The Big Picture: Arch-Villains

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Actually eating fast food (even regularly) doesn't make you fat. There's a guy in Wisconsin who has averaged two Big Macs a day for the last 39 years and doctors say he's actually in good shape. If you don't believe me http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110517/us_ac/8488959_25000_big_mac_gobbler_chews_holes_in_disciplined_dieting_1

As for the whole Joe Camel thing, it got blown way out of proportion. What happened was a survey was done among children and more of them were able to recognize Joe Camel over Micky Mouse. Of course the fact that, at the time, Micky Mouse hadn't been in a cartoon in decades and not everyone had access to the Disney channel was never brought up. But all the adults out there couldn't seem to get that there had been no real effort to expose children to Micky in years. I'm sure more kids would have recognized Barney or the Power Rangers over Joe but the survey was biased against the tobacco industry.

Cigarettes are also a special case, because of secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke, while not quite as dangerous as, you know, firsthand smoke, is dangerous in its own right, and yes, it is possible to get sick, or even to die, from spending too much time in the vicinity of a person who has a lethal habit that you cannot control. That sort of flies in the face of natural selection, since it can lead to death from circumstances outside your own control.

Now, as for fast food... I agree 1000% on your denigration of parental "expertise" and your complaints about personal responsibility. However, there are some untold sides to this: Namely, the fact that the primary reason the rainforests are getting clearcut is to make pasture to raise cows for McDonalds hamburgers.

The only thing worse than companies telling you do buy something is the organizations that tell you not to do something.
The D.A.R.E program was and is a complete mess for this reason. Studies have shown that the program itself, which warned of the dangers of drugs and how to avoid peer pressure, actually increased the amount of schoolchildren that used illicit substances since it was basically telling them that "Everyone uses drugs and you should avoid them" which gave kids lowered self-esteem and more willing to give into peer pressure since they felt like outcasts.
Good job with that one guys.

I agree with Bob here. Leaving alone his digs at some of the usual targets, his theme that their is a degree of responsibility that should be present when looking after children is true and I agree with it. People shouldn't be sheep, I'm pretty sure that it is not at all ahrd to find out that McDonalds isn't where you eat every day.

Yes, alot of the ignorance we have in our society today actually emerges from the competitive individualistic nature of the environment, wherein all elements are seen as assets, the sole purpose of which is to contribute to the validation and preservation of the element. It is the plague of the unenlightened, where the involantary and externaly embeded conflicts of the mind are passed off as part of the "identity", further supported by the stratification imposed throughout this self-diversifying ecosystem. In the end, the natural gravity of all within the universe to the illumination of its unite nature is distorted, its remnants deep within consciousness and the illusion of identity endorsed by our forming within today's society promoting a worldview of intellectual materialism. "There is only a choice, between fear and love" (-Bill Hicks).

Anyway, that is my penny in terms of proceeding on the path of causality in relevance to this issue.

And I actually enjoyed the new Pirates of the Caribbean. :<

It should be the parents fault, but like Bob said, the easiest "solution" in most peoples' eyes is removing McDonalds. Unfortunately, you can't fix stupid. Those parents are going to continue to feed their children McDonalds practically every day because it is easiest for them.

Although I don't think Ronald McDonald should be removed from the company, I guess I wouldn't mind seeing the Happy Meal Toys gone. When I was a child I wanted to go to McDonald's simply because they had awesome toys.

I worked at McDonalds for over a year, it's really sad to see children come in and get huge meals and a shake to drink. Once again, the parents could prevent this, but that won't happen. If it's an adult ordering that, I could care less, that's a conscious choice, but children really don't know better.

I agree with the aspects of personal responsibility aspects of the episode. There are always going to be unhealthy habits and people need to be aware enough to recognize that certain habits are going to be harmful in excess.

Also it should be pointed out that cigarettes are also different from fast food in that no one ever became hooked on cheeseburgers. (No, the munchies don't count)

My one complaint about the episode is the mention of natural selection. It really bugs me when people talk about such social theories in the context of Darwinism. Darwin's Theory of evolution does not state that people, animals, or any other organisms are progressing to some sort of super being or ultimate stage of evolution. Its mainly about a species reacting to its environment

I loved this episode, good call.

