Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Because THAT'S what we need

McDonald's has a new burger: the Third Pounder.

That's right. Their genius execucrats decided that too many people were starting to get healthy, dieting and exercising, and lowering their cholesterol, so they've unleashed obesity's latest weapon in the War On Humanity. The 740-calorie Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese apparently wasn't sufficiently artery-clogging.

This kinda makes me wanna run home and play DDR to flush the fat-karma from my brain. And yet I've got this stuck in my head:

MySpace Funny Pictures

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At March 7, 2007 at 3:55 PM, Anonymous knights13_ghost said...

It's bad news having McDonald's putting out more fat food on the menu. Blaming them and crying helpless is just as bad. It shows the dependence of the population on certain entities. The other compounding factor is technology. Mix these two variables and the outcome is a lot of overweight people.

So, if you eat fat foods and work at the desk all day then please have a long jog afterwards. Join a gym. We would rather watch american idol or desperate housewives.

McDonald's should put up the calories, fat, carbohydrates, Sodium,... levels in the menu's and then leave it up to you to choose how you burn it away.

At March 7, 2007 at 4:15 PM, Anonymous roonie said...

Your blog isn't showing up on my reader anymore! Here I was, thinking you weren't updating...this is happening with multiple blogs...what's going on?

At March 7, 2007 at 4:37 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

knights, I'm not crying helpless, but I am blaming them for their part in contributing to social obesity. They put addictive chemicals in their food that keeps people coming back for more. Their overprocessed, unsanitary, disgusting quasi-"food" is sold at dirt-cheap prices made possible by inhumane wages and which entices people who can't afford to buy fresh, organis, healthy food. Information is totally key, but, sadly, in this case, it isn't the whole answer. Also, there's no way to compensate someone like ME (I feel fat if the scale rachets up to 145 and I immediately commence dieting) -- I keep myself pretty healthy overall, and my health care costs get to skyrocket because of people who make lazy, poor eating choices that are made simple by soulless anti-person conglomerates like Mickey D's. I totally recommend Fast Food Nation and Supersize Me. Some scary shit in those.

roonie, it's been doing that to me for a while... I just have to click on my links to see what's up with my blog buddies. That's too much work! I want to know if they've updated, dammit! ;P

At March 7, 2007 at 8:00 PM, Blogger Gino said...

LawFairy: i understand where you coming from about your concern for health insurance costs. i think the same way about ambulance chasing lawyers.

as a system, we need to get more to a 'everybody buys there own' med coverage system.
thos who keep fit would get a break, like good drivers do.

At March 7, 2007 at 10:13 PM, Anonymous legallyblondeez said...

Agreed that the medical insurance system is effed up, but I don't think that a get-the-fit-together-and-screw-the-fat-kids approach is what we need, or what Law Fairy is advocating in pointing out the social cost of obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease. (She of course can defend herself or say if I'm wrong on that point)

Given that people have personal choice, that choice is limited by their access to information and alternatives. It is also profoundly influenced by society, i.e. advertising and a culture of (over)consumption. McDonalds isn't murdering people by serving nutritionally disastrous foods, but they're certainly providing the tools of self-destruction along with a handy instruction booklet and an "everybody's doing it" message. I'm not saying they should pay money to the (arguably willing) victims, but I'm not giving them mine as long as they're sending this kind of crap into the universe.

BTW Law Fairy, have you noticed the intense reinforcement of gender roles in McD's radio ads over the last year or so? Perhaps you don't leave the office long enough to listen to the radio, but on my 35 min. commute I hear enough to make me seriously ill. Especially when I think about how it plays into the cultural machismo of some traditional minority communities, whose socioeconomic oppression already predisposes them to a neighborhood full of fast food and no fresh fruit. Speaking of reasons to boycott, there's a big one.

At March 8, 2007 at 7:28 AM, Blogger Gino said...

"Given that people have personal choice, that choice is limited by their access to information and alternatives."
there is no limitation of information. info is out there everywhere. cant turn on the telly without somebody talking about it.

alternatives will happen when a market for them exists.

i believe in radical free choice, and radical free markets.
anything less is just another form of nannyism, and i hate that.

At March 8, 2007 at 12:31 PM, Blogger Andy said...

I'm going to gain 12 lbs on my drive across the country, aren't I?

At March 8, 2007 at 4:27 PM, Anonymous knights13_ghost said...

LF, I didn't look at it from an insurance perspective. I don't have health insurance to begin with. I don't buy fresh organic food nor do I watch what I eat in terms of contents of the food. I'm very active physically and never have had issues with gaining a lot of weight. I am less likely to be overweight or have cancer than those that do buy organic foods and always watch what they eat (Don't ask me how I know that, I just do).

