Category Archives: Food Industry
“It was not her sex appeal but the obvious relish with which she devoured the hamburger that made my pulse begin to hammer with excitement.”
“Gluttony is not a secret vice”
It seems to me that in the immediate aftermath of Thanksgiving, the one day of the year when Americans are given the green light of a traditional holiday to engage in epic feats of gluttony and gross excess is an appropriate time to post this weird, meandering and basically obscene thing that I have had in the pipeline for awhile. So hey, what the fuck what better time to let it rip than this very weekend which is symbolic of decacence and overindulgence and I can already feel the relief of finally ridding myself of this fucking monstrosity is equivalent of taking that nice big dump in the aftermath of a huge Thanksgiving dinner sometime between the halftime show of one of those crappy football games and the second run at the leftover deviled eggs. The NFL on Thanksgiving has long ago jumped the shark – the Detroit Lions will suck until the day that hell itself freezes over and alas the good ole days of the turducken are but a receding memory of a saner time in the land of plenty circa pre 9/11 when the reset button was hit on American history by a treacherous fascist junta seeking to destroy everything good and dignified that has happened in this country over the last two and a quarter centuries. I fully acknowledge that this latest blistering screed of mine is horribly mean spirited, insensitive, cruel, rotten and most importantly dead on right which is in direct violation of the maxims that the dumbed down masses of sweet potato pie gobbling, plaintively bleating sheep have been conditioned to accept as the ultimate truths as though they were chiseled into stone tablets by the almighty.
Thanksgiving Day, which was supposed to have been a national day of offering thanks to God for all of greatness of our bountiful land of plenty as set forth when the Pilgrims (the religious right of their day many of whom would just as soon burn people at the stake as break bread with them) had a celebratory feast with the indigenous people back before greedy, politically influential moneyed interests had determined that it was expedient to engage in genocide by stealing their land under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny but that is a very long and tragic tale best revisited at some point in the future.
Thanksgiving Day finds already overfed Americans eating until they practically burst at the seams then parking their fat asses on sofas in front of the electronic crack pipe to engage in watching the traditional two turkey football games, one featuring the perpetually woebegone Detroit Lions and America’s Team aka the Dallas Cowboys where they are lie supine and transfixed watching advertisements for corporate national chain restaurants, bad movies, beer, gas guzzling automobiles and all other manifestations of the mythical American Dream that are inserted into the six plus hours of bad gridiron action (nine if you are able to receive the new NFL Network that is the precursor to pay per view games that is coming soon which is a nice racket since the league can have it both ways in receiving revenue from both fans and sponsors.) The National Football League is the ultimate triumph of American capitalism and a money making machine and merchandising goliath that protects it’s trademarks even more vigorously than the Disney Gestapo but this post is not about the NFL either but rather about our national epidemic of obesity. I am sure that this is going to offend many but if you are easily offended you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog to begin with as there is no such fucking thing as political correctness here.
While Turkey Day may be an excuse for gorging oneself in America but it is only 24 hours long and the feeding frenzy goes on unabated for the other 364 day per annum as we relentlessly pursue our national destiny of becoming not only the most boorish, angry, fearful, selfish, uninformed, regressively religious, overly entertained country on the face of the planet but also the fattest. Obesity and the desire to consume go hand in hand with the mutant strain of capitalism that has metastasized throughout this society like a rampaging cancer since the ascendance of the Reagan era when the post-war decadence of the baby boomers reached fruition, the illusion that Vietnam and Watergate were just bad dreams and our national destiny of exceptionalism and greatness was once again bestowed upon us as though it were a gift from God himself.
The 1980’s was the personification of the ‘it’s all about me and just screw everyone else’ cultural zeitgeist of Dallas, Dynasty, the rise of technology and the accompanying nationwide cable and satellite communications explosion that brought us VCR’s, HBO and a barrage of fast food related advertising that extolled the virtues of the fast food eateries and national chain restaurants galore that sprouted weeds throughout the burgeoning suburbs and exurbs and touted the virtues of the convenient high fat, low nutritional diets that an over-burdened, over-worked and overly entertained society could enjoy both often and inexpensively and save that troublesome time spent in actually cooking for the family. We even experienced the miracle of those little remote control devices to ensure that we would never have to pry our rapidly expanding asses off of the couch to engage in such menial exercise as changing channels on our ever growing television sets that paralleled our waistlines in the race to be the biggest and the best.
