Internet Oddities: FOOD FIGHT - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Internet Oddities: FOOD FIGHT

Alexander Wallace reports from the frontline.
Before we begin: no, I’m not talking about the dreadful CGI movie about food mascots. Rather, I’m discussing the 2006 short film from Tourist Pictures, directed by Stefan Nadelman. Start off by watching the short; it’s only five and a half minutes.

As a history buff who has read a good deal on war in the twentieth century, I love how Nadelman presents such history within Food Fight. The very notion of using food to represent people who are fighting and dying for whatever cause they believe is a poignant one; everyone eats in their own way, varying by individual and by culture, but we eat all the same. Eating is one of those things that is absolutely universal to all human beings (indeed, all animals), and here it is used to show the fratricidal nature of all armed conflict.

I have to give props to the music, composed by Dick Zved, who also did the sound design. It’s a very militaristic piece, with staccato war horns and a snare drum that beats as if it’s from the days when they were used to keep marching tempo. It’s an industrial-sounding piece for a history of industrial war, and you almost see the ants a-marching or the lemmings in lines looking to leap off the cliff.

Historically, Nadelman made some interesting choices. I’m curious as to why he starts Food Fight with World War II; more obvious, I think, would be World War I, with pljeskavica attacking a sausage in a car. For World War II, he starts with the Holocaust for Europe and Pearl Harbor for the Pacific; I’d have liked to see something about the war in China (the Asian-American in me would like to point out the war started in 1937 at Wanping), as well as the partition of Poland by both Germans and Soviets. Moving forward in that war, there should have been D-Day and the Burmese theater and the Philippines and perhaps some island hopping (I think there could be some very interesting visuals there).

Into the Cold War, I like that he includes Korea and Vietnam, but some more regarding the broader strokes of the conflict would be merited. The Berlin Airlift would have been a fun visual, with flying hamburgers dropping Hershey kisses or peppermints. To balance Vietnam, I’d have also liked to see the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

I think that Nadelman simplified a lot of interesting Middle Eastern history, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. As someone who has read a good deal about that (and am preparing for a podcast on alternate histories thereof), the whole issue is, to put it bluntly, an absolute mess. I know that you can do only so much with something so complex in such a medium, but something acknowledging the complexity of the whole thing would have been welcomed, rather than just the Palestinians attacking the Israelis for no reason. The Six-Day War would have been worth putting in, as well as at least the fatal crash that served as Sarajevo to the First Intifada.

Last but not least is the ending, where the ants devour the ruins of an IED blast in Iraq. Ants and fungi and other scavengers are, ultimately, the greatest winners of every war. As rotting corpses dot the landscape, the worms shall feast as humanity simply does not learn its lesson after marching off to the beat of some distant drum. War destroys people, destroys them utterly, and that is ultimately the point of Food Fight. It’s about how war is always a species against itself, and against decency. As General Sherman said, war is cruelty and you cannot refine it.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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