Feeding You The Future: The Food Network Programs The New Social Menu

Judgement day.

(Every now and then, I’ll be doing posts that are not astrology related though I might mention it a bit. This is one of those posts) It’s not CNN, FOX or even Disney that shapes minds in a covert manner the most. No, those are overt channels of control. Perhaps the most insidious form of televised mind control is the Food Network. In fact, it’s my perception that the Food Network is downright fascist and programming people in such a clandestine fashion, that people would be shocked when they look at what’s really happening. Let’s take a look at the dynamics that are in play, shaping peoples perceptions through the most fundamental and basic act of being human; eating.

The father of modern advertising, Freud’s nephew. Edward Bernays knew about the power of food at not only a basic level of sustenance but also it’s deeply symbolic import. Bernays was hired by companies to help promote their products. Berbnays favorite symbol was the egg. On two separate occasions, Bernays used the egg to change how we eat. At that time, breakfast in america was much more like it was in Europe, consisting of breads, muffins, and rolls, with coffee or milk. Bernays was hired by the Beech-Nut company who made a ton of products, including bubble gum, but also bacon. They wanted more demand for their bacon, so they hired Bernays. Bernays reached out to a dotter to see if a heavier breakfast would be better for people. The doctor looked at the evidence and based on the belief that people burn energy during sleep, he reasoned that they needed a larger meal to start their day. Bernays asked him if he could send a letter stating that to 5,000 other doctors. He did and 4,500 doctors responded in the affirmative. Bernays had the study published in newspapers all around the country. He added eggs into the editorial mix and as a result, we have the modern breakfast. Bernays chose the egg, because he knew that it was deeply symbolic. It was birth, life, hope, the mother. Sales of bacon immediately rose and the American breakfast was changed.

Food is the most fundamental experience we all share. From a consciousness perspective, food hits us on at least three levels/chakras. Food is nurturing and makes us feels safe (first chakra). Food is sexy and even erotic (second chakra). Food is emotional connects us to memory and nostalgia (heart chakra). So when we watch the Food Network, we are open in ways that we aren’t even remotely aware of. And what does the food network serve up for the hungry masses. You might be surprised.

One of the food Network’s most successful franchises is the “Iron Chef” which they imported from Japan. The original version was an over-the-top, bordering on surreal circus of Japanese feudalism, food porn and goofy voice-overs. The emperor Iron Kitchen Stadium was a caricature of a psychopath, pushing the edge of madness to comical effect. Chef’s dutifully sweated their asses off to produce dishes of staggering creativity in the span of just one hour. Once they were finished they were then summarily judged and the winner of course would be given the tittle of “Iron Chef.”

In Japan, it worked. Even here as a kind of gustatory knock off of “What’s Up Tiger Lily” it scored big ratings and was an anchor property in the early days of the Food Network. But Iron Chef Japan ran it’s course and the Food Network jumped on the opportunity to produce their own version, which only mirrors the original loosely via the format. The emperor is now the emperor’s nephew, who lacks the maniacal charm of the original lord of iron kitchen stadium. But the format remains. The serfs of the kitchen perform a sweaty kabuki of culinary command. We’re dazzled by the speed and creativity. Blowtorches glaze, gelees giggle, cocktails froth, and four courses later they stand before a tribunal who judges and grades their food. It’s a solemn ceremony that’s taken far too seriously by C list celebrities and wanna-be-foodie nerd stars. it’s a moment of judgement. This same ritual has been copied for any number of food shows. “Chopped” is a chopped down version of Iron Chef where they contestants must make an appetizer, main course and desert over the course of an hour. After each course, the again, appear before a tribunal where they are judged and cross-examined by fellow chefs. If your dish doesn’t cut it, you get chopped and when you do, you get the perp walk with camera on you, recording your moment of defeat and ignominy.

