• RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
AdLib On April - 8 - 2010

“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Who would have thought that the best advice for America in a motion picture would have come from Dean Vernon Wormer’s reprimand of Flounder in Animal House?

America is suffering under a plague of excesses and thank goodness, corporate America’s answer to this is to feed those morbidly obese flames.

Let’s begin with the first item on the list…

FAT

Many are already drooling over the news of the latest fast food creation…the Double Down by KFC. Have a look but make it brief, looking at the Double Down is the same as consuming 100 calories:

THE DOUBLE DOWN!

Now this masterpiece of coronary rush hour is two pieces of fried chicken sandwiching two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and the Colonel’s special sauce made from the tears of vegans. I guess they’re saving the sausage, nachos, alfredo sauce and onion rings options for their follow up sandwich, the Triple Bypass.

As MSNBC noted:

The fried version has 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

Current government guidelines recommend less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day for people over age 2. Most Americans consume about 3,500 milligrams daily. An entire meal should contain no more than 600 milligrams. Acceptable fat is about 65 grams daily on a 2,000 calorie diet.

I’m thinking it’s called the Double Down because the people who order it are thinking, “That hamburger I ate with Krispy Kreme Donuts for buns didn’t give me a heart attack, I’m betting this won’t either!”

Or perhaps its referring to the fact that twice as many obese Americans will not be able to get up by themselves when they fall down after a diet of these monstrosities, “Help, I’ve eaten a fatwich and I can’t get up!”

The Double Down debuts on April 12th. Keep them cardiac wards on full alert!

As of today, approximately 1/3 of Americans are obese. Here is a map that displays cases of obesity nationally:

What is interesting is comparing it with the following map from the NYT that displays which counties voted for Obama or McCain in 2008:

Now if a deep fried block of American cheese ran as the GOP nominee for president in 2012…like it did in 2008…

Which brings me to the second category:

DRUNK

I would apply this to overindulgence of both alcohol and other substances.

About 1/3 of this country is or has been alcoholic. Some more stats on alcoholism per The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

About 42 percent of men and about 19 percent of women reported a history of either alcohol abuse or alcoholism during their lives. Whites and Native Americans were more likely than other ethnic groups to report drinking problems.

Alcohol abuse was defined as drinking-related failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home; social or legal problems; and drinking in hazardous situations. Alcoholism was characterized by compulsive drinking; preoccupation with drinking; and tolerance to alcohol or withdrawal symptoms.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/02/health/main3007571.shtml

Add to that prescription drugs.According to a 2007 study by MedCo Health Solutions, an insurance company, 51% of all Americans with insurance are taking prescription medicines regularly. And that was 3 years ago, imagine what that percentage is in 2010.

http://medco.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=317

Here are some interesting stats from the American Heart Association:

  • Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) may be the fourth-to-sixth leading cause of death. Serious ADRs occur in 6.7 percent of hospitalized patients.
  • 32 million Americans are taking three or more medications daily

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=107

And here’s an interesting headline from TruthOut.com dated 2008:

Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans Than Illegal Drugs

A report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has concluded that prescription drugs have outstripped illegal drugs as a cause of death.

An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem.

http://www.truthout.org/111208HA

So, if the Double Down doesn’t kill you, the medication you take to deal with its aftermath just might.

And let’s not forget what may be the biggest addictive substance in our society, tv and entertainment. Americans are watching more tv than ever, averaging over 5 hours per day.

Some simple math, 24 hours in a day minus 8 hours for sleep, 10 hours for work and travel to and from and minus 5 hours of tv, equals 1 hour of each day left for everything else like showering, doing homework with the kid(s), going to the KFC drive through…

TV viewing at ‘all-time high,’ Nielsen says

And this may be no surprise to parents who see their kids staring hypnotically at the video game they’re playing:

Computer games stunt teen brains

Hi-tech maps of the mind show that computer games are damaging brain development and could lead to children being unable to control violent behaviour.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/aug/19/games.schools

And there is this article from WaPo:

Study Links Violent Video Games, Hostility – Research in U.S., Japan Shows Aggression Increased for Months After Play

By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 3, 2008

Children and teenagers who play violent video games show increased physical aggression months afterward, according to new research that adds another layer of evidence to the continuing debate over the video-game habits of the youngest generation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/02/AR2008110202392.html

