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”


Power, Natsu Onoda, God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga

Power, Natsu Onoda. God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga. University of Mississippi, 2009. Print. 208 pp, 6 x 9 inches, 53 b&w illustrations, filmography, bibliography, index. $50.00 unjacketed cloth; $25.00 paper

Jeremy Stoll
Indiana University

In God of Comics, Natsu Onoda Power uses the framework of intertextuality to analyze one of the most important figures in Japanese comics and his work within the form. In the Introduction, the author points out the divide between English and Japanese-language studies of manga as pivoting on understandings of manga as either culturally unique or an evolving art. Overcoming this tension serves as the focus of Power’s analysis of Osamu Tezuka’s unique genius in the context of manga’s evolution as a form. Continue reading “Power, Natsu Onoda, God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga”

Dorson, Richard. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Dorson, Richard. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, 3rd edition, edited by James P. Leary. Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008 [1952]. pp. 371, index.  Paper $24.95.

Jodine Perkins
Indiana University

Based on five months of fieldwork conducted in 1946, Richard Dorson brings together a collection of folklore from the diverse inhabitants of Michigan’s Upper Pennisula (U.P.): young and old, lumbermen and miner, Ojibwa, Finn, and French. He selected this place, in part, because it was relatively close to his home in Lansing, although still a ferry ride away. He also chose the U.P. because of its isolation from much of the U.S., its cultural distinctiveness, and because both American Indians and European immigrants of many nationalities lived there. Furthermore, the U.P. was still fairly rural and poor due to the decline of timber harvesting and mining. To Dorson, it seemed that all of these conditions made this area fertile ground for finding folklore, particularly oral narratives, and indeed he did discover a “storyteller’s paradise” (2). Continue reading “Dorson, Richard. Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula”

William Lynwood Montell, Tales from Kentucky Doctors

William Lynwood Montell. Tales from Kentucky Doctors. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2008. pp256 cloth $24.95, ebook $24.95.

Donald E. Clare

In today’s modern world of advancing electronic technology and data management, health care delivery, compared to that of one or two generations ago, has changed just as much as automobile design and manufacturing has changed since Henry Ford’s first Model T replaced the horse and buggy. But not all change is good. Sometimes change neglects to preserve the human element and, in so doing, forfeits such characteristics as caring, dedication, vocation, commitment, and sacrifice. Continue reading “William Lynwood Montell, Tales from Kentucky Doctors”

From the Editor

Dear Reader,

In the Fall of 2009, Folklore Forum issued a call for papers on cultural manifestations of violence and socio-cultural trauma. It was a weighty topic, but one selected after review of current trends in scholarship in the fields of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. We structured the call for papers to capture the full scope of research related to the topic. To our delight, the articles in this issue also show a broad range of ways that scholars are examining violence and socio-cultural trauma.

Vannessa Pelaez-Barrios examines the performance of narratives about the Kharisiri, a figure from Andean legend that feeds on victims by extracting their blood and fat in “Mythic Narrative Performances: The Myth of the Kharisiri.” These legends are full of violence themselves, and often seem to flourish in times of violence or in response to trauma. Pelaez-Barrios analyzes the performative and linguistic techniques employed by storytellers to argue that such ritualistic techniques function as “security devices” to mediate the danger inherent in the narratives.

In “Beneath the Outrage: 2009 Task Force Recommendations Undermine Online Breast Cancer Community,” Christal Seahorn examines trauma on two separate levels. First she shows how the support of online communities has served to ameliorate the trauma of breast cancer for patients and survivors. Second she analyzes the trauma caused by changes in the recommendations for breast cancer screenings on those online communities. Seahorn argues that the folk discourse on the Komen forums helps to show how breast cancer patients formed their epistemological frameworks and demonstrates the power of such communities.

Sayo Yamagata looks at yet another aspect of violence and trauma in “Representing Valerie Solanas: Productions of Gender and Sexuality in the Factory.” She examines the artistic responses to Valerie Solanas’ attempted assassination of Andy Warhol as a means of understanding gender constructions created by Warhol’s acolytes. Yamagata compares the violence inherent in this response with Solanas’s own writings on gender.

These three articles discuss very different forms of violence and socio-cultural trauma. Yet they approach them from very different angles. We hope that Folklore Forum’s online publication format will facilitate further discussion about these articles and the diverse issues they raise.

Kristina Downs
Editor, Folklore Forum

Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection

Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection

Curtis Ashton
Utah State University

During the 2008 Olympic season, two rival restaurants in Beijing saw an opportunity to proclaim their signature dish of Beijing Roast Duck as authentic cultural heritage. Among the strategies they employed to bolster their claims, both restaurants took advantage of new laws to open museums about their duck. Culinary Tourism as developed by Lucy Long and other folklorists provides a useful framework for analyzing this cultural performance.

Continue reading “Beijing Duck 2008: Culinary Tourism, Cultural Performance, and Heritage Protection”

The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur

The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur: Sideways and the Legitimation of “Culinary Capital”

Margot Finn
University of Michigan


In this essay, I analyze the critically-acclaimed 2004 film Sideways and its effect on the U.S. wine industry. I argue that part of the film’s popular appeal was its successful negotiation of two desires that often seem contradictory: the desire to appear sophisticated in the realm of food and drink and the desire to avoid seeming pretentious or be branded a “food snob.” Ultimately, Sideways argues that “good taste,” which functions a form of “cultural capital,” is meritocratic. Like all meritocracies, the “meritocracy of taste” obscures the structural differences that make the tastes and practices constructed as valuable and desirable more accessible to some people. It also enhances the pleasures and rewards of having good taste, by constructing “culinary capital” as the result of talent and effort rather than wealth and privilege. I argue that the “Sideways Effect”—an increase in the demand for and price of Pinot Noir and decrease in the demand for and price of Merlot following the film’s successful showing in theaters—is evidence that the film reinforced exclusive taste hierarchies rather than promoting an inclusive ideology of “good taste.”

Continue reading “The Snob, the Rube and the Connoisseur”