Friday, July 24, 2009

America the Fat?

An article concerned with the ostensible culture of waifish waistlines in New York City appeared in the New York Times on Wednesday. Money, the leisure money affords, and a ubiquity of reflective shiny glass windows on buildings seem to be the primary contributors to the 25% lighter BMI of the average Manhattanite compared to the rest of America's poor slobs of whom an alarming 67% are overweight.

While reading I was reminded that it was lunchtime so I called up el Gallito de Jalisco across the street from the office and ordered two chicken fajita tacos on corn torillas to go. There are a couple of things that I dislike about ordering food to go. First, the containers in which the food are placed will soon become just that many more plastic salsa containers and forks that don't seem to cooperate very well with the rest of God's creations. Second, I am eating at my desk which basically means I wolf those tacos down in ten or fifteen minutes so I can get back to work. Well what's wrong with that?

A lot, says this article also from the Times that attempts to draw a correlation between the average time spent eating per day with the body mass index of those eaters. Do you spend less than 80 minutes eating all three meals in a day? Then you're probably fat. And American.

The French apparently spend well over 2 hours each day eating their meals. They are also some of the least obese people in the developed world. What does this mean? Well many conclusions could be drawn, I suppose.

I would wager that many people would look at these statistics and think, "Americans work a lot and don't have much time so they eat more fast food, and that's why they are so fat." Others might think, "I guess when you eat too quickly, your brain doesn't get the message from your body that you are full until it's too late and you're done eating everything on your plate, resulting in over-eating." Still others might consider, "Meals are more of a social event in the culture of other countries and dining with company is perhaps more customary than it is in America. It makes sense that a meal would last longer when you're talking with friends and family at the dinner table."

Or maybe those people are just thinking like sheep and assuming that the information they are being given is correct in the first place. The question should be asked: how much can we trust the New York Times to report accurately on the eating habits of Americans? Surely the Times isn't reporting on all of the studies that have probably been done on this subject. All of those other studies that have been done probably don't support the true message that the Times is trying to send here:

Your American way of life is inferior to the way of life in other countries with more social and liberal composition of government and culture.

The statistics gathered in the study represented in this article are obviously cherry-picked to communicate this message. This could be explained in a number of ways.

For instance, the dining French persons surveyed almost certainly prattled on endlessly about the sensations which they were experiencing with their palate as they ate. In the U.S. the surveyors usually paused their stopwatches when the eaters would stop stuffing their mouths with food long enough to chew or ask their server for a refill on their Coca-Cola. So of course it would appear that Americans eat faster.

Furthermore it is widely understood that the French eat like wusses. They probably surrender to their food twice per meal before they finally give up and push their plate away with half its contents unfinished. Americans know from experience: food is war, and you sure as hell don't leave until the job is done.

Also likely is the inaccuracy of the method of measurement used in other countries like France. They use the metric system, after all -- completely different than the English system of measurement that America uses.

If one considers oneself a critical thinker, one should consider the source of these articles. This is the New York Times. They have been caught red-handed time and time again publishing factual-appearing articles about so-called scientific studies and the like, and then drawing conclusions that are obviously self-serving. Everyone has a bias, and the Times staff and contributors are no exception. This is a fact known by simple psychological projection to most Americans who proudly uphold the values of God and country.

How dare the New York Times attack the American way of life? Our culture is superior to the culture of any other country in every way for the simple fact that our culture is American. Anyone suggesting otherwise is just a liberal America-hater spreading propaganda designed to degrade our great country and its rich history.

In the Times' defense, they have also published an article discussing the correlation between fast eaters and economic growth (with far better quality graphics than their fast-food report, I must say). Predictably, this article was largely panned by other liberal "scholars" and mostly ignored.

So to the New York Times and other eggheads I say this: keep your questionable statistics and let the facts speak for themselves -- quietly and meekly like the nerds who study them. There is nothing wrong with our fast food, and America does not need to change in any way to continue being the great and mighty country that it has always been. We Americans are unique in the history of the world, and chosen by God to be leaders of the free world and grateful recipients of His blessings of Freedom Fries, Doritos Cooler Ranch Tortilla Chips, and the Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. May God continue to bless America.

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