How much time are people spending playing video games? According to an AP-AOL poll in 2006:

Forty-two percent of online gamers said they spent at least four hours playing games during an average week, compared with 26 percent of those who don’t play online.  About one in six online gamers play more than 10 hours a week.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12686020/

Some interesting stats about video games from The Entertainment Software Association (ESA):

  • Sixty-eight percent of American households play computer or video games.
  • Sixty-three percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.
  • The average game player is 35 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.
  • Thirty-seven percent of heads of households play games on a wireless device, such as a cell phone or PDA, up from 20 percent in 2002.
  • The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 39 years old.
  • Forty percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (34 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).
  • In 2009, 25 percent of Americans over the age of 50 play video games, an increase from nine percent in 1999.

http://www.theesa.com/facts/index.asp

Lastly, we come to the third leg of this tottering American stool:

STUPID

Despite the advance of technology, Americans may be getting dumber (thus, the owners of smart phones may develop inferiority complexes simply by owning one).

With regards to science, from an article in the NYT:

While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are “scientifically savvy and alert,” he said in an interview. Most of the rest “don’t have a clue.” At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.

Dr. Miller’s data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html?_r=1&ex=1125547200&en=631977063d726261&ei=5070

Here’s some results from a Harris Poll in December of 2008:

  • Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
  • Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
  • Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water .(*)
  • Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312115133.htm

As for Americans’  knowledge of their democracy:

The vast majority of Americans cherish the U.S. Constitution but do not know much about it. Yet most of us believe that the health of our Constitutional democracy depends on active and informed citizenry. Specifically,

  • More than half of Americans don’t know the number of Senators;
  • About 1 out of 3 don’t know the number of branches of the Federal Government;
  • 1 out of 6 believe that the Constitution establishes America as a Christian nation;
  • Almost one-quarter cannot name a single right guaranteed to us by the First Amendment;
  • 20% believe that only lawyers can understand the Constitution;
  • 84% believe that the U.S. Constitution is the document that states that “all men are created equal”, thus confusing it with the Declaration of Independence.
  • http://ratify.constitutioncenter.org/CitizenAction/CivicResearchResults/NCCNationalPoll/HighlightsofthePoll.shtml

    When it comes to young adults, here are some results from 2006 on their knowledge of geography:

    • One-third of respondents couldn’t pinpoint Louisiana on a map and 48 percent were unable to locate Mississippi.
    • Two-thirds didn’t know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.
    • Six in 10 could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
    • While the outsourcing of jobs to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47 percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.
    • While Israeli-Palestinian strife has been in the news for the entire lives of the respondents, 75 percent were unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
    • Nearly three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely spoken native language.
    • Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.
    • Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12591413/

    To top this off, here are some amusing results from the most religious nation on their own religion:

    Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-03-07-teaching-religion-cover_N.htm

    What being fat, drunk and/or stupid really means is being weakened. The weaker that one is physically and mentally, the easier to dominate and manipulate…as we saw with HCR and continue to see with the blind anger of teabaggers that is being manipulated by the wolves-in-sheep’s clothing, the wealthy, corporate elitists such as those behind FreedomWorks and Fox News.

    Like hapless overfed, drug-addled, dumb animals being led by a Judas Goat to the slaughterhouse, about 1/3 or more of Americans will fight for the freedom to lose their freedom and a viable pursuit of happiness.

    Especially when it interferes with wolfing a Double Down and guzzling a sixer of Bud Light Golden Wheat while playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” during the halftime break of the Superbowl.

    But don’t let this discourage you from trying to do something about this! Let us turn to page 94, Paragraph 18 of The Book of Animal House:

    Otter: Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
    Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
    Boon: Let’s do it.
    Bluto: Let’s do it!

    Written by AdLib

    My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

    115 Responses so far.

    Click here to leave a comment
    1. javaz says:

      Honest to Goddess, this article probably describes me to the Tee!
      (except you left out smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo!)

      But seriously, who in their right mind would ever order that fried chicken, artery clogging, heart-stopping sandwich?

      Holy Batman and Robin, we are in trouble -- feeding our minds with MSM faux news, feasting on high-carb, fat laden food, drinking too much, taking too many prescription drugs, and not smoking enough weed, well, we are doomed.

      To quote David Letterman whenever they show McCain and Palin together -- it really does look like an ad for Viagra.

