End Times: The Case for the Proposition

federal subsidy to meat(Click for full size version.)

Every civilisation has its own narrative about how the world will end – from the Apocalypse to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, we’re awash with stories about how we’ll eventually end up going to hell.

The art of punditry involves calling on these narratives, and mobilising them to support conclusions that probably don’t warrant them. For instance:

A correspondent sent in this nugget of news, from Schnews that

“Proof that the bloated American dream is finally collapsing under its own weight. Icon of the oil age, Disneyland is being forced to close a number of rides for a major overhaul this winter. Seats need widening and rides reinforcing to stop them breaking under the groaning weight of yer average grotesquely obese punter.

It’s hard not to see similar portents in American society. I’m in Chicago at the moment, and was struck by an advert for Solgar vitamins on the side of a bus: “Get your vitamins from a bottle, not from a can of cola”. The makers of the rancid yellow pills had in their sights the Coca Cola Company, which has launched Diet Coke Plus – diet coke, but with extra vitamins. In a sense it’s to be expected – Diet Coke famously tastes like someone emptied a chemistry set into it. It’s just a matter of time before slightly less toxic chemicals were blended into the mix.

But Solgar are fighting against the tide. The idea that, just like the Jetsons, we might take our entire nutritive needs in pill form is, well, *so* 1960s. Today’s dream is that we’ll be able to get all our nutritional needs from a suitably fortified happy meal.

And it’ll get some healthy federal backing. The Chicago Foodies tell the tale of graph at the top of this story, showing why it is that a Happy Meal is cheaper than a salad.

It’s all grist for Cassandras like me, who ask where we’re going, and why we are in this handbasket.