There is a new food product that supposedly provides you with all the necessary nutrition in liquid form so that you don’t have to waste time shopping for food, cooking, cleaning etc. In a move that I must admit is marketing genius, the 25-year old inventor and CEO of the company has called its product Soylent, which was certain to attract attention from those who recall the classic 1973 dystopian film Soylent Green, even if the implications from that film are disturbing.
Here’s the trailer.
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, the inventor talks about how when he worked as a coder he wanted to be able to work non-stop and resented having to take breaks to eat. With this food, he says that you don’t have to leave your desk.
This is part of a disturbing trend in the US and that is to think of food as essentially consisting of a few active ingredients. The task then becomes to identify those ingredients, extract or synthesize them, then mix them up to give us the illusion that we have got all we need. But surely food is more complex than that? Surely an orange is more than just a vehicle to deliver Vitamin C to our bodies? Also, as Colbert points out, eating food is not merely a nutrition break but also gives us pleasure and is a social act.
(This clip aired on June 11, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)