      Maybe we should take the advice from the French when it comes to socialized medicine, decriminalized pot and red wine.

    2. Chernynkaya says:

      More on the Double Down:

      KFC’s freakish all-meat sandwich, explained

      http://www.salon.com/food/food_business/index.html?story=/food/feature/2010/04/08/double_down_interview

      Is that right? KFC Double Down sandwich is “the vilest food product created by man”?

      http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkup/2010/04/is_that_right_kfc_double_down.html?wprss=checkup

      And another site said it best:

    3. javaz says:

      Has anyone mentioned the Heart Attack Grill -- 8,000 calorie meals and people over 350lbs eat for free!

      http://www.heartattackgrill.com/

      Oh, just discovered this tidbit --

      Glenn Beck will be in Phoenix this weekend for his ‘American Revival Tour’ --

      As you may have read in Feathered Bastard yesterday, the weather this weekend may be a little wet. Sure, the sun will be out, but a Glenn Beck tear storm is projected all day Saturday.

      Fox News’ resident cry-baby will be in Phoenix this weekend as part of his “American Revival Tour,” and the one thing the bulgy Beck seems most interested in doing is plopping his piggly ass down at the Heart Attack Grill for a Quadruple Bypass Burger.

      On Beck’s radio show today, a caller alerted the seemingly swollen Beck to the Valley hot-spot, and the idea of a restaurant devoted to promoting health problems seemed to captivate him.

      “Their fries are cooked in lard,” Beck said in amazement. “Can we go tonight?”

      Go there tonight? Glenn, with your heart apparently workin’ overtime already, we say go there every night.

      http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/04/glenn_becks_coming_to_phoenix.php

    4. PatsyT says:

      Man vs Food

      How do Americans stand a chance with this stuff on the air ?


    5. boomer1949 says:

      AL,

      You have mail.

      Thanks a heap,
      boomer

    6. FrankenPC says:

      You know what the Double Down really needs? Dip it in french toast batter. Deep fry it AGAIN. Add powdered sugar. Annnd wa-la! The Double Down Monte Cristo. DD-MC YO!

      I feel like I’m laughing at the executioner.

    7. FrankenPC says:

      Good read. Pretty much knew what we were up against. But it’s good to have it cataloged in one place.

      Regarding the plague known as The Double Down. An astute commenter on another board realized that The DD was only a sign of the apocalypse. The apocalypse itself will reveal itself when KFC and McDonald’s merge to create a monstrosity with the DD on the outside, and a Angus Burger on the inside. It will be known as the Thermonuclear Double Down.

    8. KQ says:

      Fat, Drunk and Stupid, yup great correlation with almost 30 years of conservative domination in electoral politics. I don’t know if we were ever that well educated compared to the educational standards in Western Europe for example. The US has always been a bit of a back water, especially the areas of the country you noted. The problem is with the mass migration down South from the Midwest and North gives those Fat, Drunk and Stupid areas of the country more political clout.

    9. PepeLepew says:

      That Krispy Kreme commercial reminded me of this old Simpsons bit:


    10. Chernynkaya says:

      BTW, Adlib-- those two maps of the US say a mouthful! (pun intended)

      The correlation is inescapable.

    11. SanityNow says:

      …and why only two pieces of bacon on the Double Down? If you are going to do something, do it all the way.

    12. SanityNow says:

      Thanks Adlib. I feel like a terrible American now. Not upholding the trend at all. We in this household make every meal from scratch. Every meal. Our children are not obese. We only allow one soda with our completely home made pizzas during family movie nights on Fridays. If we want a burger, we have to make it ourselves. Onion rings? same thing.

      I once took the boys to Applebee’s when their mom was gone on a trip and they had been relentlessly bugging me about eating there because of all the adds they see. So I took them. When we got the food, they started eating. I asked them how it was. They shrugged their shoulders and said “eh. doesn’t have much flavor.” never hear another word about places like Applebee’s or Red Lobster or Olive Garden anymore. (and btw, it was our oldest son that pointed out the fact that the Olive Garden’s logo has grapes instead of olives.)

      • AdLib says:

        Hey Sanity!

        There is no better burger than the ones my wife makes with her special recipe (steak burgers really). Her homemade onion rings are light and the best.

        We don’t eat burgers often but we too enjoy making them to buying them. However, we do get an In-N-Out burger on occasion.