The only thing I didn't like was the last thing you mentioned. Yeah, I saw the new Pirates movie, and... Well, I liked it. Maybe I don't see enough movies to see how much better it could have been, but aside from the convoluted story and motivations of characters and Blackbeard's undefinable powers, I rather enjoyed it.

MovieBob:
Arch-Villains

We have met the enemy, and he is a clown.

Watch Video

Agreement. By and large, kids can't go to McDonald's by themselves and buy food. The parents have to be there to buy it. Of course, the same thing can be said about movies and video game purchases, but that doesn't stop people from making the claims.

The issue here is that the people who are complaining are generally not the people for whom these changes would allegedly be beneficial. If I'm up-in-arms enough to want to shut down McDonald's for having a clown mascot, my kids probably aren't eating any McDonald's. So, the righteous indignation displayed by these people is on behalf of other parents--that is, those that don't really care enough to watch what their kids eat in the first place.

So, these wannabe activists paint many of us as bad guys for saying that we need to do something about the parents who are apathetic. That's invasive, it's presumptuous, it's blah blah blah bad bad bad. The government can't be allowed to interfere with natural parenting!

And yet that's exactly what these people are doing. They want to interfere to the exact same degree, just at a different point along the chain--a point that would ensure everyone gets interfered with 'equally.' It's as though we have a house with a leaky pipe in one bathroom, and rather than going into that bathroom with a wrench and fixing that damned pipe, we insist that someone must shut off water to the entire house.

Oh, and what you said about not being allowed to make claims? Yeah, I run into that all the time as a teacher. Make a suggestion, and a parent slaps you with the, "Do you have kids?" argument. Please. Let's look at what I had to do just to prove I was fit to be in this classroom:

1. Pass 13 years of public schooling with flying colors.
2. Apply for, get accepted to, and pay for a four-year college.
3. Successfully complete the degree program.
4. Apply for, test for, and pay for a teaching license, in addition to the degree, which must be renewed every 5 years.
5. Apply for a teaching job and be a strong enough candidate to get an interview.
6. Interview for and be offered a job.
7. Undergo a closely-monitored probationary period and very strict evaluation process.
8. Repeat until my eventual retirement.

And what did you have to do, anonymous parent? You figured out the dinkus goes in the hoohah. Here's your fucking medal. Not saying there aren't great parents out there, but there's no one making sure. The only evidence we have of your parenting skills is your child's behavior. So far, I'm not seeing anything there.

Yeah, I see no real fault towards the mascot or the company. Like you said fast food is not lethal unless consumed a lot and thats mainly the persons(or parents) fault.

I will say this though. Either I'm very paranoid or McDonalds adds some kind of addictive chemical to their food because I notice kids act like depraved crack heads at the very site of the restaurant, yet other burger restaurants like Burger King and Wendys don't have same results.

the hypocrisy in this video astounds me.

I might be wrong about this, but I heard Mickey D was actually dropping ol' Ron as mascot. Atleast in America.

(Music)"send in the clown~..." I too also hate politicians for pointing fingers, and you did made a good point when you said "what next? Blame Mario for our kids lacking excise?". Yes Joe Camel should die and forever burn in hell, yes, let the clown go, yes don't trample on our hobbies... But as I was agreeing to these points, I started thinking...

They could have made this "kids getting fat" issue just an "awareness movement", but they did, years ago, (I could even say, when they did that whole "Golden Pyramid" thing) but they weren't successful. They try telling us off from meat, promoting vegetables, promoting healthier food, that didn't stop us from over eating. Individuals stood out and alert people; "super size me", "my ears of meat"..etc making EXTREME MANEUVERS to go as far as to say "meat is the problem, go vegan!"... still didn't work. as our schools changing from "coke vending machines", to "water vending machines" (no joke, I live in California, this is happening in my home town!). They (government?) are resorting to "forcefully remove excessive sugar, calories, fat...etc. from our kids' diet. and you know, they did studies where kids who eats right, and have no excessive sugar/ bad eating habits preform better in class.

