Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eat Some Bugs. Naturally.

I sometimes worry that my rants against lazy language are unnecessary and a little silly.  What's the harm, right?  But then something happens that totally vindicates my stance on the matter and I am once again motivated to be pedantic on the internet!

See if we get lazy with our language, if we get too reliant on those little mental shortcuts we love so much, bad things happen!  We get exploited!  We are deceived!  We eat bugs!

Does this taste buggy to you?

Yeah that's right, I said bugs.  See, recently people were shocked and outraged to find out that the secret ingredient in Starbucks' Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, raspberry swirl cake, birthday cake pop, mini donut with pink icing and red velvet whoopee pie was: insects.  They used crushed cochineal insects to give their strawberry products a nice pink colour.  Naturally once this got out, vegans and vegetarians were upset that their soy frappuccinos had animal products in them, Jews and Muslims were upset that their food wasn't Kosher/Halaal and basically everyone was a little grossed out by the whole thing.  So once the story broke, petitions were signed and Starbucks have now found a vegetable alternative to the beetlejuice. 

So why use the bugs?  Well it doesn't say but I couldn't help but notice that the people at Starbucks kept pointing out how these bugs were a natural food colouring.  Obviously just adding actual strawberries didn't give the food a pink that really popped so they needed something to colour it with.  Obviously they couldn't just add artificial colouring because artificial is baaaaaaad.  So they had to use something natural.  Therefore bugs.  Bugs are 100% natural.

See marketers are prohibited by law to straight up lie to us but that doesn't mean that they're not messing with us.  Turns out you can be fooled by someone telling you the truth.  But I don't blame the marketers.  We are to blame.  We are the ones who got lazy, we're the ones who chose short, easy answers over the whole, often complicated, truth.

Fat free tea.  Just because it's technically true doesn't mean they're not fucking with you.

Until we move past the stupid, simplistic notion that Natural = Good and Artificial = Bad, we will continually end up in ridiculous situations like this.  Natural is not the same as good.  Arsenic is natural.  Hemlock is natural.  Snake, spider, scorpion and blowfish poisons are all natural.  Natural can be really really bad!  On the other hand, houses are artificial (they don't grow on trees after all!) and so are the clothes we wear, the glasses that restore our sight as well as plenty of other good and necessary things.  Just because something is artificially manufactured doesn't automatically make it bad for you!  Saying something like "this product is all natural, it's not full of chemicals" is a completely meaningless sentence.  Like I said, "natural" doesn't necessarily make it good and also EVERYTHING IS MADE OF CHEMICALS!!! 

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