Other Voices

December 12, 2010

Back in 1971 Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Ray Manzarak were in the recording studio laying down tracks for some songs while their band-mate Jim Morrison was “on holiday” in France. I leave it to pop era historians to debate whether or not Morrison had any intention of rejoining the trio. In any event, Big Jim died in Paris of what is now widely believed to be an overdose of heroin on July 3. The three remaining Doors released an eight-track album with vocals contributed by each (as I recall) the following October under the title “Other Voices.” Apparently, they later came to the view that The Doors oeuvre should be confined to their collaborations with Morrison, so this album has become rather obscure in the intervening four decades.

It was actually a pretty good album. One song that has stuck with me is Robby Krieger’s “Variety Is the Spice of Life”, which has the following refrain:

Variety is the spice of life; that’s what the judge is gonna’ tell my wife.

It is a jokey, up-tempo pop song very untypical of The Doors, as is “I’m Horny. I’m Stoned.” another Krieger song from the album. As I remember it, the other six tracks would be well worth the effort to locate and take a listen for anyone who appreciates the moody and subtly orchestrated music that made The Doors into rock icons. My copy is in a box stored somewhere in the attic, which means that it is somewhere between 10 and 20 years since I have listened to it, so I could be wrong.

But I’m actually writing about this album because of the silly Krieger lyric, which also includes the immortal line:

I’m watching six different televisions all at one time.

This may have been an elliptical reference to the habit of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who famously had three television sets installed in the Oval Office so that he could watch all three network’s version of the nightly news simultaneously. As interesting as this tangent is in its own right, the main point of all this for today’s blog is actually pretty much captured by the title of Krieger’s song.

Jason Gollan offered a comment to the key blog posted two weeks ago in which he asked whether Thornapple CSA had ever considered having more people contribute to the Thronapple Blog. I had written that I might not write every week in the future, so I presume that Jason’s comment was offered as an idea on how to keep the blog fresh while taking some of the burden to do so off my shoulders. It’s possible he’s just sick of reading what I have to say, but there are more effective remedies to that problem.

As I wrote two weeks ago, anyone writing a blog in 2010 is probably behind the curve. The blogosphere was hot four to six years ago, when ordinary people were attracting widespread readership by providing intimate details of their sex lives. Other models for blogging involved usually quite brief comment-reaction blurbs that might be posted at random moments. Today it seems like other forms of social media may be a better way to go for that kind of thing. But there are still lots of writers contributing blogs, often on a somewhat regularized basis and with some kind of thematic orientation to subject matter, and that’s the model I’ve tried to emulate in my year of writing the Thornapple Blog. Although it has occasionally degenerated into a travel-blog, almost all my travel is in some way or another related to my job. My job is “food ethicist” at Michigan State University. Since this blog is tied to a Community Supported Agriculture group in Lansing, MI, it seemed reasonable to use this space for brief, generally not too serious, think-pieces on food and agriculture. Writing about what I was working on was fair game, and my travels suggested topics.

Some of the best blogs I’ve encountered have multiple authors. One that readers of the Thornapple blog might take a gander at is The Ethicurian, which is written by a bunch of foodies that seem to have a West Coast orientation. Following Jason’s suggestion would move the Thornapple blog in that direction. The core group will take up that possibility soon. So this is your opportunity to have some input into that discussion. If you have a view on the question, and especially if you would be interested in contributing to the blog, post a comment below. The feedback I’ve gotten so far from the core group is that they are not keen on making this into a totally open forum; they want some sort of tie to Thornapple CSA. But I think any opinions to inform their discussion would be welcome.

Be warned that it is actually something of a pain to post a comment if you’ve never done so. You have to register yourself with WordPress, and this will certainly take a minute or two. You will directed to the means to do that when you try to post a comment, so the best way to start is to write something like “Blah, blah, blah,” in the comment space, then come back and write what you really want to say once you are registered. I’ll get around to “approving” all the comments that are materially addressed to this topic over the next week, so you can see what others think, too. That is, if any real human being bothers to post.

Paul B. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University

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4 thoughts on “Other Voices

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  2. I’m a very recent subscriber to the TCSA blog, and I subscribed in order to read what Paul has to say. There are a million blogs out there, and little reason for each of those to have numerous authors. Rather than taking advice from Cowper (via the Doors), maybe a paraphrased Ockham gives better counsel: Scriptores non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem: Authors should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

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