There is a long standing tradition of people showing other people food on the internet. And there’s a long standing tradition of people being bitchy about it. If you google “people who take pictures of food” you will get an assortment of comments, some going so far as to say that it’s a sign of mental (deep breaths) illness, that it’s selfish, that it’s faux-arty, that it’s a status thing, that it’s a hyped up kind of cluelessness with a side of privilege. I suppose it could be all of those things, but I like putting the scalpel in past the bone.
I return to my original thesis, which is that every human behaviour has its roots in biology, and that the cultural overlay determines how we express that biology. Nature brings the players and the culture determines the game, so to speak.
From the top; in a state of nature, human beings share food with close family and kin; the traditions of hospitality, of sharing food with strangers, goes back so far that in my view it’s one of the behaviours that allowed humans to differentiate themselves from animals when we became self aware. Bonobos, who share just under 99 percent of human DNA, share food, trade food and bribe with food among and across troupes. In a state of nature which includes the internet, we will share virtual food with our virtual friends, most of whom exist in real life and aren’t going to judge the living fuck out of us for wanting to prove that we get to eat yummy food. The reasons for doing it are the same as we do in real life. We will share out the yummy stuff, and that is what we prefer to remember. I don’t see people posting pictures of the power bar that prevented them from passing out from low blood sugar, or the lunch they brought from home; they share pictures of high quality calories and artful tastiness. Sometimes if they get something gross they will share a picture of it; “I bit into my KFC and lookie here at the special treat they gave me!” because they were disgusted and they know that even total strangers will see the picture and feel the disappointment, disgust and aggravation they felt.
Pictures of food are a completely normal and natural movement of our biology into technological space. You can shame people into doing it less, but you aren’t going to stop them, and even the people who say they never do it or find it really offputting occasionally do it. Enough with the shame. We’re sharing food, and IF YOU WERE HERE you could have some. I’d really like you to join me!
Paddy’s wake starts at six on Friday. Mike and I are going. It is going to be very tough and probably some fun too, as wakes often are. We must love each other while we can.
Had a lovely long chat with Katie and a briefer one with mOm to catch her up, yesterday. Now to see if I can get Jeff to watch Costumes of Assholes with me.