Look. Paleo dick. Whoever you are, there is a very good chance you need to fuck off. For some weeks now, I have been visited and contacted by you, a rubbish thinker who cannot even spell the names of their Big Pharma Agro-Industrial Complex adversaries let alone meaningfully decry them. I would like this to stop. I don’t know which tedious tank of raw human mind-waste it was that dumped this stink on my blog and nor do I care but let it be said: fuck off. Fuck off and stop linking to me and shitting in my inbox. We have nothing to say to each other.
To be very clear, I am not interested in remediating your behaviour. I do not personally care if you ascribe healing powers to a crystal, believe that We Are All One or think that some of the problems of contemporary medical practice can be addressed by a celebrity chef whose primary labour it otherwise is to tell unpleasant, boring people on the television their haloumi appetiser lacks appropriate tang. Go for it. Join whichever cult you fancy, pray to the gourmet non-dairy cheese god and pin your hopes for salvation on reality TV. It is your defensible right to consume any nonsense upchucked to your mouth by a critically deluded mass-culture mummybird you wish. If this sick-feed allays the hunger for meaning we both know would starve you if you took even a short break from feeding your suggestible face with easy pseudo-knowledge, fine. FINE.
Eat Like Your Ancestors, even though they demonstrably didn’t eat that way. Fill the heads of your children with irrational suspicion of science, even though it is exactly this irrational suspicion that actively stops meaningful address of climate change. Pretend that measles is the goddess’ own special way of rewarding humanity and that immunisation is not a marvel of medical science but a blight. Just stay out of my way.
Even if we agree, and I believe that sometimes we do, that late agricultural practice is wanting and medicalisation can create as much disease as it cures, we cannot agree that you could find your arse with two hands. With two hands, Google Maps and a year of intensive arse-finding workshops.
It is not your stated goal but you that is fundamentally stupid. No good can come of you and no good can come of our communications. So, please stop troubling me with notes about A Wholesome Future as my opinion that you are a dick whose failure to see beyond the picture-book caricature of good and evil would be cause in a just world for incarceration is unlikely to change.
To call your intellectual weakness childish would do disservice to kindergarten. I do not wish to understand your views because it is my view that your views do not require understanding. They just require faith. Your “views” are useful to me only insofar as they reinforce the fact of my good sense in electing not to have children. If my Little Harriet attended daycare with your Little Sanskrit, I would certainly be arrested for spiking her almond milk with triple antigen and disinfectant.
And, don’t give me “But Helen. Paleo is a long way from anti-vax. Don’t tar us with the same brush”. The intellectual journey from a belief that we need to “get back” to “natural” eating to that which holds that infection with measles is “natural” and, therefore, implicitly good takes about ten seconds. Even if you never take that brief unfortunate tumble into seriously bad behaviour, what you have begun to do is fundamentally rotten. And I can’t abide this stench.
You Paleo people have claimed that you believe in “science” and that it is “science” that provided you with the means to manfully argue with my claim that you are, in fact, monumentally deluded cocks. Now, I am not a scientist and I have not previously, nor shall I ever, argue with your nonsense chiefly in the terms of scientific evidence. Yet, when you are not hurling shit at my inbox, it is you who throws globs of what you mistake for scientific evidence.
In many cases, this “evidence” is simply personal anecdote. One nong told me that he had run a marathon without carbohydrates. That we know that life itself cannot be sustained without carbohydrates aside: personal anecdote is not “evidence” and can be undone by other personal anecdote. I have also recently run a marathon and I was largely fuelled by jelly beans. This is not “evidence” of anything aside from my partiality to jelly beans.
Other mildly less touched antagonists have said to me, “but I have lost weight on the Paleo Diet”. This personal anecdote is evidence of nothing new and just informally affirms the rather ordinary truth that a reduction in calories will often result in a reduction of body fat. I am happy you have attained a hip-to-waist ratio that pleases you. I am not happy that you mistake either this or the sensation that “I just feel better!” as proofs of the “science” of Paleo.
To those many of you who have sent me sometimes specious and often small-scale studies on the benefits of Paleo: a fragment of science is not the same thing as science itself. When isolated and underdone studies are presented as theory, that’s when the trouble begins. This is not science. This is not established scientific theory. This is something you read on the internet that appears to confirm your bias.
I am not deriding your belief so much as I am terribly impatient with your belief that belief is the same as fact. This does not mean I am opposed to wholesome foods and it does not mean that I believe that we should spray everything with glyphosate. This does not mean I think eating vegetables and unprocessed foods is a terrible idea—a recommendation made by dietary science for decades, by the way and hardly a Paleo first. It is, however, to say that bits of science that suit your thinking are not fact or scientific theory.
