Hollywood Serves Up Food Elitism

Food, Inc. failed to win the best “documentary” Oscar on Sunday, but that likely won’t diminish its influence. If you’ve seen this one-sided hit piece on modern agriculture, you know that it’s a thinly veiled advocacy film for organic and local foods in true Michael Pollan style. That such a film draws so much attention is evidence of Hollywood’s fad fascination with organic foodie-ism.

As author and professor James McWilliams noted yesterday, though, foodie obsessions with a romantic, 19th century-style agriculture are nothing new or novel—people have had such yearnings for decades. And today we write in the pages of The Detroit News to take Tinseltown celebrities to task for their misguided activism that lacks much flavor:

For average Americans, bringing home the bacon gets a lot harder when you have to buy $29-per-pound artisanal cured pork belly. But that hasn't stopped Hollywood's out-of-touch food purists from trying to guilt-trip all of us into changing the way we eat.

Promoting a vegetarian lifestyle by focusing on health benefits may seem intuitive, but it shouldn't be. A 2006 Oxford University study found that vegetarians are just as likely as omnivores to die from strokes, and from colon, breast, and prostate cancer. And research has repeatedly shown that organic fruits and vegetables are no healthier than their conventionally grown counterparts….

When Food Rules writer Michael Pollan sat in the cushy guest seat on Oprah in January, the darling of the "slow food" scene smugly exhorted viewers: "We all can vote with our forks." I couldn't agree more – but I don't think Pollan will like the results.

Click here to read the full version. (A shorter version also ran Monday in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. )

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