Again, what’s taking place? We’re taking in the food on a visceral level. It triggers thousands of novel neuro-peptides dancing with exotic neuro-receptors and we’re in the rhyhtmic entrainment of the digital signal, lulling us into Delta states, highly suggestible and wide open, chakras relaxed, sense memory activated and what are we given? Dog eat dog competition. People sweating it out for a mere 10K, waiting to have their lives judged by a panel of stern administrators remonstrating them for using truffle oil or not integrating the pomegranate more consistently. Dreams are crushed like garlic. But what’s really happening?

What we’re seeing is a form social obeisance, a new order emerging where people are judged by the high priests of public opinion, often just removed from the peer level. We’re treated to the first class arrogance of Aron Sanchez and Scott Conant. Former Queer-Eye-Guy, Ted Allen presides over the whole affair with a grim and humorless delivery, acting out more as grand inquisitor than reality game show host. I’ll never forget the barely disguised disgust that Allen displayed when a contestant from England, Lotte Duncan chose to create warm and nurturing, dare I say feminine plates of food.

“Chopped” is a psyop–but it’s not alone in the Food Network line-up. The same format is duplicated on a number of other shows.

“Sweet Genius” is yet another Food Network offering that features people competing against one another for a cash prize, where they are judged by Ron Ben-Israel, who unlike Allen brings a perverse charm to the role of king confectioner. Ben-Israel is former IDF and like Allen, is openly gay. It’s the same format. Heads roll as Ben-Israel delivers final judgment on the less than perfect treats and contestants are banished from his sugary kingdom. More judgement. More servile panting. More tribulation.

Chopped and Sweet Genius are pushing the new social model which is more top down, more elite judgment, via the Sanhedrin of digestion. People opened up by the sense memory of food, the emotion of the moment and the digital trance have the contents of the medium poured into them like a psychic roux. Winners. Losers. Triumph. Humiliation. Notice how dutiful they all depart. No debate. Just take that perp walk and talk about how great it was. Just once, I want to see some throw their chocolate linguini into Aron Sanchez’s smarmy mug. Obedience. Judgement. Reward. Humiliation. These shows are the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials for haute cuisine. But that’s not all the food network has to offer. Oh no!

Restaurant Impossible features chef, Robert Irvine, who was trained as a chef in the British Royal Navy and claimed at one point that he was a “Knight Commander Of The Royal Victorian Order” and had cooked for Charles and Lady Di. He had to later retract both, however, he is a member of something called “The Malt Society Of Chefs.”

Irvine comes rolling into town to help a struggling restaurant with a budget of 10K and 48 hours to turnaround what’s likely years of mismanagement and dismal cash flow. He barks orders like a drill sergeant. He humiliates people. He bullies the staff calling them incompetent and employing them to have the same financial commitment to the businesses that the owners have, which is completely unrealistic. Then, after a re-design, face-lift and new menu, fueled by Sysco foods, which Irvine peddles, the owners see their restored restaurant and break down in tears of joy. They hug Irvine and understand that his psychological bullying was all in their best interests. They thank him for their new lease on life, but the real story is almost always different. The show has had very mixed success in saving restaurants on the skids, but you’ll never know that. Irvine and his culinary Luftwaffe strafe their lives for 48 hours and the result is more love, more hope, and always gratification for having Irvine impose his iron will upon them. Irvine is a Libra (9/24) and it’s prime cardinal energy. Like Ted Allen, he also appears stiff and humorless, but apparently off camera, he’s fairly personable and funny. However, on the show, he’s a borderline sadist. On a recent episode, a restaurant owner was complaining about the rising cost of food and Irvine just blew him off, telling him that the troubles with his business had nothing to do with the rising cost of food. Of course the hugged it out as they always do at the end of the show.

So now you’ve settled into a night of Food Network programming. You’ve seen good food, sexy food, exotic food, comfort food, human drama, victory, defeat, judgement and redemption but there’s a new type of programming that’s emerging on FN. Surveillance dining. Yes, that’s right. Surveillance dining.