        In Europe and other parts of the world, cooking is viewed as one of the joys in life. For many overworked and exhausted Americans, it is a chore so they welcome the opportunity to hit the KFC or McDonalds with the kids.

        My daughter is 6 and we’ve never taken her to a McDonalds. She was with a friend once and called me from the car on the mom’s cell phone to tell me that they were going to McDonalds and she didn’t want to eat anything there. I told her it was okay and not to worry about getting whatever she wanted, she said she’d get a salad.

        We avoid chain restaurants for the most part and try to eat at local, proprietor-owned restaurants when we go out, to support them instead of the corporate giants. But we’re not absolutists about it.

        Your problem now is that you’ve brought your kids up to appreciate the flavor of real foods so you’ll never be able to slip the cheap stuff in on them.

        • SanityNow says:

          that is a problem I will gladly take. We want to make sure the boys are able to truly fend for themselves rather than order off the value menu. Plus, the chicks dig a guy who knows his way around a kitchen.

          And since we’ve been poverty poor, it is amazing how truly healthfully and economically a family can eat if they are willing to endure the joy of cooking at home. Most meals take under an hour to prep and cook and you know exactly everything that goes in to the meal. I can honestly say that I look forward to every dinner every night. I think my favorite meal is a very simply roasted chicken, simple green salad, some sort of steamed veg and a glass of cheap wine.

          I suspect that the drive to a fast(read fats) food place, order the meal, eat the meal, and then drive home takes longer than that and throw in the cost of gas and wear and tear on the horse-less carriage, and you are way over budget in almost every respect.

          • AdLib says:

            Not only that, but if you grow fruits and veggies yourself, it’s great all the way around, budget-wise, health-wise and flavor-wise.

            My daughter and I plant our vegetable garden every year, we just did it over Easter break.

            She enjoys going into the backyard in the summer and having a bit of a buffet out there.

            This year we’re growing corn, broccoli, peas, beans, tomatoes, cantaloupes, watermelon and more. It’s not a huge garden but enough to get a few of each growing.

            We’ve also got blackberry and strawberry bushes, fruit trees, etc.

            Again, it’s not a huge area but as we landscaped over the years, I always liked to plant trees and bushes that bore fruit so we could always have fresh and un-bioengineered things to eat. Plus, I felt that it would help teach my daughter patience and seeing the big picture, planting a seed then nurturing it so it grows into something very nice.

            And after all this time, that approach has indeed bore fruit!

            • kesmarn says:

              Ah! We just got our seeds yesterday! Cosmos and Morning Glories for the flower lovers, and corn, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and peppers for the veggie garden. We got some started in flats and will be able to get them outdoors about May 15. The rest, we’ll be able to just plant in the garden directly by then. Fun!

            • SanityNow says:

              can’t wait to move back down to the Bay Area after the little league season. My youngest is a gardener at heart. The range of things to grow increases exponentially and the growing season lengthens nicely as you get in to CA.

              • AdLib says:

                Yep, you can grow nearly anything in Cali.

                A warm welcome awaits you on your return to CA.

                We try to mix it up each year, this year we’re trying radishes for the first time.

                But I always grow tomatoes, you can’t get tomatoes like homegrown in any supermarket.

              • SanityNow says:

                oh man. pickled radishes from taco trucks. mmmmm. my kind of fast food.

    13. PepeLepew says:

      I’ve researched this a bit as part of my personal obsession.

      The Deep South is highly unhealthy. Obviously, not coincidentally, while also having the highest obesity rates, those same Deep South counties also have the highest diabetes and cancer rates.

      Interestingly, this part of the nation is probably the most vehemently against health care reform.

      • AdLib says:

        That’s why I provided those two maps. It may be just a coincidence but there is a resemblance between the concentration of people who voted Republican in one of the elections that most reasonable people couldn’t and the concentration of obese people in the nation.

        Both could be attributed to ignorance and not being accustomed to using reason to make decisions that are best for them in the long run.

        Doing what feels right or best now and not considering the long term or the ramifications.

        Of course, the Bible Belt runs through the South too. How does evangelism affect one’s ability to reason and understand logic? If one accepts that things that defy logic and reason happened 2000 years ago, might not one have lesser regard for critical thinking?

