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Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more


The Peruvian Asparagus Industry

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In the supermarket yesterday, a metaphor for what is wrong with the globalised food industry. I am walking around browsing the veg shelves, when I spot some bundles of asparagus. It is May, coming towards the end of the short growing season, and British asparagus is the best in the world. Without a second thought, I put it in my trolley. It is only when I get home that I discover that the asparagus is actually from Peru. It had never crossed my mind to check the country of origin as I usually do; the Peruvian asparagus industry is not exactly world-famous, after all. I had automatically assumed that the product would have come from somewhere in these native shores.

After reluctantly cooking the stuff - which was nowhere near as sweet as British asparagus, especially having been shipped half way across the world - I was glad, though, to acknowledge that I would never usually face this problem. Normally, I rely on the lovely people from Riverford at Home Farm to deliver an organic veg box every week, confident that the contents will have been grown in the UK where possible, or shipped (not air freighted) from as close to home where not. We had previously had two weeks of delicious, home grown, organic asparagus with no need for me to worry about labels of origin. It was only because I had had to cancel the box this week, due to unforeseen circumstances, that I ended up in the supermarket shopping for my own veg, rather than letting someone else do the work of bringing produce grown close to home, to my home.

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Posted by Alistair at 7:51 am

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