Two of FN’s new offerings are “Restaurant Stakeout” and “Mystery Diners.” Both shows employ surveillance cameras to catch employees that are lazy, lying and thieving. Restaurant owners observe their employees via a wired network of cameras hidden throughout the restaurant. “Restaurant Stakeout’s” Willie Degel is a pioneer in using cameras throughout all of his own restaurants. The theme that constantly emerges from the mostly New Jersey based restaurants that are being spied on is that, “People cannot be trusted and that the only way that they can be controlled is if they know they’re being watched.”

“Mystery Diners” is essentially the same format, only the show inserts plant into the restaurant to get pertinent info on particular employees who are being singled out by the restaurant owner. Again, through an application of surveillance and spying the message is, is that you’re being watched. Companies like “Big Dog Surveillance” and “Skyway Security” offer the same kinds of solutions offered up on “Stakeout” and “Mystery” and are in fact advertised during the shows.

So let’s do a quick re-cap.

What you’re likely to see on the Food Network in one evening is the following; Stark and gritty competition, emotional drama, hard luck stories, stern judgement, social tribunals, obedience, grim reception, militaristic command, surveillance cameras, spying, covert operation and humiliation, all while you are an open channel, salivating over epicurean delight and nostalgic sense memory.

Is the Food Network inherently evil? In it’s totality, likely not. I enjoy the mindless travels of Aquarian, Guy Fieiri on DD&D hoping to catch a super dive somewhere near me, but that doesn’t mean that certain programs aren’t targeted and used in tools to sculpt behavior, shape perception and create a model of conformity that would make even Edward Bernays blush.

Madonna–Money Whore Or Kaballah Mata Hari?


Ever since Madonna to her fans, “Esther” to her Kaballah pimps embraced the power of The Zohar, she has been discreetly converting Hollyweirds A-listers to the hottest faith this side of Scientology. It was due to Madonna’s influence, er guidance that Brittany started schlepping around a copy of The Zohar that Madonna had personally given to her. Spears had also begun to tithe money to Madonna’s Kaballah teachers. The tithing part is very important as Madonna, Spears and Madonna’s new Kaballah pal, Demi Moore have lots and lots of money to give so that they can get good seats at any Kaballah gathering, get one-on-one counseling, teaching, etc from the Kaballah dons. Madonna has done an outstanding job recruiting her pals to wear strings around their wrists and do their best to wrap their heads around a hyperdimensional text that invokes disincarnate energies to act as mediums for the transmission of prophecy and guidance. But while Madonna/Esther has done a bang up job in Hollyweird, she just made one helluva breakthrough in the realm of professional sports by seducing and introducing Alex Rodriguez into the moist recesses of the pink temple wherein the scripture of the flesh became the ecstatic worhsip of each ones reflection.

You see, Madonna not only cavorted with the Yankee slugger, she also put him in direct contact with her Kaballah team to help enlighten him to the cosmic potential that he was destined to achieve. A Rod has quickly set his sites upon power, ever since his last contract negotiation where he reached out to Warren Buffett for advice–The Kaballah is yet another step in his quest to power. Meanwhile, Madonna gets to play this out on many levels. She delivers A Rod, which gives the Kaballah mafia an in with professional athletes through him, she gets to cuckold Guy Ritchie even further, thus finally putting the last nail into a once promising film career, she gets to have hot sex with another unfeeling, self-possessed ego-maniac (Echo–meet Narcissus) and she also gets to play out the role of Marilyn Monroe to A Rod’s Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio–an archetypal affair of the highest order. Madonna laps the energy up like a ravenous succubus to feed the the disincarnate appetities of the ancient spirits that feast upon the emotions that they themselves cannot directly experience. Then, A Rod’s wife runs off to Paris to be consoled by Lenny Kravitz. Can it get any weirder?

Meanwhile, the distant beat of drums reverberate across the planet, sounding a call to war in the final battleground of Babylon, while America is force fed even greater distractions of glamour in the spectacle receptacle we call society and culture and the gap-toothed saboteur is praised as a goddess for all her good works.