It was once again morning in America and the breakfast table was groaning under the weight of the bountiful feasts of all of the new food choices that were beamed electronically into the national consciousness by public relations flacks and Madison Avenue hucksters who along with Wall Street all too soon realized that selling more junk food was good for capitalism itself. The food lobby despite its irresponsible peddling of garbage to kids and the typical lack of foresight for the ultimate consequences that is always so prevalent among the greedy ensured that there would be abundant resources (including their own lexicon a guide to which it along with other PR spin) to tap when ever it became necessary to launch countermeasures against those pests of the ‘nanny society’ who dared to bring up such inconvenient correlations to devouring junk food as the rise in childhood Diabetes, the burden on our disgraceful for profit health care system and the looming obesity epidemic But more on the food flacks in a little bit.
The explosion of obesity in America is reaching catastrophic levels and is only going to continue to explode as television, sedentary lifestyles, an overworked populace and poor dietary education driven by scientific studies that are smacked down by food industry spin meisters continue. Last year 31 states (not surprisingly 9 of the 10 top fattest states are in the South and it is no coincidence that that particular geographical area also is a leader in racism, regressive and hostile religious distortions of Christianity and outright stupidity – all of the states are Bush/GOP strongholds including Mississippi, home of notorious racist and highly influential Republican Senator Trent Lott as well as a whopping 29.5 percent of adult who are obese) had record increases in adult obesity according to a recent study entitled: F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America . Most tragically and in a very damning sign for the future, child obesity is on the rise as well and is an extraordinary plague on our medical system (which the ‘free market’ dogmatists and Ayn Rand masturbation cult are on a devout mission to destroy), the accompanying explosion of diabetes is placing an increasing burden upon our health care industry and given the relentless dedication of the corrupt corporate whores in congress to drive costs even further out of the reach of ordinary Americans there is a coming tide of obesity related health problems that are going to swamp this country like a killer tsunami. But still the feeding frenzy continues.
America is also awash in fad diets (a multi-billion dollar industry) and painless weight loss schemes that multiply exponentially among a population not prone to any sort of sacrifice or hard work to attain personal goals. Working diligently to lose weight the healthy and efficient way through a change in eating habits and exercise is anathema to the instant gratification crowd always looking for the easy way out. Americans want to get to Heaven but are nearly universally opposed to the concept of having to die first in order to get there so praise the lord, pass the Krispy Kremes and schedule the gastric bypass surgery.
The national obsession with the easy fix for fatness one need look no further than at the popularity of the ubiquitous Jared Fogel of Subway fame, the former scale busting mammoth who lost hundreds of pounds allegedly by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches while in college. As with all urban myths the legend of Jared is comprised of far more bullshit and outright P.T. Barnum style chicanery than it is of serious truths.
What is not mentioned in the constant advertising featuring the bespectacled yuppie wonder boy in his post-flubber days is that his successful weight loss formula was more the result of a drastic reduction in daily calorie consumption as well as regular exercise than from gobbling turkey sandwiches and peddling Subway’s snake oil.In fact if you go to Subway’s website you will notice the preponderance of disclaimers on every Jared related page. Yet Jared has become such a recognizable national pseudo celebrity that I have often heard people conversing about how wonderful that each new Subway ad featuring their hero is. Here is an interesting little site that I found on The Cult of Jared that is recommended reading. They want to have their meatball sub and eat it too but the truth is that Fogel could have lost the weight eating at Taco Bell, McDonalds or Popeye’s had he undertaken a similar cut in caloric intake and engaged in regular exercise. The Subway diet plan as with all get rich quick schemes or revolutionary weight loss plans are quite simply only chum for flocking suckers the likes of which there is no shortage of in modern day America. Of course the dietary industry which is the modern day equivalent of snake oil and miracle cures peddled by the traveling medicine men of the old West has a vested interested in keeping Americans fat for life, as much as a vested interest as the fast food and restaurant lobby who are not above producing fake ‘trust us we’re experts’ type studies that encourage more gluttony.
