Flavor and nutrition are for the rich.

Thanks for the reminder, Wall Street Journal. It’s a lovely argument to make to your superfluously wealthy audience…

The lesson: Spend money on the good stuff. Vote for real flavor with your pocketbook, and let the free market work. Remember what buying wine and beer was like before Americans took them seriously? Now imagine what the supermarket might look like if we took flavor seriously. Stop counting carbs. Don’t live in fear of fat. Start eating food that tastes better. We’ll all be skinnier, healthier and a whole lot happier.

 

It doesn’t take a wizard to detect the hegemonic spell encoded in these words. For instance, “let the free market work” is a convenient message to send to people for whom the free market has been advantageous; namely, the rich. Encouraging the affluent to keep spending money – more of it, in fact – and keep consuming, letting the engine of economic inequality hum along smoothly…isn’t that characteristically naive of American culture? When the writer here uses “we,” it’s a slap in the face to people who don’t even know they’re being slapped. They’re not readers of this elitist drivel. They don’t have access to the self-fulfilling proliferation of capitalist prophecy represented by the likes of Wall Street Journal. Stop using “Americans” as though you’re addressing a larger demographic than you are. You’re writing to the rich, for the rich, by the rich, and you’re promoting a system that secures the relative endurance of “the rich” as a homogenous social category. You’re focusing on keeping the rich healthy and wealthy, ignoring that in the process, most “Americans” are increasingly unhealthy and poor. They don’t have this freedom of choice that you’re espousing as wisdom. You’re even turning it into an ethical argument by magnifying nutrition as normative: “this is what Americans ought to do. Trust your taste buds, spend more money, and be happy and healthy! Hooray for us!” Maybe it is hooray for this increasingly small “us” that you’re celebrating. The liberty you taste is exclusivity, and I have no doubt that it’s delicious. Nutritious? Not so sure. Anyone that gets to experience this freedom of exclusivity in a culture that privileges it so highly, they must be doing something right. Or at least that’s what we’re fed. Tastes bitter, doesn’t it?

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