The disease at the heart of the empire.

Note: the hawt chicks & links thread will return at the end of the month.

One of the things that is noticeable in this part of the USA is the sense of imbalance. Everything is oversized; the cars, the cups, the road signs, and of course the people. There are a lot of really big people down here, and I’m not alluding to bone density. I am in Louisiana but I assume that this is the norm all around the country. You first encounter the fatness on a trip to America at your own local international airport. The boarding lounge for your flight will contain a fair number of Americans returning home, and it is here that you first understand that in many ways you are about to enter an alien world. There are all types of fatties; every race and supposed gender is represented among the legions of the overweight.

But the ones that I find the hardest to comprehend are the fat middle class white guys that have really let themselves go. They could be computer programmers, lab technicians, insurance salesmen, you name it. They usually have a scratchy beard and nerd spectacles. There is nothing noticeable about them at all except for the tiny little fact that they are so fat that they have to walk leaning backwards so that they don’t topple over forwards. I observe these guys and I wonder about the decision making process that led them down the road to what is in effect physical ruin. It can’t just be put down to laziness because every culture has lazy people and I don’t see this amount of people being so overweight in other countries. I don’t think it’s the quality of food either; Australian food is just as unhealthy in many ways as what is on offer here in America but our ratio of fatties, both in the number of them and how much they are actually overweight, is nowhere near to what you encounter in the USA.

I received another culture shock early into my trip while sitting on my plane. Leafing through the in-flight magazine I was surprised to see an advertisement for medical services. The full colour page had a photo of four doctors proudly posing for the camera, their credentials and significant work achievements displayed beneath them. It was not the only advertisement of its type. In fact the medical ads in the USA compete with those by lawyers for most prevalent. The best commercials of the type combine the two professions together. So you might see a commercial on television touting for people who used a specific medicine to take part in a lawsuit. One of these commercials was somewhat disturbing as when it began listing the side effects of which they were interested the first one they came up with was genital gangrene, something which I had never before sought to imagine let alone consider.

I assume that the medical industry sold its soul to something a long time ago. To what or to whom I cannot say, but a respectable profession does not behave in this manner, particularly one whose supposed reason for existence is to heal people; or even do no harm. There is a lot of harm being done over here, and by the look of it not much healing.

The pharmaceutical industry is of course another factor in this equation, and its advertising is right on the heels of the big two offenders. Americans take a lot of pills. There is a pill for everything here. The prevailing culture seems to be one of complete disconnect from one’s own body and health. You stuff into your face as much goop as possible, then you go to your doctor for help with your poor health. He in turn gives you pills to mask the symptoms of your impending demise, while further along the line one of his colleagues will happily operate on you to remove the really offending bits of your body that have given up and waved the white flag. To finish it all off you then go to a lawyer to sue everyone involved in this process, and behind it all are the insurance companies who make sure that the payouts are covered by the premiums on offer for every conceivable legal headache, and some that people from a normal civilization might consider inconceivable.

This edifice is not the basis for a nation in good health. Perhaps the failing health of the nation corrupted its individuals, or it could be that the failing individuals collectively corrupted the nation. Either way, whether it was the fault of the macro or the micro, things have obviously gone very bad over here some time ago. This is very confronting and rather depressing. American culture has given the world much that is good; many of my own interests throughout my life had their origin in the USA. But the Pax Americana empire is doomed just as much within as it is without. Those social commenters that I read that give the USA another 20 years I fear are being generous. And no empire of this size and complexity has ever fallen in the history of the world.

I feel privileged to see America at this time but I also feel a sense of unease and disquiet. Because things are much worse than even I ever thought possible.

29 thoughts on “The disease at the heart of the empire.

  1. TechieDude

    Have you run into the fatty carrying a soda mug the size of a bucket yet? The dude that sits in your class tugging on it all morning, and then refills it at lunch?

    By and large we’re a hedonistic culture where no one has agency.

    Nothing is your fault. People these days here aren’t taught to be adults, and when they fuck up, they act like the children they are. Eat too much, drink too much, get fat. It’s “Big Fast Food” that did it to you. Didn’t you see that movie “SuperSize Me?” Why, it’s a conspiracy I tells ya.

    And we, as a country, don’t cook and eat at home much. Remember your mom telling you to eat your veggies? She doesn’t even cook them any longer. I run into people all the time that will flat out say “I don’t like green foods”.

