Jezebel points us to a maddeningly obtuse series of recent articles about the Obamas’ eating habits. (There’s even an [unofficial] Obama food blog, for the truly obsessive.) Apparently the Obamas are baffling the pundit class by sometimes eating vegetables, and sometimes eating burgers. It’s true! Apparently this magical family is able to eat French freedom French fries in moderation! Can you believe it?
First up is professional fake feminist Maureen Dowd,* who claims Obama is “sending mixed signals on food” by eating different things at different times. Dowd seems to think that the true Obama is some kind of dieting, Whole Foods-loving nancy boy:
It was easy to imagine a scenario where the president and his body man, Reggie Love, would have their own early-morning TV show called “Downward Facing Dawn,” coaxing a reluctant nation into a regimen of yoga and yogurt.
But then he goes to Five Guys and eats a delicious burger! I think I can speak for all Americans when I say: WHAT THE FUCK OH DEAR GOD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT I’M ALLOWED TO EAT
Dowd concludes that this is all some sort of PR move to correct from Obama’s apparently still tragic arugula moment.
Also baffled is the wonderfully named Erika Lovley of Politico. Apparently, the Obamas’ meal plans are a direly needed piece of our national health care plan.
Nutrition experts, too, say Americans need a much better glimpse of what’s being dished up behind the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “We have no idea what their regular breakfasts, lunches and dinners are like,” said American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and D.C. nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge. “Burgers, that’s all I ever hear about. They go to burger joints because it shows they’re just like everybody else, but everybody else is overweight.”
Dude! It’s like, when I go to Chili’s, everyone is totally fat, but then the Obamas are there too! What does it all mean?
Well, apparently at least one person in the White House is on board with not obsessing about the specious good food/bad food dichotomy: the White House Chef, Sam Kass, who is quoted as saying, “We try not to do diets, as opposed to just change our lifestyle [...] A diet means you’re inherently going to fall off of it.” Hey, where have we heard that before? Of course, for many people “lifestyle change” is a code word for “diet,” but in the context of complete media obsession over the fact that the Obamas, you know, eat, Kass’ statement stands out as a beacon of sanity.
And then, god help us all, Lovley quotes everyone’s favorite “obesity expert,” our old friend MeMe Roth, who notes that President Obama already smokes so he’d better put down that damn burger or everyone in America is going to die of a heart attack. (Yes, I’m paraphrasing just a wee bit.) Now, we’ve said this before, but I’m gonna say it again for good measure:
Dear Journalists of America,
MeMe Roth is not an expert on anything. She is a deeply troubled woman who wants everyone in America to hate themselves as much as she does. Even the New York Times is running articles about what a nutjob she is. Please, for your own integrity, stop quoting her. On anything.
Now, back to the Obamas and their completely incomprehensible eating: it seems to me that they might just be following the Kate Harding Lifetime Diet Plan. They eat what they want, which is sometimes arugula and sometimes a big old burger. They exercise and they go to the doctor when necessary, and they go on living their fabulous lives. Maybe the very reason that Obama can sometimes just pick at his fries instead of shoving them into the presidential gullet is that he knows he can have fries another day if he likes. The man is the president of the United States, after all. Do we really want him to obsess over whether he should order his salad dressing on the side?
I know that this isn’t the first time that a President’s gustatory preferences have been drummed up into a national incident, but this idea that people will eat themselves fat because the Obamas ate fish and chips—while in London!—is only possible in a culture where we are so deeply alienated from our own bodies that we cannot be trusted to use food. Are you insulted? I sure as hell am. I voted for Obama because I wanted a grownup in charge of the country for once.
I was hoping this wouldn’t be necessary, but I think this is clearly the best way out of a bad situation. President Obama, if you’re reading this,** maybe this will help:
*Seriously, why does ANYBODY mistake MoDo for a feminist, ever? Is it because she is a woman with a job?
**I assume you’re a lurker.