February 14’s article, State Inspectors Searching Children’s Lunch Boxes, made several rounds through my facebook feed. The idea, I must say, does wreak of heavy-handed socialism.
We all sort of know where the problem came from: snack food companies targeting their marketing efforts at kids, for generations.
Coke, for example, has realized great profits by creating an association between their product and world peace, good times, coolness, etc. And of course Cheetos, McDonald’s, and all the rest, it’s no wonder that kids opt for a small bag of potato chips and a Sprite rather than an apple and a grape juice (which doesn’t even sound exciting). In a unicorn-happy world these companies would prioritize ethics and health rather than profit.
Let’s have a small lesson: what’s the difference between marketing and hyper-marketing?
I made some shoes; they have good arch support.
I made some shoes; they have good arch support; girls will take your pants off.
Hyper-marketing is at the core of hyper-consumerism (which is at the core of pop-culture, which is at the core of pop-politics … oh, and obesity).
Our very-free American marketplace fosters hyper-marketing, even though it has the ability to do so much damage. In a perfect world, average people would be insightful and strong-willed enough to resist the messages of corporate America. But keep in mind that the marketing agencies employ sociologists and psychologists to customize messages for various consumer sub-groups, and they work to build messages that are irresistible.
Now kids are getting so unhealthy that they are coming down with diabetes in their youth. Lawmakers, afraid to touch corporate America, are instead trying to fix their mess by regulating people’s behaviors: corporate America gets a free pass, we get regulated. And, remember, if we don’t get the oversight, we end up fat and costly to the insurance companies and the system in general. We cannot be allowed to get so fat.
So what to do?
A – regulate the marketplace (don’t brainwash my kids, I wont brainwash yours).
B – regulate the people