Supersizing Stupidity

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Listen to some and you might think McDonald’s is as morally bankrupt as your friendly neighborhood crack dealer. Imagine Ronald and the Fry Guys slow-rolling through the ‘hood, pushing Quarter Pounders on poor Grimace and the Hamburglar. You should listen to reason instead. The belief that a multinational fast food chain would deliberately shorten the lives of their own clientele is sillier than “Nader 2012.”

Last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announced that they had “recruited” a California woman to sue McDonald’s. Although the CSPI has been assaulting what it perceives to be threats to the public waistlines (if not the public taste buds) since its inception, its occasional shrieks have generally been met with the same yawn I expel each time Ed Schultz mimes intelligence. The CSPI’s food-Nazi forays have accomplished little more than info-taining labels on food we already knew was god-awful for us (So…Twinkies are not health food? Thanks, CSPI!).

But the CSPI’s newest ticket in the lawsuit lottery carries a twist: Instead of the usual frivolities involving some gravy-sweating hulk who blames Mayor McCheese because he can’t leave his bed without help from the Army Corps of Engineers, CSPI has Monet Parham.

When it comes to dining on McDonald’s finest fare, Parham appears to have demonstrated some restraint. However, she has ceded her children’s nutritional needs to Mickey D’s (not that they auditioned for the role). The idea that California’s CFSD hasn’t yanked her children from her care is a far better question than whether special sauce should be marked as a class III narcotic.

Parham claims that McDonald’s offer of free toys in “Happy Meals” causes her insurmountable parental problems.

“I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat… I am concerned about the health of my children and feel that McDonald’s should be a very limited part of their diet and their childhood experience.”

Parham’s daughters are 6 and 2. Perhaps she should try my mother’s sage advice:

Finish your vegetables.”

The suit claims that McDonald’s packaging of toys with their immensely popular Happy Meals is too alluring for children to resist. The suit further claims that people like Parham, therefore, require protection from what the CSPI claims is advertising which “exploits a child’s developmental vulnerability“; plus attorney’s fees (of course).

God forbid she cooks her kids a meal. Now, Parham wants to punish McDonald’s for her own inability to display rudimentary parental skills.

But there’s more to this sordid tale than meets the eye. Parham isn’t merely the CSPI’s latest stooge. Parham is also known as Monet Parham-Lee. And she works for the already-suffering taxpayers of the State of California; specifically, Parham-Lee works on a Federally-funded (your tax dollars at work, kiddies!) program designed to teach kids to eat their vegetables.

There’s a serendipitous alliance of an extraordinarily stupid woman and a liberal group which is working toward an ultimate goal of the Federal government feeding us like gerbils at some Ministry of Nutrition; and then there’s outright conspiracy.

Perhaps Parham-Lee has silly putty for a spine and really is cowering before her kids’ demands to visit Ronald, in which case she’s unfit to have children — or even a hamster. Perhaps the food Nazis at the CSPI recognized that at random, and decided to exploit her apparent unwillingness to discipline her children. However, the smart money says these two culinary crusaders met by less than chance.

McDonald’s placement of toys in the meals is obviously an effort to entice children. The Parham-Lee/CSPI suit alleges:

Children… influence the purchasing decisions of their parents. McDonald’s exploits that influence, by bombarding children with advertisements for Happy Meals with toys, knowing that it will result in kids nagging parents to purchase nutritionally poor Happy Meals for their children…”

Parham-Lee, the CSPI, and the ambulance-chasers who represent them are absolutely correct. Well-crafted advertisements DO influence children to nag their parents. However, the suit doesn’t mention the fact that well-crafted parents can — and often do — say “NO.”

Ultimately, Parham-Lee is:

  1. A sniveling idiot who lacks the fortitude to deny her children Shrek figurines.
  2. A slithering cretin who is deliberately using her children as sock puppets to push a nanny-state agenda.
  3. A sadly misguided woman who is being shamelessly exploited by the parasites at the CSPI.
  4. Some combination of the above.

CSPI needs no clarification; “nosy killjoys” fits the bill. As for the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in this waste of time, money, and justice: Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Act IV, Scene II says it best: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

I’m off to McDonald’s — and I DO want fries with that.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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