Pollan and Foodie Elitism

Funny and insightful piece by Jason Sheehan, a SeattleWeekly blogger, taking Pollan to task for talking about the virtues of food that most people can’t afford:

For a long time, I have had a love/hate relationship with Pollan. On the one hand, because I have been really, seriously, shoplifting-toothpaste-poor before (and, being an alternative newspaper journalist, remain just slightly less destitute today), I want to punch Pollan right in the face every time he says something like that. When you’ve been too broke to buy soup, some iconoclastic dickhead trying to tell you that paying $4 for a peach is a good idea because it is a really good peach can be the kind of thing that makes you want to buy a rifle and a map to the homes of famous food writers.


I’ve read Pollan’s books, too, and he is damnably right about a lot of things. Omnivore’s Dilemma? That fucked me up for life, and fundamentally changed the way I looked at food forever. There are things about the guy I really like. And if I ever get as rich and thoroughly disconnected as he is, I will no doubt be ten times as bad as he is now–eating only foods dipped in gold, smoking only weed that was grown on Allen Ginsberg’s grave and having a team of MIT engineers build me a robot just to wash my balls every morning.

But until that day comes, I still have difficulty swallowing the notion that some rich man in Berkeley gets to be the sole arbiter of what is right and what is morally reprehensible when it comes to my shopping and eating habits.

There are books that offer a way to eat better than Pollan does, on a whole lot less money. One of them, in fact, is written by me. But Pollan gets all the press, and it’s inevitable Pollan’s brand of conspicuous consumption will inspire a backlash. (Thanks, Adam.) Link.