Corpulence, Consumption, and Cannibalism

The Sopranos (David Chase, Creator and Executive Producer, HBO, 1999-2007), S1.E1 Pilot

“…. Tony and his crew profit from the over-indulgence of the corporeally fit but spiritually weak. They run the sports betting racket; they run the drug trade. They produce the consumption by which middle-class masculinity has come to define itself. In fact, it might be argued that Tony’s entire existence is the product of consumption…. Even Tony’s ‘legitimate’ business, waste management, profits from discarded consumer products.”

“In the end, Tony’s body must be understood as the expression of self-made manhood’s subsistence, which is consumption itself. In order for Tony to embody the values of self-made manhood, which asserts its identity through battle in the free market and the accumulation of capital, then his girth can only be read as resulting from the profits he has reaped. Those profits are the result of producing the very consumption that causes overindulgence and its repressive counterpart constraint, and which lead, inevitably… to the destruction of the body. In other words, the self-made man that Tony embodies is, essentially, a cannibal, since he feeds off the destructive consequences of consumption….”

Santo, Avi. “‘Fat Fuck! Why Don’t You Take a Look in the Mirror?’: Weight, Body Image, and Masculinity in The Sopranos.” This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos. Ed. David Lavery. New York: Columbia University Press; London: Wallflower Press, 2002. Print. p. 92

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