Fattipuffs And Thinnifers

Since Starbucks is compelled by the peril of American litigation to celebrate an entirely secular Christmas, their centrally-imposed playlist has perforce to be solely about Santa Claus, snow, reindeer, and red-red-robins. Because anything else would be religion, and for some peculiar reason Americans do not classify object-consumption as a religion within the meaning of the Act. This allows one of the Starbucks playlist tracks to contain the words, “Everyone’s waiting for the man with the sack”. Enduring this one day, it occurred to me to wonder whether this might be as good a summary of the human species as any other. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

I have mentioned elsewhere how the words “lord” and “lady” derive from “loaf”, while the Romance words for bosshood tend to come from the terminology of slavemastering and seniority. The German and Slavic ones come from warlordry. The basic social structure of our species may therefore be summarised thus: one man grows old in the leading of armies, thus accumulating loaves to give to other men.

The Eucharist derives from the pagan and Jewish festivals at which the common people got the red meat they might not otherwise have seen. So God, or the god, is a nourisher in a very literal sense, and when the Welsh sing “Bread of Heaven” they are trading on the dichotomy between those who have enough bread and those who do not. At this point it is worth remembering that odd Old Testament term, “shewbread”. Even displaying food must mark hierarchy. Look at what we have and you don’t!

This conviction of the primacy of nutrition was in no wise diminished from my reading in medieval Italian history about the classes called populo grasso and populo minuto. That terminology made it sound, I fancied, as if the ultimate reality were to be body weight. And that immediately put me in mind of the African “Big Man”. Not so long ago, British workers were scrawny, but overeating clubmen were “portly gentlemen”. Getting obese on pseudo-food rather than on real food is the only novelty here. Traditionally, “fat cats” were fat because they had more to eat than their social inferiors.

I have been soundly rebuked for imagining that I might have the same right to walk the pavement as others. In the city in which I live, we see primate dominance without the veneer of civilisation that promises me such a right: here, every square metre of public space belongs to the larger person, usually but not invariably male, and wherever I am standing is on their planned trajectory, or is put on it as soon as they notice me. Relative to me, moreover, almost the entire population is popolo grasso; and the average is getting taller every year. I have not felt that I had the right to exist since I was last in Japan.

(Fiddle date-stamp to May 8, 2012)

Posted on December 23, 2018 at 18:16 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE ENSLAVING MAMMAL, The Universal Template

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