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The fast food matrix has you

Before I get into this, I just want everyone to know that when I read Fast Food Nation, all it really did was make me crave McDonalds Chicken Nuggets.  Like, a lot.  I don't know what that says about my character, personality, will-power, etc. but at least I didn't act on the urge.  At least not right away.  I waited two weeks and then got the 50 nugget deal and washed it down with a large fry. 

As the shame and regret of what I'd just done began to set in, I started thinking about this stuff we consume by the ton per year.  The first thing that jumped into my mind, besides the start of a nugget induced blood clot, was a quote from The Matrix back in 1999.  It goes like this:  Cypher (played by the adorable Italian Joey Pants) is having a conversation with Elrond about reality vs. Rivendell, or something like that.  During the conversation, he takes a sip of what can only be Chianti, leans back, and says:

"You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
Ignorance is bliss. "

I felt the same way.  I knew the nuggets that I'd just consumed were mass produced with virtually no taste at all.  I knew the flavor triggers that sent signals to my brain were being stimulated by a chemical reaction, induced by a substance engineered in a laboratory.  I knew all of this, I was not ignorant, and yet, I ate.
The similarities between myself and Joe Pantoliano don't end there, but that's a discussion for another time.

Here's what I decided.  There is nothing inherently wrong with what these McMurderers are doing.  I don't mind tastes being engineered for my mouth.  That's an incredible feat of science!  God obviously gave someone a great deal of knowledge and skill to be able to figure that out.  Just like anything, moderation is key.  As I looked over the devastation wrought by my gluttony, I got a feel for what the real sin here was.  Everything in moderation.  Yes, even Chicken Nuggets.

I understand the cries of foul from militant vegans, sensationalist reporters, and people who read one book about fast food and get outraged.  I think people just don't like to think of themselves as beings that can be controlled by anything, let alone crafty advertising.   They're angry at the business practices, they're angry at the feeding and slaughtering practices, they're just angry in general. 

I get all this, and I even agree on points.  Corporations should not treat their employees the way that slaughterhouses do.  Collusion and price fixing is bad for business because it eliminates the competition which help drive improvement in the marketplace.  The hiring and firing practices of fast food corporations is suspect at best.  Their franchising system and buying practices encourage mass enslavement via debt, from the farmers/growers/ranchers to the franchisees that "own" the individual stores. 

I'm against all that, but that's where my solidarity with people like Eric Schlosser ends.  Those people clamor for governmental regulation and control of the marketplace.  As if that's going to somehow magically fix anything.  Multiply the current corruption levels by 1 BILLION percent (not exagerating).  That's what you'd have if those people got their way. 

If a business owner treats his or her employees the way some of these slaughterhouses are operated, they should be prosecuted criminally.  They should pay a significant monetary fine that should be distributed back to the victims of their abuse.  They should be held to a Godly standard of operation.  The penalties should be significant enough to deter owners from operating in a way that destroys lives.

The point is, ignorance truly is bliss when it comes to this situation.  You cannot possibly know the amount of faecal matter that drops into your beef and still shovel literally tons of it into your face each year without a twinge of guilt/shame/regret.  I'm willing to accept that it's there, I just won't eat as much of it.  Red sauce without the meat is not to be tolerated in any good Italian kitchen. 

So what can you do?  I don't know.  Probably nothing.  Don't blog about it though, that's just lame.

Let's see what Steve Buscemi thinks about all of this...




















My feelings exactly.

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