Just look at that guy. Mayor Michael Rubins Bloomberg. He’s rich (the 11th richest man in the United States), a Harvard graduate, Eagle Scout, and totally posing in front of the American flag. He refuses to accept a salary from New York City while in office and lives in his own residence instead of the mansion set aside for the mayor, swell guy that he is. He’s even been know to slum it with the common man and ride the subways to work (though he has the police department escort him to and from in large SUV’s which probably isn’t quite the common Manhattan experience).
And now Mayor Bloomberg is donning his cape for a new cause– to fight obesity by banning sugary drinks over 16oz.
“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible,’ ” Mr. Bloomberg said in an interview on Wednesday in City Hall’s sprawling Governor’s Room.
“New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something,” he said. “I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
So let’s unpack this.
The mayor is saying that obesity is an epidemic that needs to be cured. Of course like most folks who scream AAH OBESITY EPIDEMIC AAH he’s not bothering to define why obesity is an epidemic, so we’ll have to assume he’s going with the flow and deciding that this crazed, infectious disease is destroying the city of New York, like Godzilla rampaging across the Tokyo skyline, as identified by two key markers:
- An estimation of the population’s average BMI, which as we all know is a super reliable method of determining someone’s health; or
- Guys, there are totally tons of fat people on the street and it’s so gross. Am I right or am I right?
Not that the former is any better, but
engaging in one of the only remaining publicly acceptable forms of bigotry well-thought out, intelligent and conscientious decisions such at these are more typically determined by the latter. Maybe not in news articles, they’ll dig up some data on the average rate of sugar consumption and mash it together with an averaged BMI scale and wrap themselves in the health flag first. But what it really boils down to is fat people are gross. The fact of the matter is that despite what the media likes to rub in our blubberous faces, obesity isn’t one of the top ten reasons Americans die each year.
What they do is take numbers like these and assume that items such as major cardiovascular diseases and Diabetes must be caused by fatness. But of course this not actually being true doesn’t actually matter because, much like the anti-smoking campaign, health isn’t the real reason people get all up in arms to combat this “obesity epidemic.” It’s because your existence inconveniences us. Your cigarette smoke smells, your fat bodies are offending my eyes. It’s why in articles or television spots about the obesity epidemic you aren’t shown statistics and measurements, you’re shown scales and beheaded fat people. These image are meant to make you think “Aren’t these people disgusting? Look at them! They’re faaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!” Which is, of course, the real crime.
But let’s assume Mayor Bloomberg, Eagle Scout that he is, is actually worried about the health of his fair people. Hell, I’m all for making healthier food more easily accessible than the overly processed crap most of us that aren’t the 11th richest man in the country can afford. The unfortunate fact is that it’s cheaper to buy a bag of potato chips than the equivalent meal’s worth of apples, and that’s something I’d love to see change. It wouldn’t be an easy battle, though, because to combat this you’d have to combat the corn industry since corn lobbying is what makes these overprocessed foods cheaper in the first place and the corn industry is basically the closest thing we have to Satan incarnate. And that’s like, really really hard. Everyone throws money at them constantly, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that Mayor Bloomberg benefits from the ridiculously large budget they’re given to work with annually.
But here’s the part I find genuinely confusing:
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery stores or convenience stores.
Wha? So we’re battling obesity, fighting against the evils of sugar, but booze and milkshakes are a-ok? Does he not realize that a lot of alcohol, especially liquers, have tons and tons of sugar in them? Or that most milkshakes have even more than a single 12oz can of cola? Why doesn’t that matter? I mean, if what you’re really interested in doing is fighting obesity, and if you think obesity is caused by easy access to drinks that are too high in sugar (or let’s get real here, HFCS. There hasn’t been real sugar in this stuff for years), why not go after these guys too? Why are sodas bad, milkshakes good — or at least the lesser of evils?
Regardless of his reasons, this move of his isn’t going to “combat obesity.” All it’s going to do is continue to feed a fat shaming mentality. What he’s essentially doing is telling a demographic of people that already think fat people are greasy, lazy slobs that yes you are right shame those fat people thin!! with an added bonus, grease-laden side dish of and they’re too stupid to help themselves, so let’s just make it illegal for them not to. That fat people are both too greedy and too stupid to just eat “right” and exercise (which is everyone’s solution to getting rid of fat– everyone would just lose weight if they did these simple things, gosh guys, how stupid/lazy do you have to be?) is wrong, but beyond that it’s also none of your business. Even if I was fat because I couldn’t stop drinking 52oz Big Gulps, why the hell is it your job to save me from myself? Why would you be so invested in my body fat?
I’ve got a pretty decent guess.