A few years back Eric Schlosser wrote a book called Fast Food Nation (recently made into a dramatic pseudo documentary movie with characters loosely based on the characters and storylines) that should be destined to become an international classic for his extremely well researched and impeccably written analysis of the socio-political impact of the fast food industry on post WWII America. This book should be required reading for every American who is not only concerned about the potentially devastating health problems of a diet that with too much sleazy, cheap, instant gratification type fast food as well as the horrendous effects of the fast food, keep it simple stupid business model of workplace efficiency that permeates our working lives and continually dumbs down jobs to the point where they can be exported to semi illiterate third world countries, offered to illegal aliens which the Bush administration is opening the borders to with reckless abandon despite the bogus threat of terrorist infiltration (yet another slimy contradiction from these master charlatans) or made into essentially plug and play positions where the lowest and most desperate members of society can be lined up one after the other for the time that it takes to be fired for fucking up the timing sequence on an automated french fry drop. Fast Food Nation was a rousing success as well a a critically acclaimed best seller for its uncompromising examination of the cultural affects of the industry and along with their loathing of Schlosser another nemesis of the fast food flacks came in the form of Morgan Spurlock and his gut churning documentary Super Size Me.
After watching the movie, if you want a good fucking laugh or two along with some serious analysis on America’s obesity crisis and the pushers of the fast food industry pick up a copy of Spurlock’s Don’t Eat This Book which has some absolutely fucking hilarious anecdotes and factoids such as the reprinting of the following post from his website that is featured on page 85:
“I used to work in a funeral home, and one night I was down in the morgue when I was summoned to the crematorium. When I got there, I saw the embalmer standing in the door of the crematorium holding a fire extinguisher. As soon as he saw me, he told me to run back downstairs and grab some sheets or hospital gowns. So as I’m heading downstairs I feel strangely hungry, which is not a feeling you usually get working in a funeral home. I grab a stack of hospital gowns and run back to the crematorium. What happened was that this morbidly obese gentleman was so big that his fat was melting off faster than the machine could burn it up. Having worked in the funeral home for a while, I have smelled some hellacious things and know it helps to not pay attention to what I am smelling. But this actually smelled…..familiar, and slightly appetizing. As I was walking out of the crematorium, I realized exactly what it smelled like: all that melted human fat smelled exactly like the inside of a McDonalds.”
Sweet Jesus that is hilarious, especially to somebody with a really sick fucking sense of humor like myself, it’s better than the alleged fingertip that some lady tried to scam Wendy’s into paying damages on that she claimed that was found floating in the chili which is incidentally the only thing actually fit for human consumption on their menu in my opinion at least. I did once find a pubic hair in my fries there about twenty years ago and it still haunts me to this day.
Spurlock certainly isn’t endearing himself to the nations fat czars who gorge like hogs at the money trough over our chronic addiction to harmful foods by putting out books like this on the heels of his hit documentary ‘Super Size Me’ which was a bane to the existence to the fast food industry’s 800 lb (no pun intended) gorilla McDonalds which he excoriated by eating nothing but Mickey D’s food for a solid month. This may have been a somewhat extreme measure undertaken to make his point but I’ll be Goddamned if I don’t know several people at my place of employment who eat there at least twice a day and judging from the size of some of the wildebeests it wouldn’t be too much of a leap in logic to expect that on several nights after another dehumanizing day in corporate cubicle hell that they hit the drive through on the way home so as to avoid having to exert the energy to actually cook dinner.
Spurlock’s movie is great by the way but don’t look for it at your local Wal Mart, at least the ones that have partnered up with McDonalds, my own neighborhood super Wal Mart will ring up your super sized meal deal right at the checkout while the poor underpaid associate rings up a shopping basket full of Chinese made goods so while building China into an economic powerhouse you can rest assured that you are will be buying American if you just order up that number three combo and while you’re at it you might as well just super-size the motherfucker! The book is an inspired piece of work on our American post-industrial fatso culture of the land of George W. Bush were the only constant is that waistlines increase proportionate to a shameful national regressive form of chronic dumbness. I would recommend both it as well as the movie that hooked me from the instant that a giant female fat ass in polyester shorts appeared on screen waddling to the beat of the killer riff opening of Queen’s classic Fat Bottomed Girls.
