You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to Terry Branstad: YOU EAT IT, THEN.
If you want to truly understand Republican notions of free-market capitalism, look no further than Iowa governor Terry Branstad and the Pink Slime, which, coincidentally, is also the title of the single worst piece of Harry-Potter-knockoff young adult fiction ever produced.
And speaking of horrible things that are produced, pink slime, or, as the meat processing industry would have you call it, lean, finely-textured beef. Since we at You Are Dumb Dot Net are all about the spirit of compromise, allow me to suggest a new name, positioned between the activists opposing it and the industry trying to sell it. Let's just call it Soylent Moo.
Because like Soylent Green, Soylent Moo is protein that's been very, very heavily processed to mask its original source. With Soylent Green, the source was PEEEEEPUL! With Soylent Moo, the source is bits of cow nobody wants - bits that used to have to be heavily processed before they could feed it to dogs. They take these bone and gristle scrapings, heat them up, spin them around to separate the meaty proteins from the fat and goo, treat it with ammonia because, well, it's the only way it won't fucking kill you, then extrude it into dense pink blocks that are ground up to add bulk to hamburger meat.
It's unpleasant and nasty, but as a product of the American industrial food industry, that's pretty much par for the course. Whether it's acceptably nasty for the marketplace is what's up for debate. We can't all afford to eat grass-fed skirt steak, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't know exactly what kind of beef is in our "100% all beef patties". So far, Soylent Moo has proven wildly unpopular with the general public. Supermarket chains won't sell beef made with it. Fast food chains are quick to insist they no longer use it, or never did. The plants that make the stuff are currently shut down. And one of those plants is in, you guessed it, Iowa.
So the governor of Iowa has decided to ask the federal government to investigate those mean, nasty people who informed the public about what was in their burgers. Or, to put it another way, ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"We have a smear campaign going on against a product that is healthy and safe. If they get by with this, what other food products are they going to attack next?"
Healthy and safe are, of course, relative terms. By the incredibly loose standards of the USDA, yes, Soylent Moo is both healthy and safe. There is no denying, however, that it is also molded, extruded, and centrifuged waste trimmings. Healthy, safe, waste trimmings. In other words, a company made a product. People purchased that product thinking they were getting one thing, found out they were getting a cheap imitation, got angry, and the product suffered as a result. That's capitalism for you. If this were grounds for federal action, the governor of Washington should have ordered an investigation into why people didn't buy the Zune.
"It's clear this is a safe product. It's a lean product, it helps reduce obesity and there is a spurious attack being levied against it by some groups. You can suspect who they might be. They are people who do not like meat."
Bullshit! Wait, I'm sorry. Lean, sterilized anal trimmings! Pink slime does not help reduce obesity. They don't replace 15% of the lean and fat of hamburger with pink slime, they just replace the lean with it. The hamburger itself is still 80/20, or 85/15, or whatever the lean to fat ratio is on the label. Pink slime burgers have the same nutritional properties as regular beef, it's just that their protein is of a slightly more dubious provenance than people are comfortable with.
And no, vegetarian hippies are not behind this smear campaign, you cow-drenched, grade B, barely-choice moron. Vegetarians don't give a shit where the beef in beef comes from. They're not gonna eat it anyway, because IT'S MEAT. It's the people who like meat that are upset. The people who thought they were getting chuck and instead are getting 15% ammonia-treated gristle leavings. The government isn't doing anything. The government was all set to buy up a bunch of this shit and serve it to school kids until the word got out.
If government stops a business from doing shitty things, OH NOES REGULATION FASCISM! If the public finds out a business is doing shitty things and stops buying their products, OH NOES ACTIVISM! Here's an idea! Maybe businesses should try to find ways to make profits without doing things so egregiously shitty they get in trouble. Maybe monetizing dog food for human consumption is a lousy business model. And maybe protecting that business model on the grounds that HIPPIES ARE TRYING TO TAKE YER COWS AWAY makes you a bought-and-paid-for meat puppet.