October 15, 2007

Immodest Proposal

Students have learned in school that British satirist Johnathan Swift is the author of Gulliver's Travels but most literate people however do not know that he also wrote scathing essays about the pressing social issues of his days.

One of these essays is his "A Modest Proposal", a sarcastic reaction to the overpopulation of the Irish during the late 18th century. His solution to the escalating problem of population explosion where impoverished mothers were spawning kids like pigs in a blanket is to fatten these oxygen-consuming creatures for culinary consumption.

Swift proposed, "that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout." And frankly, that will solve the Philippines' malnutrition dilemma. Mothers shall ideally give birth to a maximum of 3 children to be raised as real children and all subsequent births will be reserved for commercial use. Swift planned his scheme as such:
"That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in thesale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advisingthe mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render themplump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainmentfor friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will makea reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very goodboiled on the fourth day, especially in winter."

In other words, all lechon-roasters will have an alternative source of livelihood. This is very good news to all nuns administering the orphanages for they shall have a source of income to sustain the upbringing of their poor defenseless wards. But will this thing be seasonal? Swift said that "infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season." After the carcasses has been flayed and consumed, Swift suggested that "the skin of which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen" in order to maximize use. Such is the genius of the man.

With such amount of children being born as a mere inconvenient consequence of the pleasures of sex, such proposal may be prudent and timely in order to balance the resources of our nation. Infant de Leche anyone?


watson said...

I daresay, that is a most despicable proposition.

Consumption of tawilis is likewise an abhorring idea.

Kumusta na Jules. Long time no hear!

Rose Longakit said...

Juls, I guess it's not the quantity that matters... it's the quality. Perhaps the problem is not overpopulation because one of the greatest assets of Fortune 500 companies is in fact human resources, together with their intellectual assets and value-adding contributions to the success of the company. If we look at corporate expenses, a big chunk goes to staff compensation...
Anyway, this is just my humble opinion...
Cheers! See you again in Bacolod!! :)

amateur misanthrope said...

Swift wasn't addressing the issue of overpopulation when he wrote A Modest Proposal. He was addressing the indifference and greed of the Irish landed gentry, instead.

That said, well, yeah, I guess the essay could also be given that reading. We're post new criticism, anyway. Cheers.