fahreunblog

I migranti di Fahrenheit migrano ancora… (IV inbloggazione)

La transizione dal sesso al cibo.

Sembra quasi che l’uomo sia un essere religioso sempre teso alla ricerca di “purezza”: quando declinano alcuni precetti ne sorgono presto altri pronti a rimpiazzarli. Mary Eberstadt nel saggio dal titolo eloquente “Is Food the New Sex?” sostiene questa tesi con un caso da manuale.

Che il desiderio sessuale e quello gastronomico abbiano una radice comune non è cosa nuova, lo scorgiamo anche solo nel linguaggio ordinario:

… ordinary language itself verifies how similarly the two appetites are experienced, with many of the same words crossing over to describe what is desirable and undesirable in each case. In fact, we sometimes have trouble even talking about food without metaphorically invoking sex, and vice versa…

Entrambi, se perseguiti senza moderazione, portano alla rovina personale e non solo. Per questo la società ha sempre previsto una serie di precetti in merito.

Oggi, per la prima volta nella storia, gli uomini sono liberi di accedere in misura illimitata sia al sesso che al cibo. La pillola ha rivoluzionato le relazioni amorose, la tecnologia ha cancellato la penuria di cibo facendo dell’obesità un problema. Cosa succede in circostanze del genere?

Prendiamo due persone: nonna e nipote, Betty e Jennifer. Guardando a loro capiamo bene come sono cambiate le cose. Partiamo dalla nonna

… Begin with a tour of Betty’s kitchen. Much of what she makes comes from jars and cans… dairy products, red meat, refined sugars and flours… Betty’s freezer is filled with meat every four months… If there is anything “fresh” on the plate, it is likely a potato… Betty’s food is served with what for us would appear to be high ceremony… there is little that Betty herself, who is adventurous by the standards of her day, will not eat; the going slogan she learned as a child is about cleaning your plate, and not doing so is still considered bad form…

E ora la nipote:

… Jennifer has almost no cans or jars in her cupboard… kitchen table on most nights features a laptop and goes unset. Yet interestingly enough, despite the lack of ceremony at the table, Jennifer pays far more attention to food… adamantly opposed to eating red meat or endangered fish. She is also opposed to industrialized breeding, genetically enhanced fruits… She also buys “organic” in the belief that it is better both for her and for the animals raised in that way… Jennifer has nothing but ice in her freezer, soymilk and various other items her grandmother wouldn’t have recognized in the refrigerator…

Ma c’è una differenza fondamentale:

… Most important of all, however, is the difference in moral attitude separating Betty and Jennifer on the matter of food. Jennifer feels that there is a right and wrong about these options… she certainly thinks the world would be a better place if more people evaluated their food choices as she does. She even proselytizes on occasion when she can. In short, with regard to food, Jennifer falls within Immanuel Kant’s definition of the Categorical Imperative…

Per Betty il cibo è una questione essenzialmente di gusti, la dimensione morale, quando c’è, è secondaria.

In fatto di sesso le cose si rovesciano. Qui è Betty ad essere moralista:

… For Betty, the ground rules of her time— which she both participates in and substantially agrees with— are clear: Just about every exercise of sex outside marriage is subject to social (if not always private) opprobrium… Betty feels that sex, unlike food, is not de gustibus. She believes to the contrary that there is a right and wrong about these choices that transcends any individual act… Betty in the matter of sex fulfills the requirements for Kant’s Categorical Imperative…

Per Jennifer l’amore e il capriccio comandano:

… She too disapproves of the father next door who left his wife and children for a younger woman… she is otherwise laissez-faire on just about every other aspect of nonmarital sex. She believes that living together before marriage is not only morally neutral, but actually better than not having such a “trial run.”… Jennifer, unlike Betty, thinks that falling in love creates its own demands… A consistent thinker in this respect, she also accepts the consequences of her libertarian convictions about sex. She is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, indifferent to ethical questions about stem cell research and other technological manipulations of nature (as she is not, ironically, when it comes to food)… She has even been known to watch pornography with her boyfriend…

Da notare la posizione esattamente speculare tra nonna e nipote:

… Betty thinks food is a matter of taste, whereas sex is governed by universal moral law; and Jennifer thinks exactly the reverse…

Il movimento macrobiotico illustra bene le pulsioni moralistiche nei confronti del cibo:

… One recent influential figure in this tradition was George Ohsawa, a Japanese philosopher who codified what is known as macrobiotics… Macrobiotic Path to Total Health: A Complete Guide to Naturally Preventing and Relieving More Than 200 Chronic Conditions and Disorders, remains one of the modern bibles on food… including the claim that its tradition stretches back to Hippocrates and includes Jesus and the Han dynasty…

Il vegetarianesimo è uno tra i maggiori movimenti secolari della nostra epoca:

… Alongside macrobiotics, the past decades have also seen tremendous growth in vegetarianism and its related offshoots, another food system that typically makes moral as well as health claims… Pushed perhaps by the synergistic public interest in macrobiotics and nutritional health, and nudged also by occasional rallying books including Peter Singer’s Animal Rights and Matthew Scully’s Dominion, vegetarianism today is one of the most successful secular moral movements in the West…

Alcune menti lungimiranti avevano già colto la potenza spirituale del vegetarianesimo e preconizzato i suoi esiti:

Adolf Hitler— whose own vegetarianism appears to have been adopted because of Wagner’s (Wagner in turn had been convinced by the sometime vegetarian Nietzsche)— reportedly remarked in 1941 that “there’s one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian.”…

Distinguere tra vegani, vegetariani, macrobiotici… è un po’ come distinguere tra luterani, presbiteriani, avventisti… Oggi gli scismi si producono a tavola.

