On Poetry and Culture Shock


My beloved Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett once co-wrote a novel, Good Omens, in which the Four Horsemen of Doomsday were:

A young, very attractive war reporter.

Your average skeleton in a cloak. 

A young boy who seemed to atract disaster (Pollution took over when Pestilence had given up after the discovery of antibiotics)

A nouvelle cuisine chef and inventor of fad diets.

Hunger in this modern world is a very strange thing.  Many, many people die of hunger. Some people are even born hungry because a human body and a foetus inside it can survive a hungry pregnancy. Can you believe it? I don't, even though I am told it is true. Other people are not exactly hungry: they have enough amount of food to eat but it doesn't have enough iron (no meat, not enough beans), or enough protein (no meat, eggs, fish, or dairy; not enough beans), or enough vitamins (not enough of anything except rice, bread or potatoes). Hunger makes people tired, sick, weak, less resistant to disease, unable to concentrate, and in the case of children, it prevents mental and physical growth.

Other people curiously go willingly hungry and pay money for others to find creative ways of making them stay hungry. The last I have heard of this is something you can buy in drugstores; in Spain it is sold in pharmacies. So I go to the local pharmacy with my prescriptions and I see that they are selling "fit strips" (the name is in English!). This is the idea : you pay 15 euros and you get 72 thin strips of orange fiber, wrapped in loads of shiny plastic. You are told to stick one or two on yout tongue, allow to dissolve, drink a glass of water so that the fiber swells up in your stomach, repeat about 8 times a day. Which means a 15 euro packet will last for a week or so.

 Isn't it shocking that I live in a culture that thinks it is perfectly fine to pay 15 euros for 36 small portions of fiber?  What does it take for someone to invent un-food? And what sort of person does it take to buy it? I can't imagine someone with 15 euros in their hands and abso-fucking-lutely noting better to do with it than buying themselves... hunger.

Wow, and I didn't even make a feminist rant (I will leave that to someone who has her knickers in a knot).

1 comentario

Knotted Knickers -

That is a pretty amazing product. I haven't seen anything like in the U.S., but admittedly, I prefer not to know about the crazy things people will do to diet.

I've gotta wonder about the side effects of Fit-Strips, though. Don't you think someone who does eight of those things a day would have ferocious intestinal gas?

Oops, I didn't make it a feminist rant, either. Next time. :-)