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The Adolf Hitler diet: the new foodie trend? #food #diet #fashion #hipster

Whatever about the current excitement over Corbynmania in Britain, there’s no doubt that the hottest political trend over the last few years has been the resurgence of the far right in Europe and beyond.

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Whether the National Front in France, Golden Dawn in Greece, the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands it seems that being a quasi-fascist is firmly back in vogue.

Quite clearly, this political phenomenon has permeated popular culture. Now I can’t pretend to be up with fashion trends, but if I nip out for a loaf of bread or a pint of milk I’m sometimes so shocked at the haircuts and styles emerging from the barbers or clothes shop that I want to run away and join the nearest resistance cell.

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The musician Bryan Ferry once remarked that the Nazis had ‘great style’ and a solitary glance at a pack of stylish young men these days will confirm that fact. Many wouldn’t look out of place in the Third Reich. Take hip London brand ‘Boy’, still favoured by numerous A-listers despite its logo’s unmistakeable similarities to the Nazi Reichsadler.

Then there’s the ascent of the aggressive crew-cut or slicked-back undercut. Although not the exclusive preserve of the right wing, this style is sometimes dubbed the ‘SS cut’ and sported by many a trendy young fella.

But why should this apparent popular homage to national socialism be restricted to the boys? Why should they have all the fun?

When it comes to the girls of today, by contrast, it’s pretty evident that emulating the staid mantra of Kinder, Küche, Kirche associated with Nazism is not cool. At least in the fashion stakes. The wholesome dumpy German housewife look might be indulged in by pretty young things at events like Oktoberfest but outside Bavarian-themed pubs you don’t see it very often as a style choice for the fashion-conscious young woman.

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But don’t let this apparent gender disparity fool you!

We all know that dieting is more popular among women than men. And it’s in the arena of the latest cool diets – assisting you in looking your slender youthful best – that the girls give the boys a run for their money in paying seeming homage to the Nazis.

Let me explain … I refer, of course, to the most ‘with it’ dietary fads of today and their unacknowledged debt to – who else? – Adolf Hitler.

Now, one of the most influential role models for diet-conscious young gals today is ‘Deliciously Ella’ – Ella Woodward – who offers recipes sans wheat, meat and sugar. Heard of her? Like Nigella Lawson, she’s the daughter of a fairly right-leaning politician but just check out her website (http://deliciouslyella.com/) and it’s all peace, love and avocadoes and not a hint of Hitler and his dietary dreams.

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Then there’s Hemsley and Hemsley (http://www.hemsleyandhemsley.com/) Now they are a couple of slender sisters who basically just eat vegetables. Occasionally, ever so occasionally, meat creeps in. But they’re singing from the same hymn sheet as our Ella.

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‘Yeah, OK. I know Hitler was a vegetarian, but what has all this got to do with the Führer?’ I hear you cry. Well, read on …

All these trendy girls are topped by Fully Raw – http://www.fullyraw.com – the creation of Kristina Carrillo-Bucanam, who rid herself of Hyperglycemia at the age of 18 eating nothing but a low fat raw vegan diet consisting solely of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the pinnacle of raw food cool. Of course, Kristina’s recipe ideas are confined to the realm of gazpachos, smoothies and salads. Cooking, she claims, destroys nutrients, “denatures the proteins, carcinogizes the fats, and caramelizes the carbohydrates”.

Kristina 238

You could counter that cooking releases certain nutrients as well as killing bacteria and, well, simply makes many foods taste better. Not to mention the climactic differences between Kristina’s Texas and Northern Europe; salads are simply less appetising without the sunshine. But to do so would spoil the fun and destroy the admittedly tenuous premise of this blog post.

So, where’s the link with Nazi cool? Well, Hitler was advocating all this stuff decades ago, darling.

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HJ auf Fahrt

He wasn’t a mere veggie, our Adolf, oh no! His dietary opinions went far beyond the volkish eintopfsuppe, the Germanic disdain for the western dietary impurity, and the longing to return to rye bread and autarchy. No, I tell you Hitler was the unacknowledged father of the hip diet of today.

Take this excerpt from Hitler’s Table Talk (5 November 1941):

“It’s not impossible that one of the causes of cancer lies in the harmfulness of cooked foods.”

 Or this, from 29 December 1941:

“the doctors used to say that a meat diet was indispensable for the formation of bones. This was not true … we have bad teeth … this has something to do with a diet that’s rich in yeast. Nine tenths of our diet are made up of foods deprived of their biological qualities … mortality is enormous among [people] who eat only cooked foods.”

Or this from 22 January 1942:

“When you offer a child the choice of an apple, a cake or a piece of meat it’s the apple he chooses … ancestral instinct”

So there you have it! Move aside, skeletal cool dietary gurus, Adolf beat you to it. And like the return of fascism in the fashion stakes, the extreme national socialist diet is quite obviously creeping in to trendy eating habits.

The Hitler diet: the next big foodie trend? Remember, you heard it here first.

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Why the Rose of Tralee is reaching a sort of postmodern unassailability

As a child I spent deliciously long summer holidays in Tralee, County Kerry, my mother’s hometown. And every year holidays in Tralee were punctuated by the town’s most famous event: the Rose of Tralee festival, which is taking place now.

