The Moment of Truth — March 27, 1999

Hershey Park, Pregnant In Prison

Hello, and welcome to the Moment of Truth, your window out of the concrete bunker that capitalist media has built to imprison the American psyche.

First of all, lemme say to Madison Avenue that no one cares if Mrs Butterworth talks to kids or adults or animals or only to other condiments. The commercials suck, they’re moronic, and in my opinion the product is crap. If you want syrup, real maple syrup costs more but it’s worth it. And maple syrup doesn’t have stupid crappy commercials. And if it did, the commercial would have something, at least an iota, a particle of relevance to the virtues of the product. So to the ad writers of the stupid Mrs Butterworth commercials, I say, you suck, your commercials suck, and in my opinion the product tastes like it has pee in it. A public service announcement from the Moment of Truth.

Second, but still in the consumer product relations vein, I want to start a rumor. I want to see what kind of pop culture influence this show has, if any. I’m assuming it has none.

Some of you may be old enough to remember a little fast food chain called Kentucky Fried Chicken. They decided to change their name to KFC, since that’s what many of the people who ate there called it. I’m not sure if that was also the reasoning that led International House of Pancakes to change its name to IHOP or not, but I do know that on the extremely inappropriate end of the spectrum of companies adopting slang names for their products, White Castle for a while decided to call their hamburgers Sliders. "We know you call them Sliders," they said in some of their ads. That ad campaign didn’t really work out for them, for obvious reasons.

The rumor I want to start is this: an example of the White Castle phenomenon gone horribly over the top: In Hershey, Pennsylvania, the famous chocolate bar company is opening a theme water park. All the water in the water park is going to be dyed the color of chocolate syrup. It’s not really evident whether the Hershey company is aware of the disgusting association with scatological fluids, or if they’re in fact trying to embrace that association, but they’ve shown enough restraint that the term Hershey Squirt doesn’t appear in any of their press releases. Nevertheless, with all this brown water flowing and spraying and splashing, basically it’s gonna be a diarrhea park. And the most disgusting thing?

The log ride.

So that’s the stupid rumor I’m starting. You heard it here first on the Moment of Truth.

In other news, Republicans in Congress this week fought hard but mostly lost a battle to prohibit HMO customers from suing their HMOs. See, what the Republicans think is fair is, if your HMO tells your doctor, "No, surgery is too expensive for that gangrenous arm. Just give the patient some placebos made of pressed chalk and recycled paper or you, doctor, will be fired," and as a result of the HMO’s bad medical advice the patient loses an arm that could otherwise have been saved – the Republicans in Congress think it would be fair if it were against the law for that patient to take his or her HMO to court. Seems perfectly logical to deny the constitutional right to use the legal system to patients of HMOs, doesn’t it? I mean, we already deny those rights, along with other constitutional rights, to poor people, why not deny them to those who have been mutilated or the families of those who have died in the name of fiscal responsibility?

Anyway, the Republicans lost, though there will be limits to the ability of destroyed human beings to request redress from the organizations that destroyed them. What a country!

Also on the legislative rights-curtailing front: The Republicans in the Illinois legislature lost a battle to revive what was once Henry Hyde’s favorite method of discriminating against the poor. A bill to deny government funding of abortions failed to get enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto. If it had past, it would’ve done what the Hyde Amendment was famous for doing: making abortions, which are legal, legal only for rich people. Poor people wouldn’t be allowed to have them.

In our society it seems logical. We deny poor people food, education, housing, transportation, property, in some cases the right to vote, and certainly the right to equal protection under the legal system. What I think we’re heading toward in regards to poor people and their reproductive rights is a national law that whenever a poor woman gets pregnant she gets instantly put into prison. That way the state can make sure that she doesn’t get an abortion, that she eats and drinks responsibly, and that she gets proper prenatal care – since we know that prisons are just incredibly luxurious these days – it’s purely coincidental that the rate of AIDS deaths in prison, especially among women, is exponentially higher than the national average. The great thing about this plan is that poor kids would be born in jail. No need to go out and arrest them! No need to go and arrest young feisty black men in numbers way out of proportion to the percentage they represent in society at large! They’d just be born right there in jail! And they’d stay there until the family could raise enough money to bail their little bundle of joy out of the slammer. It would free street cops to shoot more West African immigrants and to rape more Haitian immigrants with plunger handles.

A modest proposal from The Moment of Truth.

Next week we’ll look at Kosovo, comparing the social effects of the NATO bombing to those of the Bush Administration’s murderous invasion of Panama, and we’ll discuss England’s legal ruling on former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and the hypocrisy of those who criticize the attempt to try Pinochet, who point to Castro and say, "why not him?" but nevertheless oppose the empowerment of a world legal body to try all human rights violators under the same law. A system, by the way, that might have spared the Albanians of Kosovo a good deal of persecution.

Until then, it’s like we’re all on the Hershey’s log ride. I’m mejeffdorchen and this has been the Moment of Truth.