Wednesday, January 23, 2013

cluck, cluck

If I have to sit in my office all day (and I did have to sit in my office all day, apart from chairing a department meeting, and a blissful hour and forty minutes when I was let out to teach, and talked about the parallels between snobbism in relation to iPhone apps that mimic old photo techniques and 1840s/50s condemnation of the mechanical nature of picture taking; and Richard Prince's Marlboro man and his pasting over photos of Jackson Pollock; and Ori Gersht's freeze-frame still lifes) - if I have to sit in my office all day, I'm glad to have silly/pretty things to look at.  Here's a hen.  Maybe it's a rooster, but let's call it a hen.

Today's Santa Fe Reporter had a big piece about the chicken wars in Eldorado - I think I've written about them before - should we, or should we not, have the right to keep up to four hens as pets (egg producing, useful pets), or not?  So fierce has this divisive battle become that the expression Helldorado has been coined ... I was intrigued that Richard Traub - the Chicago sociologist - has a 2nd home in Santa Fe and "friends in Eldorado" - and he thinks that it's a class thing - those who want to keep it an upper middle class enclave versus the peasants (he doesn't quite call them that, but that's the gist).  But I find this a strange equation: surely keeping chickens isn't the equivalent of having an old truck up on concrete blocks, which seems to be an analogy made in the article.  I'd have thought that it may be something of a luxury to want to be self-sufficient (as in - a lot of work seems to go into maintaining our compost, for shockingly little reward).  In my limited experience of Eldorado hen people, they're the educated, alternative-living sort - not the sulky people who're living out there because it's relatively cheap, and would rather not be in New Mexico at all, not caring whether or not they can see lots of sky and mountain ranges or not.

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