Compete, for whom?

Why is there so much shouting in cooking films? In boilsPhilipp Barantini’s film starring Stephen Graham, has all the clichés of the genre: stress, yelling, fights, drug use, resentful food critics, a leading man getting divorced and so immersed in his work that he call his son… The film is entertaining and has a rhythm, but its script paints the world of hospitality as hell (and not precisely as one of precariousness, perhaps the most common in the sector). It is a conception of the kitchenwell present in the shows Y reality culinary, from Gordon Ramsay in the United Kingdom to Chicote in Spain: a hyper-competitive and demanding world where the chef is a tyrant who humiliates his inferiors and squeezes them emotionally. The Show from TVE, masterchef (both in its children’s version and in the conventional one or the one starring celebrities), fits that mold.

Contestants cry, are insulted, objects are thrown, and humiliation ensues. It is part of contract. For this reason, when last week the concursante Patricia Conde showed an uncompetitive attitude, the presenters reacted with disbelief. Conde refused to enter into the dynamic of toxicity promoted by the program and became a kind of heroine for those who think that sometimess the best victory is to surrender.

Something similar happened last year. when the actress Verónica Forqué left the program. «You have to be consistent –I try to be–, humble and, if I can’t take it anymore, I can’t take it anymore. My body and the universe were telling me: I needYou have to stop,” he told the presenters. Their response was cold and dismissive. A few weeks later, Forqué, whose mental health was very weak, committed suicide. Establishing a causality between these two events would be somewhat spurious, but it is clearor that Forqué was not mentally prepared for the humiliation to which she was subjected in front of millions of viewers.

“In the face of neoliberalism, the left claims the right to laziness and surrender as subversion”

The debate, like many contemporary cultural debates, is very ideologized. Or, more than ideologized, compartmentalized in ideologies. Simplifying a lot, for the left, these two surrenders are examples to follow: in the face of hyper-competitive neoliberalism, he claims the right to laziness and surrender as a form of subversion. To the rightOn the other hand, to defend this is to succumb to mediocrity, it is to disbelieve in meritocracy.

Give everything, for what or for whom? sometimes for oneselfeither. Mental health requires constant effort. The fight is worth it. But other times we give everything for nothing. Giving up is, then, changing course, nothing more. Conde’s disdain seems much healthier to me than competitiveness for competitiveness’s sake. If you have to make others suffer to prove yourself worth, you may be a psychopath.

Compete, for whom?