Andy, you would have lost at least 40 if you walked. :)

At March 9, 2007 at 8:36 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Gino, I'm for a modified free market system for health care. I don't think that only the rich are entitled to health care, so I'm worried about making it straight-up pay-as-you-go. Also, there are people who, through no fault of their own, are simply more prone to certain health ills. I don't want to subsidize someone's poor eating and exercise habits. But I do feel compassion for the person who eats well, keeps fit, does yoga, lives in the mountains and bikes to work, recycles, etc., etc., and still develops diabetes and liver cancer. It sucks, but it happens. Also, there are people whose horrid parents allow them to become addicted to fast food (studies show that places like McD's put addictive chemicals in their food). To SOME extent, they're not one hundred percent to blame for their poor eating habits. It would be as though your parents had regularly bought you cigarettes starting at the age of 4.

I'm don't know precisely where the right balance is... but frankly, I don't see how places like McDonald's provide any social value. If the best thing you can say about yourself is that you "create jobs" then that's not saying very much. Anyone can create jobs. If I burn down a building, I'm "creating jobs." I'm baffled why people think that making more jobs is always and inherently a good thing. It's only a good thing if those jobs are useful and beneficial and weren't occasioned by something equally useless and detrimental. (That was a little tangential, it's another pet peeve of mine).

I can't be down with a "radical" free market (not exactly sure what this is) because people's preferences are irrational and often harmful. We should allow choice to the extent possible, because it's the moral thing to do, but where that choice causes broad social harm, we can't simply ignore that fact just because it's harder to put our finger on than the direct harm of my choice to throw my fist into your face.

legallyblondeez, I don't watch Mickey D's commercials thanks to my boyfriend TiVo ;) But there's sexism everywhere, so why not in McDonald's commercials, right? As far as the problem with McDonald's, I'd go farther than JUST lack of information... their food is at least as harmful and addictive as cigarettes, yet it isn't regulated nearly as much. It's high time we did something about it.

Andy, doubtful. I've done the cross-country thing several times in the last few years (Chicago to LA, LA to Chicago, Chicago to LA again -- 30 hours each way before traffic) and definitely pigged out on my share of junk food/fast food, but actually didn't really pack on any weight from the trips (maybe a pound or two of water weight). And I'm a girl. We're the ones with the shitty metabolism ;)

knights, I knew it! You have a time machine!

(Or are you a Cylon...?)

At March 9, 2007 at 7:16 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

When I managed a domestic violence shelter, I kept the kitchen stocked with fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.

Most of my clients took their children and walked down the street to McD's Three Times a Day for their meals. There is definitely a socioeconomic factor in terms of getting the word out. AND people have to be willing to hear the message and to act on it.

I think that those who regularly buy fast food for their children might as well put guns to their little heads. This is yet another form of eating their young.

At March 9, 2007 at 7:28 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

heart, sensible and clever as always :) How frustating to go to all that effort and STILL have them choose to eat crap.

At March 9, 2007 at 8:03 PM, Anonymous knights13_ghost said...

Yes, LF, I have a time machine. :)

I have fallen into the darkness. Where no movement or noise was present. Only the inner demon dwelling on your conscience. For only 13 could hear your voice. Behold, the sun rose up into the sky and fell at a glance. At the blink of an eye took its place ten times its size. The mountains were flat and the water gone. That is the power of 13 in a small frame of time.

nah...just kidding. I'm a conservative and I'm stuck in the first century.

Back to eating healthy and avoiding junk food. How many here are good cooks? I hardly cook for myself. :(

At March 10, 2007 at 2:38 AM, Blogger Alon Levy said...

Two things. First, market-based systems tend to work worse than government-based ones. In the first world, all countries get more or less the same health care results; the differences are more due to personal habits than to the health care system. But the more capitalistic ones have to spend more to get those results: the US, with the most market-based system in the first world, has the highest health spending in the world as a percentage of GDP, while Switzerland, whose system is the second most market-based, has the second highest health spending.

And second, McDonald's worries me less than Subway, which is gaining acceptance as a healthy alternative. The footlong meatball sub with melted cheese has 1120 calories, 48 grams of fat of which 22 are saturated (110% of RDI) and 2 are trans (100% of RDI), 26 grams of sugar (about 60% of RDI), and 3.2 grams of sodium (134% of RDI and twice what you should actually consume).

At March 10, 2007 at 6:37 AM, Blogger Gino said...

maybe we should just mandate rabbit food for all.
that, and sushi.
hard to go wrong with sushi.

At March 10, 2007 at 7:18 AM, Blogger Stewart Sternberg said...

I read many years ago that they did autopsies on several twenty one year olds who had died as a result of auto accidents and the like as part of a study. They discovered that these young folk had the arteries of people much older. This generation exposes its children to unhealthy foods earlier and without letup.

I was at a mall the other week and watched a teen mother, under the approving gaze of her father, feed McDonald's french fries to a baby in a stroller. The could barely chew them.

At March 10, 2007 at 7:22 AM, Blogger Stewart Sternberg said...

One other note, of a political nature:

People who trust the market system where public welfare is at risk are asking for trouble. If the government didn't make a corporation clean up its waste, does anyone really believe the corporation wouldn't just flush it into a river? Are the automotive industries going to change their emissions because "it's good for the environment"?

No, companies need to be controlled. Pure capitalism is a myth along the lines of pure communism. I know, people who make stupid decisions should pay consequence. However, it always seems that we end up paying for their mistakes in the long run.

