Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beginning Opinions

As a part of my intent to start over with this blog, and to begin working on some real writing again, I've decided to write short reaction pieces to articles I read in the morning. I'm a voracious news reader, and I find I almost always have opinions on what I read, and so I'd like to share my thoughts and see what other people think.

That is, one day, when other people actually start to visit this blog. ;)

So what was in the news today? A recall for my car - with all the Toyota recalls over the last year and a half, it had to happen sometime, the not-quite-confirmation of Derek Jeter's engagement to Minka Kelly, and the results of last night's game, proving that the Yankees are not out of the pennant race yet.

Oh, and a little piece about a commercial against obesity aired in Washington D.C.

The commercial is about 40 seconds. A man lies dead in the morgue, his wife weeping, the doctor comforting her. A cheeseburger is in the dead man's hand. When the camera at last pans to his feet, McDonald's famous golden arches sweep over them. The caption: "I was lovin' it."

Harsh, blunt, and not kid-friendly. Yes, you will be scaring your kids away from their Happy Meals if they see this. Yes, the government is interfering with how you eat. But is that really such a bad thing? I posted the following comment in response to the article discussing the commercial (the link to which can be found here).

"To the person who commented that people who eat fast food and eat unhealthily are not the norm, I beg to differ. According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 1 in 3 people in this country are obese as of 2009. Over 10 states have an obesity rate greater than 30%. It may not be the majority (yet), but when there are more grossly overweight people than there are of some minorities in this country, it absolutely counts as the norm.

As for the argument that the government should not be our "Mommies and Daddies," that's ignorance. They tell us we can't steal, can't kill people, and they tax us - which is basically a grown-up version of the allowance system kids and their parents use.

And furthermore, even if the government isn't parenting us, this country decided to be responsible for Medicaid and for a portion of our health care system. It is therefore in their best financial interests, and the better interests of the country, to discourage people from practices that can put an undue and unnecessary strain on the health care system. Obesity-related disease is becoming epidemic in its scope. The government cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

Personally, I think alternate versions of the commercial should address the threat posed by other fast food chains such as Burger King, White Castle, and Wendy's, but all in all, this is a good start to address what is rapidly becoming a serious problem in our country."

So, those are my thoughts for the day. A final thought for those who call the government food-Nazis, though (btw, not my term): the states with over 30% obese populations are concentrated in areas with very high poverty. Kind of tough to ask the government for food stamps and then balk when the government starts telling you how you should use them.

As a last note: the CDC and poverty charts that I used can be found here and here, respectively.

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