Throughout the Clinton years, wild-eyed survivalists in reinforced arsenals were all the rage, threatening dire consequences if the dictator Clinton dared improve social health care. They even killed hundreds of Americans in Oklahoma to make their point. Throughout the election campaign and as recently as yesterday, nasty words were being thrown about Obama. He is a Marxist Nazi, apparently. People have been arrested for plotting to kill him. Gun sales in parts of the south went up in anticipation of an Obama defeat and the subsequent riots. So the paranoid diehards haven't gone away. Or should that be 'blowhards'?
Quite possibly, if the statistics on US obesity are to be believed. In key anti-Obama states Mississippi Alabama and West Virginia, obesity is some of the worst in America. With the worst will in the world, it's hard to imagine the current generation of good ol' boys running a koala bear out of town, let alone a civil rights demonstration. And it would be cruel to make them.
So is the industrial food industry to be thanked for the conspicuous absence of any public hostility to a black man in the white House, rather than any change of heart? There is a war of words but no action. More a Fatlash than a Backlash. Governor Faubus is spinning in his grave. Meanwhile, his political opposite in many ways, George Orwell, is vindicated again.
the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three pennorth of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream! Put the kettle on and we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! That is how your mind works when you are at the P.A.C. level. White bread-and-marg and sugared tea don’t nourish you to any extent, but they are nicer (at least most people think so) than brown bread-and-dripping and cold water. Unemployment is an endless misery that has got to be constantly palliated, and especially with tea, the English-man’s opium. A cup of tea or even an aspirin is much better as a temporary stimulant than a crust of brown bread. The results of all this are visible in a physical degeneracy which you can study directly, by using your eyes, or inferentially, by having a look at the vital statistics.