    You want a spectacle of what I’m saying? Go to a supermarket on a Saturday. Look at what people are piling in their carts. A lot of “heat and eat”. A lot of Soda. A lot of junk food. And they aren’t getting ready for a party, they’re restocking for the week. Then for the final insult, watch them pay with a WIC card.

    Another eye-popping example – go to a Golden Corral. There HAS to be one where you are. It’s all you can eat. Look at what people are piling on their plates, The amount, and the type of food. You’ll see two people at a booth with enough fried food for family of six.

    You know what else you won’t see? Walking and biking like you would see where you live. We get in our cars. The towns aren’t really built to be walked or biked. So there’s little normal activity that happens elsewhere in the world.

    BTW – Look at the billboards when traveling. I’ve seen at least two here for bariatric surgeons. “Stomach stapling special!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Post Alley Crackpot

      You can get a reasonably decent meal at a Golden Corral … BUT …

      That involves giving up nearly every fried food and every carb on the buffet, especially at the desserts area where people push the pancreas past 200 mph and into a concrete barrier.

      One YUGE problem is that the steaks there are too lean and the other meat options are also too lean, and so if you’re on a fat-burning diet (such as keto), it’s difficult to get what you need. This inevitably means you get to load up a pile of broccoli with cheese sauce, and even that’s full of starch. Gravy? More starch. It’s not easy to come out winning there.

      Yes, you can load up your salad with lots of cheese, but isn’t that really the American diet in a nutshell?

      Americans are starved for good dietary fats so much that they overcompensate with cheese and fried foods that are fried in horrible kinds of oil.

      Because of this, you can get them addicted to all sorts of nasty carbs just as long as there’s enough dietary fat to keep them wanting that stuff.

      “Hot Pockets”, in essence, right there in a nutshell.

      Like

  2. “One of the things that is noticeable in this part of the USA is the sense of imbalance. Everything is oversized; the cars, the cups, the road signs, and of course the people.”

    While living in Colorado, I knew a German exchange student. He came here wondering if it was true Americans were all fat. He looked around Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs (this when Colorado was conservative) and thought, nah, there’s nothing special.

    On his way back to Germany for Christmas, he had a stopover in Oklahoma City. Mein Gott!

    I do water sports in California, visit national parks and so on. They’re empty. White space, and very nearly male space, is anything involving discomfort in the outdoors. The vibrant parasites sit at home watching television and the whites keeping things running are overworked to exhaustion. Nobody takes a vacation anymore.

    “I assume that the medical industry sold its soul to something a long time ago.”

    The USA has long been the best place on Earth to do pharmaceutical research. Countries with socialized medicine tend to use patented meds without compensation to the patent holders. America was a market where they could sell new drugs at high cost to pay off the cost of R&D while also offering the brainpower to do the R&D in the first place.

    This is now changing thanks to Obamacare and our other, recent forays into socialized medicine. Result, we now have lots of pharmaceutical R&D companies that are getting bled dry by State bureaucrats and there’s nowhere left in the world to move to. Hence lots of advertising to keep revenue up.

    “To finish it all off you then go to a lawyer to sue everyone involved in this process”

    Frivolous litigation is, I believe, what it looks like when a wealthy, high-trust society transitions to a wealthy, low-trust society. Everybody starts thinking about how to screw everybody else. The impoverished, low-trust crowd just pulls a gun and “Gimmiedat”. End results are similar. Frankly, I prefer the latter so I can do my own shooting back, no need for a mercenary on retainer. I’m not wealthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Someone

    What I can say as an American? Your write up is true. It’s sad to see that such skilled people probably do a good job and not lazy, but can’t seem to make some effort to improve themselves physically.

    I sometimes fast into late the next morning on a weekend and every once while hit up a Golden Corral. I go for the stuff I can’t make at home for their price like the pot roast, prime rib, and steak along with a treat of a bit of fried chicken and okra. What makes me laugh are the people who just paid $12 or so and go put crap like pasta and pizza on their plate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. phizz

    that’s the middle america that’s supposed to rise in civil war 2: electric boogaloo, and take back ‘merica from the woke hipsters and cat ladies. slap fight on isle 7.

    decline is painfully hilarious.

