Friday, 18 June 2010

How the Soil Association pissed me off

Do you ever wonder why the most throw away comment can get under your skin and stick with you for days. I mean weren't their more egregious things that you moved on from quickly? For me it's a sense that maybe I shouldn't be offended after all there are worse problems out there and we didn't really mean that...

But here is the thing. You did mean that. Or perhaps, if I'm to be charitable, you didn't mean that. You said it though. Forgetting perhaps that everything you say exists along side every other piece of down right offensive discourse on the subject. That you are using the same words the same phrases. So how could I, without mind reading powers, think that you didn't mean offence.

I'm talking to you Soil Association. And I actually think you did mean offence, you just didn't mean to be overheard by anyone who would find it offensive.

How did the Soil Association piss me off? Well they sent me a survey. I say survey it's a bit of a mockery. Leading questions (which we'll get to later) and asking me if I want to give them money. I don't. But let's here from the introduction shall we...

"In the UK 20% of adults and 10% of children are now obese and hospital admissions for obesity-related diseases have more than tripled in the last five years."

Let's ignore that obesity-related diseases isn't a very precise thing to say. Let's just look at how that is stuck there in the introductory paragraph with no explanation of why obesity is bad, the implication is we don't need one. But I think the worst of it is the complete and utter othering of the obese. It's look at the poor fatty who needs to be fixed.

Think of it as a zoo. On one side of the bars are us. Good organic food eaters who know what is right. The Soil Association, our zoo keeper, points to the other side - the obese. Completely and utterly separate. The spectacle. The other. And oddly enough this isn't really the type of stuff that encourages compassion. It's also a complete lie. You'll notice fat people eat organic food too. They don't just prowl around creating hospital admissions.

But still, cries the implication, obesity is bad right after all...

"At the same time, one billion of the world's poorest people go hungry."

At the same time... well if only those fat people gave some of their food to the poor... what you mean it doesn't work like that? No. It doesn't. And I'm puzzled, seriously puzzled that someone would write those two sentences right next to each other linked my that little 'at'. Starvation and being fat arn't two sides of the same coin. Starvation and being fed are. Fat is how your body looks. Starvation is, in this context, an absolutely horrific injustice. Sure the two are literally 'at the same time' but, again, there is much more meaning in the words than the literal.

So that is the story of how two sentences can mean much more than two sentences when put in the context of the constant barrage of abuse we throw at fat people. And why I'm pissed at the Soil Association.

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