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Its like shooting a rhino with a sling shot
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Political cartoonists and stand-up comedians are having a ball with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s call for a ban on big soft drinks in his city. He is promoting this effort to fight obesity. The intent is good but the method — well ...

I wonder if he knows that you can go back to the fountain in most fast food restaurants for refills?

Now I realize that we have an obesity problem in our country. Lardy! Lardy! Don’t we! The battle of the bulge has been going on for quite some time and lots of companies are making millions selling the latest style of gut buster.

And I think there are viable ways of attacking obesity. But limiting the size of a single drink you can buy, as if you can’t buy two small ones? I know we have a dumbed-down society, but I’m willing to bet we are not that dumb. What I mean is, we’ve got kids who couldn’t pass high school chemistry but they’re manufacturing meth. Now given, a few of them blow themselves up because they didn’t read the side effects of mixing volatile gases with flames, but some of them actually survive the process.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

Personally, this would not affect me. First, because I don’t live in New York City and, second, I generally order the small drink because it cost less, and I just make more than one trip to the fountain. It’s not really that far to walk and walking is good exercise. Maybe there’s a subtle strategy in the mayor’s thinking.

But to me, this just doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think it fits right in there with reducing the size of spoons and dinner plates. Make it more difficult and people will eat less maybe? Will he then seek to limit how many trips you can make to the buffet?

Hey here’s an idea: Why not ban remote controls so we have to get off the couch and walk all the way over to the television to change channels? I did that the other day, and you know I couldn’t even find the controls on the TV. They were around on the back, and they were cased flush into the frame so they didn’t take away from the flat-screen’s ambiance. My thought was that it’s a good thing someone invented the remote or else most of us would be watching one channel after they hid the controls. And where would cable TV be then? How many hours of killing alligators could one person watch, especially if he didn’t have a larger-than-16-ounce drink?

I think outlawing a big drink in the quest to reduce obesity is like shooting a rhino with a sling shot. It might work in a cartoon but in reality, the rhino won’t even flinch.

You know when I think of leadership and statesmanship, I think of men and women who stand head and shoulders above many others and who are careful to avoid comic relief in their identification of problems and their strategies for tackling them. I’m just wondering if New York City has issues much greater than jumbo drinks.

I don’t even know if a mayor can ban big drinks. Maybe their city charter gives him this authority. But I don’t really expect it to take off and become a national phenomenon. If it does, then you can look for bootlegged and black market jumbo drinks.

Our world is filled with incredible irony. In Colorado, they are voting on the issue of legalizing marijuana. In New York, they want to ban jumbo soft drinks. Go figure.

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer.

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