Friday, September 14, 2012

What's in the daily news? I'll tell you what's in the daily news.

Name that musical.

Besides all the terrible attacks and deaths and things going on--honestly, I can't tell why flags are at half staff on any given day--I read a couple articles today that really rankled. So now you can read them and be rankled too. If you want to. No pressure.

The first one was titled (somewhat provocatively) "How To Buy a Daughter: Choosing the sex of your baby has become a multimillion-dollar industry." Bottom line, this is messed up, both as a concept and in the woman's individual story. People want so badly to have daughters that they will pay tens of thousands of dollars to try to get one. Okay, that's not great. A little eugenics-y, no? But the woman! Oh, my. So she keeps having boys. The last one she considers aborting just because it isn't a girl. Seriously? Seriously people? This is okay? "Oh, well, we'll just terminate our child because we can't paint the nursery pink and play pretty pretty princesses"? How nice it must feel to be THAT son.

Not that things are great for any of her sons, I'm guessing. You know they know, either having explicitly been told or just being around. Kids pick things up, figure stuff out. But surely you had to tell them! How else do you explain why mom and dad disappeared to California for a few days, then dad came back a few days before mom? That would be a pretty strange "vacation." How do you explain that mom (a nurse, who generally work 12-hour shifts) worked six days a week for over a year during and after her pregnancy--72 hours or more a week for months and months, and no doubt sleeping all day on her day off--so that she could pay for Dr. Frankenstein to pick her female embryos and implant them? How could those poor boys feel knowing that they rarely saw their mom, and certainly her not particularly well-rested when they did, because of all the money she spent trying to get a girl? Talk about second class citizens in your own home. It just disgusts me, really. All of her reasons for wanting a girl are so shallow and selfish. And newsflash? Boys can bake, sew, and do hair and makeup, too. Go fig.

The second article is about Nanny Bloomburg's soda ban. But not so much a soda ban as "we're going to make it inconvenient for you to get a large soda in these very specific places." Look, I enjoy soda, but I drink it, oh, maybe three times a month? And I have no need for bathtub-sized vessels. But I don't really think it's the government's place to say no. Sin tax, fine. Post calories on the menu, fine. None of that actually controls one's choices, they merely attempt to influence them. But honestly, the soda thing is ridiculous.

Also ridiculous is the last blurb, which argues that  the sodas bans "are not infringing on personal freedom, but helpful ways of making it easier for people to simply say 'No.'" Um, how can you choose to say no if there's no option to say yes? If you force someone to make the right decision, it isn't a decision at all. Of course, this same blurb also says that requiring them to post the calories on the menu resulted in customers buying 6 percent fewer calories at a Starbucks they studied. Six percent. Do you know what that means? It means instead of buying the 600 calorie chocolate chip muffin, they went for the blueberry at 564. I'd hardly consider six percent a rousing success. Regardless, at least they could still choose the extra whip cream if they wanted to.

So, that's what's been bugging me lately. Oh, and loan officers. I just looove when they get all snappish and rude in the conversation log, only to have been the one in the wrong the whole time. And do they ever follow up with, "oops, my mistake"? Of course not. People are just terrible, you guys. Just terrible.


  1. All of those things drive me crazy, too. And actually, I was listening to NPR the other day and heard them talking about a study that found posting calories in fast food restaurants was having no impact on people's purchases. If the Starbucks study is indicating otherwise, I'd guess there are other factors they're not sharing. The soda thing is ridiculous, and I also read recently that Bloomberg wants to institute some kind of policy that involves badgering women to breastfeed, not giving them formula at the hospital unless they ask for it, and giving them a "talking to" if they do ask for it. I don't know what is going on over there but the guy might be crazy.

    1. Perhaps the clientele at fast food restaurants already know what they want, while at Starbucks there's more flexibility. "Do I want a muffin or a bagel?" type thing. At any rate, 6% is not much, especially if there's a margin of error anyway...

      Breastfeeding advocacy doesn't bother me, as long as it's done appropriately. Considering that most hospitals seem to be in the formula manufacturers pockets and the significant health advantages of breastfeeding, I would actually very much prefer that hospitals only give formula on request, rather than having to forbid them to give it to your child (and them sometimes they do anyway) and then they still send you home with some, "just in case" you fail at breastfeeding. They're not withholding the option entirely, they're just re-prioritizing the offerings. Hospitals should be more in the business of improving health and less in the business of shilling products.

    2. I'm fine with that too; it's just the attitude behind it. I think it's pretty inappropriate for the state to be giving women a "talking to" when they ask for that formula. And to be honest, I kind of think breastfeeding advocacy is inappropriate in general.

      I'm personally a huge advocate of breastfeeding, and don't plan to use formula if I can avoid it. But the activism bothers me because it's essentially rooted in sexist ideas of women as babymakers whose own personal choices are less important than their capacity for producing children. I think if that weren't the case, the medical/health community would just say "breastfeeding provides the best nutritional value" and we'd leave it at that, the same way everyone knows that vegetables are obviously healthier than fast food, and yet there is no activist movement around telling parents what they should feed their eight-year-olds. It just isn't really appropriate to try and tell other women how they should go through the process of childbirth.

    3. Respectfully disagree. Anyway, if you think there's not activism around what you should feed your kids, you're not on the internet as much as I am.

  2. I'm with you all the way and I am wholly on the "people are stupid" bandwagon. There are individuals I know who are smart and critical and logical (you're one of those few) but people as a whole suck and I dislike them.
    And articles like these are the reason why I ignore the news as much as possible.


Be nice.