Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Maybe I'd rather be a drug addict

This seemed like a good day to talk about gambling, what with all the excitement here in the People's Republic about maybe building a fantastic new casino in a small town in southeast Mass on land that will be fictitiously resanctified as Indian territory, and the NBA official who is headed down the crapper of sports history, but I'm going to defer that one because I have to say something about a couple of TV ads that are now playing relentlessly between innings. (Yup, my TV experience is largely confined to Red Sox games and the interstices therein.)

One is for a sandwich consisting of two big blobs of fried fatty ground beef, two slices of pasteurized process cheez food, and six strips of fried fat from a pig's belly (better known as bacon), on white bread, of course. The advertisement itself is almost as grotesque as the product. The second ad is for a calzone, "stuffed with cheese and toppings," weighing one full pound. I think they mean "fillings" rather than "toppings," but you know they're talking about various kinds of sausage, ham, and ground beef.

Now, I know that in the United States, corporations are legally human beings who have First Amendment rights, and that's a moral value handed down to us by Jesus, but there has got to be a way to stop this. I mean, where is the Culture of Life when you really need it? And how are we going to pay for all those Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts when we have much higher priorities, like spreading democracy throughout the Greater Middle East by the beneficent action of bullets and bombs?

Yeah yeah, it's a slippery slope and what about personal responsibility and where do you draw the line and so on and so forth, but I think it's possible to develop sensible regulations about what you can and cannot advertise on television. And a full day's worth of calories and a week's worth of saturated fat in one five dollar menu item is beyond the outer limits.

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