martedì 6 luglio 2010

Food and Politics

In several occasions in this blog I have written that one of the most evident expressions of the widespread schizophrenia of our present society is embodied by our pathological relations with food. Using a concept by Carlo Petrini from "Slow Food": we must avoid to be eaten by food.
Sometimes I wonder also about those many political implications resulting from or produced by this pathological relation: just thinking of the famous "panem" added to "circenses" (food and shows) in the roman tradition as critical factor to govern.
The question is that unawareness manifested in food consumption is likely to have a corresponding unawareness in politics. First of all we have to acknowldge that in Italy politics is becoming just like any other consumption good. The continuing use of polls to verify and testify people responses to politics is a clear sign that we are not considered as citizens but rather as consumers. The widespread populism today affecting italian politics is likely to be another symptom of the massive presence of "marketing" into the political debate as tool to continously satisfy people political demand.
So, politics like junk food? Why not??
We can be intoxicated by low quality food products, and similarly we can be intoxicated by low quality politics. In both cases we have to deal with the risk to became obese (in physical and psychological terms), unable to move even a single step, requiring help and continuing care.
This comparison could be very long. I prefer to stop it here. But I want to repeat the importance of an aware food consumption also in political terms, because it could become an exercise of free and independent thinking. We have to think about the benefits we can receive from certain kind of food rather than considering only price or commercials or an immediate (often artificial) taste. "Convenience" may become a trick word. The same is in politics.
Changing our food habits could be a first step also in changing our political habits.

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