Pesticides, plastic packaging, GMO crops, and hormone injections—not only has the agriculture industry destroyed the natural world, but it has also caused the physical and spiritual degeneracy of people. To resist the enfeebling force of global capitalism, reactionaries have long built a political ethic upon food. What are the diets of the irony-laced, cool new right?
“The raw egg, when consumed, symbolically returns us to a nature from which the modern world alienates us. But perhaps I have already said too much, for these are secrets that are revealed to the initiate only with time.” In the cookbook Raw Egg Nationalism in Theory and Practice (2020), eggs serve as a nutritious symbol of “death and rebirth; the sun; the sexual act” and “the world as will and the world as representation.” This perfectly named thesis of an egg-based nation-state has captivated its followers and outraged critics who took the bait, guaranteeing its circulation in the media stream.
Peanut oils, sesame oils,
soybean oils—seed oil disrespecters claim that vegetable oils extracted from seeds contain inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty
(PUFAs) or endocrine-disrupting xenoestrogens. Adverse effects aside, the processed-oil industry symbolizes neoliberalist
evil to the skeptics. Some believe conglomerates like P&G have lied to the masses,
repackaging unusable toxic waste and industrial lubricants as cooking oils.
Traditionalists fear that elites and transnational corporations will force them to live in a pod and eat the bugs under the false threats of food crisis and climate change. Contrarily, the act of devouring raw red meat is a rejection of the globally homogenized market and a return to authentic ways of eating. Impossible meat is thus ruled out, hunt a deer and eat the liver instead.
Soylent versus steroids
While phytoestrogens in soybeans probably don’t actually lower testosterone levels in men, gender identity is a game of perception—the term “soy boy” has been culturally associated with a liberal, effeminate man who consumes products and media. A real man wouldn’t be caught dead with a Soylent bottle. This ambiguity between the biological and the performative is well understood by the right-wing bodybuilders (RWBB)—injecting steroids is only one step in their gender transition from male to alpha male.
Besides its environmental harms, professor of environmental medicine Shanna Swan has linked the global fertility crisis with plastic, specifically phthalates and BPA (the chemicals used to make plastic more durable). For instance, her studies have shown that babies exposed to the phthalates have a shorter anogenital distance, which is correlated with a lower sperm count.
In the age of plastic, the reactionaries can eat everything right, yet tiny particles of microplastics have already permeated our blood and soil. They are in our food and the food that our food eats. Against such modern totality, perhaps heroic individualism can only go so far, and reinventing the future may require an ideology previously unimaginable.
Curated by an ArtAsiaPacific editor, “Echo Chambers” is a biweekly blog that aggregates links and visual contents from the virtual realm.
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