Thursday, December 9, 2010

Food, Too, Is Involved in Our Unspeakable Oppression

I would like to take a brief moment to assure Amanda Marcotte of a few things she already knows connected with this towering instance of bullshit from 

... Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller, who appears to believe that poor people only eat one dinner a month.
Boyle decided to do an "investigation" into what he believes is a scandalous fact about food stamps, which is you can buy food with them. Boyle's investigative technique appears to have been to defraud the government by lying about his rent to get food stamps---he claimed to pay $1,375 in rent, when in fact his parents pay for it---and he got what he believes is a ridiculous $105 a month for food for a single man.

To prove how ridiculously high this is, he went to Whole Foods and spent $51.10 on a single meal.
I want to assure Amanda Marcotte that (a) this Boyle person is as stubbornly asinine as he seems; and (b) $105 is not a lot of money for an entire month in groceries, even for a single person, (c) let alone a month of groceries made up of $51 meals purchased at Whole Paycheck. And, by the way, (d) by the standards of stick-it-to-the-man-though-the-heavens-fall investigative journalism, proving your Little Point that the poor are overindulged by food stamps by blowing nearly half your monthly budget on a single meal is a massive, direct, full-frontal failure. But as we know from observing right-wing lunacy as it is nowadays practiced, its brazenly nonsensical character is what makes it powerful. Buckle in and feel the G's!

Moreover, (e) wingnuts do indeed dispute the value of nutrition. Many times -- too many -- I've actually had to argue with particular individuals I could but shan't name over the merits of including nutritional information on food sold in stores. (Many of these ideas come from this noxious mendacity factory.) Sadly, one of the enduring tenets of right-wing lore is that mandatory disclosure of nutritional information is a short, sharp step away from Stalinist purges. Force a soup maker to reveal the presence of potential allergens in a product, and soon enough we'll be subsisting (if at all!) on rat meat and rain water out in the forbidding, frigid wilds of the dark outer steppes.

Marcotte is also, sadly, dead on target with this:
I know it sounds weird to accuse conservatives of perpetuating nutrient denialism, i.e. the belief that people don’t need food to survive.  But there’s all sorts of subterranean wingnut beliefs that are passed around in email forwards, fundamentalist churches, and other social occasions that only come to the light of day when there’s a political conflict that brings them to the surface.
It does sound weird, but that's the state of things -- these subterranean nostrums are weird, and weird claims demand weird counterclaims.


Sean G said...

I had a friend on twitter who loved to retweet Michelle Malkin's insane New Black Panther Party BS, and other links to crazy ideas like "Obamacare will result in doctors being arrested for providing health care" and such. I couldn't take the assault on my intelligence, nor could I comprehend that these things are so widely spread and accepted. We think the crazy stuff we hear on the news is bad, but it's nothing compared to the real loony stuff that is spread under the radar. Like you, I am a little frightened of what might lay at the bottom of these hidden chains and forwards, or what frightening results might pop up from a particularly exploitative email address database.

Sheldon said...

It is common right-wing fare to believe that food-stamp recipients are really living high on the hog. I have heard more than once of tales of grocery baskets full of steaks and lobster.

I myself confess to being a little bit apalled with a grocery basket full of the cheapest soda-pop being purchased with food stamps. Yet if we restricted what they could buy with FS, then the right or ate least food industry lobbyists would cry "TOTALITARIANISM"!

Dale said...

@Sean, @Sheldon -- it's insane. We have a huge political movement dedicated to insanity in this country.

Sheldon said...

Here is my very socialist solution to foodstamps. The corporate food industry would hate it, so it must be good:

Everybody in society would get monthly vouchers for a ration of healthy and quality, but low cost food. Preferably non name brand food, and possibly subsidized organic, minimally processed, and bought directly from farmers and some companies from the govt. People would have the choice to use them or not. But poor people and smart people would use these vouchers.

And the reason everybody would receive the vouchers would be to undermine the resentment against people who really need the govt. support.

What do you think?