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May 02 2014

That human need to control their perceived inferiors

The Onion lampoons an attitude we’ve encountered here a few times before.

With her remarkable ability to determine exactly how others should be allocating their limited resources for food, local woman Carol Gaither is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on what poor people should and should not have in their grocery carts, sources said Thursday.

As verified by multiple eyewitness reports from supermarkets across the Northampton area, the real estate agent and mother of three is capable of scanning the contents of any low-income person’s basket and rapidly identifying those items which people like that don’t need to be buying, based on the products’ nutrition and cost. Additionally, Gaither, 48, is widely regarded as a leading expert in determining which groceries they would purchase instead if they had any common sense or restraint.

Creepy. How is it funny if there really are a lot of people out there like that?

27 comments

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  1. 1
    Rey Fox

    OMG! PZ did a blockquote fail!

  2. 2
    Brett McCoy

    Like MAD Magazine, sometimes the stuff The Onion publishes is barely a satire…

  3. 3
    A Masked Avenger

    ISTM this attitude is nearly universal. Conservatives like to dictate what poor people spend their grocery money on, especially if it’s paid for by welfare. Some liberals at least support asininity like Bloomberg’s laughable attempt to dictate the quantity of sugary drinks one consumes.

    Apart from a scant handful of people, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t judge others for making different choices then they would, conclude that they’re stupid, and express some sort of wish (idle or serious) that the other choice should be prohibited. Including myself: as a recovering right-winger and fundie, I’ve certainly done my share of wishing that others were forced to make intelligent choices–where, of course, I more or less set the standard for intelligent choices.

  4. 4
    A Masked Avenger

    Brett McCoy:

    Like MAD Magazine, sometimes the stuff The Onion publishes is barely a satire…

    Satire is essentially impossible in this world. Tom Lehrer once remarked, “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.” Obama’s peace prize, awarded before he had done anything noteworthy, seemingly awarded in some sort of hope that he would meet and exceed his campaign promises, is merely a footnote to remind us that satire is still next to impossible.

  5. 5
    blf

    Obama’s peace prize, awarded before he had done anything noteworthy…

    Not quite true: He’d kept the mad nuke-anything-anytime-anyreason McCain / Palin duo away from the button.

    And he wasn’t Cheney (or a Bush-alike), albeit that since most people aren’t, that probably isn’t why he was awarded the prize, other than as a huge sigh of relief.

  6. 6
    Louis

    Frankly I’ve never understood why poor people don’t just take some money out from their Swiss bank accounts. Or get one of their servants to do it. Personally, I think it’s because they’re lazy, feckless layabouts who have never known the sting of the lash and should be damned grateful to do a hard day’s work. I mourn the loss of the whipping post. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    I know how to not be poor, I inherited oodles from Papa. How these poor people lack the foresight to be created by being squirted between the correct sets of genitals I’ll never know. Parasites!

    Louis

  7. 7
    Louis

    Obama’s peace prize, awarded before he had done anything noteworthy…

    Hence why I am sure that years prize was awarded by the Brazilian Academy. After all it was a prize for no Bush….

    I’ll get me coat.

    Louis

  8. 8
    Nick Gotts

    Some liberals at least support asininity like Bloomberg’s laughable attempt to dictate the quantity of sugary drinks one consumes. – A Masked Avenger@3

    When you have to lie to make your “point”, it’s probably not worth making. What Bloomberg tried to do was limit portion size. There was absolutely no attempt to stop people buying as many portions as they wanted.

  9. 9
    blf

    I am sure that years prize was awarded by the Brazilian Academy. After all it was a prize for no Bush….

    You seen Mr Obama without his clothes on ?

  10. 10
    grumpyoldfart

    I knew a bloke who would get a food voucher from a charity and use it to buy big jars of coffee. Then he would go to a corner shop and swap the coffee for packets of cigarettes.

  11. 11
    Louis

    blf,

    Frequently. He goes to my Club.

    Louis

  12. 12
    rossthompson

    grumpyoldfart:

    I’m pretty sure the only reason food stamps exist, rather than just giving people money is so we know who to stigmatise for wanting the occansional indulgence.

  13. 13
    David Marjanović

    Obama’s peace prize, awarded before he had done anything noteworthy

    He had actually done a lot in negotiating nuclear disarmament agreements, something that doesn’t get into the media much now that the Cold War is over (…hoping Putin doesn’t restore it). But “prize for no Bush” isn’t entirely wrong either; the worldwide relief when Obama was elected was palpable.

    food stamps exist

    Only in America.

