Silence Like A Cancer Grows

Much ado in broadcast media about the doubling of the price of Dungeness crab in local markets (haven’t been down to the Codfather to ask Max about it) and the fact that we’ve entered into the era of the $50 crab, shell on, live and kicking. The explanation comes from a booming export market in China. In a roundabout way, oil exports finance inflationary pressures on local food wherein we send dilbit to China, they use it for fuel and to manufacture CPSFC* that we all run to WalMart to stock up on and the Chinese entrepreneurial class use the proceeds from all this to buy up crabs (they apparently call them golden crab, ironically enough) and they have so much money that they can pay prices that take local food right off the menu for the rest of us. It’s a true manifestation of what a global market system can do for us. We have to hope that, even if it is the Chinese entrepreneurial class that’s chowing down on the crabs, the fishery is being managed for long-term survival, or maybe that doesn’t matter, given that the “perpetuation” of this way of doing things will kill itself and all of us with it. It occurs to me that crab shells are made from the same stuff as scallop shells, and might therefore be subject to the same environmental perils as local scallops who can’t make enough shell because of ocean acidification that might be tied to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that might, in turn, be tied to the manufacture of CPSFC* linked to petroleum and its uses.

As is often the case, this reminds me of a song I first heard on a Mose Allison record long ago, but penned by Charles Brown. The reference is to the days three decades ago when, of a Friday, a pickup truck would roll up to the parking lot of the school where I was working (or, alternatively,  the school where my wife was working: they were close and on the route of said pickup truck) and fresh, live Dungeness crabs would be dispensed to buyers at the princely sum of $2.00 each. Home to cook, clean, and ice the beasts, toss a salad, whip up some home made mayonnaise or aioli, crack a chilled bottle of Muscadet and tear hunks off a loaf of crusty bread.


Life was good for some of us. It still is, for some of us, but the great leveller (somewhat selective) is progressively removing an increasing number of these pleasurable and nourishing experiences from our domain.

*CPSCF=Cheap Plastic Shit From China, a term I first saw on Northwest Edible. It’s really a generic term that applies to disposable goods of any material from any jurisdiction. Nobody would be too offended if Stuff were to be substituted for Shit.