Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SUNDAY MORNING [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

SUNDAY MORNING [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

There's something truly amazing about the story on the Northern Life News page today.

No, it's not amazing that people want to raise money to battle world hunger. That's noble, but not amazing. We're generally a warmhearted people, if given a chance.

Neither is it amazing that a bunch of kids and adults are planning to go without food for 30 hours to draw attention to the plight of the world's hungry and raise money to help them. It's impressive, a touching act of self-sacrifice, but people have been doing that for years.

Neither is it amazing that ministers and teachers and even some school kids volunteered to get whapped in the face with whipped cream pies to raise money and draw attention to the upcoming 30- hours-without-food thing. From dunking booths to pig-kissings to head-shavings, people have for ages been subjecting themselves to all manner of indignity in the name of fun and funds.

No, what's amazing is that no one ever stopped in mid-pie toss and raised the question: "If we're raising funds to battle world hunger, is it really appropriate to do so by blowing 90 cans of aerosol-charged whipped cream all over the room?"

Think about it. Ninety cans of aerosol-charged whipped cream could sustain a famine-struck village of 50 for a whole ... well, OK, it probably would make them all violently ill and hasten their deaths, given its payload of sugar and preservatives.

In fact, could any "food" be a more fitting symbol of American excess? It essentially has no nutritional value, is terribly fattening and is packaged in a way that is both ridiculously expensive. (I guarantee the can, plastic tip and aerosol cost far, far more than the "food" inside.) It also looks like it should contain a machine lubricant or paint product rather than something edible -- but it is much-loved because it's convenient, a little goofy and it tastes really, really good. And it is good for splattering on people.

But take the money it costs to buy 90 cans of aerosol-charged whipped topping and put it instead into sorghum and dried milk and you could support that village for some length of time that I'm sure would be impressive if I had time to figure it out. …

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