I nostri giorni sono testimoni di un unicum:

… Throughout history, practically no one devoted this much time to matters of food as ideas (as opposed to, say, time spent gathering the stuff)… previous dietary laws were clearly designed to enhance religion— not replace it… macrobiotics, vegetarianism, and veganism all make larger health claims as part of their universality— but unlike yesteryear, to repeat the point, most of them no longer do so in conjunction with organized religion… food of today often attracts a level of metaphysical attentiveness suggestive of the sex of yesterday…

L’aspetto spiritualista è evidente anche nel movimento km0 slow food:

… Perhaps the most revealing example of the infusion of morality into food codes can be found in the current European passion for what the French call terroir— an idea that originally referred to the specific qualities conferred by geography on certain food products… as a measure of the reach of terroir as a moral code, consider only a sermon from Durham Cathedral in 2007. In it, the dean explained Lent as an event that “says to us, cultivate a good terroir, a spiritual ecology that will re-focus our passion for God…

La società si secolarizza ma il desiderio di purezza permane intatto:

… When Skinny Bitch— a hip guide to veganism that recently topped the bestseller lists for months— exhorts its readers to a life that is “clean, pure, healthy,” for example, it is emphatically not including sex…

Ad oltraggiare non è più la pornografia tradizionale ma il gastroporn. La ripugnanza del cibo-spazzatura (cucinato senza amore) ha soppiantato la ripugnanza per il sesso senza amore:

… Consider the coining of the term “gastroporn” to describe the eerily similar styles of high-definition pornography on the one hand and stylized shots of food on the other… probably most important feature of sex in our time testifying to the ubiquity of appetites fulfilled and indulged indiscriminately is the staggering level of consumption of Internet pornography. As Ross Douthat recently summarized in an essay for the Atlantic, provocatively titled “Is Pornography Adultery?”: Over the past three decades, the vcr, on-demand cable service, and the Internet have completely overhauled the ways in which people interact with porn. Innovation has piled on innovation, making modern pornography a more immediate, visceral, and personalized experience. Nothing in the long history of erotica compares with the way millions of Americans experience porn today, and our moral intuitions are struggling to catch up… This junk sex shares all the defining features of junk food. It is produced and consumed by people who do not know one another. It is disdained by those who believe they have access to more authentic experience or “healthier” options…

Sicuramente l’ossessione per il cibo è dettata anche da preoccupazioni circa la salute:

… Manifestly, one reason that people today are so much more discriminating about food is that decades of recent research have taught us that diet has more potent effects than Betty and her friends understood, and can be bad for you or good for you in ways not enumerated before. All that is true, but then the question is this: Why aren’t more people doing the same with sex? For here we come to the most fascinating turn of all. One cannot answer the question by arguing that there is no such empirical news about indiscriminately pursued sex and how it can be good or bad for you; to the contrary, there is, and lots of it…

Ma anche il sesso disordinato e i rapporti sentimentali precari hanno spiacevoli conseguenze sociali, che però, chissà come mai, si preferisce non enfatizzare molto:

… Married, monogamous people are more likely to be happy. They live longer. These effects are particularly evident for men. Divorced men in particular and conversely face health risks— including heightened drug use and alcoholism— that married men do not. Married men also work more and save more, and married households not surprisingly trump other households in income. Divorce, by contrast, is often a financial catastrophe for a family, particularly the women and children in it. So is illegitimacy typically a financial disaster. By any number of measures, moreover, nontraditional sexual morality— and the fallout from it— is detrimental to the well-being of one specifically vulnerable subset: children. Children from broken homes are at risk for all kinds of behavioral, psychological, educational, and other problems that children from intact homes are not. Children from fatherless homes are far more likely to end up in prison than are those who grew up with both biological parents. Girls growing up without a biological father are far more likely to suffer physical or sexual abuse. Girls and boys, numerous sources also show, are adversely affected by family breakup into adulthood, and have higher risks than children from intact homes of repeating the pattern of breakup themselves… The sexual revolution— meaning the widespread extension of sex outside of marriage and frequently outside commitment of any kind— has had negative effects on many people, chiefly the most vulnerable…

Se i fatti sono questi è difficile non concludere che l’uomo ambisce a forme di puritanesimo e laddove alcuni percorsi tramontano, altri ne sorgono. La precettistica intorno al cibo è probabilmente il portato di un disagio verso la rivoluzione sessuale. Le norme di “purificazione” mutano, si spostano dal letto alla tavola, ma non scompaiono.

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