Chef Pete Evans may be regretting sharing his diet in the Sunday Life Magazine feature 'Day On A Plate' last weekend. His complex and fascinating diet - he refers to it as 'nutrient-dense' - included emu meatballs, alkalised water and (notoriously now) activated almonds.
Me, I am basically nosy. I love that 'Day On A Plate' thing. I could read a whole book outlining the details of what people eat. So the diet of a hipster celebrity chef was like a fabulous anthropological journey into the mind of a high flying, money-no-object, health fanatic on the cutting edge of food fashion.
Sugar-free? Paleo? GAPS diet? Bah, so five minutes ago. Alkalising water, activating nuts and culturing veges is where its at, folks. Who knew? I laughed, I marvelled and I Googled once or twice. Interesting stuff.
In the unpredictable manner of the online hive-mind, however, the whole thing struck a massive nerve. The Twitter hashtag #activated almonds went nuts (apologies), with Twitter comics cracking wise for hours. This, I love about Australians. We are expert at skewering and satirising pretension and treat earnestness like a juicy target. No question, Pete's diet was ripe for comedy.
But it wasn't all funny. Pete's diet got people hopping mad too. Many took his wacky menu as a personal attack. Sorry Pete but I feed my family fresh fruit and veges and they do fine, thanks. Pete, you pretentious wanker, I feel sorry for your kids. Pete, you are a complete dickhead. This, and more, when all the guy did was eat some funny food.
To me, the whole thing summed up the best and the worst of Australians. We have a great sense of humour and a keen satirical instinct. But we can be really small-minded, mean and suspicious of difference. Why is it so threatening when somebody takes different, even eccentric, life choices? Why must we take it as a comment on our own choices? Perhaps we have always been like this, over the back fence and at the school gate, but now we have a medium that easily allows for a group all-in insultathon.
It's as though 'Pete Evans' is not a real, live person but a cipher, a symbol for people to play out their own psyches against. Flex Your Fingertips and Test Your Wits In The Emu-Meatball Quip Contest! Not Feeling Funny? That's OK! Why Not Wallow In The Stagnant Pool of GroupThink? (It's Stinks! But You'll Have Company!)
In the end, I hope Pete's fame, fortune, happy family life and and smoking-hot bod helps to soothe some of his pain. God knows, he in unlikely to comfort himself with a family-sized Violet Crumble.