Art, Advertising, and Food

From da Vinci’s late-15th-century “Last Supper” to Dana Sherwood’s contemporary videos of cakes being devoured by baboons, to The Food Network’s Cake Wars, food and art have always been inseparable. No single generalization can blanket our engagement with food across the broad range of media, from oil on canvas to fermented cabbage, or the variety of actions undertaken, but we can explore universal whys behind our food. At its simplest level, food looks, tastes, and smells good. It is fundamental to our existence.

But beyond that we interact with food intimately, consume it, ingest it, digest it—and internalize it in multiple senses—and with multiple senses. Food defines ordinary life and special occasions alike. It can create pleasure and provoke shame. A vehicle for stories, it prompts nostalgia and inspires utopian dreams. It embodies generosity, community, culture. It causes pollution and contributes to climate change. It’s in the kitchen, at the drive-through, on TV, filling up Instagram. It is fast and slow, super and junk, street and Michelin-starred. As long as art has been made, artists have found in food an endlessly elastic metaphor, and today’s artists use it for varied investigations of the body, identity, gender, community, the domestic, the sacramental, economics, politics, and the environment. 

Food is a basic human necessity. Art exists far down the continuum of biological need. Yet both serve to define Homo sapiens as a species. Humans are the only animals that cook and the only ones to create symbolic representations of reality. These two acts—the essential and the essentializing—have repeatedly converged in human history. From the beginning, in fact.

Since the creation of the cave paintings at Lascaux, food’s visual form has presented a challenge to virtuosity, inviting artists to imitate reality or redefine it. Food brings to the table the enduring themes of desire and transience. Food is an important aspect of how we document ourselves and our lives, even though it is very mundane. It isn’t just something we consume, it’s something we do. It’s not just a critique of other people but an introspective act.

Food is a medium with which to create emotion and, through emotion, to convey ideas. Caravaggio’s painted figs and apples expressed a poignant truth about time’s corrosive effect on beauty. Perhaps the same can be said about how we create advertisements for hamburgers, coffee, or tofu. Perhaps the same should be said. The outcomes of food-based advertising are irreconcilably different and dependent on its cultural role; the starting point is not.


Fieldwork Part 1: Hemophilia

David has hemophilia. Three days a week, he wakes up, showers, dresses, and sticks a needle into a vein. He’s been doing this since he was a child. He does this three days a week, for fifteen minutes each time, because if he doesn’t, a fall or scrape can land him in the hospital – or a coffin. This needle is a reality he’s lived with all 22 years of his life and one he will carry to the grave. It is, and always has been, a symbol of who he is. It has defined his life.

It would seem on the surface that medication compliance would be a non-issue. But for the makers of blood clotting drugs used to treat the disease, it turns out that managing this very necessary element to living with hemophilia is not as simple as it seems. Quite simply, young men (women very rarely suffer from hemophilia) are not particularly good about taking medication, even when that medication is essential to living a healthy life.

From the time they are children these individuals have limitations imposed upon them. Playing with others is often curtailed, parents hover, and they grow up constantly under a watchful eye. As one of our participants, John, explained as we sat in the Seattle apartment he shares with a couple of fellow college students:

“My mom and dad were everywhere, all the time. I get it, but it fucked with me, too. I couldn’t play sports until I was in high school. My mom controlled my infusion schedule and always checked to make sure I’d done it. So, when I went to college, yeah, I kind of slacked off. I don’t think it was some sort of rebellion, I mean, I wasn’t angry. But there’s a kind of freedom I’d never had before, and you take advantage of that, I guess. People can’t imagine what it’s like to shove a needle into their body twice a week, every week, and spend 15 minutes slowly pumping yourself full of your medicine.”

The transition from adolescence into adulthood can be difficult, but when chronic illness is a central marker of identity, that transition becomes harder for young men who have lived in a framework of dependence. Taking care to infuse means being able to engage in every activity they choose with the people around them, but there are a host of reasons to let treatment slide; some functional, such as time management, and some symbolic, like telling the disease to fuck off. 

