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Culture / Feb 2020

Goodness Gracious!

Bid goodbye to bad boys, the wild child and rebels without a cause; it’s 2020 and goodness gracious, we’re seeking some sweetness and light. From Little Women to meat-free Mondays and incessant “good deed” posts we’re homing in on all things “good” this month.

What we’re saying …

Coined in 2015, Virtue Signalling is a term used to describe given to those who loudly proclaim their virtuous actions in the quest for goodness, self-satisfaction and social status. It’s got a bad rap because “Virtue Signalling” tends to be more about inflating one’s own ego on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram than actually eating less meat, saving the whales, using less power or really, genuinely, seriously loving tofu steaks. Virtue Signalling generally takes the form of expressing one’s opinions in a way that makes them most palatable to other people, which can feel more like preaching to a very loud and very responsive choir in the echo chamber that is our news feeds, home pages and customised timelines.

What we’re watching …

“Morals don’t sell nowadays” remarks publisher Mr Dashwood, drawing lines through Jo March’s first draft. “People want to be amused, not preached at.”

He couldn’t be more wrong. Nominated for six Oscar awards this February and having grossed over $138 million world-wide since its premiere in December, Hollywood darling Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is proof that saccharine  is back in style. The beloved coming-of-age story follows the March sisters, Jo (Saorise Ronan of Ladybug fame), Amy (Florence Pugh), Meg (Emma Thomson) and Beth (Australian Eliza Scanlan) as they transition from a largely care-free childhood into the trials and tribulations of adult life. It is a film jam-packed with goodness, the March sisters are a delight to watch and Gerwig’s modernist take on more dated themes in the book respectfully refresh and reinvigorate an all-American classic.

What we’re eating …

“I’m trying to be good” is a well-worn mantra at this time of year but is steering clear of the biscuit tin at work “good” enough? The Sydney Morning Herald reports that plant-based dining is influencing local restaurant menus. It also ties into a global ‘climate diet’ trend for 2020: more consumers are eating less meat and dairy and prioritising sustainable food choices. Last year, California-based Impossible Foods launched their plant-based Impossible Burger with Burger King restaurants around St Louis. Met with overwhelming success, the meat that looks, cooks and bleeds (beetroot juice has never sounded so creepy) was soon rolled out to restaurants all around the country. A competitor, Beyond Meat, is one of the fastest growing food companies in the United States, with expected revenue of $358 million in 2020. You can try Beyond Burgers here in Sydney at restaurant chains Grill’d, Soul Burger, IGA and Coles. Also keep an eye out for mushroom-based mock meat from Australian company, Fable. For home cooks, Earth To Table is the latest offering from Healthy Chef Teresa Cutter, filled with plant-based recipes.

So, whether it’s looking good, tasting good or behaving well, 2020 presents goodness in spades.

 

Cover illustration Credit: Niki Fisher http://www.nikifisher.org