McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups

Meagan Winkelman
Ohio State University

This paper analyzes the foodways of teenagers in the digital age, specifically the construction of “fast food mash-ups.” These practices, unlike typically documented ethnographic foodways, do not involve cookery; rather they involve the reappropriation of readily available fast food items. The results are massive hybrid sandwiches, like the “McGangBang,” a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich inside of a double cheeseburger. Using interviews with past and present members of the folk group that engages in these practices, collected online and in person, I will explore the meaning of these reappropriations to the people who make and consume them. This paper focuses on the social and psychological factors that influence fast food mash-ups, including the rite of passage ritual of consumption in excess, the desire to deviate from cultural and institutional norms, and the struggle to create meaning in the mass-produced food and drink that dominate youth food culture, as well as the function of fast food mash-ups as legends, which are being acted on ostensively whenever the sandwiches are ordered, constructed or consumed. Continue reading “McMeaning in the Maw of the Masses: Analyzing Fast Food Mash-Ups”


The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale

Tamar Alexander-Frizer. The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008. Xiv + 690 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8143-2971-9. $65.00 Hardcover.

David Elton Gay
Indiana University

The Heart is a Mirror is a translation of Tamar Alexander-Frizer’s 1999 Hebrew study of Sephardic folk narrative, The Beloved Friend: Studies in Sephardic Folk Literature. The title of the Hebrew original gives a far better sense of what this book is about. It is far more than a book on the Sephardic folktale alone, as implied by the English title; rather, Alexander-Frizer intends to introduce the reader to the wealth of Sephardic prose folk narrative in its many genres. Continue reading “The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale”

Shaping Theory, Bending Method, Tapping [New] Media: Ethnographic Craftsmanship and Responsive Design

Shaping Theory, Bending Method, Tapping [New] Media:
Ethnographic Craftsmanship and Responsive Design

Matthew Hale
Indiana University

This article was awarded the Warren E. Roberts Prize for Best Student Paper in Folk Art (2011) by the Folk Arts Section of the American Folklore Society

This work is about objects and their makers, their relationship, and the negotiation between tradition and innovation in the creation of things. I explore the relationship between tradition, innovation, and technology as it pertains to the creation, perception, and interaction with acoustic steel string guitars and ethnographies. First, I focus on the works of two Nashville based guitar makers, Grant and Cory Batson. I investigate the ways in which the Batsons critically evaluate traditional construction techniques and design features as they create their instruments, looking at their theories of tone production, methods of construction, and their perceptions and uses of various media within their guitars. Second, I recruit the Batsons’ theories, methods, and revisions of tradition as a metaphor to discuss the traditional ways of constructing ethnographic representations. Through this work, I argue for the craftsmanship of more responsive ethnographic things which take into account not only theoretical, but also methodological and media eclecticism. Continue reading “Shaping Theory, Bending Method, Tapping [New] Media: Ethnographic Craftsmanship and Responsive Design”