I still think kicking the clown in the ass is not right, and up front violation of the first (corrected) amendment... but I can't say this wasn't because everything else failed, and they were left with not much other options...

Hmmm, can't say I agree on the McD front. Anyone else watch Super Size Me? Deception has a long and glorious history in McD's history from their whitewashing of their beef herding practices to advertising their salads as healthy when they have poorer nutrition than their burgers!! I get the whole personal responsibility thing though, I really do. Been singing that hymn for a lotta years now, but people can only go on what they know and education varies enormously in different countries.

I was in the Philippines last year and their big solution to childhood nutritional problems was to drink milk shakes (or similar) with added vitamins and minerals in them... Umm no!! Not sure about the US, but here in the UK our ADVERTS contain information about nutrition and we have a pretty decent board who ensure they don't lie or even try to mislead. Not always right on the money but the accuracy of advertising here is a lot better than other countries I've been to.

We also have a lot of programming on exercising, dieting, better nutrition, etc. Heck, we had Jamie Oliver for years before he decided to globe trot!! Now we have people who inspect your house, your poo, your diet and even your relationships for better happier healthy people. They're almost solely filled with self-righteous idiots who know a lot about one thing and think that makes them an expert on everything, but then again what programming these days doesn't suffer from that?

Personally I'd like to see more warnings on fast food telling you just why eating more than one meal a week is negatively impacting on your health. As for the guy who ate all the burgers, you missed out the part where he doesn't eat the fries, drink the shakes or in any way consume anything else in the store....

There's a lot of subtle deception in the food industry, but McDonalds doesn't seem to be up to that. A hamburger, though probably not the ideal food, is fairly nutricious. Unless you, like a certain world-famous moron, go straight from being a vegetarian to eating several thousands calories more than your daily requirement of the stuff every single day, you should be fine.

I hate that Morgan Spurlock duchebag.

Definitely agree with you on this one, Bob.

I think the obesity problem is mostly due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle rather than the food being offered to us.

I remember visiting my grandparents when I was a kid. One thing you could always count on was that you would be well fed. Meals were always hearty and filling, with lots of beef, potatoes, and stacks of pancakes and homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast (with bacon and eggs, of course). With the exception of some veggies on the side, everything was high in calories, fat and sodium. This was because my grandmother was still using the same recipies that she used in the 50s, when it was common to cook things in lard and bacon grease.

Yet in spite of this she was in excellent physical condition until her late 80s. I think this can be attributed to how active she was. Having grown up on a farm, she spent her formative years working from sunup to sundown. During World War II she worked in Oregon, helping to build Liberty ships for the war effort. Later in life she had her hands full caring for five children. Even in retirement she always seemed to be busy, whether cooking and cleaning inside or tending to the yard and vegetable garden outside.

Manual labor and long hours were common for the "Greatest Generation," and they didn't have the problems with weight that more recent generations seem to deal with. It seems like the health problems began manifesting themselves when the work force started switching to more sedentary office jobs. Technological innovations have made household chores far easier to perform as well. Why work yourself into a sweat raking those leaves when you can effortlessly whisk them into the street with your leafblower?

I'm not saying such things are necessarily bad, it's just that people don't realize that we lead a far more sedentary lifestyle than we used to. We've been eating the same types of food for generations, it's just that we're not burning the calories off like before. In light of this, I think more emphasis should be placed on increased exercise rather than demonizing the fast food industry.

Finally someone who says what I have been thinking. Blame the parents too stupid to be allowed to breed.

Ukomba:
Bob is hard to pin down. He started off on libertarian stance, then switched to socialist, and ended on a conservative sounding slippery slope argument.

He's independent.

Seriously, fuck people who think simply by virtue of having made a child that they know how to raise them or that they're good parents, my sister, for example, she has two daughters and if you so much as give one comment on something she does (Not discouraging bad behaviour, for example) she will try and jump down your throat about how you don't know anything, I may only be 20 but fuck I've read enough child psychology to know she isn't doing as well as she thinks.

Dastardly:
...stuff...

