The Aerosmith song “Eat the Rich” came on the radio a couple of days back and it struck me as a deeply problematic song, which is perhaps to say that
eating the rich strikes me as a really poor idea.
For one thing, there’s always the problem of defining who the rich are, and therefore who you should eat. If the rich are just the “one per cent” then obviously there’s not going to be much food to go around. And once you’ve eaten them, do you then eat the next richest one per cent, and the next, and so on until there’s just a surviving one percent that’s eaten all the other 99 per cent? Maybe.
On the other hand “rich” often means simply someone who’s got more money than you have. This would mean that Jeff Bezos could consider Bill Gates “the rich” and would therefore feel entitled to eat him. The guy in the one-bedroom slum would feel fully justified in eating the guy in the two-bedroom slum, and so on.
Another obvious problem, as we know, is that the rich tend to be thin – see Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (above) and Babe Paley (below), both associated with the remark “you can’t be too rich or two thin.” So again, eating the rich is going to provide even less sustenance. (N.B. One of the richest men in the world is Carlos Slim).
One the other hand, we know that the poor we tend to be porky. They’re seldom free range or organic, and certainly not a rare delicacy, so I’m guessing the rich might be reluctant to eat them.
As always, therefore, we have to turn to the solid respectable middle class to do the heavy lifting. Yes, they can be picky about what they eat, but they’re also faddish and easily swayed by new food trends. I’m sure they could be persuaded that eating both the rich and the poor was a new taste sensation. You would end up with an egalitarian, and much reduced, population. Hard to see any downside to that.
Returning to the Aerosmith song, you might argue that at this point in history the members of the band are definitely rich, but frankly I can’t imagine that anyone would find Steve Tyler a very palatable plateful, so I think they would probably have to resort to auto-cannibalism, which would, of course, be another solution to the problem.