May Contain Nuts

This is something I recalled while reading the allergen warning on my lunch. I remembered buying a jar of roasted peanuts some time ago, and reading, near the bottom, “WARNING: May Contain Nuts.”

Excuse me, “may contain nuts?” It fucking damn well better contain nuts!

So I’ve finally come up with a title for the blog I started over on Salon.com.

I didn’t think it needed its own title, seeing as it’s all just reposting the stuff from my other two blogs, with exactly the same content and the same name, “Procrastinate Now!” [Blogger] [WordPress] Really just more places to showcase the same mediocrity, in the vain hope someone will notice.

Much like the character “Wonko the Sane” in the late Douglas Adams’s So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, I realized that any society that required such warnings was ultimately doomed. Not just for the social Darwinism that attempts to save the lowest common denominator from themselves, muddying the intellectual gene pool, but for making it acceptable for otherwise rational people to stop paying attention. (In the book, John Watson christens himself Wonko the Sane after discovering the instructions on a box of toothpicks. Yes, instructions. On toothpicks.) Ironically, anyone daft enough to not understand that a jar of nuts might actually contain them, or why that might be important, is highly unlikely to read that far down a label.

Their lawyer might, but that’s just a symptom of a larger problem. I don’t fault Planters so much for putting the warning there as I do lament that they felt they needed to protect themselves in doing so. You can’t save people from their own stupidity (we may actually have to contend with “Palin for President”, coincidentally right around the time of the apocalypse) but you can try to save yourself. If people can sue McDonald’s for making them fat, it’s a slippery slope to the point where someone sues a peanut grower for not telling them they might be allergic – a lard-slathered slope we continue to grease.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be informed as to what’s in our food – quite the contrary. Someone with severe allergies to things like nuts (there’s such a child at my son’s school) really needs to know what’s been put in the food they buy. I, on the other hand, don’t have any such reactions, but I still would like to know what it is I’m eating.

And here we have the heart of the matter (and, as some speculate, the source of these neo-allergens): we are so far removed from our food sources that we’re not entirely sure what we’re eating is at all benificial, let alone harmful. I mean, I can see the peanuts through the clear plastic jar, despite anything the jar might be labeled, and yet I still turned it over to check the ingredients. Ingredients. On a jar of peanuts.

The industrial revolution saw the most nutritous part of wheat, the germ, ground completely out of our now bleached white flour. (It keeps longer.) But our modern “culture” (in a manner like bacteria are cultured) feels a need to add high-fructose corn syrup to our bread, because we don’t have enough candy and soda we need to make our bread sweet, too.

The Green Revolution is happening, albeit slowly. The rise of stores like Whole Foods is a testament. Enough people believe the “statistical coincidence” of HFCS being used as a sweetener in everything correlating with a dramatic rise in obesity rates (or that countries that don’t subsidise their corn crop don’t share the weight problem). It is so much the pathogen du jour that the Corn Refiners Association has started making ads belittling and mocking the concern (with our tax dollars, no less).

Nothing to see here, folks, waddle along…

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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