooking

Wine, Butter, Rosemary, Thyme

How to Outdo Every Cook in Your Family (And a Secret Ingredient You Can’t Forget…)

I grew up in a household where only the women were allowed to cook. Even today, it’s usually frowned upon for a man to cook anything that isn’t overly cooked BBQ on a propane grill, or something a 7-year old could reliably make in a crock-pot.

I had a rough go at learning how to cook for myself. For instance, I once started an oil fire in my kitchen as a 17-year old that left scars on my hands. Not knowing what to do, I threw the pan through a window, scarring my parents lawn and reconfirming their belief that men can’t cook.

But hey, live and learn, right? For those of us who never got to learn from out family’s the secrets of grandma’s to-die-for breakfast potatoes or cured ham, we have some catching up to do. This article is your guide to baffle your possibly also sexist family into jaw-dropping, mouth-watering silence at your newfound culinary prowess.

To begin, lets look at one of my dishes I make at home: potatoes bourgouignon. It is a vegetarian version of the classic French dish bouef bourgouignon, and there are lots of opportunities to learn about technique and method from this savory, hearty dish.

You will need:

  • 6 medium sized golden potatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 5 tablespoons of garlic
  • a large bouquet of thyme and rosemary (I will get to that in a second)
  • 1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes
  • 4 table spoons of butter
  • 2 cups of cabernet sauvignon
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons of red-wine vinegar
  • 3 whole carrots; washed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper*
  • 2 teaspoons of salt*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil

The recipe itself will be right after our quick intro to rules in cooking.

Rule #1: There is a reason Jesus turned water into wine.

Jesus explaining that wine is a far superior medium to water, probably.

Wine is your best friend. If you’re not 21, figure it out. In this one instance I think your family will understand you using some of Dionysus’s gift to the world. Just don’t drink it, I guess. But definitely get it.

Alcohol cooks off when simmered at a much faster rate than water, so when making a broth, I combine about a 1:2 ration of wine to stock and reduce by about 15%. However, I like the rich and sweetening body of wine a lot in my stews and chowders, so I go heavy. This gives you not only a thicker, fattier sauce (fat = flavor, sorry health nerds) but it also allows for your other ingredients to combine, or muddle flavors as the alcohol bonds fat and water to enhance their presence in a dish.

The wine you want to use will vary on your recipe. The general rule pork/ beef will use red, and chicken/ fish will use white. We are cooking the basis of a beef recipe, so we are using cabernet.

It is also important to note that no, not all of the alcohol will evaporate out of the dish. Typically though, only about 20% of your alcohol will remain after simmering for an hour. For a bottle of 12% abv cabernet, you’re looking at about the amount of alcohol left in the dish as a single glass of wine.

Rule #2: Don’t f**k up your aromatics.

Garlic, shallot, white onion, yellow onion, red onion, and green onion are some of the most commonly used aromatics.

Seriously, do not. Aromatics are richly scented, thickly flavored combinations of oils, fats, and herbs used to begin a dish. Ruining them will ruin your dish.

Oils and fats have what is called a smoke point. This is where your oil starts to smoke, or a better way of saying it: BURNS. So how’d I start that oil fire when I was 17? Didn’t pay attention to smoke points. Also, it makes the oil taste burned, even if you don’t start a fire.

Not all things cook at the same paces. Therefore it’s important to plan how you’re going to add the ingredients one at a time. The oil serves to first caramelize your harder, more heartier aromatics such as onion and shallot. Once they have sweated, or turned mostly translucent, you can add your more fragile ingredients. Finely diced garlic, herbs, and ground spices need to be carefully watched.

Because the smaller chopped things cook so fast, you need to have your liquids on hand to combine quickly. In our case this is the diluted broth and wine. Doing this properly will cease the caramelizing and begin the combining process, and those flavors begin to ooze with the booze.

Rule #3: Garlic is more important than you are: the SECRET INGREDIENT!

This is the secret ingredient. As far as food that Americans are used to calling “delicious” goes: it’s not so much the cook, but the garlic.

Imagine your dish is a bioweapon against this guy. Add lethal amounts.

Make sure you treat garlic as though it means more to this world than you do. Trust me, you shall be greatly rewarded. Garlic cooked properly looks lightly caramelized, isn’t blackened or browned at all, and puts off a beautifully rich, vampire-frightening aroma.

When garlic enters the pan, it’s usually just about time to “deglaze,” which I’ll hit on in a second. This is super important, as deglazing too early will have you with bitter, astringent raw garlic floating around your dish. Too late, and you have dry, nasty bitter carbon. It’s important to pay close attention, pretty much more attention, to this herb than anything else for this basic cooking technique.

