As a Southern California native, consuming (and/or cooking) mass quantities of Mexican cuisine is a way of life. One of the more delectable ingredients in many tasty recipes is refried beans. Ironically, the way these beans are made involves methods other than frying or refrying. So while they are still delicious, the name is not exactly accurate.
I’ve never made them from scratch, but I understand refried beans are either baked or boiled before eventually being placed in the can that I purchase from the store. For certain things whether due to convenience or practicality, prepackaged products make perfect sense. For me, since the preparation techniques can be quite labor intensive and time consuming, refried beans are one of the better examples of that being the case.
On the other hand, there’s something special about compiling and creating content to produce a unique piece of work. When the mood strikes me to write, I may gather inspiration from a random source (such as a can of beans) or a series of events, interactions or triggers that hopefully coalesce into a coherent commentary on a particular subject matter.
Some of my esteemed peers on various industry sites have previously touched on the concept of blogging being on the downswing. There are many theories for this including sheer volume constricting everyone’s already limited attention span. Another belief is that most articles are not interesting, original or noteworthy enough to draw readers, comments or shares. Unlike a can of beans, written content has a very short shelf life.
That brings me to some personal observations about reading and writing. Not just recently but for a while now I’ve noticed a steady and rapid decline in the quality of available content. Many times it’s blatantly obvious that certain writers lack familiarity with the topic, but feel compelled to jump into the fray to sling some gibberish on generational generalizations, social recruiting and any other trending terminology
Several blogs I’ve seen lately are merely recycling of another person’s or publication’s copy or ideas presented by a different “author” that just discovered a theme perfect for an infographic or listicle.
While it is completely acceptable to reference or quote another party’s work, there really doesn’t seem to be any benefit to the reader to only repeat ideas already shared by whoever thought of writing them before. Many such articles resemble a grade-school book report where the student strategically places a few lines: “so and so said such and such” and then “later such and such happened followed by so and so doing this or that” to convince the teacher that the student read and understood the material.
To put this back into the kitchen terminology, a unique written product out of a person’s own thoughts and creative combination of analogies or anecdotes is similar to a homemade dish. A collection of quotations, links and citations resembles a concoction of canned goods rather than a chef’s own masterful amuse bouche to stimulate the palate or the mind.
Perhaps just like there was probably no intent to mislead in the refried beans label, the “new” writer (or content recycler) is just interested in expediency rather than engaging in that arduous task of slow cooking up his/her own flavors or food for thought.