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File:Eattherich 770.jpg
"When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A Stock Phrase used to encourage the vilification of rich people.

Frequently, the phrase is used to metaphorically advocate a class uprising or revolt among the lower and working classes against those viewed as Upper Class Twits and Corrupt Corporate Executives--the Have Nots taking from the Haves. Occasionally, that metaphor is accompanied by language and imagery that literally suggests eating the rich.

Contrast: Kill the Poor and No Poverty.

Examples of Eat the Rich include:


Film

  • The British Black Comedy Eat the Rich from The Comic Strip comedy troupe is about a waiter at an exclusive, high-class restaurant who, no longer willing to put up with the disgust and contempt of the upper class, begins serving minced rich people with a side of chips to other rich people at the restaurant.
  • Invoked in Land of the Dead. George A. Romero's zombie flicks tend to have an underlying social message, and in the case of this film, it concerns how the wealthy poorly treat the lower classes. When the flesh-eating undead horde siege the Fiddler's Green colony, although both rich and poor die in the onslaught, the more intelligent zombies' main targets are the upper-class establishment. Once they're wiped out the zombies withdraw, and the class system ceases to exist. It's revealed afterward that the majority of Fiddler's Green other residents have survived the zombie attack.
  • The premise of the horror film Eat the Rich: The Cannibal Murders.

Literature

  • Political satirist and journalist P.J. O'Rourke published the book Eat The Rich: A Treatise On Economics. The last chapter, titled "Eat the Rich," praises capitalism as "the worst economic system anyone ever invented, except for all the others."
  • In The Time Machine, the descendants of the workers are literally feeding upon the descendants of the former masters.

Live Action TV

  • The New Zealand show The Tribe sees The Locos wear jackets with the EAT THE RICH slogan on the back of them under the Zoot regime.

Music

  • Aerosmith recorded a song titled "Eat the Rich" for their 1993 LP Get a Grip. It quickly became a crowd favorite at live concerts.
  • The Motörhead song "Eat the Rich" was written as the title track for the film of the same name (See Film, above), which also featured Lemmy in a supporting role. However, the song's lyrics are actually a thinly veiled reference to a certain sex act. The song is mostly remembered for its chorus.

 C'mon baby, eat the rich,

Put the bite on that son of a bitch!

  • "Eat the Rich" is also the title of a song by metal band Krokus about a homeless man who is sick of being abused and seeks to take his aggression out on people who have more than he does.
  • In the Bad Religion song "I Want to Conquer the World", one of the things the singer says he'll do to establish his utopia is "expose the corporates and feed them to the children."
  • Swedish band First Floor Power's "Eat The Rich" suggests that you "make sure to cook them first - they're dry."
  • The german rap formation KIZ has a song called "Ich esse Reiche" - "I eat rich people":

 Zeig mir dein Alarmsystem auf MTV Cribs

Und beim nächsten Abendessen sind deine Kinder die Ribs!

Other

  • Guerrilla street artist Banksy used the phrase in one of his works with his own humorous slant.
  • The UK-based clothing label Eat the Rich prides itself on producing "sweatshop-free" T-shirts while promoting a vegetarian lifestyle, including some shirts with the message, "Meat sucks, eat the rich."
  • An anonymous quip: "Eat the rich. The poor are tough and stringy."

Print Media

  • Paris Hilton, of all people, posed in a Stripperific bikini emblazoned with the words "EAT THE RICH" in a photoshoot for Rolling Stone magazine's 2006 Hot List.
    • It has been suggested that she used 'eat' in a specific meaning.

Theater

Video Games

  • From 2006 to 2008, there was a zombie group called "Eat The Rich" in Urban Dead. They only attacked mansions, malls, banks and office buildings.

Real Life

  • Reportedly one of the worst horrors of China's Cultural Revolution. According to Zheng Yi's book "Scarlet Memorial," members of the Red Guard and general public in Guangxi are reported to have killed, divvied up, and publicly eaten over a hundred former landlords, "intellectuals" (e.g. school teachers), other "counter-revolutionaries" and their descendants as a show of loyalty to Mao and his ideals, with the backing of the local (but not national) Party. Bodies were split up and served to the community to partake of en masse, and the murderers were often people close to the victims who were making of show of their revolutionary fervor. Many of the former revolutionaries are still in power to this day.
  • There is actually a video showing just how much money can be gained by killing the richest people and corporations and taking their money and assets. It turns out, if you do kill enough of them, you CAN actually pay off the deficit (granted, that's being very generous with the number crunching). However, by the time you do, the economy will tank because all the rich people and corporations who help keep it afloat are dead. Maybe those 'damn rich people' are actually important after all.[1]
  • It served (as a metaphor - actual cannibalism would happen later and for different reasons) as the motivation behind the Russian October Revolution and the devoted public support the Bolsheviks gained[2]. The blame for all horrors endured by Russia throughout World War One and the previous decades had been laid on the rich classes - royalty, nobility, army high command, high bureaucracy, businessmen and so on - whose incompetence, corruption and cruelty had become so unbearable that their physical elimination and replacement with anything else sounded as a good idea for the vast majority of the people.

Notes

  1. Of course, you could just target people who have Swiss Bank Accounts, thus doing no damage to the economy whatsoever.
  2. until their true face was revealed
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