A Sugar-Sweet Southern-Fried Revolution

Yesterday, we went to Dollywood with the Professor’s family, and it turned out to be the longest day in history. There had to be an additional 15 minutes tacked on to each hour – at least. I’m a bit surprised scientists aren’t scratching their heads over this unprecedented distortion of time. Perhaps they were all at home under the AC or sitting in the shade, which would make the drag less noticeable than, say, if they’d been standing in line, in the direct sun, for 51 minutes in 100 degree temperatures with a crowd of sweaty people in an area that smelled like the massive unwashed armpit of Goliath.

Fortunately, at about 6pm, we convinced the kids to leave the park (excessive whining and temper tantrums can work for parents too). Then, we headed over to the Great American Buffet, where there was great confusion over our drink order.

I, being a Southerner, wanted tea sweetened to a point just short of making it syrup. I asked for “regular” tea. The Professor, who is originally from Ohio and a Buckeyes fan, wanted unsweetened tea, so he asked for “regular” tea.  The cashier (who was clearly a native Tennessean) and I tried to explain that, in the south, sweet tea is regular, and unsweetened tea is… well, abnormal. We simply don’t drink unsweetened tea here . Perhaps this is because Sweet Tea better complements the flavor of all things rolled in flour/cornmeal and fried in a bubbling vat of grease. But whatever the reason, sweet tea is widely considered the nectar of the southern gods Baptists (we don’t do polytheism or alcohol -wink, wink- here either.)

All of this this led to a discussion on nutrition, the amount of food Americans consume and waste and how the government has cracked down on pig slop: guess it was one of those “you had to be there” conversations.

But considering the topics on yesterday’s menu, I wasn’t surprised when I stumbled across News Channel 11’s report on fat Tennesseans. I’d actually checked in to see if MSM had picked up the distrubance in the flow of time yesterday. Naturally, they hadn’t. I discovered instead MSNBC reported: In Tennessee, 30.1 percent of the population surveyed was obese, compared to 28.1 percent in 2006, the data shows. […] For the report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from a 2007 random telephone survey, relying on self-reported information on height and weight to determine obesity rankings.

WAIT! A telephone survey? Self-reported information?

How do we know respondents didn’t lie about their age, height or weight? Couldn’t the data be skewed by those women weighing over 120 pounds and who feel obese simply because they bear no resemblance to a Victoria Secret model?  What if the surveyors caught women, who are actually at a normal weight but were having a “fat day?” I’m not going to explain “fat days” here except to say that some women encounter days where they feel heavy, bloated, sweaty and capable of poking people in the eye with sharp object for no other reason other than they don’t like the way you look.   I also think the increase in rates is widespread and due to a combination of factors: changing demographics, and the biggest – automation, computers, satellite TV and video games. Honestly, unless we make an effort to exercise, we could all live sedentary lives.

Nevertheless, based on questionable data, Trust for America’s Health has announced that national and state policies are falling far short of obesity control and reduction goals. Therefore, to help combat the obesity crisis, TFAH recommends some crucial government actions.

Here’s my problem with crucial government actions to address a problem when we have not yet identified the cause of the problem or the problem has a cause, which we really cannot address and still call this a “free” country: they lead to more studies, wherein questionable data is obtained, which means more recommendations for more crucial government actions, which will lead to more studies, wherein questionable data is obtained… continue the cycle, add an office, a department staff and five committees and a committee to regulate the other committees – and before you know it: non-nutritious food is the next tobacco. It costs us tons of money to regulate and study, therefore must be eliminated for the good of the people.

I’m all for promotion and education on the importance of physical activity and good nutrition. I’m even willing to accept that the schools need to address the problem of childhood obesity – if only so local systems cannot be blamed for the problem of childhood obesity… and be sued for their complicity.  However, I don’t think we should do anything rash or start looking at our personal choices as something from which we all need to be rescued. But eventually we will.

And at such time the US Government requires me to jog or do any activity which could be described as “bouncy,” or when they try to place restrictions on or prohibit in any way my rights to enjoy Southern Foods, such as fried green tomatoes, okra, chicken, gumbo and beer-battered catfish, AND/OR they even attempt to limit how much sugar I can put in my tea, I do hereby declare the South will rise again.

I, personally, will lead a band of freedom fighters on the march to DC with the intention of **overthrowing the federal government. And the Revolution will not be televised… mostly because we’re fat and out-of-shape down here. This means many of us will have heart attacks, strokes and/or die of heat exhaustion before we make it to DC, therefore our numbers will be depleted. Plus, the rest of us will so tired from doin’ all that marching that a 63-year old unarmed DC tour guide could kick our ass, so you might not hear about our Revolution unless you read the Reuters’ Oddly Enough Section.

But that’s not the point. It’s the principle of the matter.

You know how they say: freedom ain’t free – well, this means a lot of different things. One of them being if you expect the government to pay for your poor choices, you’re going to see those choices eliminated. It’s that simple. And if I had my druthers – I’d druther live fat, free and Southern Fried than extend my life expectancy by five years and live to see the day Mama’s cooking is outlawed and I’m required by law to bounce.

** I would like to welcome all visitors from the Department of Homeland Security. Howdy, ya’ll.

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5 thoughts on “A Sugar-Sweet Southern-Fried Revolution

  1. Obviously the obesity numbers are wrong. When I am out and about I never see any fat people much less obese ones.

    Of course I am defining “fat” here as “larger than me”.

    OK, not really, I was kind of being sarcastic there. Actually I do believe that most Tennesseans are overweight. I don’t know if I agree with their cutoff for obese, but overweight, yes.

  2. Oh and I wanted to mention I think the snacks thing in the schools is absurd given that most of the teachers send the kids home with buckets and buckets full of candy every year as “rewards” and when you complain about it they get all huffy.

  3. Deborah,
    I can say the kids’ teachers have never used candy as a reward. The first year the policy was implemented there had even been confusion as to whether the parents could give candy on special occasions. (They distributed a list of appropriate goody bag items too – candy wasn’t on it.)

    Fortunately, some of us were willing to take a stand for our right to give conversation hearts on Valentine’s Day. Yeah okay, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t terribly important and it’s not technically a “right” – but any food you declare “forbidden” instantly becomes more appealing. Children need to be taught “all things in moderation:” this will benefit them more so than the belief sugar is the Fruit of Eden.

    I do think the policy is excessive – or could be, but I suppose it’s necessary in order for LEAs to avoid lawsuits filed by people who need to blame systems for their choices or lack of personal responsibility.

  4. Pingback: Reconnecting You with Reality « DeMarCaTionVille

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