From the corner store to the void.

One of the most radical essays I’ve read recently is Raffi Khatchadourian’s The Taste Makers from the November 23, 2009 edition of The New Yorker. (Sadly, it’s not available online but a PDF is yours for the asking.)

When philosophers or artists point out the ways in which reality is constructed, the proof is mostly of interest to other philosophers and artists. Khatchadourian starts with a simple enough topic – the artificial flavors that define most of the food consumed in the United States, if not the world – and slowly walks the reader to a ledge overlooking the void. It’s a thrill.