In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the fast food workers strike, Nelson Mandela and our last meals.
1. Are you planning any coverage of the fast food workers strike? It's an important story, no?
Ben: To be completely honest, no, but that doesn't mean we won't. I've have been monitoring the issue and had played with doing something about it, but I spent most of the week on my Glenn Greenwald/Pierre Omidyar/Mark Ames piece. I do agree, it's a very important story and if I had a newsroom full of people reporting for me, the Banter would have been all over it.
Chez: Well, you just mentioned it, so I guess a thank-you is in order for providing our coverage for us. Coincidentally, hope you don't plan on getting paid for it.
Bob: If any of us come up with an angle that's unique from other sites covering it, I'm sure we will. But I assure you -- no one except you and 11 other people will read it.
2. Some friends and I are having a debate over this. Was Nelson Mandela the most important global figure of our time? I honestly can't think of anyone praised so universally and who had more of an impact on the world.
Chez: It's admittedly tough to think of anybody more iconic, not only because of his accomplishments and what he went through personally in the fight for social justice and what he believed in, but also for the length of time he lived. I will say this: I don't think his death is a reason to mourn but rather an occasion to celebrate. He lived to be 95 years old and what he did throughout those years was extraordinary. Everybody dies eventually -- very few can do so knowing that they changed the world for the better in ways that are nothing short of epochal.
Bob: He'd easily be among the top five. I think you'd have to include Bill Clinton, the Pope (this one and Paul II) and Mikhail Gorbachev on the list. Oh, and Edward Snowden. Kidding. By the way, I visited the dark depths of the internet today and there are plenty of crazy far-right screechers who think Mandela was a communist/terrorist monster. So it's not universal -- only universal among people who, you know, matter.
Ben: I'd probably agree with that assessment, although I'm biased. I read his autobiography when I was about 19 and was profoundly affected by it. Mandela was not only a hero to his people and the African diaspora, but an astonishingly intelligent man with unparalleled political instincts and guile. He went to prison for 27 years, would have gladly died for his beliefs, and personified human dignity. I'd urge everyone to pick up a copy of 'Long Walk to Freedom' as it's genuinely a life changing book and proof (in my mind) that Mandela should be regarded as the most important global figure of our time.
3. Last meal. Go!
Bob: I'm going to totally crave it just by typing it out. Cheeseburger (medium well, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, sesame seed bun, A-1 stake sauce), Amish macaroni salad, two ears of buttered/salted sweet corn and my wife's baked kale. Beverage: a bottle of Mirassou Pinot Grigio. A substitute for the macaroni salad could be my wife's home-made mac & cheese. Alternate choice: Shoyu Chicken Ramen from Goma Tei in Honolulu and a bottle -- ah screw it, it's my last meal, make it a six pack -- of Kirin Ichiban beer.
Chez: Tough question. The mustard capellini with guinea hen ragu, savoy cabbage, and minolette at SPQR in San Francisco. Or the bar steak at Balthazar in New York City. Or a good bowl of pho. Or anything at all my girlfriend cooks.
Ben: Easy: I'd go to Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo - the world's best rated sushi restaurant. I've never been, but I'm a huge fan of sushi and would make it my last meal without a doubt. Just check this out: