Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pirated Twinkies

Okay, this is sort of writing related but, bonus...I get to rant.

This caught my eye on the front page of Yahoo: Burger King sued over trans fats

Apparently a nutrition advocasy group sued because Burger King hasn't changed their frying oil to one without trans fats, like other fast food chains have. Here's a quote from the article that really makes me wonder if maybe we should really take a look at more than just our waistlines:

"Consumers have no way to guard against the risk of consumer trans fats."

WHAT????!!!!! No way to guard against this? How about STOP STICKING THE STUFF IN OUR MOUTHS????

Are they kidding? When did free will go extinct? When did people stop taking personal responsiblity for themselves??? Wait, don't answer that last one.

Okay, seriously we are heading in very dangerous terrority here. We have got to stop expecting the government and lawmakers and advocacy rights groups, and manufacturers and our mothers, neighbors, mailmen, etc. to protect us. We've got to stop blaming and suing each other. Take personal responsibility. Make educated decisions. Here's a head really don't know Burger King is unhealthy?

Whopper with cheese: 760 calories/47 grams of fat
Large Fry: 600 calories/33 grams of fat
Large Coke: 297 calories

1,657 calories and a whopping (pun intended) 80 grams of fat for one meal.

So, what would happen if we all decided that we wanted to be in charge of taking care of our own health and everyone just stopped eating there? No lawsuits, no advocacy groups, no indignation...just chose to eat healthy? Well, I bet they would figure out a way to serve healthy food or go out of business. We are the ones driving them, not the other way around.

Okay, for the writing related part:

I wrote a short story a few years ago called PIRATED TWINKIES. It was a very tongue in cheek story about a guy named George who lived in a time where sweets, fats, etc. had been banned by the government. Twinkies were the hot item on the black market. After already failing two weigh-ins, he gets busted buying twinkies and gets sent to the 'maintenance facility' (basically prison). After doing his time and being forced back to his required weight, he gets out and decides to kill himself. He gets a hold of some bootlegged whiskey and drinks until he happily passes out on the railroad tracks, thinking it would all finally be over. Unfortunately, he wakes up in a hospital a few days later only to find out the train didn't kill him, but did sever off both his legs. He is horrified until he glances at his chart and sees that his weight is now listed as 180 lbs. He wonders, stunned, how he lost 60 pounds. Then he looks at the empty space in the bed, smiles happily and asks to use the phone. His twinkie dealer was very happy to hear from him.

Sadly, I don't think this is as far down the road as I thought it was when I wrote it.


J Erwine said...

It's kind of like people complaining about gas prices being so high. If we all started driving less, the prices would come down.

Still, I don't think this case will fly because there's legislation in place to protect fast food companies from this kind of thing. They were put in place just after the tobacco lawsuits...and don't even get me started on that one...

John Elder Robison said...

I have a short essay on my blog about the poisons we may be ingesting daily

The trouble is, the issue has nothing to do with free will. Large corporations get approval to feed us/paint us/treat us/do all sorts of things to us and we do don't understand the ramifications of what's happening.

How many diners at BK give any thought to the cooking oil? Even if they did, how many would understand the issues?

Saying people were responsible for their own choices was fine when the world was a simpler place and we did not have large multinational corporations trying to package and sell us things we don't understand to their benefit and our detriment.

Anonymous said...

rant on, sistah!

(is it a coincidence that the word verification for today was: gagjf ?)

Shannon said...

Is there legislation to protect them from being sued? I didn't know that. Ironic. All of the fast death...ahem, I mean fast food places have bowed to the pressure of lawsuits, though. Even KFC has changed the Colonel's orginal recipe to conform. I think they had to or they couldn't operate in cities that have banned trans fats like NY and Philly.

I don't believe in coincidence, Christian...only serendipity. :-P

Shannon said...

Sorry, John, for some reason your comment didn't show up in my email so I just saw it in blogger.

I absolutely agree with you that large corporations are putting profit before the public's health. There's also issues of the U.S. banning dangerous insecticides and then us injesting them anyway because it's cheaper to buy produce from other countries and ship it here...other countries that don't have the strict bans and regulations that we have. I guess my main gripe here was just the fact that it's fast food--it's poison anyway. Forget the oil.