Monday, February 29, 2016

Fact and Fiction

Indian Curry of Bangladeshi origin is one of the most popular foods in the UK. 'Chicken Tikka Masala' was however a product of Britain. While we think of pizza as Italian food, the 'pizza as a meal' idea came from the United States. The pizzeria where it all started is next door to the hostel where I am staying in Chicago. The original deep dish pizza was made at Uno Pizzeria when Ike Sewell adapted the Italian starter dish to be more substantial. A full meal. I now understand the description 'pizza pie'. It isn't just a thick base. It is made more like a traditional pie, but without the top. Then filled up and baked for nearly an hour.

Ideas spread, but they don't stay the same. We come at ideas from where we are. We come at ideas from what we want. Rome and the world of Genghis originally spread partly because they took on the culture of the conquered. The same was true of Islam and Christianity. The same is true of pizza. Pizza may be a global dish, but it isn't the same everywhere. One of the first things I noticed the first time I was in the US (2014) is that it really is a country of immigrants. German American. Polish American. Swedish American. Irish, Czech and so on. From a standing start of 200 in 1833, by 1900 77% of the 1.7 million population of Chicago were either foreign born, or had foreign born parents. Chicago now has 2.7 million people, and the broader metropolitan area with about 10 million people is the third largest in the US.

I find the idea of a country of immigrants really appealing. I don't believe in borders. I think it is Global Apartheid. But me not believing in borders is like knowing that race isn't a scientific concept. Borders don't disappear because I don't believe in them. They still stop certain people from crossing, and not others. They still give different rights to different people based on the random place you were born. Fact and fiction work as a team. The network of countries that exist are very real even if they are an invention of the human imagination.

Harmful fictions don't disappear because they aren't scientific.
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