So, what’s deglazing?

Rule #4: Deglazing sounds cool, and makes you look cool.

Technique level: game-changer.

It’s true, but it’s also extremely important. Deglazing is when you take a cold astringent (fancy word for alchohol) or liquid in general, and add it to a hot pan. This rejuvenates and brings up the “fond” left on the pan from fatty-rich oils and moisture drying onto the pan. It’s all that brown stuff you probably notice.

Well, that brown stuff is hella important and super delicious, if you treat it right. To get the fond back into the game, we will typically use either a cooking wine or a vinegar to do it. The alcohol helps bind moisture and, like salt, enhances your sensitivity to taste and smell. This means that you’re essentially improving on the natural tastiness of the oils and herbs.

When using alcohol though, make sure to remove the pan from heat to avoid flames. Unless you’re going for a cool looking flambé, then have at it.

Rule #4: Bouquets aren’t just for flowers

A small amount of twine tied in a knot works, too.

Fresh herbs are best, but unless you have time to pick tiny leaves from expensive bushes all day, maybe that’s not for you. Instead, take a few sprigs of herbs, such as the rosemary and thyme we’ll be using, and tie them together with twine.

For me, I use about 6-8 good sized sprigs of thyme, and 4-5 good thick-leafed sprigs of rosemary. Bind them together, set, and forget! This keeps tons of small, bitter sticks and loose leaves from floating around. It also makes for very easy removal when they’re done steeping.

Putting these ideas to WORK!

  1. Take your pot and add the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until it simmers. Then add onion and carrots. Sear until the onion begins to turn slightly translucent.
  2. Once the onion is sweated, pitch the garlic and put the thyme/ rosemary bouquet garni on one side of the pan. Rotate the bouquet so that all of it eventually is touched by oil.
  3. Once the garlic is carmelized, deglaze with red wine vinegar. Make sure to try and get all of the fond up the best you can, for one minute.
  4. Add two cups of wine, and two cups of water/ vegetable broth mixture. We will slowly add the rest of the broth over the next 30 minutes. Do not boil; leave on a gentle simmer.
  5. Add chopped potatoes, and tomatoes. Combine all seasonings EXCEPT the butter, adding seasoned pepper and salt to taste. Stir well.
  6. Once evenly stirred, place the butter on the edge of the pan near the bouquet of thyme/ rosemary. Regularly stir the pot so the butter evenly folds in.
  7. Every ten minutes, add 1/3 the remaining water/ broth mixture. Once fully added, simmer 10 more minutes.
  8. Take from heat. It is best to let this coddle in the fridge for 12 hours for the best flavor, but is still good fresh from the stove. Let rest 5 minutes. Remove the bouquet, then serve with buttered bread.
  9. Enjoy!

Did you try this recipe? Did it work for you? Did your family finally tell you that they love you because you have a use to them now? Let me know in the comments.

Categories
On Food & Cooking

From Cammies to Kitchens:

How a U.S. Marine Becomes a Chef

Can you think of the single best meal you have ever had in your life?

If that is too challenging, maybe just one of your favorite dining experiences in general?

If even that is too taxing on the memory, maybe just a single important meal that was special to you.

For me, all of these questions are impossible. I am in love with food. I have never loved any woman, any friend, or anything in my life more than I have in my fiery and bewitching affair with the ingredients I have been so lucky to taste, share, and learn from.

But how did a jarhead from Ames, Iowa, ever learn to give a fuck about cooking?

The United States Marine Corps, baby.

The flag of the United States Marine Corps, and also the single most motivating image ever created by mankind.
Accidentally discovering the world of food

Now that might sound a little odd, but having traveled to every continent on earth except for Antarctica and South America while on the government’s dime offered me the unique experience of being exposed to all manner of cultures.

I discovered Americana culinary traditions in Arizona, heavy in grease, butter, and cilantro. Japanese “izakaya’s” revealed to me the outrageously savory sesame-seared octopus and tepenyaki cutlets in Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa. Hispanic creations from Paella de Mar in Puerto Rico to the local cervezeria’s Iberico salchichon in Madrid, Spain continue to dominant my pursuit to explore uses of chilies and lime.

One of the many street side yakotori restaurants I visited routinely in Okinawa, Japan.

Every step of the way, it baffled me. Every time I thought it was some form of sorcery that these people could make such complex transliterations of flavors from simple, earth-grown herbs and meats into dishes of unscrupulous divinity to the taste buds, heart, and spirit of a man. But they did, and I demanded to know how.

Which flavor of crayon goes best with sriracha?