The fieldwork noted that the role of shared space vs. private living space – often very limited – had an enormous impact on compliance. The first evidence of this point was the role of the refrigerator. Because the medication needs to be kept cold until use, it has to be stored in the refrigerator. Having the medication on public display was embarrassing and inevitably led to questions by both roommates and visitors. That meant that he and his medical condition were suddenly thrust into the spotlight, focusing attention not on the person, but the person as his illness. The second shared space vs. private space problem was finding a place to infuse. The process takes about 15 minutes and while it wasn’t hard to find time to do it, the patient needed to avoid interruptions, excuse himself and ensure some degree of privacy. Because this could be difficult or embarrassing, he might simply forego treatment.

House hygiene was another issue, especially in a shared environment. When we entered one apartment, as might be expected, I had to search to find a space that was free of pizza boxes, clothes, or textbooks. Keeping infusion equipment clean, keeping the bathroom clean, keeping the refrigerator clean, etc. was often a point of contention. Because the person with hemophilia is dependent on others to help keep a clean environment, it was often simply easier to skip infusion than to confront or manage the living situation with roommates.

But the environment is only one of the issues impacting these men; social and psychological changes are another. After moving away from home, young men with hemophilia encounter a degree of personal freedom that they have never experienced before. The wide range of limitations placed on these young men growing up are suddenly gone and learning how to handle it is the problem. There is a significant resistance to personal and social childhood limitations, the result being that finally getting involved in intramural football isn’t enough. As one participant, Brent, told us, “Hell yes, I did stupid things. I had someone watching everything I’ve done for my whole life. So you go a little bat-shit when you’re on your own.”

Resistance might mean drunken Twister, midnight wrestling, or skateboarding without a helmet. In one instance, I had the dubious honor of “officiating” an arm-wrestling contest that was fueled by shots of Fireball – not something you drink when planning an evening of rich conversation. I watched as our participant had his hand driven into the table by a friend who was considerably larger. Under normal circumstances this would have hurt, in this instance, had the participant not been infusing, it could have been life-threatening. 

Chronic illnesses can shape a life-long sense of self, and adulthood is the first time these young men have control over how the world sees them. Social bonding becomes more important than managing the disease because for the first time, they can simply be “Steve”, not “Steve the hemophiliac”. This sometimes leads to a more exaggerated expression than you see with the typical 18-year-old man. And it often leads to less compliance as the young man finds himself expressing his identity in opposition to the illness.

Not taking the medication is dangerous, but it’s also empowering. One participant, Jason, lived with two other young men in a small apartment, strewn with the standard debris of college life. For him, this wasn’t just a matter of letting the housekeeping slide a bit, it was a way of demonstrating his sense of independence. And while his infusion tools were kept clean and away from the chaos of the apartment, there was a haphazard element to their storage that fit the overarching theme of making a break with the past. “I know it’s stupid, but at least I’m in control. Not my mom. Not the disease.”

Technicolor Malt Liquor and All-Night Fieldwork

In its original formulation, Sparks was one of the first alcoholic beverages to contain caffeine. Its other original active ingredients included taurine, ginseng, and guarana, the backbone ingredients of traditional energy drinks. It also contained 6% alcohol. Packaged in a can that looked like a AAA battery, its labeling boldly and loudly stated all of its ingredients and its 6% alcoholic content by volume.  Its flavor was similar to other energy drinks mixed with malt liquor, having a tart, sugary, synthetic taste. Its color was a vibrant day-glow orange. All of this added up to a drink that catches the eye. Sparks was a catalyst for exploring a wilder side. It was what you took to a party, a kickball game, a rave or an outdoor concert.

Ethnography involves significantly more than one-on-one interviewing. The whole humankind is riven with contrasting practices, cultures, tongues, traditions and world views. A cultural context may exist on levels as diverse as a workplace, a family, a building, a city, a county, a state, a nation, a continent, a hemisphere etc. A cultural context provides a shared understanding of meaning provides a framework for what “works” in the world. It is what helps you recognize “your kind” in all senses of the word. Getting at this sort of knowledge can’t be uncovered exclusively through the interview process. So in the case of Sparks, this meant meeting with our key informants and their friends. It meant going out on the town and being part of the activities, not just asking about them. Inevitably, this led us to bars, parties, etc. Being in the moment, taking advantage of unexpected fieldwork situations to gather information, became the unspoken mantra of the research.

