Ban burgers for healthier and cleaner America - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Ban burgers for healthier and cleaner America

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Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 7:29 pm

May is “National Hamburger Month,” an annual “tradition” that began 18 years ago when White Castle, purveyor of small, tasty, high-calorie burgers, initiated it.

It should be “Ban the Burger Month” instead.

It figures that a capitalistic organization would promote such a thing. According to, White Castle, in 1921, was the first to introduce the mass distribution of the burger. The concept was an immediate hit.

By the ’30s, Americans were getting too fat and lazy to get out of their cars to order their burgers. Greedy corporations created the drive-in burger joint to exploit them.

In the late ’30s, fat, lazy Americans began demanding bigger burgers. Bob’s Big Boy took advantage by introducing the first double-patty burger.

But it was during the postwar years, when Americans had expendable dough, that burger makers would really begin exploiting Americans.

In 1948, the first McDonald’s opened — and the modern fast-food era was born. To fuel the American addiction to fast, high-calorie burgers, McDonald’s opened joints across the country like some kind of roadside litter.

Thanks to corporate exploitation, hamburgers now account for nearly 60 percent of all sandwiches eaten.

But rather than celebrate the burger every May, we must do the opposite: give the highly-educated, caring people who run our federal government the power, through a nationwide burger ban, to protect us from exploitive corporate interests.

Americans are among the fattest people on Earth. This is largely because the fast-food hamburger is little more than a high-calorie injection system.

Now that the federal government has assumed regulatory command over America’s health care — now that federal money will be used to subsidize it — the government has every right to limit behavior that will increase health care costs.

The government must also ban any advertising and/or media programming that seeks to promote, and/or profit from, America’s lingering obsession with the burger.

Further, the Federal Communications Commission must censor television shows, such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Man vs. Food.” In the former show, host Guy Fieri exploits the reckless calorie consumption of average-intelligence Americans who, when they are not clinging to their guns and their religion, are stuffing their gullets at the local diner. In the latter, host Adam Richman travels the country to participate in grotesque contests to see who can consume the most high-calorie comfort foods. Both food opportunists are tantamount to food pornographers.

Banning and censoring American burger-mill operations, however, is only part of the solution.

The government must also ban the American pastime of freely grilling burgers, and the flesh of other dead animals, on backyard barbecues — all of which emit carcinogens and other harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.

I know it is difficult for Americans of average intelligence to comprehend, but a federal ban on burger consumption is what is best for them.

It will reduce calorie consumption, reduce federal health care expenditures and protect the environment. It will result in less cow grazing, which will minimize cow flatulence, a menace to hundreds who deserve the right to an odorless countryside drive in their electric cars on Sundays.

In a truly progressive society, May must become Ban the Burger Month instead.

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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