May 14, 2017


There are hungry people here in the land of plenty. Some may have access to nutrients and still not ingest healthy food. Creating the appearance of plenty to eat, foods based on empty carbohydrates, fats, and sugars may cause many of us grow obese but actually hungry for healthier foods.


Non-nutritional hunger can be alleviated by informed diet choices. The cooking I do is about 96% vegan (I use butter and sometimes serve ice cream). The meals I prepare provide nourishment from vegetable sources, especially beans, nuts and cereals (and at restaurants, sea food). We feel health benefits from such a diet, but most people who know how we eat say they couldn’t go without meat and dairy. (I say “I” because Gary, unconvinced, eats meat and dairy liberally when I’m not the cook. I am the opposite. I am also healthier.)


I can’t argue that my food decisions are better than others’ decisions. But I want to speak of another kind of hunger: intellectual. I have some definite prejudices against “cheap” entertainment such as some movies, TV, books, music and games. I have tried to ignore modern popular music partly because I can’t hear well, so what singers (wailers?) say is lost on me. The music itself seems copy-cat with little to choose in its idols. I’m sure if I became more educated, I’d find pleasure. But must I wade through the mud to find the lily that occasionally grows there?


I have lately been starting books and laying them aside within a chapter or two because they offer little nutrition. I love historical fiction, but find it difficult to be satisfied with works where characters don’t act or think as people really did in the era depicted. Such novels are not reliable even though based on facts. I have begun to read non-fiction history as more “nourishing.” Wonderful novels are out there, but I have to dig through a lot of trash to find them.


The human condition is always fodder for art and can be used to promote any cause. Sometimes we are asked to believe and sympathize with untruths such as that violence is the answer to disagreement. I am thinking about Nazi propaganda against Jews and other groups not so long ago. The Germans I know today are not the same people who allowed six million Jews, gypsies, mentally retarded, homosexual and others deemed unfit to live to be annihilated. In these times, I am saddened to hear of Muslims being subject to hate crimes. Where do people learn to hate and to act violently against others? I think some movies and TV can be source for that.


But who would want to watch educational TV all the time? I don’t want to watch the programs that say they will reveal the “Secrets of the Pyramids” using evidence that is skewed and jammed into strange shapes by trying to make the program dramatic. Merely touching on or manipulating truth in the urge to attract audiences, however, does work because the programs continue.


Furthermore, who keeps programs alive that are patently coarse, demeaning, false, without moral merit and mindless? Are such entertainments mental junk food? Who is growing dull and insensitive to other people by consuming skewed thought processes? Whose minds are mush because they ingest mental garbage?


Thing is, not all of mindless entertainment is abysmal. Not all of something higher is sublime. Wading through the muck can bring up diamonds and gold. I just try not to waste significant time on worthless and empty intellectual calories. I believe I have made some better choices of sources. I am vegan in movies so don’t watch R-rated. I don’t read cream-puff romance fiction. Mostly I go for the classics, the nutritional winners—but only 96%. A really well-written “who-done-it” can hold me entranced. And right now, I’d love a bowl of homemade ice cream! PMA