Symbolic: GOP returns styrofoam to House cafeteria

A cup I drank out of in 1983

American conservatism has always placed a high premium on the past, but it was not until its victories in the last election that the Republican party made good on its promise to actually reverse the flow of time. In the spirit of fiscal responsibility fuck you, the GOP has reintroduced Styrofoam to the House cafeteria. In theory, this measure will save the American taxpayer half a million dollars per year.* That it also undoes one of Nancy Pelosi’s pet projects and magically transports all diners to the year Back To the Future came out is just a fun bonus. The more you think about it, the more the switch back to Styrofoam is an incredibly versatile signifier. I submit that the Styrofoam cup is the best symbol yet for the Republican party: it’s white, it seemed like a great idea in the eighties, it’s made of oil, and even though you’re done with it, it’s going to be around for 500 years.

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Ethical dilemma of the day: hipsters on food stamps

At this point, the iconography of hipsterism has become so esoteric as to just be iconography itself. If your primary focus is your clothes and you still look terrible, you're a hipster. Photo courtesy of

Salon provides us with an interesting ethical question/reminds us of its existence today, with this article about hip, educated young people who use food stamps to buy organic groceries. Much to the consternation of Mose, hipsters have been a perennial object of fascination here at Combat! blog, in part because they’re so difficult to pin down. In reporting the apparent uptick in hipster consumption of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit cards, Jennifer Bleyer acknowledges the difficulty of proving that what she’s writing about is actually happening. “The increase in food stamp use among this demographic is hard to measure,” she admits, “as they represent a cross section of characteristics not specifically tracked by the Agriculture Department, which administers the program.” When writing about hipsters, one must continually examine the possibility that they do not exist. For Bleyer’s purposes, the hipster is a fairly identifiable, if vague, marketing demographic: twenty/thirtysomething, college-educated, and willing to pay money for organic tarragon. In this case, the money is yours.

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