(Click to super-size the cartoon.)
Progressives seem divided on the issue of NYC's proposed enormo-soda ban. But my opinion is that bucket-sized soft drink portions (or towers of cloying coffee-like beverages) containing enough sugar to kill a cow have no good reason to exist, and many serious reasons not to. (I have no idea what actual effect they have on cows, but I'm sure it's not good.) Food writer Marion Nestle wrote a good piece -- just before a judge blocked the ban -- on how our beverage norms have shifted over the years, and how mega-sodas are in the extreme vanguard of our national, and increasingly global, dietary problems. This isn't even about banning soda, per se -- you're free to drink as much as you want! -- but about questioning absurd, corporate profit-driven social conventions.
A couple weeks ago I found myself chuckling at a New York Times article that quoted New Yorkers grumbling about the new sugary drink laws. One woman was irate that she would be forced to add sugar to her not-pre-sweetened-enough Dunkin' Donuts coffee, thus slowing her down. Here's what I think: If your life is so hectic that you don't have time to dump a couple sugar packets into your coffee-to-go, there's something seriously wrong with your life. Speaking for my own coffee habits, I find home brewing takes less time than waiting in line, and my coffee is so good it doesn't need sugar!
[UPDATE: This cartoon has generated predictable comments about being about a "silly" subject. I get it; a lot of people, including many progressives, are opposed to NYC's proposed measures to cap soda sizes at 16 oz. Never mind that the chief scientist for the American Diabetes Association predicts that up to one in three American adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. And silly me, paying attention to conclusive studies proving that excessive sugar (with sodas being the primary culprit) is killing people.
"Educate consumers, don't engage in Prohibition!" some readers have commented. Well, education efforts in situations like this don't work, especially when competing with billions of dollars in marketing from multinationals. Also, the sugary drink restrictions aren't prohibition -- they're regulation. You're still free to swig as many 16-oz. Cokes as you like.
This isn't about "controlling" or "feeling superior to" other people. This is about challenging cultural norms that are being driven by super-sized industry profits. But hey, keep drinking that corporate Kool-Aid! No one's stopping you.]
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