And it is out of these moments that good insights, not just data points, begin to emerge. In one case we found ourselves at the apartment of a 28-year-old male living on the Upper East Side. He had gotten into the recruitment mix because he was making under $50,000 a year (the majority of Sparks drinkers were not affluent and so the client had asked that we cap the incomes). However, the participant, Marco, was taking time off from his job as the head of social media for a major clothing brand. At the time he left he was making upwards of $300,000. So Marco had gotten into the mix on a technicality. He clearly fell outside the segmentation scheme, but as it turned out, our day with Marco was instrumental to the success of the project. As it turned out, while he stocked his pantry with high-quality wines and liquor, he was also an avid Sparks fan. Not so much for its energy properties, and certainly not the flavors, but because it allowed him to reconnect with what he saw as his rebel past. Marco recounted his early years in New York, struggling to get by and living a romanticized quasi-punk existence. Every Sunday, Marco would spend the day in Brooklyn with his pre-affluence friends building and riding mutant bikes and the searching out the “worst” or “most ridiculous” drink possible. For Marco, and for almost all the Sparks fans we met, Sparks became something that not only gave them symbolic license to act in ways they normally wouldn’t, but also provided them with a sense of connection to their youth.

While each individual and situation in the fieldwork was unique, patterns did emerge. And when things started to click, it was precisely because we’d found ourselves engaged in the absurd. The questions that needed to be asked and the observations that need to take place could have only happened by breaking away from traditional methods.

Sparks isn’t as simple as the obvious functional benefits or flavor. It’s property that is guarded, like someone’s stash. It’s a mechanism for rekindling friendships. It’s an excuse to treat life as performance art. And most importantly, it’s a symbol that tells everyone the drinker has license to break the rules and to turn the night into something absurd. Inevitably, when you’re drinking Sparks, the expectation is that you’ll be out late engaging in the unexpected. In one case it meant heading to a rave in in the Bronx, followed by a sunrise trip to Hoboken to find a place that served legendary waffles. In another, it set the stage for semi-nude wrestling on the front lawn in the cold and damp of a Portland winter. The important thing to take away from this is that a pattern of behavior emerged that we wouldn’t have gotten had had we simple conducted an interview or run a survey. We had to be in the moment. That’s how you change the game.

Taking Clients Along for the Ride

In the last few years, ethnography has shifted from a novel and often misunderstood methodology to a do-it-or-die necessity in many marketers’ and product designers’ tool kits. The idea of ethnography has a logical appeal for business clients; market intelligence born from the homes and hearts of customers. It’s an ethnographer’s job to talk to and observe people, as they go about their daily routines, using sociology and anthropology methods for data collection and analysis – giving clients true-to-life, informed insights and a firsthand understanding of their customers.

Perhaps naively, many ethnographers assumed that we would work in a vacuum when they learned their trade. We’d go into the field – people’s homes, workplaces, and leisure areas – and then report to clients what we learned. However, we soon realize that some clients take us literally when we state ethnography will bring them into their customers’ homes. They aren’t always satisfied with just overseeing the project or telling us what they want to learn and why. This is a great opportunity for clients to see customers using their products in real situations and a chance to get to know the customers personally. But it presents ethnographers with certain challenges. 

Involvement Risks

Ethnographers tread delicately. Every time we perform fieldwork we need to become instant friends with participants. We need them comfortable enough to behave “normally” while we point a camera at them, and to feel that they can tell us anything – even if they’re just talking about peanut butter. The field is spontaneous and sensitive, and anything can happen. That means making sure we and our clients do all we can to ensure that the field remains as natural as possible.

Clients have varying levels of fieldwork experience. Some are qualitative market researchers with a little in-context interviewing under their belts, and others don’t have much first-hand knowledge of qualitative research or the human sciences. Consequently, clients might interfere with the interview process, misinterpret the data, or overlook important but subtle information. However, ethnographers can take steps to mitigate these concerns.

1. Explore Motives

Understand why clients need to go into the field and what their expectations are of the project. DO they want direct exposure to generate ideas, ease issues of trust/competency/legality, train their in-house ethnographer, or simply be more engaged in the process? For the sake of both the research and the client-ethnographer relationship, articulating these issues is essential.

It’s paramount that clients communicate goals for a smooth operation. On one occasion, a busy client of ours wanted to see his products used in context, so he attended two field visits early in the project. Knowing his reason and planned number of outings, we ensured they’d include use of his products. Everything went well, and his observations were eye-opening. Because he didn’t have time to invest in more fieldwork, we sent him a video document every time someone used his products during the project.