The Marine Corps might seem anything but cultured. It might seem heavy handed, stupid, and violent. And it is, you would be correct, but it is also a service branch of discipline, and of time-honored tradition. We are also a people of exceptional cunning, and learning on the move in order to deal with our tiny defense budget and expeditionary nature.

The Corps taught me to be fearlessly curious, to learn with expedience, and to test my own limits for the sake of self-improvement. And as it turns out, this is the same set of principles that cooks must possess to be successful in any number of kitchens.

Let’s just say I don’t necessarily miss this view on the USS Bonhomme Richarde’s mess deck.

One must keep up on trends, learn new techniques that may have never been attempted before, and work merciless hours in unsettling heat above stove-tops and kitchen ranges. Most importantly, one has to earn- and know- their place in the ranks.

The kitchen is a crucible of character

I think of course that everyone should at some point work in a kitchen or in food service, as the experience is invaluable. Teamwork, work ethic, integrity, judgment, ingenuity, tact, and dedication are but a few of the principles that the kitchen will test you on every single day, every single shift.

And it will test your devotion to your passion. How much are you willing to spend towards failure in hopes of eventual success? For me, it was over $400 on a panache of trout and scallop with habanero-infused butter and guacamole. It was over $200 on a lime panna cotta with almond foam served with a blueberry cabernet reduction.

I honestly don’t even know what I spent trying to learn the correct way to create my favorite miso ramen that I crave every night from Uruma, Okinawa.

My “Fields of Kelly,” lime panna cotta with blueberry-cabernet sauce and a quinelle of almond foam, served with fresh berries.

And I’m still a novice. I am not a head chef, I am not a Michellin-star holder, I am not even on the radar of culinary writers. I am just a cook among cooks. But the difference is, I love it.

My experiences in the Corps led me to constantly search for new foods, new flavors, new methods, and new traditions. I grew a profound respect for world cultures. I started studying, adapting, and honing my skills to each thing I found curious or challenging the new culinary world I found myself in.

If it hadn’t been for the Corps, I never would have cooked.

Fun cooking stories? Worst meal you’ve ever had in the military? Think our horoscopes might be compatible? Comment below.

Categories
On Food & Cooking

«La Panna Cotta Es El Mensaje»


What the Film “The Platform” Loudly Says About Social Change

“The Platform” is a Spanish film that has rightfully been hailed by critics as horrifying, topical, and gruesomely riveting. The atmosphere is claustrophobic, clinical, and the performances on screen shows the wide range of human emotion that comes with suffering, from dark humor to tortured anguish to blood-boiling fury.

The film focuses around 5 characters: Goreng, the main character and idealist to a fault. Trimagasi, the experienced prison survivor about to finish his tenure at the prison. Imoguiri, the naive screener that ensured Goreng was fit to survive his own stay. Baharat, a man hellbent on escaping the prison however he can. And lastly, Miharu, a silent woman that travels up and down the prison on the food table in search of her missing child.

The reason for me writing this is that it is, as I said, topical. The film makes absolutely no mistake: this is a film about capitalism. It isn’t so much about the horrors of capitalism, it isn’t about how one system is better than another. It is is a simple cry from a human being to an uncertain, cold, unfeeling system:

Please just let me eat.

The film itself centers around an almost unfathomably large vertical prison. The cells are industrial-looking, with two cots, one sink, a toilet, and a mirror. Oh, and a 10-foot square hole in the center of the room that allows for inmates to look both up, and down, for seemingly ever.

Spoiler alert: this is obviously going to include spoilers. It’s a film analysis, ya’ll.

It’s not really my goal to summarize the film, and instead I would strongly recommend you just watch it. I’d rather dive right into the plot elements, symbolism, and structure of the film. So, to begin:

1. The Prison as Unfettered Capitalism
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The infinite looking abyss from “The Platform”

The first thing we get from the film is an immediate lack of control. There is no choosing who you are with, what level you are on, what you may wear or what you will do. The tower prison has no doors and no explanation for how prisoners are put between floors at random as they are.

The Economy of Food

Immediately, the symbolism of the tower itself is a call-out to Reagan-era trickle-down economics. At the very top, there is no limit to the excesses that the prisoners may enjoy. When we look to the kitchen that makes the food, we don’t see greasy cooks sweating over fryers and plastic-wrapped pre-fabricated meats. No, sir.

We see a full brigade system in effect, with a head chef, multiple chefs-de-parties and commis running around between saucier, poissonier, and garde manger stations. We see what is not so much a general manager as an extremely regimented and disciplined hotel manager.

