(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.
“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.