Eric Mar VS Aasif Mandvi

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
San Francisco’s Happy Meal Ban
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San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar appeared the other night on the Daily Show, which would have been fantastic if they weren’t completely unfair to him. Aasif Mandvi, whom I generally quite like, attacked his ban on pairing toys with fast food meals that don’t meet nutritional requirements. He essentially accused Mar of hypocrisy,  asking him if he would support a law forcing Netflix to send the documentary “Supersize Me” to all its San Francisco subscribers. To this Mar answered you can’t force a private company to do such a thing.

The truth is, there is a huge difference between forcing a video rental service to send a product to all its subscribers and restricting a fast food company from using toys to market unhealthy food to children. Raj Patel wrote an excellent article that notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics has come to the conclusion that “advertising directed toward children is inherently deceptive and exploits children under eight years of age.”

“In other words, the very idea of advertising to children is a fraud,” Patel says. “Children are simply unable to generate and entertain rational opinions about goods and services, which cuts away the argument that advertising is just a more entertaining version of truth-telling. When it comes to children, advertising is far closer to brainwashing.”

Stray thought: “The Daily Show” also let’s a high-profile opponent of the “Happy Meal” law, Gavin Newsom, get a word in. Now that his tenure as mayor is over, there’s been a lot of talk of his legacy. I’ve heard many assert that Newsom’s legalizing of gay marriage was a canny political move aimed at a national audience. I completely agree with this but would also note that Newsom desperately needed to rally San Francisco behind him in his early days in office. He won the mayoral race against Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez by fewer than 12,000 votes (53 percent to 47 percent) despite the following: San Francisco is registered 54 percent Democrat, 3 percent Green; Newsom brought Bill Clinton out to stump for him; the city’s Republican Party did not officially endorse Newsom but phone banked for him and mailed out fliers; and lastly, Newsom outspent Gonzalez $5.2 million to $800,000.

About Ben Hamamoto

Ben Hamamoto is a writer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's been published in the Oakland Tribune and has written for New American Media's YO! Youth Outlook and the Nichi Bei Times. He is a research manager for the Health Horizons Program at the Institute for the Future. He also edits Nikkei Heritage, the National Japanese American Historical Society’s official magazine and contributes to Nichi Bei Weekly.

Comments

  1. Tomo Hirai says:

    Well, considering the fact Mar thinks that his daughter has learned the value of good food might point in a direction that doesn’t help his case very much. Snappy video editing aside, I still stand by Newsom in saying that the issue should be a matter for parents to take up, not a city government.

    A restriction on toys is merely a fast and easy solution. Had S.F. taken its time to help encourage healthier eating through education in schools and helping parents understand the value of reiterating these lessons at home, I would not be against this.

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