Friday, 22 November 2019


End Times

Millions of years of evolution and thousands of years of civilization have collapsed into a single Reuters headline: ‘Vegan Man Sues Burger King.’ Nothing’s shocking. I suppose it could have read ‘Atkins Dieter Sues Olive Garden’ or ‘Man with Severe Shellfish Allergy Sues Red Lobster.’

The litigant’s name appeared in Monday’s story but there’s no need to repeat it here. He’s an American, no surprise there really. And the utterly frivolous and beyond stupid nature of his lawsuit leads me to speculate that it’s possible he believes Noah forgot to load the dinosaurs and unicorns on his ark. I’m just guessing.

We are living in irksome and annoying times, what the late Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes aptly described as a “culture of complaint.” Hughes’s premise was that the art world, already gleefully and surgically eviscerated by Tom Wolfe in The Painted Word, had come to embrace a work’s message rather than its merit. Ancient alchemy for a postmodern zeitgeist: lead’s transformed into gold. These days all of us are golden, special, and therefore entitled to compensation for being short-changed by an objective reality which only deals in common sense.

The class action suit alleges that the main ingredient of the Impossible Whopper, a patty moulded of alternative protein, was contaminated by meat by-products whilst broiling. Burger King’s website maintains that particularly particular customers are free to request an alternative method of preparation. But microwaves can be as mind-numbingly dangerous as jet contrails, vaccines and fluoridated water, everybody knows this. And to be fair and balanced, the gentleman who started this greaseball rolling downhill ordered his meal at the drive-thru and nobody on Earth can translate the gibberish squawking through a fast food speaker grille.

Nobody who knows me well will tell you I’m a quick study. But I do understand marketers’ propensities to embrace short term trends and gimmicks. I know enough about business to cringe when established firms reach beyond their core expertise only to taint years of brand equity and consumer goodwill. Consumers should always be wary. Quarterly statements, annual reports and advertising copy are not hard promises.

I do know that should I ever voluntarily impose a strict and restrictive dietary regimen such as veganism upon myself I’d have to manage all of its unintended consequences. While my shit wouldn’t smell, I’d probably be hungry most of the time. But if I got really hungry I’m not certain I’d go to a fast food burger joint to fill up, as much as I’d appreciate the irony. Me, a narrow and sniffy demographic, willing to pay a premium for commercialized wellness, would drive past a Burger King outlet, confident that the underpaid teenager doing the cooking there really couldn’t care a whit about my dainty, politicized palate.

I’ve done some really senseless things in my life. It never once occurred to me to sue another party for my own ill-conceived actions. Nor has it ever occurred to me to take an advertising or marketing slogan or promise at face value because, you know, the Impossible Whopper is apparently possible. It exists on the menu of a quick service restaurant that specializes in serving up lots of light speed, beefy hamburgers at low cost. And that is the organ meat of the vegetable matter: bad decisions are strictly personal.

No need to idle your engine at the drive-thru to read meGeoff, sign up for e-mail alerts from the Crooked 9.

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