Archive for July, 2021

The Stuff Of CRT

July 10, 2021

            The news of note during the past week was also the news that “almost” flew under the radar. Nationally, it was the continuing coverage of the American withdrawal from the endless war in Afghanistan, accelerated by 10 days to the end of August. Locally, the headline read “Velvet Ice Cream moves production to out-of-state manufacturing facilities” (Kent Mallet for the Newark Advocate, 7-7-21). In an odd way, the two events are analogous in more ways than meets the eye; sort of a meta history that creates the stuff of CRT where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does. The most common denominator the two news items share is that they make perfect sense to some while leaving others in the dark, insecure. To a space alien finding itself on earth in Ohio, the former president opted to end the endless war in his not to be experienced second term. The actual president is fulfilling that chore. The space alien could only conclude that this was foregone policy no matter what the party in power. “Luconda Dager, president of Velvet Ice Cream for 12 years, said the recall, the move of production and resulting layoffs were the toughest days she’s had leading the family-run company. The family gathered to discuss the best course of action. “It was a difficult decision,” Dager said. “We’ve been making ice cream in Utica 107 years. Unfortunately, this listeria plagues our industry. It’s a bacteria you can’t see. We do everything to mitigate it. We really don’t know what happened.”” Given the long history of ice cream being produced in Utica, that nationally ice cream continues to be produced throughout the country, and that Velvet ice cream will continue to be produced, only elsewhere, the space alien could only conclude that this policy also was a foregone conclusion, no matter the events described as reasons for its actualization. Butt weight, there’s more! America’s endless war has produced an emotional attachment, a bond for those embracing active military service, both actual members as well as flag waving supporters. An analogous emotional attachment bonds those advocates and proponents of local business, jobs and development. On a mini scale, Velvet’s production facility was for Utica what the Rockwell/Walker plant was for Newark – a source of reliable, well paying employment for those in the surrounding area (Rocky Boots in Nelsonville, Anchor Hocking in Lancaster, etc.). In many Advocate business columns, Luconda Dager herself wrote of exactly the need for that. The space alien wouldn’t be surprised but to those in the Utica area with an emotional attachment to their geography of choice it must come as just another reason to feel once again opportunity has been stolen, another validation of mistrust. To the space alien, premiere loyalty to the profit motive obviously underlies both news events. But to those with an emotional attachment…? Finally, the meta history that makes this the stuff of CRT (where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does). We all know about the reasons (both real and fancied) and timeline of America’s endless war in Afghanistan, as well as the convoluted path of actual destruction left behind. So much for individual events in light of the accumulation of actualities. ‘Nuff said. On the other hand, “[Luconda] Dager, great-granddaughter of Velvet founder Joseph Dager, who started the company in 1914, took over for her father, also Joseph Dager, in 2009. It was a year after a new 1,100-square-foot viewing gallery was unveiled to allow visitors to watch ice cream being made.” Wiki gives the boiler plate: “Velvet, founded in 1914 in Utica, Ohio, by Joseph Dager, a Lebanese immigrant, is a family-owned and operated fourth generation ice cream manufacturer. Dager began the company in the basement of a Utica confectionary.” (Ice cream made in a 1900’s small town basement…?!) Not given by Wiki, Luconda, or the Advocate was that people were leaving Lebanon prior to the start of the First World War because conditions there for the Lebanese were unbearable, bleak as part of the Ottoman Empire. Another penniless immigrant story that benefitted the community (Utica) in which it labored? Could the same be said for today? (No, we don’t make ice cream in a basement) Were the original 1900’s middle eastern immigrants welcomed and applauded by the “native” inhabitants of Utica because their future success was an aura that enveloped them as “special”? All the stuff of CRT, where individual events don’t mean as much as the accumulation of actualities does.