    Like

  5. PB

    I have long believed that their are elements ((that must not be named)) that incorporate cross investment across big food, big pharma with a large helping of big media thrown in, and that the global fattie epidemic is largely by design and manipulation which allows for the dual convenience of financial harvesting through chronic illness health-care (be it State funded, like us, or largely private funding, like them), and the even greater State convenience of ensuring premature death. Basically this is bread and circuses on steroids, with demographic/financial management as the ultimate goal.

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  6. Obese is an interesting measure. I lift weights, do martial arts, can run five miles at age 54. I weigh 220 (generally although I gained some weight in the time leading up to and recovering from back surgery recently) and would probably feel better at about 205. I was rail thin for a year back in 1993 when I was just out of the military and drifting across the country on my Harley with very little money and got down to 190. My doctor has a chart that says I am obese if I get over 170 at my height.

    So yes, America has a weight problem. But obesity statistics are not really the way to illustrate that.

    As far as the history of that, after WWII America was the only major country in the western world that wasn’t destroyed by the war. Australia and Canada didn’t really qualify as major, sorry. They became, very quickly, the most wealthy country in history. There was also an explosion in convenience. Fast food, technology, etc became the norm. Every house a toaster, a TV, a microwave. Food in cans, microwave dinners, and if that was still too much effort, fast food. I don’t think we ever recovered. I’m not even convinced that it was the nutritional value other than the lack of vegetables, as a hamburger from McDonalds has pretty much the same nutritional value as a hamburger from anywhere else. It was the lack of energy expended due to the labor saving devices coupled with the quick meals that don’t allow time for proper digestion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oscar

      Just love those pharmacuetical ads on breakfast TV when in the US, and the rushed list of side effects at the end is uncannily like the rushed list of parties at the end of Australian political ads.

      Like

  7. Oh, and I forgot the explosion in intake of sugar. More than doubled in the last century, more than octupled in the last two. I think that might be for North American and Europe though Europeans did have pretty severe rationing well into the 60s.

    If you look at Body Mass Index (which also has similar problems to the obesity charts) you discover that the mean BMI of the US is 28.8, UK 27.3, and Aus and Canada both at 27.2 Not a lot of difference which doesn’t explain why the US seems to have so many more overweight people. Since it’s a mean that could easily be caused by a significant population of visibly obvious fatties and a fairly normal rest of the population, as opposed to a generally overweight but not obese population. (25 is overweight, 30 is obese). Again, I hover right around 30 even when I weigh under 225.

    The Netherlands, by the way, comes in at 25.4

    Liked by 1 person

      1. PB

        I think obesity is just one of those things that you know when you see it, regardless of what technical measurements say.

        Like

  8. Rory Mac

    Remember that the only reason the rest of the free world has as modern medicine as they do is because America retains a profit motive in medicine and pharmaceuticals. The dirty secret in much of the first world is how much of the innovation in prescription drugs, medical devices, and new medical procedures comes from the USA. The reason it does is because the USA still retains a free market (or at least somewhat of a free market) in healthcare.

    The reason you see doctors and hospitals advertising in the US is because they have to compete. You’ll see advertisements all the time from hospitals saying, “our cancer survival rate is such-and-such, and it is the best in our region because we just invented the new XYZ procedure to save lives.” You don’t get that kind of innovation under single-payer healthcare systems like the UK.

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  9. Pingback: Linkage: 12 March, 2019 – The High Road #TheTriggering – Cynical Libertarian Society

  10. Post Alley Crackpot

    BMI numbers are used in the US to scam people into medical programmes …

    By their numbers, I am a total lard-arse and could stand to lose twenty kilos.

    By the US Navy’s numbers, if I lose ten kilos, I will probably die.

    BMI numbers take into account absolutely nothing about body shape.

    My last suit jacket Made in America(tm) had to be started with a US size 56 cut down to a US size 38 at the waist. So-called “regular” fit dress shirts in America fit like party tents, and “athletic” fit shirts are still a little bit baggy.

    That 20.5 inch neck does it every time — US sizes in most shops stop at 18.5 inch neck sizes unless you shop at a “big and tall” place where most of their clothes are actually meant for The American Porcine Establishment, and so every piece of clothing I have bought in America had to be tailored down in size because it was meant for people who are actual walking party tents.

    If you hear any medical professional going on about your BMI when you could drop kick said medical professional into the next county without breaking a sweat, then understand that you’re not just talking with an idiot …

    That BMI talk means you’re talking with a well-educated idiot who was taught by the best-intentioned of idiots in a Medical School of Idiots.

    Like

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