News Ian O'Doherty

Thursday 18 September 2014

Ian O'Doherty: You are what you eat? Stop eating idiots, then



Published 30/10/2013 | 21:30

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Forrest Dumped: Jeremy Forrest was ditched by his 16-year-old girlfriend while in jail
Equality bites: Maria McCambridge

The clever, big, mature, grown up and, dare we say, concerned way for any columnist to start a piece about obesity is to take a deep breath and intone that: "We have a serious and complicated relationship with food in this country. We have an obesity epidemic."

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Actually, we don't.

True, there is a growing rise of obesity – but it's not an epidemic. Cholera is an epidemic. As is typhus.

Let's be honest, calling obesity an epidemic is a bit like calling alcoholism a disease.

In fact, I have one friend, a recovering alcoholic, who hates that faux-medical Get Out Of Jail card – as he put it, he drank too much, nearly ruined his life and things only improved when he took control and stopped admitting that he was 'powerless'.

Think that's unfair and judgmental?

Well, the next time an alcoholic tells you they have a disease, just ask them to join you down the nearest cancer ward and they can see what a real disease looks like.

Likewise, the recent story about a woman who had taken to sticking a Big Mac in a blender for her child – now that one has urban legend written all over it – doesn't signify an epidemic. It merely signifies the fact that, unfashionable though it may be to say it, some people just shouldn't be allowed to procreate.

The inexorable rise of fat people across the Western world is not due to some mysterious, unexplained pandemic. It is simply the result of people eating too much bad food.

That's why the idea of a sugar tax is so appealing to some people, who like to think the Government can tax people out of making bad choices. They can't. And they won't.

But it plays well in the media and placates the kind of person who likes to witlessly shout 'something must be done!' when talking about these matters.

However, it looks like any proposed tax has been shot down.

Soft-drink manufacturers like global behemoth Coke have warned of redundancies in the sector if such a levy was ever introduced. But perhaps the most baffling opposition to any proposal to tax fatty and sugary foods has come from those who have warned that it would "disproportionately" hit lower income families, because they tend to be the largest consumers of cheap, nasty food.

Saying it would hit 'lower income families' can be translated into ... it would hit the working class.

And, as we all know, the working class are too stupid, ignorant, bovine and dense to think for themselves.

You wouldn't see a piece about, say, wine prices being kept at an artificially high rate because the middle classes are too stupid to be told that they shouldn't drink so much vino.

But when it comes to talking about the working class, people feel they can quite reasonably adopt the paternalistic attitude of Forgive them State, for they know not what they eat.

But here's the thing – the kind of people who feed their kids blended burgers, or who go to places like Iceland and buy a week's worth of dinners for 20 quid aren't doing it because they are working class.

They're doing it because they are lazy.

And for those who say we shouldn't judge such people, I say – why not?

I come from a proudly working-class community where there was no shortage of judgement from one neighbour to the next. So the idea that we should treat that particular demographic as an infantile, vaguely simple sub-group who can't be expected to know good food from bad is insulting and, worse, just bloody stupid.

Although, not as stupid as someone who thinks it's a good idea to stick a burger into a food processor, obviously.

If it actually ever happened, that is ...

HONESTLY, KIDS TODAY

You may remember the rather icky case of teacher Jeremy Forrest who did a bunk with his 15-year-old student.

The pair legged it to France and, once apprehended, she was reunited with her parents and Forrest was promptly jailed for abduction and child endangerment.

But the star-crossed lovers were unrepentant and even when he was sentenced to five-and-a-half years, she loudly protested her love and said: "I will wait for him until he comes out. I want to have babies with him."

Sadly, love's young dream has now come a cropper – the now 16-year-old girl has dumped Forrest and is seeing a boy her own age.

Honestly, what is the world coming to when you can't even groom a child, get a five-and-a-half-year sentence, destroy your life and your family and then have to suffer the indignity of being publicly dumped?

Kids today, no respect etc ...

EQUALITY? NOT REALLY

Do you agree with equal work for equal pay?

I'm sure you do.

So it was interesting to see that the male winner of the Dublin Marathon, Sean Hehir, and the women's winner, Maria McCambridge both received the same prize, a swish new Renault car.

Fair play to all involved, obviously.

But for the record, Ms McCambridge's time of 2:38:51 was a full 16 minutes behind the guy who only came third in the male category.

Surely her prize should be commensurate with a slower time?

Oh wait, equal pay for equal work is a rather selective beast.

Hysterical emails to the usual address ... or indeed Twitter.

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