2. Establish Boundaries

Before fieldwork, ethnographers must communicate the research boundaries and client role. Clients should recognize that ethnographers’ expertise consists of more than an ability to build rapport with strangers; their skills are rooted in a keen understanding of social theory and methodological rigor, and entail years of training.

Ethnographers have a process and particular mindset that directs the interview, interaction, and interpretation, so guiding client input before starting a project will help prevent everyone from asking leading questions or biasing conversations. Limits ensure quality work and allow clients to make the most of a field visit.

It also permits them to function within a frame of hierarchical authority, lessening their need to be project leader. In other words, clients understand that the context reduces or removes a layer of authority. It lets them focus on learning and executing predetermined tasks, instead of feeling compelled to handle everything. They can filter information through a training perspective while taking a holistic approach.

3. Allocate Responsibilities

Providing clients an indispensable role in the projects, such as videotaping an interview, helps them feel more like team members and less like visitors. It also raises comfort levels of everyone involved. Assigning tasks s also a practical necessity: Clients can replace research assistants in the field. Two researchers plus a client can threaten and crowd a participant, who just wants to demonstrate the best way to clean a bathroom countertop.

4. Encourage Reciprocation

It’s important to know clients well and be thoughtful about their flexibility, political realities, and character traits. Unfortunately, there often isn’t enough time to do so in-depth. Clients might arrive a half-hour earl for an afternoon interview and leave that evening, never to go into the field again. In this case, an ethnographer can only outline some expectations and techniques – through phone and e-mail conversations beforehand, and on the spot (frequently while sitting on cushy hotel-lobby chairs).

When clients have more time to invest in the ethnography, there are two parts to building a solid team and guaranteeing productive fieldwork (despite their lack of experience.) Clients must be willing to adapt to new or unfamiliar methodologies – techniques for data gathering and interpretation – regardless of their backgrounds (e.g. design, business strategy, engineering). And ethnographers must appreciate and incorporate clients’ theoretical and practical contributions. Success requires devoting time and energy to discovering the capabilities of all the team members – ethnographer and client alike.

Each team member can learn to apply findings across a range of activities. After all, a key to business achievement is using seemingly disconnected information to build new products, brands, and business models. Learning how best to conduct research and understanding individual roles in the field ultimately helps the client use the gathered information most effectively.

Protection and Collaboration

As ethnography becomes a staple of market research, we just might see marketers and product designers make an exodus to the field – with or without us. Ethnographers need to prepare for the possible outcomes. They should do so by not only preventing research from being disturbed, but also by harnessing clients’ intelligence and know-how – using their involvement as a springboard for more effective and actionable ethnography. In the future, most marketing decisions and product innovations will be based on real-world experiences with ordinary people.

Doing Away With Disciplines?

When it comes to explaining what business ethnographers do the first hurdle we often face entails adequately describing the disciplinary substance of anthropological and sociological practice to business professionals not necessarily versed in any aspects of social science. Ethnography is a buzz word in most business circles, but it is more than that to those of us who have spent our professional lives in the field. Before a company, a product development team, anyone will read or listen to what we put before them, they need to understand what it is we do.  One of the first steps in the process of reconciling what we do in the context of the team is to determine what boundaries we set for ourselves within the nature of the work itself and how that translates into the business environment.  The prospective researcher must examine the nature of the boundaries between and across disciplines and determine where he or she fits into these definitional categories.

The understanding of what anthropological fieldwork, specifically ethnography, means and is capable of becomes further blurred when the clients and employers attempt to make some sort of distinction between the researchers of various social science disciplines that may be involved in the research process (in this case a corporate environment), all of whom may be engaged in some capacity in an anthropologically-oriented project.  Added to this is the fact that employers have similar categorical constructs for other disciplines.  For example, psychology has a vague definition attributed to it by non-psychologists and often all of its subdivisions are compressed under a single, umbrella classification. The problem lies in communicating an understanding of the research capabilities to the multitude of others who will need to either turn the data into products, services, etc., or those with the power to supply funding for research and application.  The solution lies in developing multidisciplinary teams with a range of perspectives that can generate ideas and methods capable of addressing an assortment of client perspectives.  It also means developing teams with a keen interest in learning new skills, new ways of looking at the world, an appreciation for different methodological perspectives, and an ability to turn the abstract into the concrete – in short, the ability to make money.

