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?