February 18, 2010
King Obesity sat grandly on a huge hassock atop a throne composed of solidified animal fat surveying his domain. The last thirty years have been bullish for Obesity, during which the number of seriously overweight children in America tripled. Eating fat, sugary and salty food while sitting for hours daily looking at video screens, being bused to and from school, and not having to bother with physical education, millions of lads and lassies were following orders.
An agitated messenger arrived in the throne room, breathing heavily from his travels. “Oh, my liege, Obesity, I have disturbing news. Michelle Obama, the First Lady, is launching a nationwide project she calls ‘Let’s Move’ to combat childhood obesity and shed billions of pounds of your stuff. She claims that success would reduce all types of diseases now and later, save on medical costs, as well as raise the energy level and self-esteem of millions of children. Here, Your Eminence, are the complete details of her plan.”
Obesity was a hard person to agitate. He had heard of these campaigns before. They went nowhere. He shook his heavy jowls and rubbed his many-layered belly, which was his way of saying “ho, hum, here we go again.”
His fleshy fingers clutched the plan by those people he always called the “lean and meaners,” and saw that improvement in the school lunch program’s menu, exercise at school, farmers’ markets and community gardens were at the top of the action list.
Obesity chortled at his adversaries’ naivete and reticence. For some reason, they avoided the real causes of his success in pouring massive amounts of empty calories into the mouths and down the throats of these children who cry out for more and more of them. It is all about who owns the tongues of these youngsters, not who reaches their brains, mused Obesity. Ownership, he knew, belonged to his most faithful allies—the vast fast food and food processing industry and their clever advertisers. For decades these companies have transformed millions of young tongues into fast food first responders.
The tongue has been turned against the brain for so long that the kids’ parents and even some grandparents accept this conditioned response. Look what they head for in the movies, what they choose in the supermarkets, what they order in the chain restaurants and takeouts. It’s all about the pipeline full of enlarged amounts of sugar, fat and salt, dude! Hour after hour, day after day, these pipelines are flowing to the delight of their video-addicted young customers.
To read the rest of King Obesity, please visit the Eurasia Review.