While it varies from company to company and client to client, the boundaries that define anthropology as a select discipline frequently break down in the business setting.  There are no academic review boards, few disciplinarily-specific journals, and essentially no departments based on established traditions or theoretical leanings.  Departments within an organization are typically functional and/or reflect a general need for information. There is little time for the nuances and peculiarities of individual disciplines, and no time for theoretical models – results are measured in terms that reflect the bottom line.  While we certainly have an impact on the nature of how business is conducted, in the final analysis the client or employer is responsible for creating profits, products, and services.  Just as it is unrealistic to assume that the bulk of anthropologists will ever learn the subtle differences between the various technical strata of electrical engineering, it is unrealistic to assume the consumers of our work will ever come to understand or care that deeply about the methodological and epistemological boundaries between social science disciplines.

Within the group of people tasked with performing certain functions or research projects for a company, disciplinary boundaries mean just as little, though for somewhat different reasons.  At the crux of the matter is determining whether the various members of a research team are understood as “insert discipline X here” or as part of a single organism trying to get a job done. For the other members of the research team, the boundaries and the constructs we create have little relevance and can hinder the process of getting the necessary work done. I would contend that a large part of this desired retention of boundaries can be related fear often associated with moving into the unknown and the desire to hold onto something old, something that defines us as us and not part of the new world of which we become a part when entering the business environment.  In a disciplinarily enclosed space it may be easier to maintain boundaries and conclude that while other disciplines may in fact be informed by similar theories and techniques, there is typically less need to mix as freely as is the case in the business environment; maintaining disciplinary purity is, in fact cherished in academia.  In the business environment shedding disciplinary titles is often encouraged, if not demanded outright. For a multidisciplinary approach to be successful the various team members must understand what the other members of the team do in terms of research, how they do it, why they do what they do, and also how they think, insofar as it is possible, and how those skills may overlap to produce something unique to that setting.

While anthropology has a long history of work outside the academic setting, its involvement as a daily part of the business process is fairly recent. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but until recently anthropologists were seen as the “new” thing.  The longer a discipline or methodological perspective is part of the commercial world, the less likely it is for boundaries to be maintained.  This is not to say that those boundaries will be completely lost.  Of course they will not.  The moniker of anthropologist lends understanding about how and why we approach projects, problems, and data as we do.  However, the boundaries will probably continue to blur and social scientists of all stripes in the business environment will be more readily defined in terms of the their final products rather than their disciplinary groundings.  Are we creating “hybrid” disciplines as a result of multidisciplinary work?  The answer is most probably yes.  Of course, this is neither an indictment of nor a call for hybridity.  It is simply a recognition that the tenets of business are frequently such that maintaining disciplinary continuity becomes overwhelmingly a reflection of the both individual researcher’s desire to maintain a separate, bounded identity, and the ability of the team of which he or she is a part to recognize that person as a fully integrated part of the “tribe” rather than as an outsider.

Of course there are times when it is best to keep a single disciplinary approach or set of monodisciplines, just as there are times when it makes sense to build teams of fieldworkers and other times to go it alone.  Anthropology’s greatest contribution to business is the introduction of the culture construct as a means of identifying shared human experience and the ways that culture impacts consumption, use, and product development.  Expertise is expertise and maintaining disciplinary control may help maintain focus both for the specific research and the various members of the team.

The question still remains as to what makes a project multidisciplinary as opposed to being comprised of several monodisciplines.  There will, of course, be instances where the work is singularly monodisciplinary; a test meant to determine the ergonomics of a new shovel design may have little need for a multiple disciplinary perspective.   More complex problems typically involve a number of people, however, and require doing more than simply handing the results off to the client once the work is done.  This is a significant boon if all of the members of a team feel they have a voice and are willing to incorporate multiple perspectives into their understandings of the project.  If this does not occur, the result is a fractured mix of varying opinions vying for dominance in the final report and list of recommendations.  A multidisciplinary project can be defined through how methodologies are built, how the knowledge is shared.

