Show Some Class

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Some people have no fetching, as my Hot Mom used to say.

This ad is being displayed in the Metro public transportation system in Washington, DC, and is being paid for by the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. The ad is intended to bring attention to the lack of vegan and vegetarian school lunch choices. The group wants Congress to provide this option when the Child Nutrition Act comes up for re reauthorization in October, and they believe this ad will bring awareness of this issue to lawmakers.

It's bringing awareness, all right. The White House has noticed, and is not pleased that the organization is attempting to use the President's daughters as leverage for their campaign. And the White House isn't the only one who looks askance at this sort of thing. My own first thought upon seeing this ad was to wonder if the same strategy would have been used if Sasha and Malia had been white. I'm quite sure the PCRM didn't intend for their ad to be perceived as exploiting the President's ethnicity, but that's certainly how I took it.

In this country, the cultural norm of making the President's children "off-limits" is pretty strong, regardless of their skin color. There's a reason the norm exists - because the children of the CINC are not in any way responsible for the Administration's decisions and policies, and it's tough enough to live in the White House fish bowl without people trying to use you to score political points or get their own way on some issue. Leaving them alone is the DECENT THING TO DO and using children to accomplish your own ends is BAD FORM. A point that the PCRM has apparently missed. While the ad isn't a personal attack on the President's daughters, it certainly attempts to leverage their privilege to affect the change the sponsors desire.

Now, I'm not saying that a revision of the Child Nutrition Act isn't in kids' best interests. I don't really know, as I haven't looked into it. But I can assure you that this ad makes me less inclined to give a rat's ass rather than more.

Get a clue, PCRM, and go bitch-slap your mom for failing to fetch you up right.

10 comments:

mfheadcase said...

Also, there is the fact that vegetarian and vegan school lunches would NOT be inherently more healthy. And i say this as someone who has been a vegetarian for 15 years.

There is also the fact that growing kids need more protein than adults, as much as most end up getting in the excessively meat based average American diet? Probably not. But quite possibly more than can easily be provided in a Vegan diet.

Especially if the vegetarian choices break down to what i usually end up seeing, salads made with iceberg lettuce.

And let's face it, we are talking about public schools here. If the adminstrators have the choice between doing something right, or doing the absolute minimum required and siphoning off the extra budget for what really matters, sports, iceberg fucking lettuce it is.
(this may be cynicism based on bad local schools but based on reading about anywhere outside the richest areas of the country, i fear my own experiences are the norm.)

Steve Buchheit said...

That would be the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who is responsible for the ad.

mom in northern said...

What do you mean...
"used to say"...

I STILL say and you are right on with this one.

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks, Steve. I've made the correction.

Nathan said...

Not to point out the obvious, but the ad doesn't even reference the fact that they're talking about vegetarian and vegan meals (I'm assuming you found that on their website).

The ad infers the pictured child doesn't get school lunch at all since she's not privileged like the president's children.

It's a pretty reprehensible ad no matter how you look at it.

Eric said...

...and aren't the President's children in a private school? It's not that I think public school kids should get less--quite the opposite. But this could just as easily be an ad for school vouchers, if you see what I'm saying.

It just fails on so many scores it's not even funny.

John the Scientist said...

MFHeadcase beat me to it about the disconnect between healthy and vegan for growing kids, although I'm pretty sure PB&J is vegan, and it's on the menu every day at my kid's school.

Not to mention that even at reduced lunch prices, it's still cheaper to pack your kid's lunch if they're eating a PB&J.

mfheadcase said...

Nathan, the vegetarian/vegan thing is mentioned in Janiece's original post, the Washingto Post Article :

"Within 24 hours of the signs' appearance, the White House asked the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to take down the ads, which feature Jasmine Messiah, a vegetarian who attends a Miami-Dade County public school that, she says, offers no vegetarian or vegan lunch options."

And it is all over the organization's website. http://www.pcrm.org/

Though i can also see your point in referencing only the ad directly. The ad is all that 90% of people will see of the issue. and many wold take away the impression you suggested.

But the entire organization seems to be about spreading FUD about meat than encouraging facts, so that may well be deliberate.

Jeri said...

And - also - how can an 8 year old form a personal opinion about vegetarian vs. omivorous eating habits? At that age they're simply mimicking what they hear at home - and while schools ought to respect parents wishes, there's a limit to that. See, for instance, prayer in schools. ;)

Random Michelle K said...

Jeri, I have to disagree with you.

My doc's daughter decided at a relatively young age that she did not want to eat anything "with a face." As a doc, he was very concerned about her diet, but he couldn't really force the issue.

She still doesn't eat anything with a face, and he says he still harasses her about her diet, but, a parent can do only so much, even if they're a doctor.