Friday, 30 April 2010

Netmums, Food Denormalisation, And The 'N' Word

I wonder if Simon Hoggart has begun to understand what denormalisation means yet?

If not, he's not keeping his arrogant ear to the ground. Because it's all around us. Every day.

A vending machine which dispenses hot chips is being removed from a Hull sports centre amid concerns about its implications for people's health.

Cathy Cort, from the parenting group Netmums, said the concept was "revolting" and called for healthier food in leisure centres.
Revolting? Chips? I've always been rather fond of them myself.

And considering one of the great British dishes, fish and chips, has just celebrated its 150th anniversary I'm not only not alone, but haven't been for a century and a half.

Yes, I'm merely straw manning, of course she wasn't saying that chips themselves are revolting, merely the 'concept' of selling them somewhere other than a fish shop. Not a lot to ask, is it?

Well actually, if you think about it, it is.

She said: "We need as a nation to eat healthier than we do but we do not want to ban everything because that will not solve the issue. What we need is a choice. Parents don't want to be food fascists."
Firstly, Cathy, we need as a nation to eat what we choose to eat, not what is dictated to us by others. We do, we are always told, live in a free country. D'you see?

Secondly, it wasn't 'food libertarians' who made the leisure centre remove 'choice' from those who wished to purchase chips. In this instance, the issue was 'solved' by those who want to ban the choices of others.

"They still want to treat their children after they've been exercising but with a smaller chocolate bar or healthier baked crisps rather than the king-size options that are in the vending machines."
I beg to differ. If parents wanted exactly what you say they want, such machines wouldn't last long before being taken away without the need for a single complaint. They would be uneconomical to keep.

Just the fact that you are making such generalisations to sway others into removing options with which many would be quite happy, proves that you are, I dunno, a food fascist, maybe?

And it looks like you have your wish.

Alison Walker, Hull City Council's assistant head of arts and leisure, said [...] "The machine at Albert Avenue is being removed in the next few days and we will not be trialling it at other locations. We are currently reviewing what we sell at all of our leisure sites to look at how we can strike the right balance between healthy options and customer demand."
What balance? If customer demand is for 'healthy options', then that is what would be stocked, but that's evidently not the case.

A Netmums survey showed that 40% of leisure centre vending machines only offered "unhealthy snacks".
Perhaps that could be because they are popular; that parents are happy to treat their kids with them; and that they are making their choice in a free society. No?

Which kinda goes against everything that Cathy was saying earlier about what parents want.

I think Cathy was getting confused between choice and what interfering prodnoses would like to inflict on the choices of others.

Chips are OK, but not in the setting of anywhere but a chip shop (they're automatically evil in Maccy D's). Such a choice must be deemed abnormal and be frowned upon, even when the quite obvious result will be that those who want chips will just pop past the nearest chippy on the way home instead.

No. The Netmums message doesn't seem to be anything about health, really, because if the products on offer aren't satisfactory they can simply go elsewhere or bring their own. Instead, I reckon it's a pester power thing. Netmums don't want to have to say no to their kids.

Such a small word, but one which so many parents feel quite incapable of uttering. So therefore everyone must have their choices reduced to avoid ever upsetting their little darlings with the 'n' word.

Of course, politicians will fall for it, they always do, and legislation will surely follow soon. It's like throwing feathers against a brick wall with these dickheads.


George said...

Surely potato and vegetable oil are part of my 5 a day.

nbc said...

Sorry George but potatoes do not count towards one's five-a-day.

They're evil.

George said...

Damn, next your be saying neither does Stella

Dick Puddlecote said...

Or vinegar! ;-)

Mark Wadsworth said...

I f***ing love chips, me.

As George says, they are carbohydrate, a bit of roughage and a smidge of Vitamin C, with oil. Potatoes can be grown in the UK, so no food miles, they are vegetarian (unless you fry them in animal fat) and so they are about as healthy as you can get.

@ nbc, they missed the most important five-a-day off the list, i.e. four pints of lager and a packet of fags.

WV: ovene

Anonymous said...

"Healthy living in Hull"

I hope someone is not extracting the Michael with that Linda McCartney and Jamie Oliver sponsored dredger full of
seagull shit.
The silly sow health freakette wants locking in the seamans hostel for a night and when she 's well stuffed,cobbing into the Humber.
Will no one rid us of these

Crinkled cut with extra mayonaise

Paul said...

Why don't they just fuckity fuck off?!

I wouldn't buy chips from a leisure centre but then I wouldn't be seen dead in one. There's more than enough opportunity to exercise for free.

I've had enough of this rubbish today, what with my local landlord advocating price controls on beer. It's that kind of talk that will kill pubs.

JuliaM said...

Hmm, isn't 'Netmums' one of those ghastly middle-class organisations, supposedly run by ordinary mums for ordinary mums?

I guess these chaps are fixated on quite the wrong target then!

But this aside, this is a classic illustration of why we have so much trouble with the NuPuritans in this country. There are far, far more of them that we ever think...

JuliaM said...

"@ nbc, they missed the most important five-a-day off the list, i.e. four pints of lager and a packet of fags."

No crisps..? ;)

Sam Duncan said...

Anyone who talks of doing something “as a nation” that isn't defending ourselves against foreign invasion is sailing pretty damned close to fascism already.