I only watch this once in awhile

Last night, inbetween the end of Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett) on AMC and Heroes on NBC there was nothing really worth watching, so I flipped on Wife Swap. It was the usual fishies out of water stories. A city mom from San fran going to a country farm in Iowa (which we learn is 90 miles from the nearest big city)

The beginning of it seriously grossed me out. The farm family is on a raw diet. Which isn't so bad most of the time. I mean, I love me some raw veggies, sashimi, kibbeh and steak tartar, but CHICKEN and PORK too?!?! And they had what they called "high meat" which was raw meat that had been stored in glass containters in their fridges for weeks! Seriously, the father pulled out a jar of "high meat" that was aged 4 months.

They brushed their teeth with a homemade "toothpaste" that was a mixture of butter and clay. They barely showered because "bacteria was their friend" ... and personally I wouldn't have showered in their shower anyway, it was revolting (imho).

But don't think I was all about the city mom. She was a germaphobe. She cleaned her house and disinfected it everyday. While I'm all for a clean house, I believe that as a society we have bleached and disinfected ourselves into weaker immune systems. It often reminds me of a George Carlin snippet:

Where did this sudden fear of germs come from in this country? Have you noticed this? The media constantly running stories about all the latest infections? Salmonella, E-coli, hanta virus, bird flu, and Americans will panic easily so everybody's running around scrubbing this and spraying that and overcooking their food and repeatedly washing their hands, trying to avoid all contact with germs. It's ridiculous and it goes to ridiculous lengths. In prisons, before they give you lethal injection, they swab your arm with ALCOHOL. Wouldn't want some guy to go to hell AND be sick.

Fear of germs, why these fuckin' pussies. You can't even get a decent hamburger anymore they cook the shit out of everything now 'cause everyone's afraid of FOOD POISONING! Hey, wheres you sense of adventure? Take a fuckin' chance will you? Hey you know how many people die of food poisoning in this country? Nine thousand, thats all, its a minor risk. Take a fuckin' chance bunch of goddamn pussies.

Besides, what d'ya think you have an immune system for? It's for killing germs! But it needs practice, it needs germs to practice on. So if you kill all the germs around you, and live a completely sterile life, then when germs do come along, you're not gonna be prepared. And never mind ordinary germs, what are you gonna do when some super virus comes along that turns your vital organs into liquid shit?! I'll tell you what your gonna do ... you're gonna get sick. You're gonna die and your gonna deserve it because you're fucking weak and you got a fuckin' weak immune system!

–George Carlin


The city parents were serious overachievers and trying to make their kids into the same. They ate out constantly (sometimes twice a day) and were always on their way to museums and quizzing their kids morning and night on math and geography etc. In reading the bio on the website, it says that the kids just wanted to have more time with their busy daddy. That makes me sad. While I am not a parent, don't parents realize sometimes their kids just want to spend time with them without it being a scheduled event? I used to love just walking around with my mom or hanging out at the park.

But I digress.

There were aspects of both families I found at fault, but aspects of both families I found worthwhile. I think both moms AND dads were too strict about how their way was right and the other way was wrong. The ways they went about instituting their ways of life was, as Kevin said, kinda like being bulls in a china shop. They weren't up for any dialogue. They were right, the family they were with was wrong. And when the city mom called the farm kids "slaves" I thought the teen boy was gonna start swinging.

The parts that irked me most were the farm dad yelling and getting into the face of the city mom. Especially when he was bitching about how his kids were suffering after eating cooked food the night before.

I think the reason it irked me so was that in a previous segment we see the city mom talking to the farm girl and asking about the raw diet. The girl confesses that when they first switched over they were really sick because "it was gettting rid of the toxins in our bodies" (umm...yea ...that the fact that your body was just flooded with billions of germs and bacteria your body wasn't used to). So he was willing to watch his kids get sick when converting TO a raw food diet, but not converting BACK? wtf

I know from personal experience it's hard to get used to foods you have removed from your life. I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I finally had to switch back to eating red meats because I became jaundiced. I wasn't getting enough iron in my body and my family doctor refused to give me supplements. He just told me to start eating beef again. Let me tell you, it made me sick. I coudn't even smell beef cooking because I would start to get nauseous. I eventually got over it tho. (perhaps too much, nothing I like more than some beefy goodness!)

In the end it was strictly entertainment for entertainments sake. The families didn't really change THAT much, altho the city folk started eating more organically (which I'm surprised they didn't already as they were in San fran) and the farm folk started feng shui and I *think* they cleaned up a bit in the house.

I don't watch this show on a weekly basis, but every once in awhile it can bring up a nice discussion. Last night, once I stopped getting nauseous from the thought of "high meat", it was interesting.


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