Skip to main content

Fat in Fire

posted 22 Nov 2009 12:18 by Dick Pountain   [ updated 9 Dec 2009 03:04 ]
 
What a fuss about Kate Moss's anti-eating quote that "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels". Knives are out, accusations fly that Moss is pandering to the "pro-anorexia" lobby, and by implication is almost a murderer. The whole furore is just one more example of the hysterical moralism that's spreading through all levels of our society: carbon footprint; paedophilia; anorexia; you name it. Witches and communists are really old hat I'm afraid.


What really interests me about this row though is a huge reversal it reveals, if you examine the quote closely. Throughout most of human history hunger has been a pain, a punishment even. Voluntarily giving up eating was the province of ascetics, mystics, martyrs and political dissidents, and it was considered as a self-chosen *harm*. Kate's dictum though is based on a utilitarian calculus - feeling skinnier than, hence superior to, the next person, feeling good about your appearance, is a *pleasure* that outweighs the pain of hunger (and maximising pleasure is definitely the goal). So long as we in the rich half of the world have more food than we can eat, narcissism and hedonism will remain our ruling ethic - but for how much longer will that be the case?   

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Touchy-Feely Inferno

This essay was originally the final, epilogue, chapter of an unpublished book I wrote in 2009. On re-reading it today I was struck that 9 years haven't changed much….

                      _________________ * ________________

“My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and absolute freedom – freedom from violence and falsehood, no matter how the last two manifest themselves.” [Anton Chekhov]


The incontinent expression of emotion has become a new orthodoxy, not only in popular culture but even in politics. We’re regularly treated nowadays to advertisements that exploit neuroscientific jargon where once they stuck to plain chemistry – they now seek to boost our serotonin levels rather than merely applying lipid microcapsules to our hair. The staple diet of celebrity magazines and soap operas is the ostentatious display of “emotional honesty” and “vulnerability”, people are always now “there for each other”. Hugging is as revealing of the t…

Social Democracy Uber Alles

The outcry over the revoking of Uber's London licence shows that the service it provides is popular, and it's unquestionably a significant, innovative use of new technology to improve transport. On the other hand the outcry from drivers about lack of benefits and job security show that the application of technology is being used (not uncommonly) both to increase exploitation of the labour force and to flout legal regulation designed to protect labour and customers. The outcry of Black Cab drivers against Uber ignores the fact that people flocked to Uber not merely for convenience (though that is considerable) but because Black Cabs had priced themselves out of the market with the last big price hike.

Put all this together and it's clear that all the parties need to get together and find a workable solution, which is highly unlikely to happen because of the vastly different political atmospheres between UK and USA, and a general lack of adult leadership on both sides. I ca…

A Very British Coup?

David Cameron is likely to be questioned about his friendship with Mrs Brooks by Lord Justice Leveson as part of his inquiry into press ethics Photo: REUTERS/GETTY







In 100 years time the last week of February 2012 will be remembered as a turning point in UK history, for three events that don't seem all that remarkable at first sight.

The first event was the appearance of Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan police Sue Akers at the Leveson inquiry, where she claimed that there was a "culture of illegal payments" at the Sun newspaper, in which police officers and other civil servants were not merely paid for specific information but were in effect kept on retainer to leak regularly. Akers testimony coincided with James Murdoch finally resigning the chairmanship of News International, the Sun's holding company. 

The second event was the announcement that the West Midlands and Surrey police authorities have invited bids from G4S and other major security com…