Assuming the worst about the “common people”

This is something that both Mark Morford and Nate Silver do in their polemics against the KFC Double Down.  They don’t argue that eating one single Double Down, or even one a week, is gonna kill ya.  Silver even goes out of his way to point out that the idea’s nonsense:

At the margins, consuming one Double Down almost certainly isn’t as bad for you as a Triple Baconator, a Thickburger, or even a fully-loaded Chipotle burrito.

So what’s the problem?  They — and pretty much everyone else on the “OMG IT IZ TEH EBIL MEATWICH” side of the fence — assumes that Double Downs are all you’re gonna eat.  Morford comes right out and says it:

You convince the less educated and the gullible that they are wrong, that this crap is actually a good value for your family, nutritious and safe to feed to children, even as you manufacture all the flavors, smells and meat-like textures in a giant lab and sell truckloads of the crap to the poorer classes, until they get fat and sick and die.

Those “less educated and […] gullible […] poorer classes” simply don’t know any better than to eat whatever damn thing KFC puts in front of them.  Fortunately, Caring People like Mark Morford are around to think for the poor darlings.

Nate Silver isn’t that bad — if I flatter myself into thinking that he’s reading this, he’s probably rather offended by the comparison — but the “unhealthiness” metric he magicked up in his article assumes the same.  He comes up with a measure of “bad-for-you stuff” based on fat, sodium, and cholesterol, then normalizes it against calories.  His underlying assumption — which rises to the surface when he writes things like “the Double Down might leave you hankering for seconds” — is that if you eat one Double Down and still feel hungry, you’re probably going to eat another Double Down.  And then keep going for the rest of the day.

(We’ll leave aside the question of whether the Double Down really is bad for you, because I don’t feel like diluting this rant with a digression about the lipid hypothesis, glycemic load, and &c.)

Both Morford and Silver base their arguments on the presumption that anyone who eats anything they wrote about is likely to make the worst possible nutritional decisions.  They clamour on about how the Double Down provides one-quarter the mythical Average Male’s daily calories but one-half of his sodium intake, blithely assuming that everything else he eats will do the same.  The idea that I might eat a Double Down alongside a salad is rejected as absurd, because if I’m eating a Double Down I must be, by assumption, a dietary imbecile.

The self-righteous arrogance and the contempt for “common people” wafting up from their arguments is overpowering.


2 Responses to “Assuming the worst about the “common people””

  1. 1 Madrocketscientist
    April 20, 2010 at 10:58

    So these guys think people are too stupid to pick a healthy mean, but we should let them vote?

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anarchocapitalist agitprop

Be advised

I say fuck a lot



Statistics FTW


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