        I don’t think religion affects one’s ability to reason or use logic, I would just propose that evangelism may since it is by its nature opposed to respecting both.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          I think there is still another reason for the concentration in the South--in addition to what you identified: They are the only Americans who ever lost a war on our soil. They haven’t recovered yet, and they continue to be sore losers, even in the last election.

          So if my theory is correct (about necessary pain v. voluntary suffering), that would be an aspect too.

          • PepeLepew says:

            Remember too, they lost two “wars,” one a continuation of the second. They lost the Civil War, and then, in the minds of many Southerners (Not all, I’m aware), they lost again during the Civil Rights Movement.

          • AdLib says:

            You make a solid point. And with the recent and continued rebel yell of The Confederacy to rally southern people, I think resentment and hatred connected to it is indeed a factor.

            I’ll bet some of the racist types sadly imagine how wonderfully they’d be living if slavery wasn’t ended.

            Instead, they have a black president. That must be a bit “disconcerting” to such types.

    14. Khirad says:

      Heh, those polls about heliocentrism and religion I remember.

      And, seriously, forget about molecular stuff. How are you supposed to understand basic things like, oh, I dunno, days and years? Seriously, to think there’s that many people who never made the connection. I was gobsmacked in HS when we found out a lot of Mormons we knew had no idea the sun was a star. And then there’s those polls about basic geography… I’ve seen worse than that. Those questions were slightly tricky -- like native language versus most widely spoken. But Israel? 75% cant find it? Lord have mercy!

      Sigh…

      Seriously, for the 10 Commandments, murder, stealing, lying, screwing out of wedlock, thinking about screwing out of wedlock, done. To be fair, even if I know them after looking ’em up, I never took the time to memorize ’em perfectly and couldn’t rattle them out on the spot. Then again, I don’t live by ’em. That’s what is truly galling, aside from dismal religious literacy (which is important, just to get references in Lincoln’s speeches, etc).

      Long story short, everybody seems to care a whole lot and have deep-held beliefs and opinions on basic shit they have no clue about.

      • AdLib says:

        So true! While I was researching all the info in this article, I found then promptly lost an article with a long list of basic things about Christianity that a big minority or a majority got wrong.

        And yet, as you say, some of these same people hate Muslims, Jews and others for not believing in their religion…with which they are apparently only vaguely familiar.

        That is the serrated edge of religion, the “us vs. them” aspect which is very primal, the reptilian brain thing. I find no difference between those who belong to a political party, religion, city, state or country to which they ascribe their identity.

        There are soccer fans in the UK that will attack fans of other teams. There are people in rural areas that hate people because they’re from the city. And GOP vs. Dem, Christian vs. Jew vs. Muslim vs. Jew vs. Christian, etc.

        And yet, it always seems that those who hate the most are the least informed, those who are most aggressive about their beliefs and loyalty, often seem the least knowledgeable about it.

        Those who are more enlightened about their religion are more enlightened about other religions and thus can relate to others. The same with politics and all the rest.

        “Us vs. them” is the quick, easy, self-gratifying, lowest common denominator that even the most ignorant person can understand. And a little understanding can be a dangerous thing.

    15. Jenuwin says:

      Excellent article Ad Lib! but I now have a craving for The Double Down!

    16. Chernynkaya says:

      If America was a single person, his/her physician would warn the patient that s/he is dying, is committing suicide. Everything you listed so brilliantly

      • AdLib says:

        Cher, love that you’re looking at it in this way, the “why” element would need an article to itself.

        I think it is a variety of things. Chiefly, the desire to feel good right now. I know it seems contrary that people would eat themselves into being so massive that rolling over is their grueling exercise for the day but when one focuses on immediate gratification, one embraces ignorance or denial (or both) about the ramifications of going for what makes you feel good right now.

        And corporations have spent decades perfecting market research on how to push the buttons in people that are wired to people’s desire for feeling good now. Sex, fatty and sweet foods, fashion, entertainment, etc.

