some people are pissed—yet another “right” that Bloomberg is trying to take away. but i think someone has to step in and stop the madness. Americans, by and large (no pun intended), have proven they can’t or won’t take care of themselves. and corporations continue to market “food” containing no discernible natural ingredients and with no apparent nutritional value (Taco Bell’s latest? a taco wrapped in a Dorito shell).
if the obesity rate were on the decline, if cancer diagnoses were slowing down, if heart disease was a thing of the past, i’d think Bloomberg was off his rocker. but none of the above is true. so: someone has to do something.
i know a guy who worked in catering and event planning in New York City in the 1980s and ‘90s. he was not a smoker himself, but being around all the secondhand smoke in the restaurants, catering halls, nightclubs and bars while on the job gave him incurable lung cancer.
imagine if he were just starting his career today. how different his life might have turned out, thanks to Bloomberg’s ban on smoking in those places nearly a decade ago.
two of the mayor’s other controversial initiatives—a ban on trans fats and his requiring restaurants to post their Health Department grades in their windows—have surely saved lives, helped people curb calories and/or prevented countless cases of food poisoning.
(quick aside: a year ago we were set to have Matthew’s post-baptism luncheon at a restaurant in our former Brooklyn neighborhood; we went to put down our deposit and discovered they’d been closed by the Health Department for violations including evidence of rodents and roaches. we were prepared to put down a fair chunk of change for that lunch for more than 50 family members—thank god there’s a system in place to keep eating establishments honest, or at least clean for pete’s sake!)
so, yeah. i think Bloomberg is doing a good thing right now, trying to sway people from indulging in 600 liquid calories mindlessly. put aside the argument about personal rights and consider for a moment—why is it necessary to drink that much Coca-Cola or Sprite or Dr. Pepper? surely 12 ounces of high fructose corn syrup are plenty in one sitting, no? i mean, when will we get it through our thick, sugar-coma’d heads in this country that bigger is not better?
i used to work in a movie theater, back in high school and a few summers in college. most of the time i was behind the concession counter and we were trained to tell customers, who ordered a small or medium soda, “for only a quarter more, you can get a large.” upsell, upsell, upsell! was the rallying cry. i rarely did, because it just seemed ludicrous to me. who would want a drink that flipping big? and that was back in the mid-1990s—the large soda cups back then are the small ones today.
anyway, props to Bloomie. fifty-eight percent of adults and nearly forty percent of public school students in this city are overweight. how could he be the mayor of New York and ignore those statistics?