Other things that are not scientific theory are (a) moving personal stories about your weight loss and improved bowel motions and (b) instinct. Which is to say, you may feel that Getting Back To Nature is the right thing to do—and let’s remind ourselves that palaeoanthropology does not confirm the fancy of Paleo Diet books that no pre-industrial hominid ever ate dairy etc—but you cannot make the legitimate claim that this instinct is backed by science.
You can have your instincts. I have mine. For what little it matters, I eat a diet which, while it is largely meat-free due to a personal and ethical dislike for eating creatures, is high in vegetables that are fertilised and managed without recourse to synthesised chemicals and grown from always open-pollinated and often heirloom seed. My own diet happens to be Paleo-ish in that it tends to whole-foods and is derived from small-scale pre-industrial era agricultural techniques. I am prepared to bet that my veg are more “Paleo” than most. FFS, I wiz on my compost and use microbial and solar heat to help remove pathogens from the soil. In other words, my own dietary life is a dreary hippy experiment in sloppy ethics and pseudo-knowledge. I understand this urge.
For the most part, I keep this organic noodling to myself and the bees. I don’t claim it as science or proof. I know only slightly north of fuck-all about domestic horticulture and its ability to effect meaningful local or widespread change. My food production is a hobby and a means to calm myself the fuck down. But, that’s all it is. It is not science. It is not a retort to science. It is not a “lifestyle” and if I ever begin evangelising about food production and diet as you do, may I be doomed to an eternal McDonald’s drive-thru meal.
Jesus shat, we all know that eating crap is probably a terrible idea. And those who either do not know it or cannot escape it are likely to be those actually consigned to the culinary and nutritional hell of a McDonald’s drive-thru. And, what about such people? How do they figure in your expensive Paleo plan?
There are people who simply do not have the wealth of time or dollars to eat anything but convenient shit and if you DARE fucking pull a supercilious Jamie Oliver and tell me that The Poor only eat that way because they’re ignorant and lazy, then you are a mindless greedy piece of innumerate shit-burger who cannot face the simple calculation that having no money plus having no time equals poor nutrition.
Much of the “developing” world is newly cursed with obesity related illness and the least wealthy citizens of first-world nations are more likely to pork up to a potentially debilitating degree. There are nearly one billion medically obese people in the world, peculiarly, almost the same number there are of starving people on the planet. Obesity has overwhelmingly become a marker of poverty. And you want to tell me that the way to fix this is to listen to some dill in a chef’s hat ladling out non-knowledge on the telly? Two billion people aren’t eating right. And this is just because they didn’t read Paleo Poison For Bubs With Idiot Mums? There are very complex reasons some of us shove shit in our faces. And the way to address these complex problems is not in the bottom of your bowl of bone broth.
No one planned it this way. But, one of the most unfortunate by-products of capitalism, which does not have a human face, is that it fucks the poor.
Another unfortunate by-product of capitalism is that it produces stupid idiots who (a) blame the materially poor for their own plight and (b) confuse anecdata for science. And then, come to my blog, find my email address and ruin my fucking inbox with their raging arrogance which they mistake for informed anger.
Paleo is, at this time, nothing but bullshit. It might “work” for you just as my insect-infested veg patch works for me. And that’s as a sedative diversion. But, you don’t get to say that it is a scientific or ethical cure for the world’s many food and nutrition problems. Well, you can say that but not to me without being told to get fucked. A response you can, and have and likely will, tell me is the angry talk of someone who eats too much sugar. But, leaving aside the fact that I rarely eat sugar, me telling you to get fucked is nothing compared to the idiotic abuse I have received these past weeks from fans of Pete Evans.
When I tell you to get fucked, what I mean is that you must choose. You must either truly examine the veracity of your claims, which currently have no real basis in evidence, or keep your possibly dangerous ideas to yourself.
Yes. Dangerous. Advice by our primary dietetic scientists that the Pete Evans diet for “bubs” is potentially fatal is one worth heeding. And if your answer is “that’s just Big Food talking”, then be aware that that is just big arse talking. You narcissistic, beef-stinking bore.
Go and become the climate science denier you just know is itching to get out. Either that, or have a think.
Now for the sake of sweet sugar, leave me alone. If you persist in saying that science is something that it is not and that Paleo is something like science, we have nowhere to go. Which is why I am now off to the garden.
(If you enjoyed this post and/or you are someone with an interest in exploring the various and widespread kinds of Stupid that infect our era, please consider purchase of this recently published book I wrote with my friend Bernard Keane. And if you hated this post, buy it anyhow because the royalties may serve to keep me relatively quiet. You could also come and listen to me talk about the end of reason next Tuesday, April 28 in Sydney’s Glebe. Book here.)