Nothing underscores the complexity of human reasoning more than the public’s desire to behave in self-destructive ways. From booze and cigarettes to fast food and assault rifles, we love things that do us harm.
There is no shortage of companies out there willing to sell the public the tools we need to reverse the very survival instincts that made us into social beings in the first place. So we understand how important it is for the positive influences in our lives to win the PR war for our very hearts, minds and cellular dependencies.
But you know what the human race also needs to survive this complex and challenging quest called life? A sense of humor. So we’re a bit conflicted over Taco Bell’s decision to pull an ad after receiving political pressure from The Center for Science in the Public Interest. What was Taco Bell’s horrible transgression? They compared bringing a veggie tray to a football party to “punting on fourth and one.” (See, that’s pretty funny. Extra credit to Taco Bell for running with the metaphor.)
Telling Americans they can’t make fun of vegetables is like telling North Koreans they can’t make fun of their government. Oh, wait. Do we really want to have that sort of relationship with broccoli? No way. It’s hard enough for parents out there to convince their children that vegetables are cool–and nothing is less cool than lacking a sense of humor.
Yet the funniest aspect of this situation is a fast food brand trying to sell unhealthy products to people obsessing over athletes who are the very pinnacle of health (except for the whole traumatic brain injury thing). The public isn’t stupid; we know that marketing isn’t reality and that most athletes don’t eat Taco Bell on anything approaching a regular basis.
We also know that bringing vegetables to a football party, particularly a Super Bowl party, wouldn’t make you any less of a football fan than the guy who showed up with a bucket of chicken wings. In fact, it would make you more of an athlete.
The Center for Science and Public Interests should remember that a sense of humor is critical to being healthy; it’s like spinach for the soul.