One of the most insightful parts of Spurlock’s book is where he details the harassment tactics that were brought against him not by McDonald’s of course, Ronald and Mayor McCheese would never soil their hands with any rough stuff, just as in real life politics and the world of corporatism there are always plenty of hired guns in the form of public relations firms eager to do the dirty work when it becomes necessary to swift boat any who happen to get too nosy and vocal when it comes to doing business. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is an example of such a firm and according to Don’t Eat This Book is a front group that passes itself of as a non-partisan think tank while lobbying for anti-environmental polluters, pro-smoking big tobacco corporations and anti-health food conglomerates. I did a quick check of Source Watch and found that yes indeed CEI was a neo-liberal inclined ‘think tank’ that does a shitload of business lobbying on behalf of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Phillip Morris, Pfizer and Amoco among others and is funded by grants by such extremist right-wing luminaries as the Koch family, the Olin Foundation, the Roe Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundations, a virtual who’s who of philosophical allies of the John Birch Society types who generally view the Bush-Cheney junta as limp-wristed, flaming sissies.
One of the slimier tactics used to trash Super Size Me by CEI was the campaign to show that McDonald’s was actually healthy and that Spurlock was basically an anti-American heretic full of Mc Shit to suggest otherwise. According to the book a CEI “adjunct fellow” named Soso Whaley went on her own 30 day eating spree at Mickey D’s and actually lost weight thereby allowing CEI to debunk Spurlock’s experiment under the standard right-wing two word denunciation of ‘junk science’. What wasn’t so widely reported is that Whaley limited herself to 1,800 calories a day and exercised so in essence her little PR ploy was about as honest as the great urban legend of the aforementioned former American fatso Jared Fogle’s famous Subway miracle in which the commercial darling dropped 245 pounds in less than a year by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches. What is left out is that Fogle’s secret to success was not in merely experiencing a magical weight loss through ingesting Subway food but by reducing his daily caloric intake to around 1,000 and exercising frequently but I covered this earlier so I digress…
Being the enterprising and intelligent young man that he is Fogle was able to parlay his weight loss into financial gain by entering into a very lucrative business partnership with Subway Inc as a spokesman and shill. Of course the management of Subway aren’t idiots so every page on their website that features Jared also features the following disclaimer:
*Individuals lost weight by exercising and eating a balanced, reduced-calorie diet that included SUBWAY® sandwiches with 6 grams of fat or less. Their results are not typical. Your loss, if any, will vary. The SUBWAY® chain does not endorse the diet Jared created and cautions anyone embarking on a weight-loss plan to consult their physician.
Check It Out HERE
Another highly active industry attack dog/advocacy group that went after Spurlock is the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), which operates as a non-profit organization allowing it to not be compelled to disclose contributors, many of which according to investigative work by watchdog groups are not surprisingly the food industry’s heaviest hitters. According to a report from the Center for Media and Democracy via an anonymous insider back in 2002 the money flowed to CCF by such corporations as Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods, Wendy’s, Outback, White Castle and Applebee’s among many others too numerous to list here.
CCF was behind that ludicrous Orwellian PR campaign earlier this year that disseminated the propaganda that the entire obesity threat was all hype and that Americans should feel free to gorge themselves on a regular basis preferably at Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden) which was allegedly behind the efforts to propagandize and minimize the serious health issues involved. CCF in the past also has a history of mixing ther obfuscations and lies with blasts of Karl Rove style neo fascist demagoguery that in 2005 was perfectly timed for the Fourth of July weekend labeling those were decrying the epidemic of obesity as unpatriotic according to Paul Krugman of the damned liberal New York Times who in his 7/4/05 column “Girth of a Nation” brought up the following CCF insane bit of standard post 9/11 fear-mongering, divisive trash:
“Far too few Americans, remember that the Founding Fathers, authors of modern liberty, greatly enjoyed their food and drink. Now it seems that food liberty – just one of the many important areas of personal choice fought for by the original American patriots – is consistently under attack.”
Translation: Either you are with Ronald McDonald or you are with the terrorists or as McDonald’s magnate Ray Kroc succintly put it:
“This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I’ll kill ‘em before they kill me. You’re talking about the American way of survival of the fittest.”
The assault on both Spurlock and especially Schlosser is massive and ongoing, a withering food industry blitzkrieg. A Hitler Youth style fascist group called Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) was distributing tracts demonizing him Schlosser for allegedly being anti-immigrant, the kicker is that YAF alumni include Dan Quayle and none other than that all inclusive type of guy Tom Tancredo the Colorado racist firebrand whose demagoguery of late has made for an alliance with the anti-immigrant paramilitary nutball ‘Minutemen’. The hypocrisy is as delicious as it is offensive.
