Purcell: Immoral Girl Scout cookies? (column)
Special to the Daily
The Girl Scout cookie season is upon us — which means people with nothing better to do will criticize Girl Scout cookies.
According to the International Business Times, one critic, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Arizona, says it makes no sense for the Girl Scouts to “sell something so unhealthy.”
She told IBT there is a disconnect between the sugary, fatty cookies the scouts sell and the organization’s mission of “building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place” Hey, if you don’t think Girl Scout cookies make the world a better place, try dipping a sleeve of Lorna Doones into a pitcher of ice-cold milk.
Look, the Girl Scouts organization was founded in 1912 to help girls develop physically, mentally and spiritually. Its annual cookie sale has become a tasty part of American culture since it originated in 1917 — well before something as innocuous as a cookie could cause so much angst.
True, America is awash in high-calorie, high-sugar processed foods that the human body can efficiently convert into fat.
It’s also true that human beings must educate themselves on what is and isn’t good for our health in order to reverse the high levels of diabetes and heart disease in America.
But Girl Scout cookies are still just cookies — an occasional treat.
Vani Hari, a food critic and founder of the blog FoodBabe.com, doesn’t see it that way. One of her blogs blasted the high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils found in some of the cookies.
She writes: “It’s important for the Girl Scouts organization to take a step back, look at these ingredients and say, ‘How can we continue to do this program in a way that’s morally sound?’”
Hey, people starving across the world is morally unsound. Millions of American kids who leave high school unable to read is morally unsound. Terrorists who murder women and children for going to the wrong church is morally unsound.
Yet we’re worried about the immorality of cookies?
Apparently so. IBT reports that in 2014, “an NPR piece rounded up a slew of concerns from doctors and parents and ended with the question, ‘Should the Girl Scouts find something more healthful to sell for their fundraising?’” How about tofu treats or low-energy-consumption light bulbs?
Then again, why are we letting the Girl Scouts sell anything at all? Instead of teaching the girls the principles of capitalism, why not teach them the art of government bureaucracy? As America keeps moving toward European-style socialism, that’s where most of the jobs will be, anyhow.
Hey, cookie shamers, Americans are making progress. They are finally beginning to read labels, eat better and understand what is and isn’t healthful. McDonald’s sales are slumping as healthier offerings are growing.
Besides, a cookie is now what it has always been: a treat. If Girl Scout cookies are your primary source of calories for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you have bigger problems than Girl Scout cookies.
When IBT asked the Girl Scouts if it contributes to childhood obesity, the organization said it promotes a “healthy lifestyle for girls, which includes a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise.” It said Girl Scout cookies “should be enjoyed in moderation.”
Now there’s a thought.
The country is on the verge of $20 trillion in debt, the Middle East is melting down, entitlement spending is about to explode and Girl Scout cookies are the great moral issue of our time.
I think I need to mull that one over — as I consume several sleeves of Thin Mints and wash them down with a bucket of fresh milk.
Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Sean McClanahan Mysteries,” available at Amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.
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