I caught this program for the first time recently, and it elicited mixed feelings.
For the uninitiated, Man vs Food is an American show where the host travels from food joint to food joint sampling the biggest and most over the top dishes.
I'm talking huge here; massive multi level burgers dripping with extras, mountains of Nachos and cheese, a grotesque excess of chow purpose built to satisfy the most enormous appetite. It's the kind of show Americans do really well, bursting at the seams with high fives and whoop whoops as good old Mr and Mrs USA get their five minutes of cotton picking fame.
And now for my guilty confession. I love the idea of trying those food challenges. Stick a five level burger and a stack of fries before me and my eyes would flash and I expect I'd drool. I'd happily stuff my face until my stomach expanded to the size of a small African nation. I'd eat until I physically couldn't manage another morsel. In short, my inner (potentially outer) fatty would wallow in the excess of it all.
You see, I've always traversed that fine line between just right and obese. I could easily let myself go and morph into a hellishly overweight blimp of a man.
I just about reign it in. Just. It's a constant battle for me and people don't believe me when I mention it
Anyhow's, back to Man vs Food, and specifically my primary objection. Now I recognise it's just light entertainment, a bit of fun for the masses, yet in the back of my mind I see images of starving African children, failed crops, dwindling water supplies. I see a dust bowl and cattle formed of skin and bone, I see the skeletal remains of creatures barely visible amidst a heat haze.
In short, I see the difference.
I understand that there will likely always be poverty. Always an imbalance, although we can do more to bridge the gap. So when I see these humongous dishes being wheeled out in front of slavering Americans I cringe and wonder how we've allowed such an imbalance? Some of those "Big eats" could feed a family for days. It seems profane to me that we see such a contrast in fortune. Which is why I can't quite enjoy Man vs Food as much as I would secretly like to. I see the bigger picture, the gulf between Western excess and third world poverty. It's a horror to me, a cause for personal and demographic shame.
In 2012, surely we can do more to spread what we have around? Does so much have to go into our already overfed bellies? Are we so blind to the needs of others?