Tuesday, September 27

You doctors have been telling us to drink 8 cups of gravy a day.

So this is an article from some idiot at the new york times about fast food. I wrote a big thing about how stupid it was on her wall, so here it is for the blog audience.

Spoiler, this article is completely stupid. What a stupid, stupid article, on so many different yet stupid levels. First off
this article purports to be about people who are on a budget, but then the author goes on an extravagant spending spree at McDonald's and claims it's not cheap at all. What's cheap at McDonald's is their dollar menu I've eaten off of it many times. It is extremely cheap, a 200 pound man like me can eat a very full meal for $3. Don't tell me it costs 28 dollars to feed a family of 4 at McDonald's, that just a lie. Yes you could spend that much, but if the point is that good food is just as cheap as junk food, then you need to compare it to cheap junk food, not expensive junk food. This is a completely straw man, and completely delegitimizes the entire article right off the bat.

Second, Comparing food to alcohol is a false analogy. Food has a primary purpose which is to keep us alive, alcohol's purpose is purely pleasurable, people drink it because they enjoy it. For some (me) who drink it mostly for the alcohol content we do in fact judge alcohol based on the price per alcohol content (also with some weight given to taste and calories.) For those who drink not so much for intoxication but for flavor, that takes precedence. There is no point in them pay money for grain alcohol which they will not derive pleasure from because their goal wasn't to get drunk. Also grain alcohol is not even the cheapest way to get drunk, cheap vodka and box wine is. Something i was already pretty sure of, but took me all of 30 seconds to check on the internet. Way to do your homework new york times writer, i guess actually fact checking his claims just wasn't worth 30 seconds to him. Delegitimized number 2.

And then as if that wasn't enough author goes on to admit (perhaps to missed it alexandra) that junk food is cheaper than other food, but he chooses not to recognize this fact because people have enough food already. If you are measuring how expensive food is, the only way to measure it is based off of the number of calories, not some fictional notion of how much it takes to be a meal (apparently a lot if your at McDonald's but much less if it's real home cooked food.) Thus the author dismisses objective factual proof that contradicts his thesis and relies only on his own opinion to prove that he is correct. In fact the only other piece of hard evidence he points out again contradicts his thesis. Fresh produce has gone up in price by 40% well junk food has fallen by 30%. Despite his assertion that broccoli is cheaper than chips we are given zero evidence of this and forced to rely entirely on trust that he must be right. which makes sense i guess given how right he is about everything else in the article. Delegitimized number 3

And finally he completely ignores all the other problems some people might have with cooking the food he so much prefers. Yes it might be cheaper to cook a chicken for you family, if you have a working stove, if you have a working refridgerator, if you have someone at home who can put the chicken in the oven so it's ready in time for dinner. Many of the things he wants will require upfront purchases of pots/pans (which also have to be cleaned afterwards.) A bag of chips you can just eat any time, it doesn't need a fridge, it doesn't a stove or cleaning. Ditto fast food restaurants. He contends that because people watch an 1 and a half of television a day they must all have time to cook dinner. What terribly stupid assumption, the one has nothing to do with the other. If i'm a single mother, i get off of work at 5 get home at 5:30 and have hungry kids i need to feed them soon. So i take them to McDonalds or give them something processed from the super market (frozen pizza, etc.) and then after dinner i watch tv for an hour and a half. So that means that in the authors world i should have started preparing the chicken and made the kids weight until 8 in order to eat dinner. Obviously this makes no sense. Delegitimized number4.

And finally he never writes anything about the true nature of food costs. Carbs, and fat are cheap and high an calories leaving children full on the cheap. Vegetables, fruits and low fat meats are expensive on top of which children don't want them (especially vegetables) leaving children irritated, and not full while spending more money. You can have cheap home made meals if they consist mostly of carbs like rice/pasta/potatoes, which are all dirt cheap. People have also been eating said carbs in huge amounts, maybe because the government told us, maybe just as a coincidence. In either way that's what led to the fattening of america. The more meat and vegetables you start trying to add in the pricier it gets. Especially vegetables which don't do nearly as much to leave someone feeling full as carbs or protein (at least in my experience. This doesn't really delegtimize what the author wrote, just makes it pointless since he completely ignors the real costs of food.

In conclusion i actually agree with some of what he thinks, but everything he wrote is just awful. The fact that he gets paid to write something so full of poorly thought out arguments and logical fallacies boggles the mind. I guess thus ends the rant.


Blogger Aras said...

Did the author reply to you?

7:41 AM  

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