Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alton Brown: Fatties Are Ruining The World

Those that have been reading Womanist Musings from the beginning, know that I have developed a great disdain for the foodnetwork, and its stable of celebrity chefs.  Much of my dislike is based in observing their tendency to offer white men as experts on foods from across the globe.  Of course they can cook the meals better, lord knows that the western white mans burden is to become an expert at cultural appropriation and colonization.

image This station so aggravates me, that I almost forgot that the focus of this post is Alton Brown and his fat hatred.  I am a little late getting to this so please excuse the tardy posting. Truth be told, I detest the network and most of the chefs so much that I am often behind when they fuck up, which actually is quite often.  At any rate Mr Food encyclopedia, otherwise known as  Alton Brown has decided that we westerners are decidedly unconnected from our food and this has caused us to live an unsustainable lifestyle.

“I realized that we’re so disconnected from our food — where it lives or grows, how it dies, how it’s processed. None of us in this culture are really living sustainably.”

While I agree that there is much food waste on the part of westerners, the problem is much larger than food.  Our entire economy is based on our ability to consume.  When we cannot purchase, things go wrong pretty fast, hence the depression recession that we are undergoing.  To say that it is all simply the fault of the individual, does not acknowledge the degree to which consumption is a basic tenet of the capitalist system. You know the economic system that rich elites like yourself keep telling poor people works for everyone.

What causes world hunger and soil depletion is our distribution system.  The earth is producing more than enough for everyone to eat, we have simply chosen to value money over people. 

Okay lets hear what else this less than wise sage has to say...

”I’ve struggled with weight all my life, and probably always will. But I was on my most recent book tour I was shocked by the number of overweight families,” he says. “People would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, we love the Food Network.’ Well, no (expletive); did you eat the TV? There’s only four of you and you can’t ride in an elevator together. I’ll probably make fat people angry, but we need, as a culture, to be ashamed. It’s not “… healthy.”

Nice bit of fat hate eh?  Mr. Food Encyclopedia has a problem with his own body image, so why not release that inner hatred on his fans.  Get some fucking therapy and stop spreading your hatred to the people that have not awoken to the fact that you are just a whiny cry baby who  hasn't learned to love his inner child yet. 

Yeah, you posit people are disconnected from food, but obviously if they are there to purchase your stinking appropriated cookbooks, they are deeply connected to food.  They are not sitting at a McDonalds, or Wendys, or one of your associates restaurants, which is really why you are so pissy they are looking for ways to cook enjoyable meals at home, which btw asshole is the first step in reconnecting with the food chain. 

As for feeling ashamed of the fatties, oh hell why not. We all know that the worst thing a person can be is fat.  We should not be ashamed of the homophobes, racists, classists, rapists, ablists, sexists etc., nooooo the fatties are ruining the world. Just by breathing the same air as the fatties we might catch their "sickness"...yep, cause fatness is a virus that we all need to be inoculated against. Why are we wasting so much time, money and effort trying to cure cancer and aids when we should be battling the fatties?

Alton embrace your inner fat boy and get over it.  Becoming like the bullies that taunted you all of your life because you didn't fit the stereotype is not going to heal your wounds.  You want closure, stop lashing out at people who didn't do a damn thing but have the stupidity to buy a book from a man that thinks that they are repulsive. 

This kind of repugnant attitude is not new.  Many of the celebrity chefs that the foodnetwork has chosen to promote continually express the same sort of commentary.  From Gordon Ramsey (asshole extrordinaire) to Alton Brown, they have continually gone to war against fat people.  It seems that in culinary school not only do these chefs learn that the cleaver makes cultural appropriation acceptable, but hey a fancy jacket makes you entitled to display your inner idiot.  Fat hate is wrong.  The food network chefs may be able to flay a fish better than I could ever hope too, but they cumulatively have a long way to go to learn how to be decent human beings. 

In closing I would like to offer a heartfelt fuck you to Alton Brown and his associates at the foodnetwork.

H/T The Big Fat Blog


professorwhatif said...

Great post, Renee! I don't watch the foodnetwork and have never seen the assholes you mention (Brown and Ramsey) in action.
But, the food shows I have seen accord to your analysis.

In addition to the fat hatred and cultural appropriation, there is snobbery and total class unawareness regarding the fact not all people have the leisure time to be 'home chefs' let alone the money to buy umpteen ingredients.

As you so clearly elucidate, this 'foodie celebrity' is again all about the profit:
"Our entire economy is based on our ability to consume... To say that it is all simply the fault of the individual, does not acknowledge the degree to which consumption is a basic tenet of the capitalist system."
But, as per usual, we blame the 'individual fattie' and don't consider the wider socio-cultural context.

As an aside, I got a Rachel Ray cookbook for my mom as she is a fan, and the thing is BRIMMING with model type photos of her. What happened to the likes of Julia Childs and the wonderful 'Two Fat Ladies' of the UK -- apparently in the US, to be a female chef, the main issue is how you look...

Maritzia said...

