Anyone who stumbles upon the li'l ol' blog here this week could be forgiven for assuming that we're all NYC, all the time here at Cynical Nymph headquarters.
But I figured this is on-topic, so it bears opining over. Today NYC's Board of Health passed our mayor's proposed ban on "sugary drinks" over 16 ounces
You already know how I feel about Bloomberg's "let's post all the calories at chain restaurants!" rule, which effectively prevents me from eating at any kind of chain unless I'm having a really super great day. (Refresher: I think it sucks.)
Let's take a look at some of the specifics of the ban's coverages and exemptions:
- LOL. "The restrictions would not affect... alcoholic beverages." Well, fantastic then, I can definitely see that this is about health if I can still go down to the German biergarten and order a boot of beer. Everyone needs boots of beer. Thank goodness I can still buy it in two-litre servings.
- You'll still be able to buy Big Gulps the size of an infant's torso at 7-Eleven. DOUBLE LOL. Also exempt are fruit juices, dairy-based drinks (including milkshakes), and one presumes malts, egg cremes, etc. So go on and get ya that extra large milkshake at McDonald's (assuming those are dairy-based?) or Frappuccino, because if it's 50% dairy, you're good.
- This article does answer one of the questions that the husband and I covered earlier this month: The movie theater (or Subway, etc.) won't be able to sell over 16 ounces of any fountain soda, even if sugar-free. ... But I can still go right to a vending machine just down the stairs from my movie theater's concession stand, and buy numerous full-sugar sodas from THAT. (Who drinks that much soda at the movies? It's the people I glare daggers at when they get up to pee in the middle of a compelling scene, isn't it?)
Which leads me to my knee-jerk reactions to the passage of this ban:
Personally, I don't get the appeal of a ginormous drink, sugary or not. So this one, unlike the calorie-posting one, doesn't affect me much. But that's just me.
I would not presume to tell someone what to consume or not consume, unless it were putting someone other than them in danger. (See: NYC's ban on smoking in bars/restaurants, which is just dandy in my opinion.)
However, it's not the "freedom of choice" angle that I take issue with here. I find the collective freakout of the soft drink industry silly, and transparent in its motivations. I mean, come on.
It's that the Bloomberg administration plays into "health, health, health!" in such limited, shame-based ways.
I'd have so much more respect for something like this ban if it went hand in hand with honest-to-goodness prioritizing of public health insofar as things like access to safe and healthy food and body spaces, quality healthcare, solid and up-to-date education, are concerned.
Especially that last part. Especially.