I read the news today, oh boy. And somehow chose to spend my time scrolling through a ridiculous number of comments and adding my own to the least consequential Washington Post story I’ve seen in a long time.
For context, a top article today states Biden’s White House will distribute 400 million free N95 masks starting next week to help control the spread of COVID-19, which continues to ravage Earth’s populace abetted by a concurrent plague of ignorance.
Another story details how AT&T and Verizon have agreed to limit their rollout of new high-speed 5G networks near airports due to their potential to interfere with “airplane safety technology.” Turns out conspiracy theorists who shriek that 5G transmits COVID-19 simply lack imagination. For my money, dying in a plane crash because some idiot is checking his phone for up-to-the-minute health advice from Joe Rogan is way scarier. (Because of course those same folks will use 5G with no sense of irony. It’s faster.)
The post I chose to comment on is about how supply chain problems are affecting the production of Girl Scout cookies. It mentions Adventurefuls, the new “brownie-inspired cookies with caramel flavored crème and a hint of sea salt.” Although it might not be a straight-up puff piece—some facts are imparted—I would consider this a low-stakes issue so I looked at the comments, curious to read some lighthearted reminiscences.
When the first few seemed to equate Girl Scout cookies with crimes against humanity, I was intrigued, lured as always by the siren song of absurdity accompanied by a chorus of achingly earnest concern. Maybe it’s easiest for me to respond to things like this; no one will perish because I share my particularly bent viewpoint. No one’s mind is likely to be changed, either. But it really doesn’t matter, does it?
There were comments about sexism, racism, exploitation of minors, virulent consumerism, flavor change, etc. Many mentioned high fructose corn syrup in parallel with these concerns. (That assertion, at least, is untrue.) So I was primed to find that annoying when I read this:
I stopped buying Girl Scout cookies when they started using questionable ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and palm oil, the impacts of which are counter to the spirit of scouting, as I understand it. Palm oil, in particular, is the product of deforestation and threatens species like orangutans. As cheap as it is, I imagine the importation of it would be tied up at some of these ports and I’m not losing sleep over this type of supply chain issue.
These cookies aren’t about supporting Girl Scouts, but industries and interests behind it.
Palm oil, yes. This needs to be phased out of everything. But it is difficult to engineer the same texture and flavors without it. That’s not an excuse but these cookies are like Proust’s madeleine to people. They take them back to their youth and they expect them to taste the same.
But they no longer contain high fructose corn syrup. Of course, it’s easy to hack the sugar shown in the ingredients by listing it in its individual forms to keep the blanket term “sugar” from being one of the first three ingredients.
And, for the love of Pete, of course the makers and importers profit from it. Some of the profits do benefit the Girl Scouts organization in one way or another. Everything we touch, wear, watch, eat and drive benefits some corporate fat cats somewhere. Doesn’t make it right but we have to choose which things we rail against, don’t we? Otherwise, we’d be rocking in a corner, unable to do anything because of its butterfly effect.
I have to decide what I’m going to focus on and realize that my choices have consequences. And, consequently, I’ve spent the last ten minutes writing about how cookies are not going to make my list of corporate greed-head evils. So shame on me, I guess.
Now I’m going to go buy cookies from the Girl Scouts of Greater NY’s Troop 6000, which serves the NYC shelter system. I found it through the link @ivankadanka posted: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/story/buy-cookies-troop-girl-scouts-york-city-shelter-75469499
Reading this again just now, I can see how mild CC’s comment is. But the die is cast. I spent too much time fashioning a post to stop now. I am reminded once again of why I should avoid comment sections where I can huff up so much fake outrage that I get high on it and fancy myself a balancing force of sarcasm.
Thankfully, I’m not posting this on Reddit where I’d have to ask the question “AITA (Am I The Asshole?)”
Yes. Yes, I am.