First, let me preface by saying that I highly admire your position as an educator and the sacrifices you and your peers make for our children.

My mother is a teacher herself; pushed through 12 years of professional training to end up in a job where it's only tangible reward is knowing you are helping someone else build their future. She has told me of many horror stories of parents, which I'm sure you have many of your own.

But I once brought up this issue to her, and this is what she told me, after 35 years of dealing with this, which is something that resonated with me and changed my opinion on the issue:

"It would be extremely arrogant of me to pretend that just because I am a professional in this field, that I am a better parent for this particular child than its own parents."

Basically, her argument is that she deals with these children in a specific environment, school, with much defined rules and expectations from those involved. She doesn't provide for these kids, feeding them, playing with them, dealing with their issues, other than within the context of this clearly defined relationship of teacher-student. Children themselves behave differently in school than they do at home.

It is not the place of the teacher to parent, just to teach. That said, teachers can teach parents, too, and parents SHOULD listen. It's all about establishing a relationship.

Yes; It's that advertising to children does not help and I can see the concern for parents there. However I hardly think anyone is so feeble-willed that they simply CANNOT stop their children from going to McDonalds. everyone's capable of their own decidons and at the end ofthe day, regardless of what the buisness mascot or advertising campaigne is, it's up to us to decide. There's little point waiting for others to change the way they roll just for your own sake, otherwise you could be waiting for quite a while...

Personally, I blame Mario for the Iraq war, Stalinism and I'm gathering evidence in relation to global warming.

Here's a significant problem in Bob's argument about politicians and scientists raising kids that aren't their own.
Attachment Disorders.
Kids form an attachment to their parents that is really strong and even if the parents are fuckwits, taking kids away can do significant psychological damage. That's why broken homes cases are a social service worker's nightmare. It's hard to know the line between when the psychological trauma of taking a kid away is worse than the damage of leaving them with a bad parent. In this instance, it probably is better to show preference to the parents, simply because to do otherwise could lead to more serious problems needlessly.
And I'm speaking form experience as well as research. My parents have always been working as foster parents for as long as I remember, so I know exactly what taking a child from a parent, even a bad parent, can do to a kid.

wfpdk:
the hypocrisy in this video astounds me.

Because he uses cartoon mascots to appeal to children? Because he lacks parental responsibility? I don't get it, what part was hypocritical?

This video makes me want some McDonald's.

wfpdk:
the hypocrisy in this video astounds me.

There really where no hypocrisy in this, he just told where he draw the line.
Allow me to give an exampled, I like fighting but I hate hurting people. So for me having a fist fight where both people are on board is good and a little blood and swollen nose never hurts. I have a clear line that the moment that a person goes down you help them up make sure that they are okay and then go separate way.

So I like fighting but hated beating people, there are no hypocrisy in it only what is fine and what isn't.

You got a good point here. I personally believe that this is a typical American problem. Many Americans (mostly the less gifted ones) blame everyone and everything but themselves for their mistakes. Unfortunately this is somewhat supported by your court system and the ridiculous amounts of damages that were paid in some instances.

Btw: Ever heard about Social Darwinism? Be a little bit more careful with these evolution comparisons or you might end up in a severe ethical dilemma.

Also, Ronald's face doesn't look like a dick, while Joe Camel's totally does.

Well that's fantastic. I'm not a big fan of McDonalds but you really can't really target the Ronald McDonald for doing his job right. Maccies have been marketing to youngsters for years now and it's not gonna change.

And with that marketing parents these days need to have a fucking backbone and assert some authority over their children. Of course it's hard to assert your authority when our police forces are are laughed at and teased for thrills and teachers can't do a thing but take verbal and sometimes physical abuse.

You had me, MovieBob, as you usually do. Complete agreement.

Right up until you started dissing on Pirates again. Really? Again? Your life was made that much poorer by it existing and you sitting through it for a few hours?

Hopefully this crap ends by the time the next Transformer movie comes out and gives him something relevant to take potshots at again. This is getting old fast.

Mr. Omega:
That guy who did the movie "Super Size Me" said a statement (I'm paraphrasing because it's been a while since I saw that movie) that sums up everything I think is wrong with the "fast food causes obesity" arguement: "At what point does personal accountability stop?"

