Miracle pill! Eat anything, burn fat, die miserable

December 23, 2014 Originally published on SFGate

It’s coming, any minute now. Can you feel it?

Science – that bastion of elitist liberalism and climate conspiracy so despised by the right – unless, of course, it’s their most cherished savior; unless it invents every convenience, gizmo and gun cleaner on the planet; unless it saves their lives through miracle drugs and advanced medicine; unless it underpins a million modern wonders from the Internet to space travel and unless it is, in short, essential to every aspect of human life as we know it – that evil science will soon invent a drug, a chemical additive, a time-release eyeball injection that will completely upend Americans’ relationship to our greatest nemesis of all: food.

It’s our most devout and fatal wish, after all: A magic pill that let’s us eat anything, burn fat, never gain weight, feel full sooner, offset the stultifying effects of all those terrible food choices, all while never exercising and still living to 89.3. Awesome.! And completely nightmarish.

Alas, we are closer than ever. Look here: Scientists just concocted this nasty powder which, if you eat some of it every day, might perform some sort of wicked alchemy in your colon, tricking you into feeling full. Great.

Does it do anything to help you understand true nutrition, the body, the Self as vital organism deeply connected to, and respectful of, nature? Hell, no. This is America, silly. We don’t do intelligent introspection.

Attention, libertarians! Limbaugh! Anti-liberal Republicans! All of you who spit and hiss at the “nanny state,” the idea that some authority, some government body, some calm, educated human might dare suggest that you, that our ever-fatter children, that most of obese, depressed, sick America might want to consider changing our thoughtless and unhealthy behaviors!

Are you enraged? By this blatant attempt to control you, and your colon? To curb your gluttony, to tell you what to do by way of your bloodstream and your increasingly benumbed brain?

Of course you’re not. Of course this kind of science, you like. Who doesn’t want a pill to let you continue munching junk food, never give a crap about fat or sugar or high fructose corn syrup, never pay attention as to why you’re always sick and sluggish – not to mention maybe acknowledging how America’s junk food addiction is directly linked to our other destructive, low-vibrating addictions (violence, cruelty, intolerance)? Sign me up for that!

It’s sort of spectacular, really, this hunk of American irony and hypocrisy, one that is largely – though certainly not exclusively – the dominion of the science-hating, nutrition-rejecting right. Do you see it?


It goes like this: The thought of being “told what to do” by the government, by the FDA, by nutritionists and chefs and environmentalists, by professors, climate scientists, feminists, laws or regulations designed to protect health and prevent corporations from poisoning us even further, this gives many conservatives hives. “Goddamn liberals want to tell me what to eat! Michelle Obama out of my colon!” And etc.

And yet, here we are, most Americans doing exactly what they are told, every single day; a society of heavily drugged and programmed monkeys obeying every commandment – and chemical additive – thrown at them by the junk food marketers, by Coca-Cola, tobacco, Big Oil, the beef industry, Google and Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, by hundreds of ruthlessly designed, scientifically calculated images, messages, commercials designed to make everyone eat exactly what the companies want, watch exactly the shows they want, believe exactly what they want, all while pulling off the greatest trick of all: convincing you that you made the choice.

You say you hate the nanny state, libertarians? You whine about too much oversight by the EPA and FDA, conservatives? Sure you do. You are more coddled, tricked, dumbed-down and lied to than anyone. Does this make you a fool, an epic dupe, a tragicomic American hypocrite? Possibly. Probably. How would you know?

And so, your empty wail persists: “Back off, Michelle Obama, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver, all you kale-sucking liberals telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat! I am righteous and free; I eat whatever I want, as much as I want! I want choice, even though I actually don’t! Now give me my pill, and a large Diet Coke to wash it down.” Mmm, freedom.

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Mark Morford

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