I would argue that our addiction to fast food, corruption of the food chain, lack of interest in physical activity and resulting obesity epidemic is a symptom of a far more serious problem: the collective misery caused by our increasingly solipsistic, alienating societies.
This resonates with me. And I really must stop procrastinating and read Bruce Alexander’s Globalization of Addiction, since he makes essentially a very similar point.
Alexander argues that we aren’t really seeing a massive failure in personal responsibility so much as we are “being torn from the close ties to family, culture, and traditional spirituality that constituted the normal fabric of life in pre-modern times” … and the result is that people “adapt to this dislocation by concocting the best substitutes that they can for a sustaining social, cultural and spiritual wholeness.”
Yes, for some this is addiction, but for many others, it’s not as far along on the continuum of problematic behaviors.
Alas, I think Thompson has her finger more on the problem than the solution, which according to her starts with “we have to take responsibility for our bodies again” and “aspiring to be a healthy member of society is what gives us dignity.” Oy.