Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rant on America

This may make me unpopular, but I don't care.

Most of you know that I spent the majority of my life growing up overseas in third world countries. I loved living overseas and was often embarrassed by the arrogance of Americans from the world perspective. Where most Americans believe the U.S. is something of a savior, helping less fortunate countries and spreading the words of democracy, many countries see the States as cocky, overweight, and lazy by culture.

However this is not my rant. Every culture has its quirks. You either love them or hate them, stand up for them or against them. It's the way the world works. But nothing, NOTHING, disgusts me more than America's penchant for wastefulness. I'm not talking fuel or energy, though surely a case can be made, but of food.

Turn on the television and you see advertisements for food products. Food for those commercials are coated with shellac and inedible. Not just for one take, but for ever single take. If an actor takes a bite, multiply that by the number of takes that individual had, the food on the side waiting for an additional take, etc. Think of that exact droplet of ketchup they needed and how many burgers melted under the light requiring another one to replace it.

That's minor. What really pisses me off is when reality shows or television sitcoms have pies in the face, food fights, food wrestling, fish flinging, or eating competitions which completely obliterate the actual use of the food.

Okay, so I know that the producers pay for those things, but let's get real. How many countries would gladly take even though scraps, would humble themselves for food personalities have rolled around in, just to have SOMETHING to eat that day. Something for their children to eat. It makes me ill to see how callous we are.

We Americans are great at talking about issues. But we never act on them. When I lived in Indonesia it was a fortunate family of nine that had even $10 dollars to feed the family for a week. That would have been wealthy. In Brazil, we provided meals to those who worked for us though it wasn't expected, and it was considered generous to have an endless pot of rice and beans.

But Big Brother does mash potato and gravy maze contests, pudding wrestling. It's a common joke in television or movie or even state fairs to have "stuff your face" contests or food fights. And folks, here, we find it FUNNY. We find squandering critical resources FUNNY when there are entire nations which starve.

I have no solution to this. It's rampant and it's disgusting, shallow, petulant, and idiotic.


  1. Kelly! I agree with you a hundred percent!

    The most hated scenes by me in Hollywood movie slapstick comedies are the one where they have 'food flinging fight' & I feel exactly the same as you do!

    When I was in States, I saw so much food going to waste in the stores & I was thinking how fortunate our people would be to have even half of that!

    Every grain ,takes ages & pain to sprout! One must respect food, lest it be taken away by Existence!

  2. i get really bothered by the use of food as a toy too. i've seen and worked with far too many truly hungry and malnourished people to find this entertaining.

  3. I don't like buffets... after a certain amount of time the food is thrown away. And people at buffets eat as though they won't be eating again in their lifetime.

  4. Great rant and well founded. I also have spent time in countries where food was scarce and to see so much waste on our part is just sickening...

  5. It is! Most people don't even see it anymore. Comedians joke about it, Hollywood exploits it. There was an organization which collected food daily from movie sets to redistribute to shelters, but that's not even a percent of the waste.

    We Americans want so badly to be taken seriously and seen as this mighty power, yet what is displayed is callous wastefulness, rudeness, laziness, and arrogance. We don't even take care of our elderly, as a practise. What of their food needs after they've raised you? I'm getting side tracked but there's so much to say about this.

    I don't understand how we can plead for 20 cents a day to feed starving children (in which 18 goes to administrative costs) and then in the very next ad segment or television show, toss food around. Talk about disrespectful!

    Even in our country there are those who find their meals from dumpsters. There are cans of food on our shelves left unopened and bread molds from lack of use. Children "get bored" of the same three cereals. But in places like Indonesia, noodles and rice are daily staples every single day. And a stray cooking fire can burn down the entire lean-to neighborhood, and they bathe in dirty stream water from which they also drink and wash clothes.

    It truly sickens me.

  6. Kelly, you're absolutely correct. We Americans are wasteful of so many things! Even without the food on TV shows going uneaten--think about the essentially wasted food going into most of our stomachs: giant portions at restaurants, eating something just because it's there, or simply out of boredom.

    "Food insecurity" as it's called these days, is a growing problem even within the USA--seniors on fixed incomes, people working two or three jobs and still have to decide between rent or groceries, children who get their biggest meal of the day at school (and often go hungry over the summer).

    I'm not sure there's anything we can do about the wastefulness of the movies, TV, or advertising, but we can do small things to help our neighbors, no matter where they live.

  7. Elissa, I hadn't even touched on that. Well done. You've got it exactly. Most often when we go out, I wind up with a bowl of soup or an appetizer and if an appetizer, I still go home with a box! That's how much food their is. I'm a big girl too, so if I can't eat a portion, geez, folks, there's just waaaay too much on those plates.

    I had a friend who would thaw out a chicken, decide to eat out instead, forget about the chicken in the fridge and toss it a couple days later!!! That was insane to me.


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