Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When will pop become verboten?

I can remember the day when those “The Real Cost” television spots that portray cigarette smoking as a disgusting, vile and all-around grotesque habit would have been considered downright subversive.

Satchel avoided fried foods, should he lose the pop bottle?
It is the changing attitude of our society that those who smoke are now looked upon as weak-willed and spineless – otherwise they’d have no problem quitting something that is going to wind up rotting away their lungs.

NOW IN MY case, that is one habit I never managed to acquire. Something about the smell just always turned me off.

But I am a person who enjoys the occasional Coca-Cola. Or a 7-Up or Dr. Pepper from time to time.

I always suspected that too much in the way of carbonated beverages probably wasn’t good for one’s health. Then again, too much of any one thing isn’t good. Balance, and moderation, are the keys to truly taking care of oneself.

But I now wonder how long it will be before those vintage television spots of young people singing how they’d “like to buy the world a Coke” will seem as ridiculous and absurd as those old cigarette ads that purported to have medical doctors endorsing specific tobacco products.

THINK I’M KIDDING? My thought is reinforced by the fact that the people at City Hall are contemplating a penny-per-ounce tax hike on syrups and powders, along with canned and bottled drinks.

It used to be thought of as healthy and refreshing
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Illinois Restaurant Association is planning a lobbying effort against the tax hike – pointing out there already are two other taxes that apply to soft drinks.

Those include a 9 percent fountain drink tax on syrup and a 3 percent tax on cans and bottles.

The restaurant association contends that bolstering the cost of that 2-liter bottle of pop or can of Coke will wind up hurting sales to the point that people will wind up losing their jobs. Raising this tax to bolster municipal revenues will wind up doing greater harm to the economy – or so the association says.

The future of pop advertising?
WHICH STRIKES ME as being similar to the arguments that get made whenever a government entity decides it needs to raise money by raising the taxes on tobacco products – which already make the cost of buying a pack of cigarettes much higher in Chicago than anywhere else!

We hear how it is defeatist because raising the price of cigarettes will make them too expensive, and wind up backfiring against the level of revenue that is expected to be raised.

We also hear how we’d be doing society a greater favor by discouraging some people from smoking in the first place. Are we going to start hearing talk about how we’re bolstering the health of Chicagoans by making them want to drink something other than pop?

How long will it be before some people start claiming it is some sort of Constitutionally-protected Freedom of Expression (as in the First Amendment) to drink Coca-Cola without being told how bad it is for them?

OR IN THE case of some deluded people, their Pepsi Cola (which was just always too sweet for my own taste).

I realize the level of sugar that goes into a serving of pop can be fattening. Although I think the key to dealing with it is more exercise. Or perhaps more doses of ice-chilled water – which I’ll admit to personally enjoying just because I always feel like it helps to clean out my insides.

How long will it be before some advocacy group takes up the cause of carbonated beverages, depicting their drinkers as being some sort of rotting-away bumpkins who guzzle down too much “sodee?”

Or maybe they’ll dig one-time Pittsburgh Steeler “Mean Joe” Greene out of retirement to make a commercial where he denounces that day where he ever took that kid’s bottle of Coke?


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