Language of addiction: food

The movies like Trainspotting, Human Traffic and the more depressing Requiem for a Dream has done a brilliant job at laying the foundation for ‘drug language’ or the way in which we culturally communicate addiction. It’s a got a cadence to it, a few definite events (boil, cool, inject, relax) with the last one easing out the routine. The steps in between are manic, wide angle lenses, close ups, focused sound and immediate reaction. Things boil instantly, liquids mix vividly, pupils dilate immediately. It visualises the urgency of drug use and the relief it provides.

Weight Watchers leverages drug language to recontextualise food. Yes, food is necessary, at the end of the commercial our dealer makes this clear and it’s possibly the single line that sets drug use apart from food.┬áThe ad is however clear about what food is demonised. It’s the processed, manufactured food that’s sold in an aggressive way. The food you ‘just gotta try’.

While Weight Watchers does not call food a drug, it does go a long way in helping is reevaluate what we are doing. It calls our behaviour addiction behaviour and by giving it a clear name and definition, we can sit down and say, ‘yes, we need to eat, but what is normal and what is Trainspotting?’