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Return of the Cheetos Kid.

by Dear Jon
June 18, 2002

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Sort 148_Dear Jon-Return of the Cheetos Kid. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

Do Cheetos qualify as a grain or dairy product?

Health Conshuss

Dear Huss,

The great thing about Cheetos is that you take care of two food groups at the same time, allowing you to eat twice as many without guilt.

The question now is whether Cheetos and other foods will come under the same restrictions of free speech that have been scathing the tobacco industry. It is in the news already that lawyers who fought “Big Tobacco” now want to target fast food and fatty foods because of the problem of obesity. It is not big news because we are asleep. No one can really imagine Coca-Cola and McDonalds’ advertisements being removed from the airwaves.

These crusaders for public health are well-intentioned people. It is their desire, in the words of the Constitution of the United States, to “promote the general welfare.” They have seen the ugly, painful, and expensive consequences of poor lifestyle choices. Obesity is a greater determinant for shortening a lifespan than is smoking, because being overweight is a component in so many problems. The effects of obesity are a huge and expensive burden on the health-care industry.

There are times when the general welfare, or “public good,” must trump individual choice. Our Constitution does an excellent of delineating what trumps what. The trump card for individual liberties is called the Bill of Rights. This is where our Founding Dead White Males drew the line to say, in these matters, individual choice trumps the public good.

These include: Freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice, freedom to own and carry weapons, protection from search and seizure of property, protection from wrongful imprisonment, and empowerment to vote. There is also, according to the Supreme Court, an implicit right to privacy stipulated in the Constitution. This trump card of rights and freedoms is a guarantee that the public, given to moods of hysterical outrage, will not become an oppressor of the individual. This is what makes the United States distinctive in the community of nations.

Obesity is a public health issue that results from the lousy lifestyle choices of the sedentary and the sated. Chips, burgers, and sodas are not a public health issue. The right to sell them is a matter of free speech, and the right to buy and eat them is a matter of privacy. The only suitable place that the Public Good can hold trump in this transaction, is by holding the seller to “truth in advertising” laws.

Those laws already exist. Gone are the days when cigarette hawkers billed their product as a means for relieving emphysema. Gone are the days when soda-pop was attributed with medical benefits. People know that too much food makes a person fat. No one who sells chips or burgers has ever said that their junk makes a person healthier...at least not for several decades.

I am overweight. As soon as I join a class-action lawsuit against the fast-food industry for my personal choices, though, I have surrendered responsibility for my actions. I might as well admit that I need my government to do all my thinking for me, because I am neither intelligent enough nor mature enough to choose for myself what happens in my Dining Room.


Dear Jon,

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Searching for cowboys

Dear Cow,

They all died from too much sun and too many cigarettes. You will see them again one day, in the only land of the free and home of the brave that still exists. When you get there, the ones not out on the range will be on the back porch, chewing tobacco and telling lies so huge and hare-brained St. Peter let them in and said, “God, You have GOT to hear THIS one!”


When the Beatles sang "All you need is love" do you really think they were talking about love?

Aged Romantic

Dear Roman,

In terms of “authorial intent” when it comes to Beatles lyrics, the person to ask is our Doctor In Residence, “Spin.” Perhaps you just got the online forms confused, or perhaps you wanted me to forward this. For advice on love, you have written to the right guy.

Love can be all that you need, or it can be other things that are all that you need. For example, a Dead White Male whose name I do not have the time to look up even though I am pretty sure he is Greek once said, “Give me a lever big enough and I can move the Earth.” All that guy needed, obviously, was a little spice in his life. Who wants to talk about engineering all the time?

All Teddy Roosevelt needed was a five-cent cigar and a war. Love did not get him up San Juan hill, now, did it? With a lever big enough he could have moved the hill, of course, but there were people in uniform shooting at him at the time, and he had people shooting back, which is a “war.”

All Neville Chamberlain needed was love, but what Hitler needed was a strait-jacket and a padded cell.

All that O.J. needed was Johnny.

All that Bill Clinton needed was an alibi. All that Monica Lewinski needed was a Drycleaner’s.

All I ever needed was a horse, a six-gun and a bag of Cheetos. All I got was the Cheetos.

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