24 April 2008

Stop Trying to Help

Am I the only one who is violently opposed to this new Calorie-Posting nonsense being enforced in NYC? Luckily, the decision is still being appealed, so maybe we won't have Big Mother telling us that Big Mac is not good for us (duh).

Why I think Calorie-Posting (i.e. displaying the caloric contents of items on fast food menue boards) is Bullshit:

The mandate only applies to Fast Food restaurants. Yes, we've all read/pretended to read Fast Food Nation, we've all seen Super Size Me. But guess what? I don't think McDonald's is the enemy. When we eat at fast food, we already know we are sacrificing quality and nutritional value for convenience. And all these chains have their nutritional information readily available in print or online. (I googled that link in 10 seconds.) If you really want to know, you can. Easily. Why shouldn't Mama's on E 3rd have to post their nutritional information of it's fried chicken and mac n' cheese? I'm sure it'd be horrifying. And here's what you get when you try and find it online.

And don't play the "but how does extra information hurt you?" card. Calorie-Posting goes beyond mere "awareness", pandering to hype and hysteria, dumbing down consumers who should have the wherewithal to find this information on their own, and carrying with it the implicit message that we should all be OBSESSED with our weights and body images. Are we no longer able to ORDER from a menu without first analyzing the caloric consequences?

I don't believe this decision has anything to do with consumer health whatsoever, nor will it have any effect. Calorie-Posting strikes me as an attempt for The City to strike out against Corporations because of the progressive sentiment that they are evil.


  1. i don't know; i'm not against it. i think it's kind of stupid and annoying that it's just in fast food places, but those are the places that are standardized enough to analyze and also the places that have a reputation for hiding ingredients in their food and not listing them on the menu. i like to know how many calories are in what i'm eating, just to make sure they seem proportional. like if i'm eating a chicken sandwich, i wouldn't think it would be 800 calories, but if the sign says it is, i know there's some stuff in there that is not just chicken and provolone cheese!

  2. I actually do think McDonald's is AN enemy, though not THE enemy. Obviously, we're incapable of saying no to things that are bad for us, so they should be removed from our menu of choices. Benevolent dictatorship, anyone?

    Further, I think posting the calorie count is fine...what's not fine is that even though we do that, people are still going to eat that big mac instead of a turkey sandwich they can make at home for just as much money. And I know that someone people don't have the time to make their lunch before work - I certainly don't - but I think it's important to make time for these things. Otherwise you end up overweight, undersexed, and annoyed. Another problem is that fast food is SO cheap and health food is SO not cheap (it's either too costly or too timely), and so we see a rise in obesity in economically disadvantaged people. It's all about class. Health, in America and most of the world, is either something you can afford or not. I think my comments here might seem contradictory or oversimplified. They are. It's a terribly disturbing issue, and I don't know how to solve it. Part of me wants to rally the people and say "I don't care if you have to work three jobs and only get four hours of sleep! You wake up early and make your lunch so you don't end up with diabetes and sleep apneia and heart disease! You take the responsibility into your own hands!" And part of me wants to not pay attention. And part of me blames our ineffective government. And part of me enjoys french fries. Le sigh.

  3. In my mind, it is a bit like asking for your fuck buddy's list of sexual partners before gettin' down to business:
    you probably should know... but if you do know it ruins everything.