COLOR ME BAD

If you haven’t yet read Lee Cullum’s editorial about the color orange, please take a minute to do so. It’s, um, quite something. Did I mention she wrote an editorial about the color orange?

It inspired me to write a few words about the color brown. Dear FrontBurnervians, if you have something to add, don’t hesitate.

On Brown
Suddenly the color brown is the must have of the moment. Look at men’s shoes. Have a gander at belts worn by those same men. Espy the handbags held by women who have things to carry. Witness coffee. Brown has spread from the ground, where it has long been the color of dirt, to places in most parts of the country and also in this city. Brown seems to be the new black.

Yet this is a color that’s shifty, capable of toast that over-toasts, of toast that has, in fact, been burned and will, therefore, taste dry and scrape the roof of your mouth and make you mourn your breakfast–unless that toast has a condiment or some other topping. Hence the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” which sounds really racist, now that I read the lyrics.

Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields / Sold in a market down in New Orleans / Scarred old slaver know he’s doin’ all right / Hear him whip the women just around midnight / Ah, brown sugar, how come you taste so good? / A-ha, brown sugar, just like a young girl should.

(I said it was racist.)

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