9/22/2005

Rationalization, coffee and candy bars

Rationalization is the American way of life. We want what we want, but our guilt gets the better of us. Americans feel very guilty. A history of slavery, an 11 trillion-dollar economy and the career of David Hasselhoff leave us feeling downright ashamed. Consequently, we don’t feel entitled to the things we want. So instead of seizing our desires, we inch our way discretely toward them as hyenas approach a lion’s kill. Stealthfully and ashamedly.

Think about coffee, for example. Coffee is a so-so beverage. It's just a step up from hot water. Just a few dissolved coffee beans. No calories, no fat or sugar. It needs help! So most people add cream and sugar, and by doing so approach what we really want: a milkshake. But milkshakes are bad so we can't drink them. Enter Starbucks and the designer coffee craze. The people at Starbucks understand human nature. We like things that taste good, and we enjoy spending gobs of money. Starbucks delivers on both. In go the sugars, syrups, creams, foams, flavorings, opiates and all the other crap we need to satiate our craving for a milkshake. We're drinking 47 teaspoons of sugar and as much fat as in a lawn bag of pork rinds -- but we still get to tell ourselves we're “only drinking coffee.”

Still not convinced? Think about it. How far away is Starbucks from offering the new Choco-Milkshake Latte? And tell me if this is a coincidence. Dairy Queen has just introduced a line of coffee drinks. That's right. Dairy Queen. I don't know about you, but when I'm hankering for a cup of coffee the first place I think of is an ice cream shop!

We rationalize with other foods, too. Here's a food product chain-of-evolution that illustrates human nature beautifully: Rice cakes. Remember rice cakes? Rice cakes became granola, which became the cereal bar, which became the health bar. The first was a low-calorie health food and effective dietary supplement. Each successive evolution masqueraded as health food, but was increasingly bad for you. And the final species in this evolution, the “health bar,” is just a Milky Way with a multi-vitamin crushed up inside of it and a picture of a wild animal on the wrapper.

You see? All we really want for a snack is a candy bar. We just can't admit it. We feel too guilty. Thankfully we can have all the tasty goodness and tell ourselves it's “health food.” Give me a break. If a health bar is “health food,” then Kia is a “luxury car” and David Hasselhoff is an “actor.”

Beware of rationalization when you see “hybrid” SUVs, “low-fat” brownies and Six-Second abdominal exercisers. That’s all I’m saying.

42 comments:

Spinning Girl said...

I totally agree, man. People should just be honest with themselves. ::reaches for a luna bar and a double tall mochaccino with whip::

nongirlfriend said...

I fell for that 6-second abs shit. Now it's a decorative piece in my den.

Brilliant, as usual, Bug.

Weary Hag said...

That's what I love about you the most LBB (I mean aside from that HNT photo with the book)- when you're right, you're never just 'right' ... you're very, very right.

tornwordo said...

Not only true, but hilarious.

I order my coffee black, and put nothing in it. This makes me hate everyone in line in front of me ordering their fru-fru concoctions.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I believe those Dairy Queen treats are called "Moo-lattes"...and they are AWESOME!!

Not that I've had one, mind you....but that's just the word on the street.

Lyvvie said...

Obviously I am without guilt, as I had a black cup of coffee and a snickers bar for lunch. Oh yeah...and it was good too.

I like my coffee without childish dilution, and my Snickers full of childhood memories.

I bought a mini trampoline today too.

Sharon said...

Your mind! How does it work? But I love it.

High Desert Diva said...

A milkshake with a shot of coffee...candybars. Yes. now you're talking my language!

Megan said...

I'm definitely ashamed of David Hasselhoff...

kcterrilynn said...

I don't drink coffee - in any form. When I say it's too bitter for me, my friends tell me to add milk! add sugar! add cream! My reply is always, if it's so bad tasting you need to add crap to it to make it palatable, then why bother? Maybe I'll just email them your link and send them your direction...you said it better than I ever could.

Dave Morris said...

Look, Hasselhoff is, at LEAST, a smart guy. He made tons of money running on a beach with women who I fantasized were lesbian except with me, found worldwide fame and aclaim, (even if it WAS for having man-boobs) and made a fucking fortune.

He's the richest, luckiest, embarrasing sonofabitch I know. In a really warped way, I'd trade places with him.

Just being honest here.

By the way, you are such the mack daddy writer.

Jennifer said...

Yeah, and then taking a healty salad, topping it with lots of fattening stuff. My favorite is the buffalo chicken salad drenched in ranch. YUMMY. Of course, I never delude myself that it's healthy.

min said...

Guilt sucks.

I just had chocolate cake.

That is all.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You mean I am not going to get a 6-pack abs in 36 seconds like they promised? Fuck 'em. Where's the rice cake (the one with the Hershey bar inside, I mean)?

Blog ho said...

that makes me hungry.

Teaspoon said...

shit. Years from now can you imagine the amends we are going to have to do for allowing the Hasselhoff to run rampant across Europe?

Edgy Mama said...

I know. I know. I eat Luna Bars for breakfast all the time--basically a candy bar with some added fiber.