Also on the attack against Schlosser is The Heartland Institute an ultra right-wing industry think thank/advocacy organization with ties to the Koch family, the Olin Foundation and the Scaife family….notice a common thread here? All have at some point been reputed to have ties to the John Birch Society and their strategy at using good old McCarthy style red-baiting in their attempt to takedown Schlosser is faithful to their ideological roots. The Heartland Institute sent out a news release which according to Source Watch proclaimed that Schlosser was “tricking young people….to lead them away from capitalism into his failed socialist ideology”. Considering that many such firms are tax-exempt perhaps they should rethink labeling
Schlosser to no surprise found himself the target of an industry backed smear campaign over his newest book ‘Chew On This’ and the upcoming movie version of ‘Fast Food Nation’, the usual suspect advocacy groups are on the attack as surrogates and have launched the originially labelled website Best Food Nation to whack and denounce Schlosser’s book and movie in the true cowardly fashion of right wing cowards, hacks and freaks. The involvement of these monstrous front groups and their use of relentless campaigns of distortion and disinformation when it comes to protecting the food industry shows just how much of a vested interest that Wall Street has in keeping America fat. Yes, corpulence for the benefit of corporate America is the ultimate in patriotism because fat people drive the engine of our great service economy now that the manufacturing sector has been dismantled (except for those reclassified jobs for whopper floppers) and exported piecemeal to juice profits. The oxymoron that is free market capitalism always requires a good supply of piggies at both ends of the trough and fatsos are excellent consumers or as the fast food industry terms their best customers ‘Heavy Users’, I kid you not regarding this term.
If there is hope that the junk food lobby and their saturated fat and sugar pimps can be reigned in it came earlier this year. The man from Hope who is former president Bill Clinton recently succeeded in brokering a deal with the soft drink goliaths whose colorful vending machines have become ubiquitous in America’s schools, dispensing their sugar-filled drinks that have contributed so greatly to the general epidemic of obesity and diabetes that have plagued our youth. The nation’s largest beverage corporations have agreed to now sell only more nutritious drinks and juices, this should cut down somewhat on the heavy users while they are in school but the epidemic and non-stop advertising are everywhere and once the kids leave the schoolyard there are always the proverbial pushers lurking across the street in the form of Mickey D’s, Burger King, Long John Silvers, Taco Bell and any of the other fast food pimps who have become far to prevalent when it comes to feeding the masses.
Maybe I’m becoming a total crank in my old age but a pet peeve of mine is the disgusting spectacle of the explosion of all of those little motorized carts that serve no purpose other than to haul around the overly fat asses of those who are too obese to walk for more than a few steps under their own power. My local grocery store is filled with fatties on carts, mainly motoring down the frozen foods, candy or snack aisles or creating fucking gridlock in the deli and bakery but the whirring of the little electric motors is at its loudest as these lard-asses stamp down their stubby little toes (many of which will inevitably be surgically lopped off due to complications from complications due to our nation’s fastest growing disease diabetes) on the accelerators and barrel through the crowd towards whichever hapless elderly person is manning a station where free samples of FOOD are being handed out, practically leaving skid marks on the floor as they nearly put the carts in full dragster mode.
It is a fucking feeding frenzy Jack, and the scrum around some poor sixty something blue hair struggling to supplement her social security by passing out free samples of low quality cheap frozen pizzas cooked in a toaster oven on a part-time basis is damned near the equivalent of the storming of Utah Beach. These poor semi-retirees who often exhibit deer in the headlights looks should be offered hazardous duty pay for having to fend the threat of being squashed by one of the the fatty carts bearing down upon them as though they were heading into the final lap of the Brickyard 500.
My fucking God what is this country becoming?
“The epidemic of gross obesity or the mutant evolution of the human body into a form that perfectly fills out a couch and keeps the form perfectly in place to focus on the television, perhaps as the years go on and the body grows plumper the arms can also become longer and more spider-like, perfect for feeding itself from the multiple bowls of television pimped snacks on the coffee table. If stereotypical comic book evil genius scientists are able to utilize this formula in a genetic experiment to create an even dumber, fatter version of a modern day American only with an increased ability to feed itself they would win the Nobel Prize which by then will also be sponsored by a major corporation: dumb, fat, gross, nationalist, subservient and obedient, a true master race that not even Hitler could envision, far more compliant than even the most ardent of Aryans and a totalitarian’s dream.”
I am an American dammit! I have personally been endowed with certain inalienable rights by my creator and if I choose to be fat, mean and ignorant then by GOD that is my birthright for I am America Fatso.