May 3rd, 2009


Give us fat, give us sugar, give us starch

There's a lot I like about Bill Maher. He's funny, his show is entertaining, and I often agree with his arguments. In one particular case, however, I think he comes across as WAY out of touch. Every once in a while, he'll pull out his argument that Americans are unhealthy because we eat bad food, and then take medicine that doesn't actually make us feel any better. I'm not saying there's nothing in this argument, although I think he drastically exaggerates the point, and American health is probably better on average than that in countries that DON'T have much if anything in the way of processed food and prescription drugs. My problem is more that, for a guy who seems to want to be seen as a champion of the poor, Maher doesn't seem to take into account that, for people who don't have much in the way of money or the time or inclination to cook, processed food is often the most viable choice. And that's not even getting into the issue of tastiness. As unhealthy as it might be, humans are often inclined to enjoy sweet and fatty foods. (I'm not so sure about salt; I'm inclined to think that might be more of an acquired taste that Americans have gotten used to over time.) Eating a pepperoni pizza and a garden salad will both assuage hunger, but at least for me, the former is fun and the latter not so much. Maybe your own opinion is the opposite, in which case I kind of envy you. But I'm sure there's still SOMETHING you like to eat that isn't exactly a recommended source of nutrition. I have to wonder if people who complain about others' eating habits don't enjoy eating, or at least make it a point to try not to.