At March 11, 2007 at 8:54 AM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

knights, I'm a decent cook, but I almost never cook anything. No point in cooking for one -- more effort than I really need. A home-cooked meal is nice, but it's more fun if there's someone to cook for. I'll cook and bake when I have people over, but pretty much no other time.

Also, I hate cleaning. With a passion. If I had a live-in maid or something who would clean up after me, I'd probably cook a lot more often.

Alon, interesting point about Subway. I'm a fan of some of their lower-calorie subs, and a meatball sub wouldn't even appeal to me. But that's a really good point -- people associate Subway with "healthy" and don't even think about whether or not what they're eating is ACTUALLY good for them. As for government versus market, I tend to think they're both bad. I don't trust the government any more than I trust big corporations. I'd generally skew somewhat more individualistic, with maybe heavier government regulation and taxation of major corporations, particularly with an eye to how they're paying their officers, etc. Pretty much no CEO is worth 50 million a year. I mean, how can you be, short of discovering a cure for cancer?

Gino, I actually have almost no problem with this ;) Sushi is my "desert island" food.

Stewart, TERRIFYING. But I absolutely believe it. I'm 25, very healthy, stay fit, exercise, I'm trim, etc. And my cholesterol is 205. I ate lots of junk food/fast food in my teens/early twenties, and I absolutely believe it's fucked up my arteries.

And, much as I am loathe to give the government more power, I'm inclined to agree here. The greed mechanism in corporations has proven itself to dominate everything else. Something has to be done, and most corporations have proven they're not willing to do it on their own.

At March 17, 2007 at 11:33 PM, Anonymous Erik Pukinskis said...

Part of the trouble is that a helpless population of people who have a hard time getting nutritous home-cooked meals on the table is ripe for financial exploitation. They can sell us restaurant food, Rachael Ray cookbooks, and pre-made groceries.

There's a strong, *strong* incentive for business and government to keep us helpless. That's why our culture has evolved into this thing where we all live alone and expect every meal to be a gourmet meal. We end up having two choices:

1) slave in the kitchen for hours, just to sit alone in front of the TV and eat a home-cooked meal.

2) go out to eat/buy something mostly prepared/spend money on shortcuts.

We end up picking 2, and another $10-20 gets pumped into the economy, and everyone gets paid. Our culture is designed to keep us under the impression that this is the only way.

But it's not the only way. I recently started a dinner cooperative. There are about 30 people on our mailing list, and twice a week we meet for dinner. Someone volunteers to cook and host the dinner. It costs about $20 for groceries, and generally people send about 2 hours cooking. Usually about 10 people show up for dinner. We hang out for about 90 minutes, eating and chatting.

Different people contribute in different ways. Most people throw in a couple dollars at each meal. Some people volunteer to cook about once a month. Some people wash the dishes (Law Fairy: that means someone else would wash your dishes!!)

And you get a nutritious home-cooked meal. You get an hour of relaxed social contact in the evening twice a week. We do everything vegan, and try to be as local and organic as possible, but you can take as few or as many ethical stands as you like.

The problem is that our culture is constantly telling is to go it alone.

Here's another way out: My friend Renee is from Mexico, and she told me when she was growing up, there was always a pot of rice and beans around. It's easy to make rice and beans... you just throw them in a pot with some spices once a week or so, and voila! Instant food. All the essential amino acids. High protein. No simple carbs. $0.05/serving.

But Snack Wells doesn't want you to know this, because if you did, you might stop spending $1.29 on your daily low-carb breakfast bar.

In fact, NO ONE is going to make any serious money off of rice and beans or dinner cooperatives. And therefore there's no financial incentive for people to put effort into making it a bigger part of the culture.

But there is an incentive for me and you: we want to live better, and we want to help others to live better. And if we do, we'll be less exploitable by business and government.

And I think happier.

Anyway, that's how I see things. Sorry for the obnoxiously long comment.

At March 17, 2007 at 11:58 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Erik, what a great idea! I love the idea of a dinner cooperative... I may just have to steal that one :)

I think you're right about the adverse incentives at work. Our jobs and daily commitments keep us far too busy to worry about something as basic as healthy, affordable food, and the corporations have every reason to keep us thinking the way we do (and Congresspersons depend on these corporations for campaign donations, etc.). I think you've come up with a great solution.

Thanks so much for commenting!

At April 5, 2007 at 5:19 PM, Blogger The Only Sensible Man Alive said...

I guess it's not worth noting that a double quarter pounder with cheese contains half a pound of meat (pre-cooked weight), which is 1/6 of a pound more than the Third Pounder (also pre-cooked weight).

I guess if they introduce a double third pounder, that'd be trouble?

At April 5, 2007 at 5:29 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Sensible, lol. Correct -- but, as you note, I imagine the double-third-pounder can't be too far away. It just strikes me as funny that McDonald's, in the face of a rampant obesity epidemic, has decided to add to the ridiculously over-caloried menu options. Freakin' irresponsible.


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