Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And McDonald's shall have no dominion

It's a movement that I have a certain (rigourously qualified) appreciation for, so it was with great disappointment that I read this silly book review:
After reading Michael Pollan’s new book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, I’ve realized that Edmund Burke should be considered the intellectual father of the organic and locally-grown food movements as well.


... Pollan notes the dangers of rapid change, though here the warning applies to diets rather than, as it did for [Edmund] Burke, to forms of government. He reminds us that the Western diet of processed sugar and carbohydrates (coupled with a lack of plant-eating) is a relatively new phenomenon. No humans in history have ever eaten the way that we do. And it shows. The spikes in obesity and diabetes--particularly in children--are evidence that humans simply aren’t designed to eat this way.

Pollan’s forceful conclusion is that our current way of eating is killing us ... Who knew? — Edmund Burke, patron saint of hippie organic food.

(That noise you hear is the clatter of bones turning deep in a Beaconsfield cemetery.)

I don't know. It seems to me that someone like Edmund Burke might be a little more likely to take into account a roughly twenty year rise in average life expectancy since George III's reign; particularly its continued and steady increase through the advent of such horrible things as processed sugar and carbohydrates. Indeed, it seems to me that someone of his acumen might be relied upon to observe, too, that any determination of good health must be judged as much by frequency of physical exercise as by quality of diet. Not factoring in so relevant a detail as a precipitous general decline in respect of this (given that it coincides far more closely with increased rates of obesity and diabetes than eating habits do) is to attribute to this counterfactual Burke a degree of ignorance (or underhandedness) that his 18th century self would have loathed.

But I suppose he would've enjoyed the "forceful conclusion" that "our current way of eating is killing us." The idea that many-faced and inevitable death is neither many-faced nor, apparently, inevitable. That it just has the one face, and that the New Jerusalem of the "hippie organic" movement will be characterized (in addition to its gruesome and ever-exploding overpopulation) by a complete absence of fast food joints.

Obiter Dictum

To reward myself for a briskly paced 3 mile walk earlier this evening, I had for supper two cheeseburgers, a Big Mac, large fries, and washed it all down with two very tall gins and tonic. I shall be moving on to the Bourbon soon enough, but first have to roll myself another cigarette.

Mes amis, si j'avance, suivez-moi! Si je recule, tuez-moi! Si je meurs, vengez-moi!