        As to what is at the root of people focusing so much on indulging themselves today at the cost of tomorrow, I think it’s a cocktail of the following:

        a. The worsening standard of living depressing people, making them feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel…so might as well go for gratification however they can now.

        b. Related to that, the inner and sometimes repressed awareness that what they were promised about the American Dream was not true.

        c. Disillusionment in religion and life over wanting to believe in God and goodness always winning over “evil” in the world but recognizing that’s just not the case.

        d. The lack of community, caring for our neighbors and soullessness in our society that corporate domination and technology has wrought (technology’s benefits of allowing people to work and entertain themselves self-contained instead of communally has been disconnecting people from each other).

        e. The “You can have it all” corporate America drumbeat as part of the campaign to keep Americans thinking and behaving like adolescent kids…and as I’ve mentioned before, for kids, there is only the present and having what one wants.

        f. Fear that the end is coming so enjoy yourself today. The end of what? America as we know it, America as THE superpower, white people being the majority (and feeling superior just for being white), the end of the world and The Second Coming (24% of Republicans do believe that Obama is the Antichrist) and last but not least…especially after the GOP fear machine…that tomorrow they could be killed by terrorists, death panels, socialism, black people, the government, Hitler, giant locusts, not having guns, etc.

        I think there are more elements in the mix, this has been brewing for some time so I don’t think one item in particular can be held responsible.

        The road back to well being, IMO, is feeling empowered to change the way things are and taking action to bring that about. Even if things don’t change in the near term (especially if they don’t, or it’s just more desire for instant gratification), the act of standing up for something worthwhile is in itself an affirmation of strength and the potential for people to change the way things are.

        If nothing else, the 2008 election and the passage of HCR should validate that people can come together and create change.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          There you go again-- being smart and right! The famous quote is correct: Life is hard and anybody who tells you different is trying to sell you something.

          I completely agree with all the reasons you listed. We wrote about some of them here, but they truly bear repeating, because they must remain in our faces if we want to combat them. The cards are stacked and there are so many shiny objects to distract us!

          And sure, advertisers are clever and know which are the perfect buttons to push-- fear of death being the strongest and deepest.

          The worst part is, as we continue to respond the way corporations want, we are ensuring our own de-evolution, and the spiral tightens ever downward. But you are also correct that one way to prevent this, and to stop that spiral, is to become engaged in the fight.

          • AdLib says:

            Back at ya!

            That is the problem. If obese, dependent and not-as-bright Americans are thought of as addicts to “feeling good now”, Corporate America are in fact the pushers who keep supplying them to keep them hooked and continuing as a customer.

            That’s a tough cycle to break.

      • kesmarn says:

        Cher, that is the question, isn’t it?

        Longer ago than I’d like to admit, our nursing class had a visiting speaker in to present a talk on addiction. He was an MD who had treated quite a number of addicts. He opened his talk with a question:

        “Why do people do drugs?”

        All kinds of answers came from the class: “To ease pain.” “To deal with a terrible childhood.” “Peer pressure.” And many other theories. He said that none of those were wrong.

        But then he turned his back to the class and picked up a piece of chalk. On the board he wrote, slowly, the letters:
        F……U……N

        And he turned around. “Drugs are fun. There’s no point in denying that.” The rest of the talk was devoted to explaining why giving up that much fun was necessary, though painful.

        I think that may have been a bit over-simplified; but it stayed with me forever. The truth of the matter is: maintaining a healthy weight, being fit, being sober, being engaged with our fellow humans, and learning new things all the time…all of those are hard. They’re not always fun. Although the after-effects of doing all those things are very cool, indeed.

        We Americans do seem to struggle with being able to find our fun in the right places. Sometimes I wonder if taking pleasure in simple, non-fatty food, sobriety, walking outdoors and studying/reading/learning are behaviors that are associated with being…gasp… OLD ! Horrors! There’s nothing worse than that! As long as we are fat, lazy and stupid — why we can live with the frat boys in the Animal House forever!!

        • Chernynkaya says:

          kes, so what you are saying--in essence-- is, we are a culture afraid of aging--i.e., afraid of death. Because all of the activities you say are associated with being old are really things I would associate with maturity--not with being old-- but I think more people associate with age. So it’s an existential fear. We will do anything to escape the fact of our own mortality. But why Americans in particular? Maybe because we hide death and dying, as if it were shameful. Other societies are much more at ease with the natural event of death, but we hide it.

          • AdLib says:

            I am right with you and Kes on this. I think a big factor is the denial of age and death.

            That plays right into the Consumer Mindset that corporate America wants so they are co-dependent in trying to keep American adults, thinking, acting and of course, impulse buying like children would, with no thought of consequences.