  14. 14
    twas brillig (stevem)

    What Bloomberg tried to do was limit portion size.

    Yes, after all; most people will empty their cup, no matter the size. To leave any amount in it, is just “wasteful”. The problem was that the “Big Gulp” was the only real option; either Big Gulp or Tiny Cup; same price for either.
    I always wondered how Burger King could offer “free refills” for every size. Seemed too easy to buy Small and refill it endlessly. And free straws, so you could share without getting cooties by putting your lips in the same spot on the same glass. Surely BK is the worker’s paradise, endless food for cheap!

  15. 15
    knowknot

    @10 grumpyoldfart

    I knew a bloke who would get a food voucher from a charity and use it to buy big jars of coffee. Then he would go to a corner shop and swap the coffee for packets of cigarettes.

    Since you’ve obviously been round the block…
    Do you also know the bloke who would get an enormous tax break from the government and use it to buy big jars of influence? Who would then go and swap the influence for further influence? (Or, things unrelated to the well being of the nation that made his wealth possible, like boats and stuff?)

  16. 16
    Nentuaby

    Nick Gotts:

    And that makes it any less a ridiculous act of paternalism?

  17. 17
    irisvanderpluym

    Shopping cart auditors almost universally express the PS (panty sniffer) gene as well: they lay claim to superior judgement regarding exactly what should enter and/or exit a person’s vagina, under what circumstances, and what the punishment should be for ignoring their dictates.

  18. 18
    mond

    @10 grumpyoldfart

    In a world where everyone is honest and wise then the abuse of systems intended to help those in need would never arise.

    However that is not the world in which we live. Anecdotes about the occasional abuse of welfare systems are very corrosive because they are a distraction from the real necessary good that they do.

    I am happy and willing to pay taxes towards welfare. Someday I may need it myself but I hope it never comes to that.
    If a small percentage of people getting a free ride allows the vast majority the help they need and deserve then that is a price society should be willing to pay.

  19. 19
    David Marjanović

    And that makes it any less a ridiculous act of paternalism?

    Yes. See comment 14.

  20. 20
    atheist

    @grumpyoldfart – 2 May 2014 at 10:02 am (UTC -5)

    I knew a bloke who would get a food voucher from a charity and use it to buy big jars of coffee. Then he would go to a corner shop and swap the coffee for packets of cigarettes.

    Certainly a clever hustle.

  21. 21
    atheist

    The really frightening thing about this attitude is that it is spreading throughout US & UK society, with libertarians & conservatives as it shock troops, but with many liberals as willing participants.

  22. 22
    Rachel Witherspoon

    Louis, if I were not already married, I’d ask you to marry me right this instant. Your comments have just made my day, absolutely spot on sir!

  23. 23
    RobertL

    A Masked Avenger @4 I believe the full quote was that Lehrer retired from satire, defeated, after Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize for bombing Cambodia.

  24. 24
    cactuswren

    @8, Nick Gotts:

    What Bloomberg tried to do was limit portion size. There was absolutely no attempt to stop people buying as many portions as they wanted.

    Well, I can see where it would be a little awkward to carry four sixteen-ounce soft-drink cups at a time. Not to mention a trifle embarrassing when someone casually asked “Who are all those for?” and one replied without thought, “They’re all for me!”

  25. 25
    vaiyt

    It’s not a surprise that “liberal” people get in on this silly game – many of them are all for welfare, but the thought of someone who doesn’t deseeeeeeeeerve it getting any help makes them cry. And they always reserve for themselves the ability and the authority to determine who deseeeeeeeeeeerves it or not.

    And that’s why we always end up with insufficient aid programs – liberals would rather let many starve to keep a few moochers out.

  26. 26
    The Countess

    @10 grumpyoldfart “I knew a bloke who would get a food voucher from a charity and use it to buy big jars of coffee. Then he would go to a corner shop and swap the coffee for packets of cigarettes.”

    I love how so many people “know someone” who supposedly takes advantage of the system because they are flies on the wall who see everything.

  27. 27
    clarkcox

    I knew a bloke who would get a food voucher from a charity and use it to buy big jars of coffee. Then he would go to a corner shop and swap the coffee for packets of cigarettes.

    So what?

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