Cinema is rife with society-threatening villains wreaking havoc on New York City. Whether it’s Godzilla, King Kong, or a zombie-making virus, stock footage of Manhattanites fleeing in fear to escape the coverage is a film staple.
Thematically, the nation’s biggest city makes for a prime target, what with all the internationally known landmarks and whatnot. Symbolically, it represents America’s heart of commerce, ideas, and dreamers.
Inevitably, a hero enters to save the naked city from this previously invincible scourge. He saves the day, gets the girl, and an Explosions in the Sky song plays as the credits roll.
A real-life drama akin to these scenes is playing out right now.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has fashioned himself as the valiant savior.
The monster? Well, that’s where things get weird.
The monster, you see, is sugary drinks that dare to exceed 16 ounces in volume.
Bloomberg wants them to become a thing of the past at movie theaters, street stands, and restaurants.
This is dead serious, folks. The Paper of Record doesn’t waste its time on trivial matters that aren’t of the utmost public importance.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
Our fearless mayor sees this as a logical step in the fight against obesity. As a society, we’re inching closer and closer to becoming an aggregate embodiment of that guy in “Seven” who was forced to eat until he burst.
It’s not entirely a stupid idea. Our expanding waistlines help B-roll footage for local news trend pieces, but they also contribute to straight-up death. Wanting to curtail the epidemic is natural, and an earnest endeavor.
On the other hand, get the hell out of here with this nonsense.
Is this an issue that demands the attention of a man responsible with shepherding nine million people safely into bed each night? Or might his time and energy be better spent on, uh, devising a way to get crosstown via public transportation in less than 45 minutes?
Look, I am an adult. If I want to cope with the stresses that living in this overpopulated concrete jungle present by downing 64 ounces of Dr. Pepper, then I am damn well going to find a way to do so. You can take away my freedom, but you can’t take away my Mountain Dew.
Bloomberg truly believes that this is what his populace wants him to do. And maybe some of them do. Perhaps there’s great handwringing by hipsters in Williamsburg and corner offices in Midtown over the masses toting half-gallon jugs of sugary swill about the city.
I just haven’t heard about this outrage.
The initiative doesn’t come out of nowhere. For years, there’s been a particularly disgusting ad on subways and trains illustrating just how much sugar a giant soda contains. Every time I see it, I want to puke.
But as scary as you want to make Coke, it’s not cocaine. It’s not a 65-foot monster dry-humping the Empire State Building while shooting laser beams at police.
People will find their way around this ban. I wager most establishments would comply initially and then conveniently forget about it. And we’ll be no worse for the wear.
You don’t swat a fly by using a missile. You use a flyswatter. And if the fly isn’t spreading malaria, sometimes you can just let it outside.
So, Mr. Bloomberg, you can have this giant fountain drink when you pry it from my cold, dead, bloated fingers.
Not a second sooner.