Monday, August 3, 2009

Healthy and Good

I went to help buddy Cliff Simon on a shoot recently and we stopped at a gas station for snacks. Among the usual assortment of chocolates and candy, I spotted this (how could I miss it?). A stand offering bananas. Not just any kind of banana, mind you, but fresh, healthy bananas. It even called them "good". Yum. I like bananas. Offer me a banana: I'll take it. Leave me in a room alone with a banana and lemme tell you - only one of us is coming out alive. You might even call me a banaddict.

Anyway, clearly one of the yellow fellows was well past his prime. And not in a "passed in the night" kind of way. More in the "dead for a week" kind of way. It was black, for crying out loud and bloody conspicuous. How the heck does one miss such a thing? Admittedly the guy behind the checkout was a little slow, as in weed slow. But surely he's not the only person in the store? Did no-one notice the thing? I find that hard to believe. Nay, impossible. I reckon he or one of his stoned San Bernadino cronies did spot the offending fruit and simply ignored it, too lazy to chuck it out. Instead, they left it for an unsuspecting/complaining customer to bring it to the counter for them.

It's not as if Chiquita Bananas are directly responsible for the lies on their stand. (For they become lies once the bananas go rotten) But on some level, they should shoulder the blame. Who actually delivers on their promises? In this case, clearly Chiquita did not. What's worse, of course, is the flood of TV ads promising to cure your headache, back pain, joint pain, sleeplessness, erectile disfunction, give you fewer periods or more hair. All sound wonderous and full of hope, yet the side effects, more often than not, include the very symptoms you're trying to alleviate. Anti-nausea drugs may cause nausea. Headache tablets may cause headaches. Anti-depression medication may lead to suicidal thoughts. How the f%$&* do all these things get approved the FDA (Farcical Drug Administration) if they can cause such hazardous or even lethal side effects?

It's all down to business, of course and the pharmaceutical companies are the biggest business, alongside WMD production. So they can push their products through, grease the right palms and it's business as usual. Maybe in 1980, but in 2009 it's still happening? They're not protecting us, the public. They're protecting the health of their stocks and patents. Every week I see a new TV ad from a law firm declaring a major suit against a drug company. "If you or a loved one became ill or died while taking XXX, call the law offices of..." Has no-one learned from all this? The sicker we are, the more it costs to treat us. That costs the economy in the long run. And the worse off all of us are, as States fall into bankruptcy and disrepair.

But we won't see change as long as drug companies and politicians see only as far as the next quarter. And the worse conditions get, the more they'll push their snake oils. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the emergence of infomercial style drug ads. Pfizer's own Billy Mays, shouting "Limp dick? I've got your card; Viagra's the pill that gets you hard! Call now and we'll even throw in these edible panties. That's a $20 value, absolutely free!"