16 July 2007

not everything needs to be counted

"One eight-ounce glass counts as almost twenty-five percent of your fruit and vegetable servings." -- from a commercial for Florida orange juice I just saw on television.

Something about this "counts as" construction bothers me. It sounds to me like they're saying "it's not really fruit" or something like that, like eating is some sort of game.

Similarly, there's a commercial for the cereal Special K that, if I remember correctly,has a couple of really skinny girls deciding not to skip breakfast; if you write it and kingdom living, among others, have complained that this commercial feeds our national obsession with being thin. A calorie count is given at some point (200, I think?) and they show a bowl of cereal which certainly has more than 200 calories. (Take a look at the serving size written on your cereal box sometime. It's probably a lot less than what you eat when you eat cereal. They also seem to imply that this little bowl of cereal will tide someone over until lunch, which just isn't going to happen.)

In general, I feel that the human body knows wat it wants to eat, and that counting calories is kind of a silly idea. I would call this overmathematization, and I think it's something that various parts of our society are succumbing to -- the fact that box office numbers are becoming a big part of news broadcasts, for example, when really only the people who work in the movie business should care about those. Not everything needs to have a number.

(edit, 7:23pm: Wow, google is fast! I wondered if "overmathematization" was a word people had used, so I googled it. There are nine hits. One of them is this entry, which I posted twenty-three minutes ago.)

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