When officials in Putnam County, New York recently banned donations of free doughnuts, pies, and other goodies to senior centers, it drew the ire of an unconventional group of protesters. Adorned in sandwich boards, demonstrators (all over 65) gathered outside a local senior center to get the message through to lawmakers that they’re “old enough to choose.” One protestor, 79 year-old John Schultz, summed up the feelings of the 250 doughnut-deprived seniors who signed a petition: “No one should tell us what we should and should not do.”
Half-baked nutrition-mandates are not limited to elderly New Yorkers. Politicians and food activists are going after all age groups all over the country. On Long Island, school officials want to outlaw the time-honored tradition of cupcakes during in-class birthday parties. Almost 3,000 miles away, Oregon legislators may soon regulate grocery-cart contents by levying a tax on “junk” foods. And farther down the coastline, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford is calling for government intervention against commercials for bacon-topped burgers.
Like New York’s doughnut cops and down-with-cupcakes crowd, Morford fails to put fast food in perspective:
This insidious [bacon-burger] concoction is simply startling in its shameless toxicity, its ruthless attention to wanting you cancerous and morbidly obese and very, very dead as soon as goddamn possible, if not sooner.
If Big Brother is willing to treat 87-year-olds like 8-year-olds in the name of public health, black market treats and burger-censored commercials are just the tip of the iceburg. The alternative to all of this regulation is, of course, consumer choice.
Adults are smart enough to decide what they eat for breakfast, how their children celebrate birthdays, and whether they want to watch commercials. After wasting a half-page of newsprint, even Morford arrives at this conclusion: “Better yet, maybe I should just stop watching TV altogether. Voila! No more Baconators! Easy.”