Busybodies vs. Fun

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The Cid
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Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by The Cid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:57 pm

Somebody's unhappy with the Happy Meal. In an effort to do "something" about childhood obesity, San Francisco has passed a law banning the use of toys in unhealthy meal offerings.

Let's start with the common sense piece of this, shall we? The cheap piece of crap toy in the Happy Meal is NOT the reason that a kid asks his parents to go to McDonald's. The family is at a drive-thru because either they're strapped for time, strapped for cash, or maybe the father just loves the taste of a Big Mac. (Which is never, of course, taken into account by the kind of people who ban toys in Happy Meals. How could people actually enjoy that food? Surely they're only paying for the toy, even though a real toy that has actual value costs less than the price of a Happy Meal.)

But even putting common sense aside, isn't this just an appalling move to curb the slightest bit of enjoyment? It's not like they're actually doing anything about the quality of their residents' health. Nope. See, that would be difficult work that would require real thought and real effort, as opposed to passing this law and pretending to care. Pretending to care is way easier than actually caring after all. Unless the Board of Supervisors honestly believes people are so stupid that they make choices on what their children will eat based on whether or not there's a deliverable at the end of the meal. It seems to me like the kind of law one would make if they only knew of "fat people" through stereotypes of fat Americans.

Not that it's a local problem in San Francisco. All over the country--presumably the world--we pass killjoy measures to accommodate the absolute least of us. Often these laws seem to be aimed at nonsense. Lots of schools across the country have dress codes that do not include uniforms, but forbid kids from wearing hats to school. Why? Because hats are an easy way to display gang colors. Never mind that they make shirts, pants and shoes in the same colors.

I really just wanted to rant about this article, and busybodies' apparent war on fun.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by Springy » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:37 pm

What about all the other toys that fast-food chains give away? McDonald's isn't the only place doing this. I'm really just surprised that the city is even allowed to ban this. When I was a kid I liked McDonald's because of the wicked playground they all had. Now it seems like hardly any of them have that feature. Now the only reason I could imagine a child wanting to eat at McDonald's is because their food is basically candy. Candy and salt. What more could a fat kid ask for?

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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by The Cid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:33 pm

But that's part of the problem: it's not McDonald's fault that people are fat. It isn't. How could it be? It's not the restaurant that keeps people from going out and running like yourself on a regular basis. It's not fast food that convinces me to rent the cart when I go play golf instead of getting a good workout walking around the course. It's not a clown's voice in my head telling me to drive to the grocery store down the street instead of just walking to it. Grimace isn't the reason that kids are inside when they're not on a specific play-date.

What the busybodies refuse to admit in this situation is that "obesity" is a bigger problem than just diet. After all, America is not the only nation that prefers really fatty foods. (Guarantee you that a French restaurant has at least one menu offering that gives the Big Mac a run for its money in terms of caloric content.) It's a laziness problem. It's a cultural problem. You can eliminate all the fast food chains in existence, and people will simply trade their Big Macs for orders of fried fish and half-pound pub burgers that are no better for them.

But of course that's hard work, and what's easy is pointing the finger. "Oh, they're offering kids toys, so they're pushing these fatty foods on our children." High comedy in a culture that rewards children with large amounts of candy on no less than THREE holidays (Easter, Halloween and Christmas), to say nothing of the food-avalanche that is Thanksgiving. Seriously. We have Trick or Treat traditions in this country, then we blame McDonald's for giving toys out in their happy meal like it's some dark corporate plot to make our children into roly-poly, lazy bums.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by collegestudent22 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:25 pm

It's just a lack of personal responsibility. It seems to me that the generation in charge (that which grew up between the 50s and the 80s) has a rather large percentage of an "It's not my fault. It CAN'T be my fault." attitude going on. So, they find someone, anyone, else to blame - including McDonald's, trans fats, and video games.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by ampersand » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:50 pm

  1. This will get appealed eventually through a very lengthly appeal that will end in the Supreme Court because we're talking the 9th Appeal Court here.
  2. Here's my question about the whole thing: why couldn't they do something more creative, like a tax on restaurants whose meals meet a certain fat threshold or greater?
  3. Also, this works in the opposite direction too: much of the potato chips, snacks, and other fatty foods gets subsidies from the Federal Government. 12
  4. I agree that it mostly falls on parental control to steer children towards a lifestyle of healthy eating. I do think in the long-term it would help if the subsidies and tax arraignments are rearranged so that incentives for companies to produce healthier food would be financially better than unhealthy food. I also think we're so conditioned to going after the snacks and the fast foods that we'd go ahead an pay a lot more for the unhealthy food anyway versus the healthy food.

1 From some liberal website I found on Google.
2 From the "Snack Food Association Lobby"

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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by The Cid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:02 pm

ampersand wrote:Here's my question about the whole thing: why couldn't they do something more creative, like a tax on restaurants whose meals meet a certain fat threshold or greater?
I'd be against that even more than ridiculous scapegoating of Happy Meal toys. Again, why punish everybody for eating? Why punish the restaurants for serving food that people enjoy? What the Hell did any of them do? Why should they pay?

Oh, right, it's easier to scapegoat than it is to actually do something. That's why.
ampersand wrote:I agree that it mostly falls on parental control to steer children towards a lifestyle of healthy eating.
So funny that every other factor that goes into one's waistline is ignored when food is brought into the conversation, isn't it?
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by collegestudent22 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:10 pm

ampersand wrote:This will get appealed eventually through a very lengthly appeal that will end in the Supreme Court because we're talking the 9th Appeal Court here.
Sometimes the 9th Circuit surprises me - like with the halting of that action on DADT they just did.

