Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What's Really American

Yesterday I listened to Dan Barreiro rant on KFAN about some people's attempts to get junk food out of schools. Then I remembered a stance he took last week on beer in Major League Baseball clubhouses, and wondered if there was some inconsistency.

Last week, the issue was baseball's tradition of drinking beer in the clubhouse after games (this in reaction to the drunk-driving death of the Cardinals' pitcher, who apparently started his binge in the clubhouse). Barreiro looked at it from the perspective of the club owners, and wondered, "Why should you be allowed to drink beer on the job if you play baseball, but not if you're in any other occupation?" It was an interesting question--something I'd never considered before. Sure, he said, players can leave the clubhouse and go to any bar they want. They're adults, fine. But as a team owner, why would you allow it in your house?

But then with the "junk food in schools" issue, he ranted about how we can't have laws do our parenting for us. He's right, although it should be noted that he isn't a parent and has no idea what it's like. Parents do seem to be increasingly incapable of saying "no," and yes, occasionally people want the legal system (or the teacher, or the cop, or the nanny) to do their parenting for them. Not surprising in a culture where people think they can eat anything they want, and then just take Lipitor to save them from sudden cardiac arrest.

But wait a minute... what about that "owner's" perspective? As a state governor, head of a school district, or individual principal, wouldn't you want to have an environment that encouraged health and lengthened attention spans... and that didn't contribute to the fact that kids (and their parents) are fucking fat? Barreiro noted that most schools are within 500 feet of a Burger King anyway, and finally (sarcastically) offered, "Why don't we just make fast food illegal?" A direct contradiction of his perspective on bars near the clubhouse. I guess he thinks kids are more responsible than baseball players.

It reminded me of a Rush Limbaugh rant I once heard, where he called some group of liberals "unpatriotic" because they dared to criticize McDonald's... which then reminded me that the most blatently "patriotic" of all businesses are convenience stores/gas stations: SuperAmerica, Union 76, Freedom. You can't be in the convenience store business without waving the flag. I love SuperAmerica and go there all the time (mostly for gas and fee-free Wells Fargo ATMs), but is sending money to countries that fund Wahhabi Islamist groups and selling shitty food to Americans really the most red-white-and-blue thing we can do?

Barreiro said, "You can't just shut down the culture!" The culture. Fast food. Trans fat. Hydrogenated fat. Corn syrup. Sugar. The culture.

Damn. When I lived in Ireland and needed a jolt of Uncle Sam, I'd go to Dublin and get a Big Mac. I guess it's true...

2 comments:

Vegas Gopher said...

Note re. Barreiro: Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Or, as Olbermann says frequently, "Did you think we'd erase the tapes?" He'll bust that out whenever, say, Darth Cheney denies ever saying there was a connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda, then they play his appearance on Meet The Press or whatever when he said it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammad Atta met with an Iraqi agent in Prague.

So, call in to Barreiro and encourage him to listen to his own tapes. It would be interesting to see if he'd admit his inconsistency. To his credit, I think he's one of the few radio yakkers who would.

Kevin Sawyer said...

Ummm. Other people aren't allowed to drink on the job? Apparently he has never worked at an ad agency.