Gluttony and hypocrisy

consumerist gluttony

“Consumerist Gluttony” by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

Ever noticed how, in Western society, we have an annoying tendency to decide how much we should and shouldn’t eat, while simultaneously we eat until our chests are about to burst? In the age of consumerism, this contradiction of values is as apparent as the gap between rich and poor. I’ve always had a problem with people telling each other not to “eat too much”. Yes, eating in excess is a bad thing, but what about all the poor people at home and abroad who can’t have that much? To them, the phrase “don’t eat too much” would probably come across as very offensive.

The thing about modern society is that most of us waste immeasurable amounts of food and water, and yet we tell the rest of the world what we should and shouldn’t be eating. This is also why I find much of the condemnation of fast food to be quite hypocritical. The rest of the world criticizes America because of how many of its citizens have gotten fat from eating so much from restaurant chains like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC, while much of the world has embraced fast food with open arms.

Part of the hypocrisy occurs with parenting. We tell our kids all the time that they can’t have too much fast food. Considering the consequences of eating too much fast food, this is somewhat justified, but not when the parents go all gung-ho with big portions themselves. By the way, if we want to talk about gluttony, what about the kind of big portions that many traditional families expect of a Sunday dinner? Or how about Christmas, where we eat so much within a week? How are we fine with that, and still having the nerve to say “you shouldn’t eat so much”?

Of course, it’s easy to judge people for lifestyle choices different to our own. Personally, I think that’s why most people do it. In the case of gluttony, it’s even easier, what with the stigmatization of obesity giving people carte blanche to judge people who don’t eat the way the rest of us do. Evidently the old nonsense about gluttony being a sin is still with us in a small way. Then again, we’ve always found ways to gloss over our excesses and cover up our hypocrisies in ever more elaborate ways. Most of us, however, just expect us to go along with the dominant mentality, even if it represents excess. That, unfortunately, is one of the great hypocrisies of our society. We don’t like it when people eat too much, and yet we eat until we fell bloated and waste food which ends up going to land fills. What sense does that make?

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