So this morning on the Facebook I posted a link to this Reason article about why the government shouldn’t ban Happy Meals. It’s not because I love McDonald’s, because I really don’t, even though I’ve been known to eat there on a fortnightly basis with my daughter. Yeah, I’ve already admitted that on this blog about a million times, so it’s not like I’m going to start denying it now. But I’m only there for the playground, I swear! I find their food tolerable, at best. Okay, I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional McNugget–they’re Satanically delicious! But I would never argue that eating at McDonald’s is good for children or other living things. And frankly, I hate the stupid toys that come in kids’ meals because they are nothing but landfill fodder. Yeah, I give them to the Goodwill instead of throwing them away, but let’s face it, Goodwill is just the middleman in that scenario, and is the energy spent on transporting the toys to the Goodwill any less destructive to the environment? But I’m losing the thread of my own story now.
Let me sum up the point of the previous paragraph: I don’t have any great love of McDonald’s, but I don’t have any great hatred of it, either. If my kid’s getting fat on french fries, that’s my fault. No one’s holding a gun to my head and forcing me to take her to McDonald’s or any fast-food restaurant. I understand the “foodstuffs” there are all processed and crap. You don’t need to tell me how awful it is. I mean, I can taste that for myself. But if I want to feed myself or my little darling bad food, that’s my business, as long as I’m not poisoning her. (And I think the legal definition of “poisoning” does not yet include the occasional trip to McDonald’s or even habitual servings of margarine, knock on wood, so I’m still safe on that front.)
I don’t really have a problem with people talking about how bad fast food and processed food is for you. I mean, it gets a little boring for me, maybe even a little irritating sometimes, but I figure, hey, I have my religion, they have their religion, and can’t we all just get along? So I have a high tolerance for people moralizing on this subject, even if that tolerance consists mostly of rolling my eyes and ignoring them. I just don’t like them forcing their morality down my throat, as it were. Or, you know, I don’t appreciate their morality reaching down my throat to yank out the evil McNugget because, hey, I was eating that. My body, my choice!
As Steve Chapman, who wrote the Reason piece, points out, if people can’t go to a restaurant for their fat and sodium, they will just find it elsewhere. If you really want to go down the interest-of-public-health-fat-people-are-a-drain-on-the-system road, you’re going to have to get way more intrusive than banning Happy Meals to make a difference, and that should make all Americans uneasy. It doesn’t, obviously, or we wouldn’t have Americans banning Happy Meals, but whatever. I’ve about exhausted my interest in the subject.
What I dislike almost as much as, or maybe more than, people taking away my God-given right to eat bad food is people employing dubious tactics to scare me away from bad food. I already know the food is bad for me. Most people know the food is bad for them. You don’t have to be smart to recognize that it’s bad for you, and if you don’t recognize that it’s bad for you, you are probably too dim to be persuaded by a more sophisticated argument. So I didn’t like that SuperSize Me movie. Yeah, obviously he made himself really sick and unhealthy by eating at McDonald’s three times a day every day for thirty days, but who the hell does that? Only that guy! It doesn’t prove anything except that some people will do anything for attention.
Another thing I didn’t like was that video about the McDonald’s hamburger that doesn’t decompose. Dude, I already know that the food is bad for me! You can stop grossing me out now! I never actually watched the video for the same reason I don’t click on links that tell me other gross stuff that I already know and don’t need to know more. But I was happy to see this item, also this morning, which explains that the reason McDonald’s hamburgers don’t decompose in open air is the same reason any hamburger of similar proportions does not decompose in open air: it dries out before it has a chance to rot. If you refrigerate it or package it in such a way to preserve the moisture content, it will decompose just like any other hamburger. But why would you want to do that? Moldy hamburgers are really gross. (And, I’ve heard, bad for you.)
I would have posted that link on Facebook, too, but a) I didn’t want to look like a fanatical McDonald’s defender and b) I wanted to post this sign:
So if you’re going to resolve not to eat at McDonald’s anymore, be sure you’re doing it for the right reason: because their food sucks. And your body is a temple, by gum! A freaking temple! But don’t do it because their hamburgers don’t decompose because they have a very good excuse for that.
P.S. I do congratulate you on not eating fast food because you are a better person than I am. And you know what else? If you’ve never had the opportunity to observe fresh, healthy food failing to decompose in open air in your own household, I also congratulate you because, well, I think you know why. But let’s not dwell on that!