Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ron Swanson: Man of the People, Man of the Paleo

There is a meme I have noticed spreading across the paleo online community. What's interesting about it is that I have seen it arise independently in multiple sources (and not to be all meme-hipster about it, but I thought of it myself long before I saw it repeated online). The idea is simply this: Ron Swanson, the stoic, square-ish-jawed, and proudly rugged boss on NBC's Parks and Recreation is perhaps the best paleo hero in the modern pop-culture canon.

He's not actually identified as being paleo on the show, but he espouses many values that paleo viewers seem to find common cause with. There are three main categories that I have observed:

  1. He is a man who is serious about his meat and dedicated to making it the base of his own personal food pyramid. What paleo person could argue with that? 
  2. He has a deep love of nature and the outdoors, yet has no illusions about what man's proper place in it is (which is, quite simply, either at the very top, or at the very bottom with all the other weaklings who can't cut it outside). 
  3. He is libertarian. Being libertarian isn't exactly a required qualification for being paleo, but any good paleo person will grumble about the government trying to regulate dietary advice and food regulations, which is pretty in-line with most libertarian opinions about the role of government in our lives. Also, many top voices in the field (such as Richard Nikoley and Tom Naughton) are openly libertarian to varying degrees. I've come to associate libertarian-like thinking with a lot of the paleo mindset, so Ron Swanson's vehement dedication to his ideals only strengthens the connection in my mind.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Watch some of these classic Swanson clips and judge for yourself.

That's right, skim milk is on there twice. Avoid it.

UPDATE 2/16: For the televiphiles out there, here is an entertaining interview with Nick Offerman discussing his character and how much of himself is in the portrayal: http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120215/ap_en_ot/us_ap_on_tv_nick_offerman

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