Wednesday, May 23, 2012

1021 Orwell in the Supermarket

1021 Orwell in the Supermarket

George Orwell has risen from the grave to take over the labels in your supermarket.  Not the nutrition labels, mind you.  Those get a federal once-over now and then and no one wants to run afoul of the FDA, not that there’s much risk of that.

It’s the front of the package labels that are getting so Orwellian they have to be classified as Tabloid Companions.

Here’s a bag of potato sticks with relatively little fat in it.  Nice.  Not bad tasting.  But it’s not exactly a “Vegetable Garden in a Snack” as the label tells you.  Some minor things like celery powder and ground tomato are ingredient numbers 325 and 487, right between the various preservatives.  And, yes, potato is high on the list and is a vegetable.  But really.

Then there are the strawberry ice pops which are “made with real fruit.”  And, yes they are … pears and some other things, but no strawberries.  Pears are real fruit.  They are ingredient 19 out of 23.  

There is a difference between “Natural ingredients” and “all natural ingredients.”

And there is no universally recognized standard for “organic.”

How do they load the white bread with whole grains and still make it white bread?

How do they get 8 grams of fiber in a “serving” when in earlier years they could barely squeeze in two? Wonder Bread and Sara Lee with whole grains doesn’t taste like sawdust.  But really.

What about those “farm raised” fish and “free range” eggs?

Then there’s the vegetable juice that tastes like fruit.    You drink that to get a dose (serving) of vegetables without tasting them.  You don’t like V8?  You’re a damn commie terrorist fascist.

Oh, and two of the touchy-feely brands, Morningstar Farms and the new agey Kashi?  They’re owned by Kellogg’s.  Nothing wrong with that but why hide it in the fine print?

Of course, the full Orwellization of the supermarket won’t take place until they sell pigs with only two feet.  But that day will come.

--Judge Glen Berman in New Brunswick NJ got it right when he sentenced Dharun Ravi to 30 days in jail and three years probation this week for posting his video of his college roommate in gay embrace.  The roommate, Tyler Clementi,  later committed suicide.  Berman points out there’s a difference between a hate crime and a bias crime and this was the latter.

--Why do the current owners of Chock Full O’Nuts coffee feel obligated to tell us in huge letters on the top of the can that there are no nuts in the grind?  After almost 90 years there’s no one left alive who needs to be told that.  It never did, and most coffee drinkers know that, too.

--The Germans, the Russians and the Chinese don’t share a lot culturally, but one thing they do share is wry, sarcastic humor as evidenced in this dialogue is which is real:
He:  I took a sleeping pill and I’m half dead... She:  So take a second pill.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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