Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Unhappy Meals

"It's a great country, but it's a strange culture. ... This has got to be the only country in the world that could ever come up with a disease like bulimia; gotta be the only country in the world where some people have no food at all, and other people eat a nourishing meal and puke it up intentionally. This is a country where tobacco kills four hundred thousand people a year, so they ban artificial sweeteners! Because a rat died! You know what I mean? This is a place where gun store owners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs! And now, they're thinking about banning toy guns - and they're gonna keep the fucking real ones!" — George Carlin.
I wonder what Carlin would think about this: in Santa Clara County, California, my home-sweet-home, officials recently voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals.

So we ban the toys and keep the high-calorie meals? I've watched my nephew eat a Happy Meal, and the toy actually distracts him from eating the crap! Keep the toys!

Anyway, it's not the toys that bring the kids to the fast-food restaurants -- it's the parents. Of course, I don't think parents are irresponsible for getting their kid the occasional treat or quick, hassle-free meal. But we all know it shouldn't be a regular indulgence. It will make you fat.

Maybe a little truth in advertising is needed. Or better yet, no advertising directed at children at all. Apparently, it's psychological warfare with the psychologists on the side of the advertisers. Some psychologists actually lend a hand to marketers by revealing such tidbits as why 3- to 7-year-olds gravitate toward toys that transform themselves into something else and why 8- to 12-year-olds love to collect things.

Maybe parents do need an ally in this battle, but this new law treats one tiny symptom. Kids will still see the advertisements, scream for the toys, and their parents will drive outside the county to get them. Or they'll finally learn to say "no."

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