In the Layman's Atlas [de Selby] deals explicitly with bereavement, old age, love, sin, death and the other saliencies of existence. It is true that he allows them only some six lines but this is due to his devastating assertion that they are all 'unnecessary.'Readers who are paying attention will have noticed that the list of superfluities does not include "food", but fortunately Rob Rhinehart is here to correct the omission:
Food is the fossil fuel of human energy. It is an enormous market full of waste, regulation, and biased allocation with serious geo-political implications. And we're deeply dependent on it. In some countries people are dying of obesity, others starvation. In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming.Because the modern American diet is not sufficiently processed, Rhinehart's Modest Proposal is to subject foodstuffs to industrial processing (the conversion of starch into maltodextrin, the extraction of amino acids from whey). Apparently this eliminates the agricultural economy from the nutritional equation entirely (because invisible).
A second post, more exhaustive, is a list of chemical additives required in the time-saving gruel to replace micronutrients lost in the translation of foodstuff into sugars and amino acids. Rhinehart notes the possibility of iron deficiency but surely cycling is the cure, what with the exchange of atoms between rider and bicycle frame. He suggests "Soylent" as a name for the resulting grey-green gruel but this is not enough to stop Serious Bloggers from taking his proposal in earnest.
At Riddled we are just disappointed that Rhinehart did not acknowledge Beckett as his inspiration:
The resulting publicity would have been useful for our revised edition of the Beckett Cookbook (now available in the Riddled Gifte-Shoppe). This is a slim volume even by the standards of literary cook-books (with one section devoted to Knott's diet, and a second covering the possibilities of a can-opener and a sack of tins), and a perfect size for impulse-buying.
Beckett's text is never clear as to the appearance of Knott or the nature of his house. His sleeping habits are tied in some way to the rotation of the sidereal sphere. His bed is described as circular rather than U-shaped, but that need not stand in the way of a Beckett / Borges mash-up.
One consequence of Knott's regimented daily meals of neither-food-nor-drink is the need for a dog to be brought regularly to the house, to dispose of anything that Knott himself does not consume. There is a moral here about job creation. To ensure the prompt replacement of the dog upon its expiry requires the Lynch family... an entire pullulating horde of cripples, inebriates, imbeciles and bleeders.
There is no mention of any comparable waste-disposal infrastructure in Rhinehart's most recent update. We trust he will address this in the future.