Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paradoxes



I'm glad that I live in a diverse society.  I really am.  Who would want to live in a world where people only think one way, all go to the same church, all vote the same, all eat the same and wear the same clothes?  That would be incredibly boring and probably become a nightmare - a society locked into one way of thinking, acting, or being is a society destined for problems.  Think Hitler and the Nazis.  

But we are a culture of paradoxes.  While Heidi and I were in Baltimore a few weeks ago, we went into a local Walgreens and I snapped this picture. 


Just behind the counter, where you would ordinarily have to ask for cigarettes, was another large section of smoking cessation products.  Nicotine patches, lozenges, chewing gum, etc. on the left - Salems, Winstons, Camels and Virginia Slims on the right.  Butted right up next to each other - cheek by jowl,  (as close as the thickness of a cigarette paper, so to speak) are Marlboros and Walgreens/generic nicotine lozenges.  Let’s see, would I like a pack of cowboy killers or would I like to suck on my nicotine like candy this afternoon?  Am I weak or am I strong today?  Am I a rugged individual who doesn’t care what others think of me or am I going to quit this nasty habit and live longer?  Will I live for today, or try to lengthen my life?  Menthol cigs or menthol-flavored-nicotine-candy?



I was reading our local paper the other day.  On page two of the Life And Style section (under HEALTH NOTES), was a small cautionary article titled HEALTH EXPERTS WARN OF UNHEALTHY COOKBOOK RECIPES.  There were several paragraphs warning of the 5 most unhealthy cookbooks according to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  In one of the offending cookbooks, there is a recipe for sausage-hash brown breakfast casserole that has more cholesterol than 8 Cinnabon Classics. 

Another questionable cookbook was by Rachael Ray (who happened to testify in  front of Congress about the need for healthy school lunches - a paradox all to itself).  My Year In Meals includes a recipe for Hearty Mac And Cheese With Squash and Sausage.  This dish contains as much saturated fat as an entire package of bacon.


Just across the fold in the paper, about 6 inches away on page 3, is a recipe to help you entertain for the holidays.  It’s called Buttermilk Ricotta Cheese Dip.  The ingredients are – in this order – 3 cups whole milk, 1 ½ cups buttermilk, 1 cup heavy cream, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon seasalt, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, herbs, lemon zest.  Fat or fit?

Drinking is another paradox in our society.  Beer commercials make it seem like all you need is beer and the party begins!  Good looking, slim, young models pop up all over the place – practically guaranteeing you an awesome time.  But don’t drink and drive, don’t drink until you’re 21, remember the dangers of alcohol addiction, accidents are the most common cause of death in people under 26 and alcohol causes terrible accidents.  Do as I say, not as I do.


The biggest paradox to me is our treatment of violence.  We have no real gun laws with teeth.  For example, it is FAR easier to buy a gun than to adopt a pet, or get a driver’s license.  It’s easier to purchase thousands of rounds of ammunition than it is to buy some over-the-counter cold medicines.  I had to show a picture ID to buy Heidi’s Mucinex-D.  Nothing like that when you buy bullets.  Mucinex-D vs. Bullets.  Hmmm.  Which seems more dangerous to you?


We take our kids to violent movies, sit side-by-side watching family violent TV, buy our kids realistic toy weapons, let them play the most heinous video games, etc.  But then, when we are assaulted by local violence such as the senseless killings in Aurora or Newtown, we ask how this could happen.  

Violence is wrong.

Right?


par·a·dox

  [par-uh-doks]  Show IPA
noun
1.
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses apossible truth.
2.
a self-contradictory and false proposition.
3.
any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
4.
an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.


3 comments:

Chris Hass said...

Ha, now that you know how to access the camera on your new phone you're all set! Think of all the things you could have taken a pic of in that Walgreens - magazine covers, boy toys vs girl toys, customers, workers, all that make-up, and on and on. You'll never be without inspiration again. That said, if I see you point that thing in my direction I'm ducking into the shameful pose of a once-respected public figure now being escorted in handcuffs to a patrol car.

Speaking of paradoxes - would the drug ads that site a list of side-effects far worse than your original condition count? "We'll save you while potentially killing you all at the same time."

Of the ones you mentioned, the gun and violence paradox is one that I think about most often. Especially as a parent. I thought about this when writing my most recent post - which is highly immature and wreaks of the glorification of violence in the movies. I almost didn't write it for this very reason. But then I decided to go ahead because it's just silly. Of course, my boys would argue they should be allowed to play violent video games because they're JUST pretend. ARGH! I'm not quick to promote an all or nothing mentality on most things. Except maybe violent video games!

Suzanne Odell said...

Once again we are on the same wavelength. I blogged the other day on a similar paradox....how people often live beyond their means...and we are cautioned to not live on credit and have all these debt management companies to help those who need it....and yet we are constantly under the barrage of advertisements and commercials designed to cause us to buy buy buy....and if we don't....our market-based economy suffers....

Judy T said...

I think one of the biggest paradoxes is the proposal by the extremists in the NRA--the one that calls for arming teachers so they can shoot first, thus keeping the schools safe. Such insanity!

There is so much talk of Constitutional Rights among them and so seldom talk of Social Responsibility.

My New Year's Resolution is to eschew Facebook and to begin posting on our blog again. My first post of the new year is a very personal one on the subject of guns. I hope you will read it and comment. I find your input so instructive. Thanks, Judy T.
http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com/2013/01/lessons-from-my-son-4.html