Unfeeding The World

The terms “fast food” and “junk food” are all very well as nouns, but are hard to turn into verbs. It might be more economical to describe the modern megacorporations as selling us “unfood”; we can then go to the unfood shelves in the unfoodstore. This would also allow us the verb “to unfeed”. “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag” was a song in Mary Poppins; but we might sing instead, “Unfeed the children, five euros a bag” – of crisps, for instance. Given that we are not actually designed by evolution to drink cows’ milk as soon as we arrive in the world, we may speak of breast-feeding (or “nursing”, to those prudish Americans) contra “bottle-unfeeding”. We could have feeding time at the zoo, and “unfeeding time” at the school canteen. When we fall sick, we would be “off our unfeed”.

And yet none of this is as new as we think. G.K. Chesterton excoriated the plutocrats of his own day for “adulterating the food of the people”; he also satirised faddery, as with the cultists who lived on “Mountain Milk” with its top-secret added ingredient – which turned out to be H2O. In those days you worried about sawdust rather than transfats in your sausages. When conscription was introduced in the First World War, the authorities discovered just how many of the industrial workers were malnourished and stunted – namely all of them. Can it be that the precise nature of the unfood on which the ordinary people are unfed changes over time, and the precise nature of their malnutrition; in which case, is it only a matter of a theoretically correctable profiteering; or might real food be like hand-made shoes, something that it is logically impossible for everyone to enjoy?

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 10:48 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE ENSLAVING MAMMAL, "Who Is This 'We', White Man?"

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