June 27, 2012
Justin Erik Halldór Smith On Dieting
Justin E. H. Smith in his own blog:
It may be that an older form of wisdom speaks to us through proverbs, the sort of wisdom that reeks of grandparents and people even older, that announces 'you are what you eat' as an existential truism, for example. But this sort of wisdom is for the most part drowned out by chatter, about good carbs as opposed to bad ones, about the exalted ideal ratio between carbs, proteins, and fats, about whether food should be free of some negative element or other, whether it should be raw or cooked, whether it is fitting that animals be slaughtered to produce it. And all of this chatter takes place in the mode of facticity: it is put forth as if it were entirely science, and had nothing to do with culture. The striving upper middle class thus avoids McDonald's not because it is where poor fat people go, but rather because the food served there is 'unhealthy', a term that can only conceal its normativity under a thick coat of false consciousness. And thus urban subcultures emerge that condemn gluten, or that advocate a diet based principally upon meat à la Tartare, as if there were no logic of social distinction at work, as if it were simply the case that their way of eating is the correct way, the natural way, the way cavemen ate, the way we ate before we were corrupted by the Agricultural Revolution, by modernity, by supermarkets, or some other hypothetical loss of innocence.
There is no more awareness in either the bourgeois or the Bohemian expressions of this chatter than there is in traditional folk cultures, with their highly prescriptive conceptions of how one ought to eat, that 'the natural' is a contested category, that in nutritional matters as in everything else, grand gestures and elaborate programs that spell out how to live in accordance with nature are at least as artificial as everything else we come up with. Whole Foods occupies a different cultural space than the McDonald's a few blocks away; both are however equidistant from Nature.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 07:00 AM | Permalink