Sometimes I wonder about the role in which I have been cast on this website. There’s a certain sense that well, I don’t know, that I’m rather less than a friendly, happy, predictable, sane, sort of person, a fellow you might like to meet at your local watering hole, crotchfruit in tow, and with whom you could share a nicely chilled glass of over-oaked California chardonnay as we discuss real estate values, liberal politics, and the irrevocable decline of man.
Am I so angry? Am I so mean? In short—am I really such a stinker?
For those of you out there who actually know me in person, the answer is simple. Yes, I am.
A case in point in this blog post from the total fucking assholes fine folks over at Grist. It’s about why making school lunches healthier is an important social value, despite the cost, and even for folks with no children, or as those in the health biz like to put it, no skin in the game:
School lunches are our society’s most concrete, tangible way of transmitting foodways to rising generations. Sure, we pass on foodways in home kitchens and in our built infrastructure of restaurants/eateries, and well as through advertising; but those are in the private sphere. The public-school cafeteria is where we create a public vision of what the food system should be like. In short, it’s the public contribution to the formation of kids’ eating habits. And the eating habits we develop as kids largely determine the food choices we make as adults. If that weren’t true, the food industry wouldn’t be dropping $1.6 billion every year marketing to kids.
Foodways are an expression of habit. True, habits evolve and can be transformed. Most people who now populate the sustainable-food movement — including me — grew up eating bad school food, McDonald’s, TV dinners, etc. But habits also have tremendous momentum. The vast majority of people in my generation — I’m 44 — remain hooked on highly processed junk. In other words, they follow the societal norm with regard to food. And the school cafeteria helps establish that norm.
Foodways? Rising generations? Am I missing something—are we discussing tater tots or the anthropological mores of the Childus Suburbanicus?
Then, later in the post, the author does confront the issue of the relative lack of importance surrounding the topic of artisanal French Fries when compared with, say, Global Thermonuclear War:
The world is full of trouble; one has to choose one’s battles — and causes — carefully, to avoid being overwhelmed. But I want to make the case that everyone concerned about the future of the food system — with its vast influence over public health and climate stability — should care deeply about school lunches.
He has chosen his battle … and his battle is school lunches. Unfortunately, Jamie Oliver has beaten him to it, and with raffish Olde World charm to boot.
Not that he’s wrong, mind you. In fact, I tend to agree with practically everything mentioned above, minus the self-important, pseudo-journalistic tone. I want to like what’s he saying. It’s just that he’s irresistible.
It’s a sickness folks. Its name is the Internet. You have it, too.