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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of General Tso’s Chicken


I need a lawyer, pronto. And not just any lawyer; I need a sleazy lawyer – an ambulance-chasing, television-advertising, cheap-suited shark of the lowest degree.
My lawyer needs to be willing to take the lead on a class action against fat people.
I’m fairly certain that there are enough non-fat people out there who would join me in my class action against the fat. After all, I know I’m not the only one who has been tormented by the obese.
Fat people aren’t pretty. And they’re slow. They wear horrible, ill-fitting clothes – in polyester – that often expose their bulging bellies. They rob me of precious time whenever they waddle their way in front of me in line at the grocery store deli counter or checkout. They impede my progress as they shamble down the street, blocking my way past them on narrow sidewalks.
Problem is, all the lawyers who fit my necessary description are busy working for the fat people, putting the screws to fast food restaurants and soft drink manufacturers.
The latest target of their litigious ire is Yum! Brands’ iconic poultry purveyor, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
According to Michael Jacobson, executive director of the previously obscure sentinel of the public good Center for Science in the Public Interest, and one retired Dr. Arthur Hoyte (who must be having a hard time scrounging up enough coin to make his weekly greens fees), KFC “recklessly puts its customers at risk of a Kentucky Fried Coronary.”
I’m guessing that quote was uttered with the same sort of know-it-all smarmy smugness employed by the likes of presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry just before losing an election. And look how much Al’s gained since he “got out” of politics! I’m telling you…..
In keeping with its legacy as an advocacy born of the Ralph Nader movement, CSPI fancies itself a public health “watchdog,” and is seemingly proud of their propensity for bringing frivolous lawsuits against nearly every deep-pocketed food manufacturer. A sampling of others against whom CSPI has brought or threatened lawsuits includes Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes, Frito-Lay, Kellogg, and others. CSPI has even waged campaigns against salt and sugar.
In spite of the name, an examination of the CSPI web site finds little evidence to support the notion that this group is engaged in scientific study. To the contrary, CSPI is fond of citing the findings of other groups and announcing their own vitriolic, non-scientific spin on the data. Jacobson has been outspoken in flaunting his agenda for CSPI, having stated, for example, that “CSPI is proud about finding something wrong with practically everything.” (Washingtonian magazine, February 1994: article not archived)
And Jacobson isn’t kidding. Reason’s Jacob Sullum described CSPI’s approach in this July 2003 article, and, according to anti-CSPI web site, Jacobson has gone so far as to initiate campaigns against the public dangers of alfalfa sprouts, butter, cheese, donuts, eggplant parmigiana, French toast, General Tso’s chicken, hot fudge sundaes…
General Tso’s chicken? Hot fudge sundaes? Now, that’s crossing a dangerous line!
In its quest to eliminate tasty foods from the American diet, CSPI and Mr. Jacobson seem to have forgotten one simple premise, that in America we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I’m not in the best shape of my life, but I’m not what anyone would call fat. For me, a day in pursuit of happiness may begins in my hometown of Townsend, Massachusetts at Cliff’s Café with a hearty breakfast of French toast dripping in butter and “maple” syrup, includes a mid-morning treat of coffee and a chocolate covered donut at Dippin’ Donuts in Fitchburg, takes me to nearby China Wonder for a lunch special featuring General Tso’s chicken, and concludes with a trip to Leominster and Monty’s Garden for eggplant parmigiana. Then, if I’m lucky, I’ll drive over to Westford and Kimball Farm to guttle a monster sundae for desert.
I like the fact that I have the freedom to choose my poison, and that I’m smart enough to make enough good choices about my life and health to gleefully absorb the other choices I get to make along the way. I also like the fact that I have the choice to climb a bike and ride off my indulgences, or cozy my buttocks into a comfy chair and click away a few calories while watching television.
Then again, with all the money I plan on making from my class action lawsuit against fat people, I may just find myself in need of Jacobson’s lawyer to pin the blame on my impending corpulence on someone else.
I wonder how deep their pockets are at Kimball’s?

Share  Posted by Mike Spinney at 6:46 PM | Permalink

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