          • kesmarn says:

            You said it much more succinctly than I could have, Cher. Yes, afraid of aging--i.e. dying. Or possibly even afraid of growing up. Peter Pan syndrome.

            A good friend of mine has been saying for a while that a healthy percentage of the population now refuses to take ANYTHING seriously.
            I found that an interesting observation, and have been mulling it over for a while.

            I wonder if — on some subconscious level — Americans kid themselves that their vaunted Yankee Ingenuity will find a way to beat death. Death is for those “other countries” where people just aren’t clever enough to figure out solutions to everything. If we can conquer space and come up with vaccines that prevent swine flu pandemics, surely a little thing like death ought to be beatable.

            In the mean time, while the scientists are working on that one, we’ll just do what we always do. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we….uh….well….never mind….

            • Mightywoof says:

              ” …… will find a way to beat death”

              Science is already working on it

              stem cells are stamped with an

              • kesmarn says:

                Yikes, indeed, Mighty. I always loved the Dracula stories (morbid thing that I am) because they explore the not-always-anticipated down side of eternal physical existence.

                And they ask the question: “Are there things out there that are worse than death itself?” Cheerful musings, huh?

                😀

              • Mightywoof says:

                My Nanna lived to the grand age of 97 and a half and she was so weary of life and living for about the last 10 years of her life. I have over another 30 years before I reach that age but already I know that eternal life is abhorrent -- as much as I don’t want to die, I don’t want to live forever either. An eternity of ennui doesn’t sound like much fun 🙂

            • Chernynkaya says:

              As usual-- I agree with you! You brought up something interesting-- “Yankee Ingenuity” could also be seen as American Exceptionalism. Or in this case, American Exemptionalism-- we deserve to be exempt from even death.

              But of course, any person or country that must tell themselves repeatedly how special they are, has an inferiority complex.

              • kesmarn says:

                Yes, Cher, exactly. American Exceptionalism. I see this on occasion at work. E.g., the son of a 94 year old woman had a complete and very loud meltdown when the “stupid” doctors and nurses were unable to get his mother up and on her feet, eating, drinking and walking around, despite weeks of trying. The woman herself, God love her, was totally resigned to her own mortality…even welcomed it as a release from pain. But, for the son, it was an outrage, a failure, and somebody, by God, was gonna pay. You could tell there was no point in the future at which her death would be an acceptable event. Immortality was the only option and we were just not smart enough, in his view, to be able to deliver. I have a feeling he’s not alone…

              • Chernynkaya says:

                Kes, that story tells it to a T.

    17. TheRarestPatriot says:

      Oh the laughter….”1 hour of each day left for everything else …like going to the KFC drive through”

    18. Chernynkaya says:

      I think I need a cheeseburger to deal with this.

    19. kesmarn says:

      Well, since the very last comment I posted was this:

      Heh,heh

    20. Chernynkaya says:

      Well, that about covers it, AdLib. Damn, you’re good! I have a lot to say, but for now, forgive me if I add another movie to show where we are headed: “Idiocracy.”

      It

      • AdLib says:

        Thanks Cher for the kind compliments and both clips, enjoyed them much!

        I rushed out to see Idiocracy in it’s very brief release and blogged about it at the time.

        Why Fox ever put up the money for a film that assaulted the corporate mindset that is Fox is bewildering but once it was completed, Fox kept refusing to release it, finally giving it a tiny ONE WEEK release in very few theaters before pulling it.

        It has its flaws but it is one of the more imaginative and witty comedy films in recent years.

        As for the taco commercial, I barely remember it, very funny! It just kept building when you thought it had reached its limit, hilarious!

      • TheRarestPatriot says:

        Oh Idiocracy…one of my top ten movies…LMAO

        • Khirad says:

          I thought I was the only one who made Idiocracy references!

          Seriously, it could be mistaken as stupid, but it is brilliant on a certain level. And perfectly compliments this article.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          But geez, Rarest, it’s pretty funny but doesn’t it seem true?

          • TheRarestPatriot says:

            That’s why it’s one of my top favs…
            It’s not a blockbuster, of course…it’s a crazy comment on our society and a brilliant B-Movie. We will look back on this film and declare it non-fiction history….LOL


    Leave your Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.


    Back to top
    PlanetPOV Tweets
    Ongoing Stories
    Features