- The Fat Soldier Svejk
As some of you may know, Jamie Oliver’s latest TV show, Food Revolution follows the intrepid Limey chef’s crusade to bring healthy eating options to the (statistically) most unhealthy town in America: Huntington, West Virginia.
Oliver’s first target is the the atrocious pre-fab mystery cafeteria school lunch and he soon discovers, to his dismay, that French fries are considered a vegetable by our government, students are not allowed to use utensils for fear of injury, and that a lot of kids do not know what a tomato is (seriously). To be fair, money is an issue for Huntington, and eating healthy can get pricey, but the resistance Oliver encounters is really kind of scary. But maybe he needs to appeal to something more than mere self-preservation; maybe he needs to appeal to the citizens of Huntington’s patriotism.
As reported by the AP yesterday, a group of retired army officers (“Mission: Readiness”) has taken up the same cause as Mr. Oliver but for wholly different reasons, as detailed in their manifesto, “Too Fat To Fight”—namely, the continuing strength of our military and our continued efforts at world domination. In a nutshell: Fat kids can’t pass the physical exam to get into the Army; a quarter of the population of kids is fat; ipso facto a quarter of the population of kids couldn’t possibly hack it in the army (which decreases our chances of taking over Canada by exactly 25%). The group has garnered the support of a few politicians and has even appeared before the Senate; a feat that Oliver hasn’t even come close to using just plain healthy living as his cause.
Per the AP:
“When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is “absolutely dependent” on reversing child obesity rates.
If this whole “we need healthy kids to die for us” approach works, maybe this same tactic might help sell the health care bill to more Americans, because if kids can’t get medical attention, how can they be healthy enough to die for their country in the desert somewhere?