Here's my answer: It doesn't.

YOU decided you wanted to have McDonald's
YOU decided to go get in your car and drive to that McDonald's.
YOU decided to go to the cashier or ordering thing at the drive through.
YOU decided to order a Big Mac and Large fries.
YOU decided to pay for that meal and then eat it all.
And YOU decided to do this over and over again.

And you know what? At any point during this process, you could have decided "You know what? I'll have a salad."

As for the "Kids whose parents feed them nothing but McDonald's" thing, I agree with Bob.

Good episode. Looking forward to next week.

Pretty much this. I completely agree with Bob on this one. I remember Joe Camel, but I never once thought it was cool, but then, my parents (both smokers) always told me never to even try a cigarette. It all comes down to the parents. Yes, it's cheap and easy, but that doesn't mean that you have to buy it. There are plenty of relatively cheap foods that aren't nearly as bad for you as fast food.

I used to eat fast food fairly regularly. I think that most college students do. Then I realized that I was gaining weight, so I started working out more and changed my diet. When you're more independent, like most college students are, you can make choices like that. When you're a child who depends solely on adults for transportation, shelter, food, and whatnot, you don't have that option.

Dele:
I think there might be a bit of a problem in your central argument that tobacco is bad for you whereas hamburgers dont cause obesity...unless consumed by excessive amounts. In the scientific world of toxicology everything is bad for you if consumed in excessive amounts. Smoking less than once in a week does not cause statistifically significant risk to life expectancy. Teaching kids to love McDonalds encourages bad habits that stick especially to the fat and the poor. Read that sentence again.

I call your episode to be a bit too filled with nostalgia.

Mostly agreeing with you, but just to let you know, being fat or poor does not make you more susceptible to acquiring bad habits. Being poor possibly makes the necessity to eat fast food (it being all some people can afford, and all) more prevalent, but that's all.

There is a stigma, a very noticeable one, that poor people and fat people are stupid. That's not the case (as in, seriously, believe me, it is SO not the case). In that same measure, being fat and poor does not make you more susceptible to acquiring certain (bad) habits.

Ssyrie:
Actually eating fast food (even regularly) doesn't make you fat. There's a guy in Wisconsin who has averaged two Big Macs a day for the last 39 years and doctors say he's actually in good shape. If you don't believe me http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110517/us_ac/8488959_25000_big_mac_gobbler_chews_holes_in_disciplined_dieting_1

Yeah, exactly. Being fat comes down to a lot of factors, like genes, and, well... genes. But other things too. It gets complicated. Surprisingly diet and exercise don't make that much of a difference. There've been studies on this.

Bob definitely has a point here. In regards to the problem with the fast food industry, Congress is really not going to have much of a choice but to address that particular elephant in the room. If they don't address the parents' role in all this, the problem is NOT going to go away any time soon if EVER. This is something that even parent rights' groups and advocacy groups have already stated since many of them have already come down on the parents for not becoming more involved in their kids' choices.

Actually, there IS some hope in this. When a woman tried to sue McDonalds for making her kid fat, the court immediately threw the case out on its merit. Obviously, the courts recognized how frivolous this lawsuit was since the mother didn't have to get McDonalds for her kid.

GeorgW:
Loved your definition of natural selection!
I didn't know about this, it certainly is stupid. Enforce a parenting license and it's all fixed.

I wouldn't say "parenting license" I would be more inclined to encourage birth control and then give parents guidelines on how to properly raise children in a way where they will grow up psychologically and physically healthy, personal morals and teachings are up to the parent. However if your kid ends up being 200 pounds when he/she is 7 the state should take them away.
As A Side Note to terrible parents: "I don't tell you how to raise your kids!" is not a good argument, because while that might be true mine have never been arrested.

Acting like a FOOL:

Ukomba:
Bob is hard to pin down. He started off on libertarian stance, then switched to socialist, and ended on a conservative sounding slippery slope argument.

He's independent.

I'd believe that if he weren't so rabidly anti-right.

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