The luxury, the attention, and the anger that the manager feels when he discovers a hair in the food is more like a Parisian experience than that of prison. The cannibalism we see on level 171 is a far cry from what is available.

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The “hotel manager” discovers a hair in the panna cotta.

This is clearly a call-out to the randomness of the current system. Look at the global markets of today. You don’t choose your birthplace, your company, or your status in society.

Upward mobility is nice, downward is fatal

While it could be argued that the system in “The Platform” are symbolic of one’s ability to climb and descend the social latter, it is more likely referencing the lethal nature of an unrestricted economy that leaves those at the bottom at the mercy of those above.

And this is referenced directly by Imoguiri, the woman that screened Goreng before he entered the prison, when she states that the goal was for everyone to simply ration their food and unite to support each other.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know that she maybe put a little too much faith in the human race right there.

2. The Personal Items

Every prisoner is allowed to bring one personal item. Goreng brings with him a book, Don Quixote. Trigamasi brought a self-sharpening knife that can cut through stone.

Goreng’s personal item denotes him as a scholar, an idealist, and a man that draws from loftier ideas from literature and culture. This is coupled with his constant refusal to accept the system at face value and to refrain from the darker acts committed within the prison. He’s also the leader, and shows mercy to others whenever he can.

Trigamasi is the pragmatist. He accepts his position in the system, and he does within it what it takes to survive. This includes murder, cannibalism, eating gluttonously what he can and spitting on those below him. The chef’s knife represents that he went into the prison not only prepared for the culinary experience from hell, but to kill and butcher others.

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Trigamasi with his knife.

In the end, the symbolism becomes muddled and mixed. Through a series of events best witnessed than read about, Goreng comes into possession of the knife, and ends up eating pages from his book for sustenance.

Duality in an “fair” system

This looks to be an argument that ideals are important for inspiration, but the fight for change in the system has to come from action, leadership, and command of fellowship. It isn’t until Goreng has actually suffered through the system that he gains an understanding of it, which serves to both separate the symbols of scholarly knowledge and lethal utilitarianism, and unify the ideas that perhaps both are correct in some way.

Looking at the current affairs of the world, this is important. Not all of us have experienced the “lower levels” of the system, and not all of our ideas make sense to apply towards fixing it. Even the screener, Imoguiri, didn’t understand the nature of the prison she worked for before entering it, which ultimately led to her… well, watch the movie.

3. The Table

This sort of seems obvious, but there is plenty to notice here. From the escargots that Goreng requested as his specialty item, to the trampling of food, to how some people graciously accept their position and eat with manners: the table is more than the capital of society being passed down less and less through the levels.

First, the escargots stood out to me as being particularly important. Goreng, as part of his screener, was asked his favorite food so that the chefs could prepare it for him. He said escargot. Sure enough, escargot was on the table, but he only saw it for the first time in his last month at the prison, and very near the final end of his stay.

Winning at a snail’s pace

To me, this is the idea that if you work hard enough to get something in this system, you technically can. He fought hard to stay alive, and he went through unspeakable torment to get it, to include being partially cannibalized. But like in the system, the statistics are strongly against you. If all of his dreams weren’t eaten up by the higher levels, his compatriots on the lower would kill him to get it first.

The wine stood out as well. No one ever was left wine; it was always consumed immediately on the higher levels. This has higher than “we have it so we use it.” No, the platform only stays at each level for two minutes, and if you take anything to keep for yourself, the cell heats or cools to lethal temperatures.

At a point, life itself becomes a luxury in a trickle-down system

This means that the higher levels literally have time to kill. They have so much available that spending precious seconds of their time to consume whole bottles of alcohol when you only get two minutes a day to eat that to them, it just doesn’t matter. They have nothing at risk while they’re there.

Lastly, the table moves. Nothing else moves, and it is the only way to climb or descend the system by choice. But in order to climb all the way to the top, you first have to go all the way to the bottom. I believe this is representative of two beliefs: one, that if you control the food, you control the system.

This is something that whole manners of analysts agree on with food scarcity and welfare programs. But two, it represents the powerless of a system when you simply avoid a key rule… you can technically choose not to stay in your assigned place, though you might die in the process.

What about the other symbols?!

Well, this movie is really one giant machine of moving symbols. The whole film is comprised of very important imagery, cultural icons, and nods (the two main characters are played by Spanish comedians, but you likely would not have ever guessed that, would you?”

These are simply the 3 I thought were most poignant to serve the bulk of the story’s purpose. The social ladder, the randomness, the method of change versus complacency, and the luxury of drawing breath seem to be largely encapsulated by the messages of those few symbols, in my opinion.

Disagree? Have something to add? Do so below!