Friday I clicked on The Eggman (know thy foe) and there beheld a photograph of Chris Christie, reproduced below. And the sight of this man, it unaccountably filled me with Fear.
I say “unaccountably,” because heretofore I had serenely cleaved to the wisdom of this piece, presenting the prognostications of this never-wrong wizard: that is, come 2012, no matter how battered and bruised, Destry would ride, if wearily, into a second term. None among the cretins and the clowns in that toxic, smoke-belching Christine of a car of the Republican Party, would manage to run him down.
But suddenly, looking there at Christie, I was beset with a terrible vision.
What if the American people decided to go wide?
Now, it is true that this—picking the portly—is something they have not done since Grover Cleveland, which was well over 100 years ago. And that in an age when not all that many voters knew what the presidential candidates looked like. In the many years since, hoisting into the Oval Office someone packing serious excess poundage has been something that was Just Not Done. It has been a political given, for more than a century, that an overweight man seeking the highest office in the land stood no more chance than, say, an atheist. Or, uh, a black man.
As a wise sage recently observed: “There’s a family of Negroes living in the White House. That’s the sum-total of what’s going on.”
Yep. And that simple fact—black folk in the White House—has driven half the nation stone-mad. These people knew they weren’t going to like it from the get-go—only 43% of white people casting ballots in 2008 voted for the black family to move into the White House. But even they had no idea how badly they were not going to like it. Once it became Reality. Now they know. It’s an outrage. Not to be borne. And they want it Stopped. By any means necessary.
So, in my vision, gazing at that photo of Chris Christie, the picture goes sepia. A planter’s hat appears upon his head. His clothing reverts to that of a Southern plantation owner, circa 1850. He is transformed into one of those coarse, corpulent, antebellum plutocrats, living fat off the bondage of black folk. Because that’s what he looks like. Even in modern clothes.
And I see him, thus, as he really is, on the debate stage, next to Obama. Who, back there in 1850, looks like the underfed runt out of one of Christie’s slave families. The biracial Obama maybe sired by Christie himself. Christie’s wife suffering from a “nervous disorder,” his excuse for sneaking off nights to the slave quarters. Because that sort of thing’s okay. Like with Strom Thurmond. So long as you don’t talk about it. And I see that, through the eyes of the knock-kneed white-bread nation, “[t]here’s a family of Negroes living in the White House.” And I see the determination of the people that a fat Southern planter is just the man to send them Negroes back to from where they came. To make the White House white again. Amen.
The horror. The horror.
Republican noisemakers like Rush Limbaugh (obese), Sean Klannity (fat), and Ann Coulter (insectile) have been howling for months that Christie needs to haul his Southern planter ass into the race, start taking a stick to them Negroes running wild all over the White House.
But Christie, who’s only been ruining New Jersey from the governor’s mansion for a little over two years, has consistently demurred. Except now it seems—if a source about as reliable as the old Weekly World News is to be believed—he’s meeting with GOoPer billionaires, who are urging him to Save The Nation. And he’s thinking about it.
Though it is true that in the modern age Americans, with their presidents, have never gone wide, why should this always be so? After all, nothing is forever. Except the red at certain stoplights. And if ever the American people were to go bloat, it might be now. Because so many of them are so seriously tipping the scales themselves. There is now no state in this nation where less than 20% of the people are obese. And that’s not mere “fat.” That’s obese. A clinical condition. Everywhere serious poundage is seriously changing the nation: even American buses and ambulances are undergoing redesign, to accommodate whaling weights.
We know that the American people, when once they get into the voting booth, like sometimes to pull the lever for people they perceive to be just like them. Even when that just-like-them involves qualities not generally considered to be among those of “the better angels of our nature.”
The great appeal of Sarah Palin, for instance, is that bone-ignorant people recognize that she is every bit as bone-ignorant as they are. This comforts, not threatens, them. That is truly the sort of person they want running their lives.
So, too, maybe, the ever-increasing number of people who would prefer not to be weight-watchers, will feel compelled to vote for a man who does not watch his.
Especially when the alternative is a Negro. A skinny Negro.
It is hard, really, to blame Americans, for putting on all that weight. For they are cruelly caught in a crossfire between hundreds of thousands of years of yearning evolution, and the amoral offerings of modern American industrial capitalism.
As food anthropologist Peter Farb notes in Consuming Passions:
Each species of animal chooses what it eats and drinks out of basic biological needs and the adaptation it has made over an immense stretch of evolutionary time. Yet the nutritional composition of one animal diet, from a biochemical standpoint, is very much the same as any other. All animals must obtain from their diet about forty or fifty substances needed by the cells to live and function. As a species evolved, it must have selected foods from what was available within its own niche that met its criteria for palatability in regard to taste, odor, texture, color, and shape. For humans, the two kinds of food that are most palatable are those having the texture and savory taste of meat, and those with the odor and vivid colors typical of fruit. In addition to food from these two categories, neutral-tasting foods—leaves, roots, seeds, and shoots—provided the evolving humans with nutrients but did not supersede the special attractiveness of the other two.
See that? The human body wants meat and sweets. That’s what it lives on. That’s what it thrives on. That’s what it wants.
This was not a problem, back in hunter-gatherer days, when a human had to work some to secure such goodies. And when on some days such goodies were not available at all. And nothing else was, either. Which is why human evolution also went really big-unto-overdrive into fat storage: to provide bits and pieces of the body itself, to itself, to feed off of, as nourishment, when times, there at the mouth, got real lean.
Today, of course, in America in 2011, all of this innate human programming is an extremely serious problem. In this country where anybody at all, poor as they may be, can, to meet the need for “meat,” afford to mouth a McDonalds hamburger.
And also—don’t forget—a chocolate bar. Anybody can eat a chocolate bar. For less than a dollar. On any streetcorner. Packing more “sweets” than what was consumed in a month by the ur-people who built American bodies.
Meanwhile, the body screaming to shove all this surfeit, of meats and sweets, into storage mounds of fat. Because that’s what the body is programmed to do. Not understanding that, in America, this is not a “surfeit” at all. This is what you can eat any time you want. The very next day, even. And then every day after that. All day. And all of the night.
Evolution works slow. Amoral modern American industrial capitalism works fast. Very fast. The human body can’t possibly adapt rapidly enough to confront and overcome some sudden and overwhelming profit-uber-alles high-fructose-corn-syrup craziness.
So, instead, an individual body, born into this bent period, will have a tendency to bloat. And bleed away into all sorts of suffering diseases.
Fortunately, this will not be happening for long. Because for everyone to live as a current American—McDonalds and Milky Way—would require the resources of 5.3 earths. And there are not 5.3 earths presently available.
And what that means is: no one can live like a McDonalds and Milky Way American. Eventually, people will figure this out. Even Americans. And will then act accordingly.
And so this current, evolutionarily-speaking oh-so-brief period of high-fructose-corn-syrup American surfeit, will pass soon away. And humans will go back to eating the way they ate when they were birthed. Lean. Keen.
In the meantime: be who you wanna be, Americans.
Just—for Jeebus’ sake, as well as your own—don’t be Chris Christie.