Wednesday, October 28, 2009

David Penberthy, trans fats, and workers unite, before they take away your right to be as fat as a pig in mud


(Above: saving the best trans fats for themselves, the greedy pigs).

Workers of the world unite, they're trying to strip away your fat, or worse, your right to be fat, or or worse still your right to die of diabetes at an early age.

Astonishing, alarming, perhaps even terrifying news, a conspiracy on a par with the news that the Copenhagen talk fest is indeed a cover which will see a world government in place by Christmas.

And as usual we have David Penberthy to thank for the news, with Penbo turning into a radical - perhaps even a dangerous socialist communist sympathizer - as he rights for the rights of workers to be liberated from the oppressive demagoguery of bourgeois extremists.

Yep, it's class war and that Penbo Karl Marx is thinking of taking to the streets with a call for revolution before the brothers and sisters are stripped of their right to be fat.

Here's his radical clarion call for freedom, under the banner A bourgeois recipe for working class palates.

Our supposedly classless society is showing signs of being divided into two camps where people’s private choices as individuals and their behaviour as families are regulated on the basis of their affluence.

And it’s in the area of nutrition, preventative health and exercise where the working class, for want of a better term, is increasingly being treated like a bunch of babies, while the more affluent members of society continue to live as they please.

Oh no, not the workers, won't someone think of the workers.

Hang on a second. Our supposedly classless society? On what planet Murdoch does this Rupert minion live? Is Penbo going to tell us how gherkins are important to our diet, or just sound like one?

It’s only a small thing but it’s a signifier for the times, a demonstration of a mindset which holds that working class people are unable to modify their behaviour, while the gentry can be trusted to keep its conduct in check. But get along to the SCG, that great people’s arena, where our knockabout, egalitarian society lets the members drink as much full-strength beer as they want and limits the great unwashed to light beer.

Uh oh, now I'm getting it. Seems Penbo mustn't be a member of the SCG - good thing, no need to let in ratbags who've drifted north from Adelaide, lower the tone of the joint way too much - and he's got some kind of grudge going about not being able to get as pissed as a parrot, and then throw full beer cans on the mug punters in front of him (or perhaps shake up a can and get the woman next to him into a nice spontaneous wet T-shirt competition).

And what else has upset him? Well it seems that the problem is Bob Carr, rabbiting on about the workers in the ponce way only Carr can manage: Stop kids being 'poisoned by fat'.

The wretched Carr has suggested that local councils might help prevent workers feasting on trans fats by taking a stand against fast food outlets using trans fats.

Now you might wonder what the fuss is all about, and heaven forfend I should say a kind word about Bob Carr.

But trans fats are - along with high fructose corn syrup - about the worst benefits of fast food cooking that America's managed to ship around the world, and along with soda (or fizz or pop or soft drink) surely helping the obesity epidemic along in grand style.

Fast food joints don't need to use trans fats, but choose to do so because of convenience and cost - they make oils able to be re-used for a longer time - but these days there are alternatives with less problematic implications for health available (here).

At the conference featuring Carr, this was also in the report of proceedings:

Food researcher at The George Institute, Professor Bruce Neal said councils could change how much salts and fats were hidden in processed food by giving their suppliers tough quality controls.

Professor Neal said governments could not change how much junk people ate, but they could cut the amount of salt and fat in pizza, pies and biscuits without anyone tasting the difference.

Um, no change to taste, no attempt to stop people eating junk food, and some gentle persuasion to stop fast food joints whipping up a trans fat shit burger, as opposed to a healthier alternative.

You silly goose - perhaps force fed on corn to produce an exquisite pate but a feeble mind - clearly you don't understand that this is social engineering of the most diabolical and threatening kind, and engineered by a man who likely eats lettuce for breakfast, and perhaps is even a rabbit in disguise:

Bob Carr is an aesthete and a health fanatic who as premier used to drink hot cups of water with a slice of lemon and probably still does. He abhors the binge-drinking culture of his chosen professional homes – journalism and, latterly, the labour movement. He famously once declared war on sausage rolls – “fat encased in fat” he called them – and was then advised by his minders to eat a meat pie for the cameras the next day to ward off any suggestions of eccentricity.

I raise those points not to tease him but to describe him. Australian men have a dumb tradition of teasing healthy people and it’s not something I am trying to do here. There is nothing wrong with not drinking grog and eating well.

Well bugger me dead, I'm glad we're not teasing Bob Carr, though the sight of him munching a carrot while wearing glasses always gets me laughing. Doesn't he know carrots only fix up your night vision?

What's that, it sounds like I'm teasing or tossing up urban myths like a tasty Greek cheese and a few choice Spanish olives in a delightful mixed leaf salad?

No, no, there's nothing wrong with eating well, and nothing wrong with eating really badly and running up huge bills on the Medicare system and overloading the hospital system so much that people whinge about socialized medicine.

... there’s a problem with telling everybody else that they have to do just that – and an even bigger problem in generalising about the working class as if they have a monopoly on bad diet and a lack of exercise.

We’re talking here about a hard core of uneducated poor people, or poor people who simply choose to act stupidly, by turning themselves and their kids into lard-arsed blimps.


Well they can just totter off an die, those lard-arsed blimps, and who would mind? Who would care? But what about the real workers, the subject of this vast conspiracy?

