by Madeleine Kando
A 1999 BBC series on the origins of pornography inspired me to write a spoof. Rather than take sex as the subject however, I decided to replace it with food.
Before the 'Great Obesity Epidemic' of the late twenty-first century, when millions of people died from overeating, food and the consumption of food were a very inoffensive, daily activity that people engaged in without any shame or secrecy.
In previous decades it was customary to eat when one was hungry. There were even special places where groups of friends, husbands and wives, children and parents, sat together at a table and ate food, right in front of each other, there in public! These places were called 'restaurants'.
Before the 'Big OB-epidemic.', food was not considered taboo. But when more and more people became the victims of overeating, when women lost their ability to become pregnant and men became impotent, the government HAD to take steps to save our society from destroying itself.
Slowly, food consumption came to be seen as unnatural, something that was best practiced in secret.
Congress first passed the 'food obscenity' law, legislature that prohibited any kind of graphic display of food in public places. The second law prohibited parents from eating in front of their children. Many couples were denounced by their neighbors and faced severe prison sentences.
Soon, other laws followed: eating in public was deemed offensive and common decency required that any activity involving food consumption, talking about food and showing pictures of food be restricted to the privacy of one's home.
Believe it or not, but the expression 'May God curse you with a voracious appetite' did not exist before then. Other profanities, such as 'suck you' or 'eat cake' are fairly recent as well.
Black market trafficking of 'food-ography' (pictures of people eating together and other lurid depictions of food-related subjects) became a profitable business and people who could afford it joined secret societies where all manner of food perversion was the order of the day: strippers stepping out of giant cakes, food fights, movie showings of how food was produced and worst of all, members engaged in food orgies where they ate at nauseam and regurgitated their food in order to eat more.
As might be expected, all of this repression had the opposite effect of what was intended. Children who innocently walked to school were harassed by individuals who exposed themselves eating cake. The papers were full of articles about food voyeurs who had been caught in the act of looking at pictures of food. Some individuals developed severe cases of food fetishism for which they needed special psychiatric treatment. Virtual labs were developed where one could experience all the pleasures of eating without ingesting a crumb.
Soon there was so much censored, underground material available, on the internet, in chat rooms, on video, that people cut their workday short in order to secretly eat while watching movies about food.
People started to gain more weight than ever before. The simple pleasure of only eating when one was hungry had been lost, seemingly forever.
The Y.U.M. organization (Young, United and Mad) lobbied Congress to repeal the anti-food laws and eventually won. The circle was closed. Food slowly became a part of life again.
Some people still like to abuse food and occasionally succumb to the pleasure of eating in secret, but in general this period was a wake-up call for most of us. Who knows, maybe some day we will be able to let go of our inhibition and enjoy each other's company while eating in those quaint places called 'Restaurants'.
When tempted to eat in secret, repeat the mantra: ‘food is food is food is food..’ and don’t stop until the urge has passed. leave comment here
Thursday, May 26, 2011
by Madeleine Kando