Chad said...

So we give Germany David Hasselhoff and France gets Jerry Lewis, is it any wonder they hate us?

If only we could get someone to take Paris Hilton and Michael Moore.

Anti-Blogger said...

Hasselhoff is not an actor? What is your point? Please explain...

Lizabeth said...

i drink my coffee black, otherwise its not coffee anymore...

is it still healthy if you get high and eat a whole bag of caramel rice cakes? I knew someone that did that once.

you couldn't be more right about everything again, you are truly a brilliant man, truly brilliant!

Camy Leon said...

I would sooo give Jews puzzy!!!
What are you talkin about??
I had a crush on a Jew, but he was stuck up. I like men who've been circumcized.

actonbell said...

(I was gonna say that Chad was real cute, but then he spoiled it with the MM comment at the end)
I totally agree, those are good examples of how everything's gotten bigger and more-everything. BUT coffee is not just a step up from hot water--that would be tea. I drink my coffee black and can take or leave the sweetner packets. Coffee is a wondrous drink, and these people who are buying these "coffee" drinks are, as you say, drinking ice cream and chocolate with a little coffee flavoring thrown in.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

I don't buy the fattening coffee drinks, but I don't see the problem with them either. Coffee and ice cream are great together.

I ordered two of your books, and they came today.

Heather said...

Yes . . . but diet coke equalizes the calories in my candy bars. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Amandarama said...

I'm almost 3 months clean from my daily Dunkin Donuts coffee habit. I expect to receive my chip in the mail any day now. My sponsor is the crazy homeless woman who camps out down the street from them. She kicked her habit when a floating day-glo gree baby Jesus told her that there were tracking devices in the coffee. Plus, she was broke. It's really easy to make poorly thought out rationalizations when you're broke; it's just harder to spend the money to follow them through.

PlatinumGirl said...

OMG do you remember the DQ commercials for Moo-Lattes where they are doing a blind taste test and when they try to take it away from her she pulls away, gets up and runs -- still blindfolded -- screaming "NEVER!", then runs into the door, taking out the blinds and falling in a heap?

Priceless.

Anonymous said...

David Hasselhoff...how about Jerry Lewis?

I say we cut to the chase and just freebase caffeine.

Alice

CaCaBoy said...

(Me standing in raucus applause!)
Genius! Genius!

I put on 25lbs. eating "health bars" so I know the trap to which you speak.

(I have since lost said pounds)

Nettie said...

I can't stand coffee but I love milkshakes. Wonder what that says.

dddragon said...

okay, I have to admit that I prefer Mochas over plain black coffee. But I don't let the fake health bars fool me. If I want sugar and/or chocolate, I just go for it.

Blonde said...

I like my coffee to be coffee. I do go to Starbucks 3 times a day, but I get "just coffee". I should be ashamed to pay $9 a day for just coffee.

You are so right about everything! I love reading your site everyday.

I am still waiting for you to post that HNT pic again (very HOT).

Oh great One said...

My frappuccino isn't "just coffee"? I'm shocked!

grace said...

meh, i never feel guilty about food. heh.

6 seconds abs reminds me of that conv. in there's something about mary about the 8 minute abs vs the crazy guy's 7 minute abs. heh.

okay. never mind.

Heather said...

I must not be American then. I know exactly what I want and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I dont sneak like a hyena.. I pounce on it like a barrel of monkies.

Toni said...

I'm one of those wusses who like tons of cream and sugar in my hot coffee. I can't take it black. It tastes too bitter.

Speaking of the Hasselhoff, I remember in American Idol that one of the loser contestants at the audtions worshipped the Hass, and at the end of the series they arranged it so that he could meet the Hass in person. How that is a man's lifelong dream, I'll never understand.

Blond Girl said...

is that the same rationalization that lets an old, heavy paunched man drive a "luxury SUV", but think he is "sporty" or can "off-road" since it's an SUV? Give me a break! "Luxary" and "SUV" do NOT belong in the same sentance - ever - unless its something like "I enjoy my SUV - it affords me the luxury of carrying a tent with us when we go camping."

Mike said...

Cool stuff

Duck Hunter said...

interesting post. I don't try to rationalize my food, I even drink my coffee black. I do try to rationalize the way I spend money. Hmm. $9 for Starbucks coffee (x3 a day) - as another comment said, or I could buy groceries for the week.

Rob Seifert said...

I'm not at all shy about eating and drinking whatever I want. I don't make appologies or excuses. I'm getting fat, but I'm happy!

RCS

Latigo Flint said...

I've rationalized slavery. It's not popular but it does alright by me.

lilly05 said...

Nope, no lying to myself allowed! If I'm gonna eat junk food I waddle up to the counter and order without shame! Laf. My favorite Starbucks beverage is a double strength Chai latte, hmmmm, kinda like a tea milkshake ain't it?

MJ said...

Wow. Good analysis, Bug's Butt! I never really thought of this particular mass marketing trend in those terms before, but I believe that you've pretty much nailed it. No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the masses, that's for sure!