Careful, Somebody May Hear You

The other day I was going through my regular routine, watching and reading the news, when I came across an interesting little story about Red Robin, a fast-food establishment that had recent-ly pulled an ad of theirs from television and their website almost before it had time to sink in. Their latest commercial talked about their new burgers, which sounded mouth-watering. At the end the person looks into the camera and whispers “We even have veggie burgers.”

I thought it was pretty funny, but apparently not everyone did. Vegans from around the globe, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), howled in disgust that the ad in question was discriminatory—really! I myself avoid a lot of fast foods, except a good cheese-burger (sorry folks—carnivore here), and I have nothing against vegans (though I admit PETA annoys me). But come on! Offended by a hamburger commercial? Please.

I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised; politically correctness is all the rage these days. You can’t say anything without offending somebody. Correctness has its place, such as when some idiot on national TV says something really stupid against people of color, women or gay people. But when you get offended by a hamburger, that is a little much. It got me thinking about other stuff that just makes you want to scream.

There is a town in New Hampshire where the local school committee wanted to ban dodgeball because teachers and some parents believe it promotes bullying. I can see that. But then, a few months later, an overwhelming majority of kids still wanted dodgeball and the school committee decided to keep it — with a caveat. The kids can still play dodgeball, but they can’t call it dodgeball. They suggest calling it softer names, like that changes anything. Dodgeball is dodge-ball, period.

Then there’s the eat-right crowd. Yes, eating right is healthy. But do they have to put so much pressure on kids? Every time a kid seems a little overweight, the obesity police come knocking and immediately the kid is labeled as a future heart-attack victim. They scare their poor parents to death by naming all these future diseases that could possibly happen to their child if they don’t lose weight. Then they go on their annoying anti-sugar campaigns and ban soda from here and candy from there, basically telling people how to eat. Mrs. Obama, we know you and your crowd are trying to do the right thing, but sometimes a little much is indeed a little much.

I run into people all the time that put all kinds of stress on themselves because they are a little overweight. In my opinion, stress kills quicker than being a little heavy does. Give people advice, but allow us to make are own choices. As for kids — yes, they all need to be healthy. But putting pressure on them and their parents is wrong. Being a kid alone is tough; the extra stress is not necessary. Allow them to be kids. There will be plenty of time to worry about other stuff.

–James Shearer

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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