If anyone wants to make a complaint, I have contact information for some of his venues here:

AR said...

Our entire economy is based on our ability to consume.

All economies are based on consumption. What do you think people do to goods produced under socialism or feudalism? Launch them into the Sun?

When we cannot purchase, things go wrong pretty fast, hence the depression recession that we are undergoing.

The present economic crisis is due to the government's massive expansion of the money supply through deficit spending and fractional-reserve banking, resulting in artificially cheap credit and malinvestment. Crashes like this are a problem of government intervention, not capitalism. Every depression in American economic history has been preceded or worsened by exactly this sort of thing.

Renee said...

@AR there is a difference based on consumption for subsistence and consumption for the sake of consumption which is the basis of capitalism.

AR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T. R Xands said...

Just taking some time to delurk here, because...I love Alton Brown! Or should I say LOVED after these fat-hating comments from him. Alton's sense of humor is one of the very few reasons I watched Food Network as much as I did (and now I officially can't since I don't have the channel). I can't believe he'd say something like that but on the other hand I guess I'm not surprised...

It's really sad that he admits to struggling with his own weight but looks down on people who are having the same issues. I'm really starting to get more keen to the constant fat hate from these celebrity chefs (even though you'd think it'd be obvious) and it's really annoying me and distressing me...

Alright, back to lurking around I go.

AR said...

That may be the case, but that's not what you said and that's not what I'm addressing. In the technical economic sense, the purpose of all economic systems is ultimately consumption. Who gets to decide what is consumed and by whom is how systems differ, but the only sort of economic thought I can think of that actually promotes consumption for the sake of consumption is Keynesianism, which is incidentally the same flawed line of reasoning that got us into the current economic crisis.

space said...

My guess is that these people are fat-hating because they fear that if they're not, then they're arbiters of social decay in the minds of the public. Like, you can't be in the food business without scolding fat people, or you will be blamed for all the diseases of the first world (which disproportionately affect first world poor people at a relatively young age...those who don't have as much means to consume). I don't think it's just him, I think it's society.

Danyell said...

Idk if you've ever watched Penn & Teller's Bullshit, but they made a good point on the whole obesity "epidemic". In that it is natural for people to want to eat food. A prehistoric urge makes you want to over consume for fearing of not knowing when you might eat next. It's been one of the driving forces of development throughout history: how to get and keep as much food as we can. But now we have TOO much food that is of poor quality that is easily accessible. So your natural desire is to eat, so you eat the food you can get, which is usually crap. Our current culture of abundance can not beat out our natural concerns about not having enough to eat!

And what they don't focus on (because they are Libertarians) is that only rich people can afford to eat good, healthy, organic food all the time. Plus, rich people have nutritionists and personal trainers to keep them thin. So obesity becomes the burden of the poor, living in a rich society who doesn't care what happens to them health-wise.

Anonymous said...

Are you willing to admit that anyone anywhere is fat because they just simply eat too dam much! Or is every fat person on the planet a victim of circumstance?

Danyell said...

Some people are fat because they eat too damn much. Some people are fat because they are genetically prone to hold onto fat cells. Some people are fat because they are physically injured and can't work off the weight. so people are fat because they don't have access to better quality foods and better knowledge of health care.

And some people like to spout off hateful comments anonymously because they're afraid of recourse should they post any part of their identity. And some people are just lazy.

So maybe some matters are sort of grey-ish. Hmm?

brotherkomrade said...

Anyway, I deeply appreciate your post.
I have been a viewer of Food Network for some time and never noticed a hint of fat-fobia until after reading your post - then it all came flooding back. First of all, has anyone seen
Alton Brown lately? My wife wrote about his issue in particular here

. I can't believe that he went there about other people like that in public, but then again, black writers of TV have contributed to negative images of black people just as white people; I guess there are house negroes amongst every marginalized group.

I remember how Emeril was the FN's main man, then he started gaining weight big-time, now you can barley find him. I thought he quit to do that bad sitcom, but methinks they gave him the Margaret Cho option.

And Brown's own show that he started out with sucked; all those midwestern delicacies like green bean casseroles are not exactly slimmimg foods. I find it ironic that a man his size is putting other big-people down when every show that he appears on on the FN was unhealthy food.

Anonymous said...


You have a problem with me posting anonymously? Should I leave my name, address, phone number? Would you like to get together and discuss our differences in person? What exactly is your goal?

I posted anonymously because I do not have a blog. I have the right to have my voice heard the same as you.

Angel H. said...

~~~And some people like to spout off hateful comments anonymously because they're afraid of recourse should they post any part of their identity. And some people are just lazy.~~~

I'm guessing a little bit from column A, a little from B.

Hey, Anon! Watch this:

~ From Angel H.

(See? Not that hard.)

Anonymous said...

Alton started becoming an asshole around the same time he went Born Again.

I suppose there may be a connection.

Renee said...

I had no idea about the born again thing. I suppose he does not adhere to the judge not least ye be judged.

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