Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prole Feed.

I'm no foodie. Unlike many hipsters and gourmets I find excessive fussiness in food off putting. On the other hand, I find most junk food revolting. It's not that I have anything against junk food, it's just it tastes bad and that with a little bit of effort, home cooking clearly surpasses it in flavour. That doesn't mean that I don't eat junk. If I'm running late or its been a psychologically exhausting day I'll order some takeaway or gets something from Mc Donalds.

I think the whole "healthy eating" thing is a bit overblown, the worst fanatics approach a meal like an industrial chemist, analysing it for its chemical composition. I like to enjoy my food, watch my portions and have the occasional indiscretion. As they say, everything in moderation.

With that in mind, I'd like to say that I'm a great fan of Jamie Oliver. I find his whole approach to food appealing. He's not to fussy, his flavours are great and most of his recipes can be fit into a busy family schedule.  He seems cognisant that most families are time pressured and food has to taste in a way that appeals to the whole family. I have nearly all his books and my kids by and large like his meals.

I applaud his school dinners project and its been a fascinating to see what the public response to it has been. Conservative commentators should study the phenomena as it exposes what I think are the weak spots in the modern conceptions of democracy and mainstream conservatisms lauding of the "common man"

For those who are unaware, the Oliver initiated the  school dinners program after witnessing first hand the appalling "junk" that British kids were fed at school. His aim was to improve the nutrition of kids at school (and help the fight against obesity) by offering more healthy and flavoursome choices. Oliver was not attempting to force some weird vegan diet on the children, "look kids dried soy, yummy", rather he wanted them to stop eating rubbish continuously. Given what we know about nutrition you would imagine that he would be lauded for his efforts. Not so.

If you imagine that the prole class are just like you and I only just a bit poorer , you're sadly mistaken.

While he was given lots of support by government officials and the media, he was reviled by the people he was intending to help. In fact his school dinners program has failed  in the U.K. and he was pilloried in the U.S. His harshest critics being the proles and the libertarians.

What's going on here?

Even if you don't agree with what Oliver serves up, you've got to agree that it is better than most of the rubbish that children are fed at school. So why is he on the receiving end of so much heat? Why are the very people he is trying to help his harshest critics?

The modern American democratic model, the model upon which most of the modern Western states are based on, is premised on the assumption that the choice that the public makes is inherently good.  Yet how legitimate is a democracy when it starts to make objectively bad decisions? Most of my middle class friends stared in horror at the Jamie Oliver episodes, aghast at the pig ignorance of the parents and children who demanded it as their "right", to eat whatever they wanted and not to be coerced into eating reasonably healthy food. How can people be so stupid? How is it that they want to fight for the right to destroy themselves?

Conservative commentators, especially those with a belief in universal democracy and hatred of "elites" should study this phenomena closely. While our current "elites" are rotten, the prole class is not much better. Disestablishment of our governing class is unlikely to give birth to a world of classicism and high art, instead a dictatorship of the capitalist proletariat is likely to see a "Burger King on every corner" and free porn on every TV.

Many conservative commentators believe that the "elites" are responsible for the mess that the West is in at the moment. They fail to see the elephant in the room. The West is rotting from the top and the bottom.

An insistence on totally free market economics and the legitimacy of consumer choice in a moral vacuum results in a market that reflects the value of the lowest common denominator. The dumbing and coarsening down of mainstream culture is not a product of elite conspiracy, more an end result of proletarian demand in capitalistic culture.  Jamie's school dinners project is not failing because of elite conspiracy, it's because the proles won't eat his food. They prefer to pay for Mc Donalds. Pearls before swine.


Anonymous Protestant said...

The self-anointed elites are responsible for the mess, because back in the 1960's they decided en masse to ape the lowest groups of people. It was part of solidarity with the proletariat, or "keeping it real", or "striking back at The Man", or some other slogan.

But that's what was going on, young and not so young upper middle class people deliberately and consciously decided to act like, well, trash. Fast forward to now, and the same pattern can be seen, except now it's not really a conscious choice as in the days of peace beads and fringe jackets, it's the default culture. In the US, Hollywood pumps out endless entertainments that pander to the lowest common denominator, because they do not know what else to do.

The self anointed elite acts like proles because that's all they know to do, now that being trash has been the default cultural mode for 40-odd years. Add to that the way so called elites have pandered to the lowest, and most ignorant, of voters in order to win elections and, well, "Bob's your uncle"...

Locard said...

My wife and I very much enjoyed watching his mini series on TV. I loved the part where he made processed chicken nuggets for some kids, it was GREAT! I was disturbed by the total lack of any preperation of the school cooks other than shoving some breaded trans fat ladden head in an oven. It is just sooo easy for the trucks to roll in with frozen food in premeasured boxes. We are rotting and if this keeps up there aren't any drugs or health care in the world that will allow these children to live as long as thier parents.

grerp said...