Also, this works in the opposite direction too: much of the potato chips, snacks, and other fatty foods gets subsidies from the Federal Government.
They do? Or the corn and stuff that makes up the snacks do? Also, fat gets a bad rap - it is calories you need to be worried about. Yes, carbs and proteins are easier for the body to use, but that doesn't mean that fat is bad - provided you don't eat too much of all three together.
I do think in the long-term it would help if the subsidies and tax arraignments are rearranged so that incentives for companies to produce healthier food would be financially better than unhealthy food.
I don't think the government is intelligent enough to determine what is unhealthy. Especially when a food may be unhealthy for you, but - due to my higher metabolism - may be a very healthy dish for me, since I burn so many calories each day. Generally, I eat "unhealthy food" (like bacon or cookies - or fast food) to make up for a deficit at the end of the day, because I haven't been able to eat real big meals earlier.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by The Cid » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:15 pm

I don't know if it's intelligence so much as capacity. You don't find a lot of doctors in the elected ranks. And doctors are important when it comes to one's health. They are the experts.

Know what I don't hear doctors say, like ever? "That Jenny Craig is doing God's work. Millions of lives saved there."

"Thank God for Morgan Spurlock. People are dying out there and we need to get the message out."

They don't say these things because they're not happening. Nobody's actually changing anything, or doing anything. Scapegoating against people who sell the fatty foods we love to eat (and refuse to burn off, far more importantly) just hasn't worked. It's not the specific food that's the problem. If we mandated that everybody eat salads all the time, we'd find a way to deep-fry salad, or make a Pepperoni Salad With Extra Cheese.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by Springy » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:20 pm

collegestudent22 wrote: I don't think the government is intelligent enough to determine what is unhealthy. Especially when a food may be unhealthy for you, but - due to my higher metabolism - may be a very healthy dish for me, since I burn so many calories each day. Generally, I eat "unhealthy food" (like bacon or cookies - or fast food) to make up for a deficit at the end of the day, because I haven't been able to eat real big meals earlier.
This is very true. Someone my height/weight needs about 1600 kcal a day to maintain their weight, but I burn close to 1000 kcal somedays, and thus need an extra caloric 'boost' to make up for that.

Really, eating small amounts of so-called 'junk' foods is not going to kill you or make you gain 300lbs. It's consuming too many calories a day. You can get fat from eating nothing but veggies. You can lose weight on an all-twinkie diet.

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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by adciv » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:03 pm

Well, I wouldn't call it an all twinky diet.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by Deacon » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:13 pm

ampersand wrote:why couldn't they do something more creative, like a tax on restaurants whose meals meet a certain fat threshold or greater? ... it would help if the subsidies and tax arraignments are rearranged so that incentives for companies to produce healthier food would be financially better than unhealthy food.
First, you need to understand the difference between a carrot and a stick. An incentive rewards you for a particular behavior. Hitting someone with a stick if they do something you don't like does not count as an incentive. That's just a more politically acceptable word to call it when Michelle Obama wants to dictate what kids eat in school.

Second, either way, it is absolutely not the place of government to be screwing with people and business like that. What counts as "healthy" food varies from study to study down the timeline of the last 30 years, and I will absolutely NOT be pushed around by vocal special interests blaming this steroid or that antibiotic or some vaccine for their kids being the weird one in class now that they have a name for that condition other than just being the weird one in class. Busybody government needs to STOP.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by StruckingFuggle » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:54 pm

Deacon wrote:Hitting someone with a stick if they do something you don't like does not count as an incentive.
But if you're hitting someone with a stick, and tell them they'll stop when they do X, it then becomes an incentive to X. :P
The Cid wrote:They don't say these things because they're not happening. Nobody's actually changing anything, or doing anything. Scapegoating against people who sell the fatty foods we love to eat (and refuse to burn off, far more importantly) just hasn't worked.
Really, I don't see how "refuse to burn off" is far more important. It's a sum of x + y = fat, and, really, both x and y are equally relevant to the equation. :p It's not "we eat poorly", or "we don't exercise", it's that we consume more than we burn off - both sides are important because both sides create the imbalance.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by The Cid » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:05 am

StruckingFuggle wrote:Really, I don't see how "refuse to burn off" is far more important. It's a sum of x + y = fat, and, really, both x and y are equally relevant to the equation. :p It's not "we eat poorly", or "we don't exercise", it's that we consume more than we burn off - both sides are important because both sides create the imbalance.
So you agree, then, that scapegoating providers of food would entirely miss the point. That's a good start.

The fact is you still can't blame the food. You can blame people for eating the food, but that's not the food's fault. Certainly, blaming food isn't going to help anybody burn any calories. It's just a way of posturing, blaming, and in the end accomplishing nothing.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by Deacon » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:48 am

StruckingFuggle wrote:But if you're hitting someone with a stick, and tell them they'll stop when they do X, it then becomes an incentive to X. :P
...

The point was that your example is the exact opposite of an incentive and is a bastardized use of the word due to its generally positive connotations. Plus, seriously, the government should only in the rarest of circumstances be attempting to shape society into the currently politically correct image it wants by controlling even what and how we eat.
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Re: Busybodies vs. Fun

Post by Rorschach » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:52 pm

Hey, why not just put a higher tax on calorific food?
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