Banning fast food for the vast majority of sensible working class families who use it as a treat, or a stop-gap on a busy weeknight, is patronising in the extreme.

Um, but nobody actually suggested banning fast foods, they just suggested that fast food joints be persuaded to use a better brand of oil than ones loaded with trans fats. And it was even explicitly stated that no one was expecting to stop people eating as much junk food as they liked, just a hope that the junk food might be made more healthy without affecting the taste.

Where's the patronizing in that, unless you happen to be a git from Adelaide with a giant sized chip on your shoulder, somehow imagining in a festooned tabloid mind that you're a new Jimmy Porter starring in a revival of Look Back in Anger.

So what's make our angry young man Jimmy nee Penbo run?

Before we start banning things in Queen St, Campbelltown, we should also get along to Crown St, Surry Hills, on any day of the week and watch the more corpulent members of the middle class hoofing into gruyere souffl├ęs and black puddings. And I say that with a bit of experience. No-one is shutting those joints down; perhaps it’s because they’ve got elegance and a good sommelier on their side.

But are they serving trans fats, you over-fed goose? And still comes the white hot anger of the angry young man:

We don’t need intervention, especially by a redundant and unrepresentative tier of government which Mr Carr often railed against as Premier.

Well I guess we now know that Penbo doesn't vote in council elections. So that's why they're unrepresentative. So what's his solution to the suggestions of this unrepresentative swill. More anti-biotics in chooks and pigs? Now don't be silly:

We need much more aggressive home economics education where every kid from the age of seven, and into high school, gets mandatory classes on food preparation, starting with the most basic master texts of cooking by geniuses such as Elizabeth David and Margaret Fulton and Jane Grigson and Stephanie Alexander, to show them that cooking is more fun, cheap, and more satisfying than a Big Mac will ever be.

Anyone with half a brain could read David’s 1955 classic A Book of Mediterranean Food and cook a different dinner every night until they die not of diabetes but old age.

Yes, you goose, but what if they prefer, being working class types, not to be a pretentious wanker food snob like you, but in their time pressed lives, and wanting a treat or a stop-gap, seek a little light relief by way of fast food, which their leftie radical socialist pinko pervert commie food teacher has informed them is full of trans fats and likely to kill them by Christmas, if not by the end of the week? Should we add guilt to their fast food trans fat diet? Should we add folic acid to bread and fluoride to water?

Well Jimmy Porter wasn't clear about the source of his anger, his rage, being more agin anything you might have on offer, than for anything in a world where chivalry is dead.

But the spewing Penbo gives us a few clues of how tough it must have been for him living in Adelaide, surrounded by wine buffs and foodies:

To finish on the class war theme, if you really want to make yourself spew, dig out a copy of last month’s edition of Fairfax’s excruciatingly pretentious The (Sydney) Magazine for its morally indifferent tribute to the star, in-house chefs seconded to the bigger investment firms and merchant banks around town, dishing up Michelin-starred cuisine to the long-suffering executives who are having to stay back quite late at the office because of that pesky GFC.

Your heart goes out to them.


Right, that does it. Penbo will have to be reported to the in-house right wing Chairman Rupert committee of commentariat columnists for dangerously radical thinking reminiscent of the outrage experienced in that Orwellian tract Animal Farm:

"The mystery of where the milk went to was soon cleared up. It was mixed every day into the pigs' mash. The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls. The animals had assumed as a matter of course that these would be shared out equally; one day, however, the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs. At this some of the other animals murmered, but it was no use. All the pigs were in full agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon. Squealer was sent to make the necessary explanations to the others.

'Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades,' cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, 'surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?'

Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone."


And who can argue with that? Being rich is a different country, and they do things differently there. But no, Penbo is resolute in his rage, and his determination to assert the rights of the workers and berate the rich. Can the revolution come soon enough comrades?

There is of course another class of people who have coped quite differently with the GFC – by not working at all anymore, let alone staying back late, eschewing the duck leg confit with a rocket, parmesan and pear salad for something made from mincemeat, or getting along not to Neil Perry’s new grill bar but the Salvos.

Oh dear, a strident hysterical denunciation, chip on shoulder, all based on mis-reading of do gooders trying to do a little good.

Will someone please take Penbo somewhere and give him a bex, a nice lie down and a cup of tea. Just like the tea on offer in Tony Hancock's Look Back in Hunger:

MOTHER: Would you like a cup of tea, Penbo?

Penbo: Tea? Tea? Is that your answer to it all? Tea? The panacea to the middle class! The answer to all the problems facing mankind today? Have a cup of tea, Penbo! You both make me sick. You're dead, both of you. You're both mentally dead. Your souls are drowned in tea. Your minds are clogged up with tea bags. You're like two slop basins swimming around in a sea of tea! Just like this country, the whole rotten system, stained in a tea of apathy!

BROTHER: What's he mean, Mum?

MOTHER: I don't think he wants a cup of tea.

Perhaps he should drink a cup of trans fats every day instead. Just to show solidarity with the workers ...

(Below: expect this by Friday if the wicked Bob Carr has his way, and by the following Friday expect the UN to announce its new world government at Copenhagen, so the only way to get trans fats and tungsten light bulbs will be on the black market, along with heroin).

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