Because no-one, in the wake of this piece, is talking about the Tamils. No-one’s talking about Sri Lanka. No-one’s talking about M.I.A.’s most provocative belief, the one that’s really threatening: The idea that violent oppression can and should be met with violent resistance, which is a complicated and scary proposition, one that people have been evaluating and fighting over for a long-ass time, one that we’re nowhere near figuring out as yet. No-one is talking about that; no-one, to be blunt, really cares. What we’re talking about, instead, is a plate of fucking fries.
Shut up, I like the Truffle Fry Controversy.
More importantly, this is an interesting thing for me to post because I DO care tremendously about the politics of food. I obviously gently (not-so-gently?) mock people all the time for eating silly things. But more importantly, I care about access to fancy food being painted as a moral virtue—and so on the flipside, I care about it being painted as a moral vice, too. As commenter Nick said the last time we hit this subject:
“I’m a radical because I hate poverty. I think everyone should have nice things, myself and M.I.A. included.”
Because really, my point at Shut Up Foodies isn’t that you shouldn’t eat good food. Or even expensive food. It’s that we shouldn’t use that food as a way to slap each other down or feel better than one another. Which is clearly the case with the M.I.A. incident.
And as Sady points out in this piece, here, we’re talking about the food and not the many, more complex and morally ambiguous issues in M.I.A.’s life and career. Because food remains a double-edged sword.