As stated, the length and scope of the project typically means more time in preparing for the research itself.  Multidisciplinary teams must work together to shape the numerous sub-goals within the project and determine how these sub-goals are best interwoven to produce a unified vision.  From the outset this implies that all the members of the team work openly to provide input on how data will be gathered, shared, and discussed.  The first step is to determine who will lead what phases of the research, how the lead may change through time, and how the final output will be crafted and displayed. Involvement from beginning to end (and with an implied extension into the product and/or service as it moves through its lifecycle) must be complete insofar as each voice must feel it is being heard and suggestions are openly assessed and probed by the group as a whole.  As the project moves from one phase into another, for example, from exploratory research through concept development through usability testing through marketing, each team member needs to reinvest him or herself in the project and provide input from their distinct perspectives.

Learning the Language of Business

For an anthropologist interested in practicing in the business world, it is as important that he or she learn the language, so to speak, of that culture as it is for an anthropologist entering the a small, tribal society.  It would be tempting to initially argue that the university settings in which we first learn the basics of our discipline are remiss in preparing students for the corporate life, but this would be shortsighted, inaccurate, and unfair.  Preparation ultimately rests on the practitioner’s shoulders – we receive the fruits of experience of our teachers, but ultimately we must learn the basics of the languages and customs of the people with whom we will live and work on our own.  Unfortunately, learning the communication styles and language of the business world must be done rapidly – the “natives” are largely unforgiving and impatient, casting the “academic” anthropologist out on the street if they do not perform within the approved social and linguistic norms quickly.  And so I have learned, or so I like to believe.

Today, my anthropological training is applied to attempting to understand the ways in which culture influences and reflects how people, middle-class Americans in particular, interact with, use, and conceptualize the internet, electronic media, and consumer electronics.  The nature of the work is such that research time is often dreadfully limited and the results of fieldwork are frequently ambiguous.  Communicating this to groups that expect simple, concrete answers and recommendations is at times a seemingly insurmountable task.  But it needn’t be so.  Rather, it is a matter of learning how our audiences make sense of their worlds and crafting language that meets their needs in a range of contexts.

To my mind, the most significant change comes in the way we present our findings.  My limited experience has indicted that we are a new voice to business and though respected, we are expected to adapt to the social and linguistic rules of this unforgiving lot. So, as we talk to the issues that will develop into holistic synergies, we continue to harvest constructive relationships and build a new paradigm – or something along those lines.

Serving Up Findings: What Insight Is For Dinner?

It is worth noting again that the people employing us are generally indifferent, at least initially, to our concerns about holistic approaches, theoretical positions, etc., often because they are not familiar with anthropology as a field of inquiry.  The information we provide must be made familiar enough to draw them in.  If this means simplifying our findings, then the risk is worth the reward.

In the eyes of the corporate consumer, there is no such thing as anthropological research. The first step in successfully entering the business community is understanding the natives’ emic vocabulary.  This isn’t to say that we abandon our own language in favor of another, but it does mean understanding how and why we translate what we say into something meaningful.  A business executive wants market research, futures forecasting, strategic planning advice, new product design, packaging design, or some form of business oriented information.  The anthropological aspect of the research is only tangential in as much as it can bring fresh insight to the situation.

“Anthropology,” “ethnography,” and “culture” have meaning insofar as they vaguely represent ways of gathering and contextualizing information that can be readily applied to specific business situations.  Consequently, it is imperative that we understand the language of the “native” and explain anthropological methods and findings in ways that will be easily understood.

“This audience treats fieldwork as merely a method among methods, and while normally respectful of the work, this audience judges it by how well it informs their own set of interests.  These readers are not reading ethnography to be entertained, challenged, or enlightened about the nature of social science.  They wish only to be informed about certain facts the fieldworker has unearthed” (VanMaanen  1988: 30).

Our work is, regardless of the setting, meant for utilization by our peers and our employers.  Discussing work done in a meat processing town, the following analogy was brilliantly stated:

“…workers extract information from live animals and then transform it into words and numbers, which are in turn built into new narratives.  These are further processed into texts, which are then published (hopefully) for consumption (Van Maanen’s third ethnographic moment) by professional colleagues and others.  They, too, chew our words.  We want readers to swallow, digest, and be nourished by them.  But there are times they spit them out, only to chew us up instead.” (Erickson and Stull  1998)

With this in mind, we cannot forget that we produce a product for consumption by a wide range of people with specific needs.  While it may be tempting to produce text that reflects our disciplinary history, we must recognize that to do so may well backfire, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of our employers.  Making the text palatable for general consumption allows us to eventually change the tastes of our readers.