This seems similar to the fat acceptance hysteria. It's really the idea that you should be able to reject the ideas of anyone if they make you feel uncomfortable about your choices or yourself - even when the ideas are based on a universally acknowledged truth.

I've been floating an idea for awhile; it's just a thought. Before feminism most of the vices were male vices. Society often did not approve, but some men did them because they wanted to do them and more or less shrugged their shoulders at other people's judgments - or if they didn't like the judgment enough, they quit.

But once women started dabbling in vice they discovered that the vice itself was exciting but the social ostracism was not. So they agitated to end judgment because being as socially plugged in as women are, the shoulder shrugging approach was just too difficult. Being in sync with the crowd and accepted/approved of by their peers was so important that the only solution was to change the crowd's mind, and there is no end to what you have to change if the end goal is to do whatever you want to do and whatever feels good.

I could be all wet.

The Social Pathologist said...


Perceptive comments. You are right that the middle/upper classes have aped the habits of the proles. The idealisation through literature and art of the "noble worker" played a large part in it. What interests me is why did the middle classes give up their ways and embrace prole kultur.

We are indeed rotting. What I found horrifying in his series was that many British kids could not identify even basic vegetables. Their parents should be ashamed of themselves. BTW nice dog. My Labrador is my thinking companion.

It's interesting how the opponents of Oliver used libertarian thinking to denounce him. The right to do what I damn well please triumphs the obligation to do good. However the modern twist on this is that proles are demanding that people not discriminate against them even though their behaviours are abhorrent.

I think you're onto something Grerp. With the increased participation of women in social and economic life it would only be a matter of time till female "policing" techniques would become culturally expressed. Getting the crowd to "sync" with the alpha females is one such method.

My Sluthood Myself is a typical example of this. It really is a call by Friedman for other women to get in sync with her ideals.

grerp said...

My Sluthood Myself is a typical example of this. It really is a call by Friedman for other women to get in sync with her ideals.

Yes, definitely. It's hard to stand out there on the slut ledge by yourself. Lonely too.

Locard said...

Thanks for the complimeent. We have to thank the Britts for the wonderful labrador. Of course here in the US we made them more efficient, better looking with lots of blood lust.

Obsidian said...

Hi SP,
Long time, no hear! How are you? Great post, as per usual with you.

I agree with Grerp, excellent point she makes; female proclivities are now beginning to morph into public policy. So, for example, if a writer who happens to be online writes a column in a well known magazine and you write a response to same on your own blog, you're "stalking and harrassing her", not merely mounting a vigorous counter argument. Imagine male writers complaining in such a way! Like Grerp said, females want to do as they please without any judgment or cirticism at all, and will not hesitate to use the law to squelch any dissent, and this is because it is very tough for Women to stand alone.

Also, although you make some excellent points above about the food and all, the question I have is, why are we surprised when the socalled proles react as violently as they do? After all, the upper classes either don't have any regard for them at all, or they depsise them, simply for just being; remember, Micky D's only came along, what, a half century ago? Class hatin' on proles has been around a lot longer than that. The socalled prole class is right to be deeply suspicious of anyone who comes or looks like they come from the upper classes with some new fangled idea or notion ostensibly there to help them out, because history has shown that often they come around only when they want the socalled proles to do their dirty work, literally and figuratively. Now, I agree with your overall point, that simply because you have the right to do something doesn't necessarily make it right; but the upper classes have really brought this on themselves. Maybe perhaps instead of hatin' on the socalled proles just for breathing, and treated them like human beings in the true sense of Noblese Oblige, we wouldn't be in the pickle we're in in the first place.

I'm just sayin'.

Holla back

The Obsidian

The Social Pathologist said...

Maybe perhaps instead of hatin' on the socalled proles just for breathing, and treated them like human beings in the true sense of Noblese Oblige, we wouldn't be in the pickle we're in in the first place.

Hi, Obs

You are partially right. What is needed is a sense of noblesse oblige but what is also needed is a respect for authority, especially when it is just. The idea that each man is a good as every other is patently false, on the other hand the idea that each man has inviolable dignity is true.

It's true that the proles have been the test tube material for the social experiments of the rich and therefore they are right to be suspicious of them. Still in a democracy they do elect their masters and perhaps the noble thing to do is deny them the vote so that they don't screw themselves over. Just saying.

Nice to hear from you. Bummer about the "stalking charge". I got moderated over at Ferdinand's for the same charge till I proved it was baseless. Such is life.