The rarity of a treat is the source of its specialness, but in our age of abundance some of us turn the rare into the regular. For example, take our food (please!):
Things [ie. type 2 diabetes rates] are worse in Britain and America, of course, than anywhere else, because the populations of those two great nations, having no proper culinary tradition of their own, are so childishly attracted to mass-produced muck. Only in such countries could you sell industrially prepared doughnuts with blue icing; people eat with their eyes, not with their mouths, and consider two qualities to be of supreme importance: color and quantity.
As to color, what attracts them is brightness, that is to say colors rarely or never seen in nature but only in Disney cartoons and in the logo of Toys “R” Us. They choose like magpies, but without the excuse of having a bird’s brain. The colors of MacDonald’s restaurants bear this out: They offend the eye of anyone except a very young child.
Back in Australia, where the cuisine of the average Aussie rivals the Brits and Yanks in horrorific content, after a month in Greece I am now reading Plato’s “Republic” – and I came across this gem:
“You would compare them, I said, to those invalids who, having no self-restraint, will not leave off their habits of intemperance? Exactly. Yes, I said; and what a delightful life they lead! they are always doctoring and increasing and complicating their disorders, and always fancying that they will be cured by any nostrum which anybody advises them to try. Such cases are very common, he said, with invalids of this sort. Yes, I replied; and the charming thing is that they deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth, which is simply that, unless they give up eating and drinking and wenching and idling, neither drug nor cautery nor spell nor amulet nor any other remedy will avail. Charming!”
As a GP it is tragic comedy to realise this is still a common problem for the physician after 2400 years!
Yes, that is very apropos for something written so long ago! See a real-life example in the last comment on this page (made yesterday):
Though the commenter seems to be a doctor rather than an addict (though of course one can be both), you can see the same outrage at the suggestion that one is responsible for what he consumes. Very strange.