Revisiting Morocco, Magic, Majoun, Horowitz and Deyhim

MajounMercury is retrograde in Gemini and it’s time for me to re-invigorate my blog. I did this interview ten-years-ago and recently re-connected with Richard Horowitz after staying up far-too-late one night last week watching Bertolucci’s cinematic rendering of The Sheltering Sky where Horowitz provided the exotic soundtrack.This Q&A was to appear in the last, which turned out to be the “lost” issue of MONDO 2000. For those of you who don’t know, MONDO was one of the greatest and most influential magazines of all time. It was redolent with early adopter themes, bursting at the spine with memes and strange attraction. I was part of the waning phase of MONDO’s glorious ascent. Not privy to all of the media buzz that surrounded the mag in the middle of the nineties, I nonetheless experienced the madness and genius of Queen Mu on a daily basis. I could go into a whole post simply on the complexity and brilliance of the MONDO maven. I will go on record and say that she is one of the great unknown and little recognized writers and minds of the 20th century. With Pluto moving into Capricorn, The Queen’s natal sign (she shares the same birth date as Elvis and Bowie), I think we will witness her rise once more.I spent two separate phone interviews with Richard and Sussan and one interview with Sussan alone and really got to know them. I appreciated truly their candor and vulnerability.The art was pure Heide Foley in all of it’s psychedelically inspired retinal overload. I actually found this on Heide’s website where much of the lost issue resides. Curiously, she has me named as “Rob Hall.” Enjoy.

Majoun—passed down through the ancestral food chain, a mind-kissing cousin of Soma, brain food of the gods.

Majoun—trance possessor of initiates into visions of desert ecstasy and love–the mysteries of muezzin and minaret. Sacred geometries, spinning poets and wheels of tilting stars, revealed by the sweet taste of this Kif-powered Moroccan paste that’s mixed with mint tea.

In it’s aural manifestation, Majoun is three parts Adrian Sherwood’s On U Sound collective ( Keith LeBlanc, Skip McDonald and Doug Wimbish), world rhythmatist Steve Shehan, Gnawa rebel Hassan Hakmoun, virtual reality vulcan Jaron Lanier, a host of some of the finest players from Morocco and the core ingredients—Richard Horowitz and Sussan Deyhim. Horowitz is a master ney player. His musical influences include the likes of Bachir Attar, The Gnawas and other Moroccan mugicians. Psychically, he is linked to the famed boho expatriates Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles. It was Bowles who suggested that Horowitz, along with Ryuchi Sakamoto, co-score the film version of his classic tale, The Sheltering Sky. Deyhim is an expatriate as well. She fled her native Iran before the Shah’ s strings were cut by the puppet masters. Relocating in Europe, she studied voice, dance and theater with the legendary Maurice Beijart. Her other-worldly ululations mixed with her native Farsi echo the passionate yearnings of ancient muses reborn with an avant-garde intelligence crystallized in their cells.

But most of all, Majoun is the elixir of travellers. It is that quality of traveling, a circumnavigational displacement in space and time that unites all of its participants-—nomads in a virtual caravan of dreams–—that Horowitz and Deyhim have assembled. Through a filament of light and sound, from Berkeley to London and New York, they shared their journeys and their secret recipe for Majoun with MONDO.

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There Is A God!

Gene Simmons Apple Doll GodIf anyone has been looking for irrefutable proof that there is a God, Gene Simmons’ hideous facelift is proof positive. This “knight in the service of satan” has been transformed by the divine scalpel from leathery, rock predator, to a puffy and harmless, living apple doll. Ironically, Simmons may only recognize himself when the facepaint and glitter are reminders of an image that is the only touchstone to a once familiar identity–although, one could say that he might actually look even scarier now. Meanwhile, Simmons’ Kissmate, Paul Stanley had to pull out of a show at an indian casino last week due to a heart ailment. Let’s face it, the monsters of rock aren’t breathing fire and spitting blood with the same venom they used to.