For the uninitiated, the Rose of Tralee bares close resemblance to a beauty pageant but it is supposed to be much, much more than that. To quote the eponymous 19th century ballad ‘it was not her beauty alone that won me’; no, the Rose of Tralee is supposed to be a celebration of the talents of exceptional young women of Irish birth or ancestry who represent different places in the world. Here are this year’s hopefuls: http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/festivals/summerfest/meet-the-65-roses-of-tralee-2015-31449603.html

Pass the sick bucket

Now, as entertainment it’s chintzy and horrendously un-alternative. As I write this, I’m watching the sort of nauseating documentary Irish state broadcaster RTE churns out in a futile attempt to keep pace with Anglo-American celebrity trash. It’s about the Rose of Tralee, specifically Alabama’s hopeful of 2014, a woman who appears to ooze vacuous white right wing America from her every pore and who was proposed to – live on air – by her boyfriend during last year’s festival. It’s resolutely the tiara and tears school of femininity.
As this indicates, the whole thing is, of course, very dated in its conception. Emanating from the reimagining of the town’s Carnival Queen contest by the local bourgeoisie in the 1950s, it’s a wonder that the event has survived at all, weathering the massive social and cultural changes of late twentieth century Ireland. 

For even back when I was a kid, the festival was being pretty mercilessly lampooned. The most famous piss-take is probably the ‘Lovely Girls Contest’ featured in the ‘Rock a Hula Ted’ episode of Father Ted from 1996 which featured various parodies of homespun sexism (virginal young women on stage awkwardly undertaking competitive bouts of sandwich making, displaying their ability to walk between cones and to giggle coquettishly) with girl-next-door ‘Imelda’ eventually crowned winner by Ted. This was predated by Christy Moore’s 1987 song ‘Me and the Rose’, a brilliant ditty that satirises so much more than the Rose of Tralee but in its crooning rendition of the Victorian love song captures the erstwhile staidness of the Tralee event. 

And I read in today’s Irish Times that there’s now a new Dublin stage comedy taking the mick, featuring characters such as the ‘typical Rose’ (Ashling, 24, lovely brown hair, spent three months in San Diego but oh how she missed her Irish creature comforts like Tayto crisps, loves her boyfriend and her mammy); the ‘unconventional Rose’ (butch, combative, wild farm girl from the Aran Islands) and the ‘escort’ (brash young local ladykiller).

One day, when you grow up, you could be an Escort
On this latter role, the Escort is another curiosity of the event. Every aspirant girl taking part in the competition gets a local male chaperone. Some of these lads are like rural stereotypes who have walked off the pages of a John B Keane satire: ‘eligible’ bachelors, Gammon-steak skin tone, probably set to inherit farm land with road frontage. I can safely lampoon them now (aged over thirty I’m debarred from ever becoming one) but as a kid we were half-jokingly encouraged to aspire to this role – hair neatly brushed, dickie-bow on, leading a gorgeous young woman around on your arm all week. And as a young lad, I’m afraid that the lipsticked beauties of the Rose of Tralee exerted some sort of pre-sexual fascination for me. These smiling young things paraded for the TV cameras as ideal specimens of conventional gender roles the nuances of which I didn’t fully understand. This was of course before I realised that the Rose of Tralee definitely wasn’t cool.

And maybe it’s because my teenage-honed and adult- perfected cynicism now bobs straight to the surface when I come across any coverage of the Rose of Tralee that I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pointless to point and laugh any more. In fact, at this stage, the Rose of Tralee’s detractors and defenders both appear a little ridiculous in some of their earnestly held opinions. 

Too easy to point and laugh

While skits on the Rose of Tralee like that in Father Ted retain their humour, the satire is now itself dated. It’s almost too easy to take the piss out of the Rose of Tralee. 
Meanwhile, the pious protesters who maintain that the event is sexist are, in my opinion, correct in their view. But to point this out now appears so obvious as to be pointless. Of course the thing is cringey and of course it’s sexist. But like those cultural commentators who trot out Eamon de Valera’s 1943 St Patrick’s Day speech (complete with comely maidens) as evidence of the conservatism of Ireland at that time, one might respond “yeah, obviously” – but the idiom was, even for its time, self consciously escapist in its conservatism. To point and guffaw seems just a tad churlish at this stage.

Some of the festival’s defenders are just as bad. In response to the piss-takers, last year the festival chairman hit back, claiming the event is not about “paddy whackery, colleens on parade, Stepford wives tricked out as national stereotype”. Ah come on, of course it is, isn’t it? 

Well, the festival organisers certainly won’t admit as much. As if to prove his point (and to demonstrate just how ‘with it’ the festival now is) last year, anticipating Ireland’s recent acceptance of gay marriage, we got the first openly lesbian Rose of Tralee. Look, the girls are no longer making sandwiches, they’re career women who don’t need no man to hold them back. 

Like an aunt who has had Botox dancing wildly with young men at a wedding, the Rose of Tralee festival is now middle-aged and, like men and women of a certain age who are starting to fear the grim reaper and feel the need to desperately prove they’re still down with the fashion and dance crazes of the kids, the festival organisers’ attempts at modernisation are embarrassing.

What I’m getting at here is the fact that the Rose of Tralee, in somehow persisting through Irish social liberalisation, the ascent of materialism and the decline of Church power has – by virtue of its longevity – passed into the realm of postmodern unassailability. Because when it’s not trying ever so hard to keep up with the pace of modernity, the event self consciously parodies itself. In doing so, it ensures its success and defies the critics. It might be terrible, but, as the festival website puts it, the contest …

‘is based on the love song The Rose of Tralee, by William Mulchinock, a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O’Connor, his maid… When William first saw Mary he fell in love with her, but because of the difference in social class between the two families their love affair was discouraged. William emigrated, and some years later returned to Tralee only to find Mary had died of tuberculosis. He was broken hearted and expressed his love for her in the words of the song.’ How’s that for cloying romanticism? And why be ashamed of it? The Rose of Tralee need not strive to battle the modern tide. In continuing to embrace the mawkish sentimentality of its conception, it will safeguard its future. 

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