[The following satire may seem off-the-wall. Probably it is. But read on.
Provided they stay this side of cannibalism, I have no objection to others eating and drinking as they see fit. I confess, though, to increasing irritation concerning the nannyism of the Dietetically Correct. “No, no-—it’s bad for you,” goes the constant refrain. Even without the words their disapproving glances tell the same story.
Moreover, there are signs that the moralism of these folks is beginning to move beyond exhortation towards restriction. Some years ago a proposal that “junk foods” be subject to a special tax garnered much approval in bien pensant circles. This tax would fall heaviest on the poor, who are the ones most misguided, it seems, in choosing such incorrect foods. Chicago now bars restaurants from serving foie gras. Ostensibly this ban is based on concern for the geese. It is not surprising that dietary restrictionists should initially advance other reasons to get their prohibitions adopted. Another Chicago proposal is to forbid cooking french fries in a certain type of fat.
These small steps are harbingers of things to come. How long will it be before tap water is forbidden in restaurants? The owners will love the ban, because then they can sell a lot of expensive bottled water.
Apart from the looming threat of regulatory intervention, Dietetic Correctness has harmed many supporters, by creating an overarching sense of insecurity, accompanied by an endless search for damning information about foods and beverages that are “bad for you,” and must therefore be eschewed. This is a recipe for neurosis.
Fine cuisine is one of humanity’s greatest aesthetic resources. It must not be supplanted by a relentless quest to hunt down suspect groups of foods.]
As I prepare to return to the halls of academia today, I am inwardly steeling myself to withstand the assaults of the dreaded Aqua Terrorists or Adamastorians. Together with other New Age phenomena, this deadly cult has gained many adherents among susceptible young people in our universities. Adepts may be recognized by the long, gleaming cylinders they brandish, reputedly filled with the Holiest of Water. As they advance others must submit, whereupon the assembled Adamastorians cry out TUBULAR! as with one voice. To avoid this fate, one must learn to spot them from a long ways off, and then flee.
Some tube wavers, it is said, have blasphemously refilled the cylinders with ordinary tap water. Though they may not know it, these too are fulfilling the sacred command. For by their act of brandishing they still Speak the Word—they acknowledge their fealty to Adamastor, King of the Deep Waters.
What are the origins of this puzzling cult? Many years ago a prescient anthropologist published a study of the obscure Nacirema, located somewhere between Aztlan and the Tlingit country. The central theme of the belief and ritual system of this strange people is to found in their water chapels, an indispensable feature of every Nacirema dwelling. Ostensibly devoted to ritual cleanliness, these sinister chambers reflect their culture’s prevailing hatred of the human body. Some of these chapels house small ovens in which the owners’ heads are baked. Others feature a kind of electrical torture instrument, which spews out excruciatingly hot air. There are also implements for the painful removal of various excrescences of the human body.
The Adamastorians are effecting an aggressive expansion of this cult, hitherto ensconsed in the innermost chambers of private homes. Adepts see it as their missionary aim to convert, by tube and water, all humanity to their cause.
Further research indicates that the Adamastorians are merely the shock troops of a larger, more inclusive faith. This is the Cult of Ortho-Ingestion. The central belief of the cult is that consumption of the appropriate foods and liquids will guarantee eternal life. A single slip, though, means death. One is only a swallow away from Paradise-—or Hell.
As regards the origins of Ortho-Ingestion, some analogies have been found with the Jewish dietary laws enshrined in the book of Leviticus. These, however, are rational, in that they lay out a clear schedule of unclean animals whose flesh is not to be eaten. Not so with the Orthos. For a time they joined the Japanese in forbidding butter, but now it is permitted again. Fish was once considered healthy, but not so any more because of the noxious dies that have been found in some commercially available species. In short, the Ortho party line changes frequently, almost inexorably.
Still, some foodstuffs, such as sugar, will always be treyf, never ortho. Here one is reminded of the old-style government campaign against “reefer madness.” Just as a single puff of marijuana will ruin you for life, so too just one teaspoon of sugar (“to make the medicine go down,” as the Satanic cry has it) will destroy every basis for a sound, healthy existence.
Be afraid, be very afraid. The Ortho Brigades are coming!