BENEATH THE BLEACHERS: TEENS, CHOCOLATE, AND UNSAFE SEX

 

Well, yesterday marked an unwelcome milestone in my 12-year-old daughter Temperance Sternstein-Fernandez’s life: She spent the morning strapped down to an examination table at her pediatrician’s office, shrieking hysterically as she received the first in a series of three shots to be administered over the next six months to protect her against infection from Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV Vaccine

 

One in 10 Americans—my daughter Tempy among them—have a pathological fear of needles.

 

As I sat in the doctor’s office, fuming at my daughter’s humiliation and discomfort, I couldn’t help but wonder: What responsibility, if any, does the chocolate industry own in the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) that disproportionately affect teens, women, and especially women of color?

Plenty, it turns out.

We are in the midst of a teen sex epidemic in this country, people. And rather than be “part of the solution” to this problem, the chocolate industry, an $83 billion a year business according to research firm MarketsandMarkets, deliberately and aggressively peddles a known aphrodisiac to teens. Instead of encouraging safe, healthy decision-making, the chocolate industry continues to lure our vulnerable teens—who are already a storm of hormones without their help—into risky sexual behavior, stimulating our young people’s basest appetites with their seductive advertising appeals.

Let’s review the facts and stats (all from the CDC except where noted):

Fact: About 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV.

Fact: Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years.

Fact: Sexual risk behaviors place adolescents at risk for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Fact: Chocolate is a known aphrodisiac. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who habitually ate chocolate on a daily basis reported higher sexual function scores than those who did not. Two chemicals in chocolate—which the industry refuses to remove from its products—are the culprit: One, tryptophan, is a building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal. The other, phenylethylamine, a stimulant related to amphetamine, is released in the brain when people fall in love.

choc sex 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fact: The chocolate industry slyly forges links between the consumption of its products and sexual conquest. In her groundbreaking book on the chocolate industry, The Emperors of Chocolate, author Joël Glenn Brenner asked a chocolate industry executive whether or not chocolate was an aphrodisiac. The response: “ ‘We have no evidence to support that it is true or it’s not true,’ [the executive] said with a smile.”

Fact:  In its study, “Food for Thought: Television Food Advertising to Children in the United States,” the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation report that kids are exposed to a shocking 18,000 ads a year—and that slightly more than a third, or 34 percent of those ads, are for candy.

Fact: U.S. kids can name more candy brands than U.S. presidents, as reported on this website in 2012, when COCOH released the results of a comprehensive epidemiological study we conducted.

Fact: As I have reported elsewhere on this website, at the same time Big Chocolate objectifies African-American women in its ads, Black and Hispanic women have higher rates of HPV-associated cervical cancer than white women.

choc sex3

 

 

Ads like this send a dangerous mixed-message to young women and girls.

 

 

 

 

It’s a sinister equation, people: Chocolate + Teens = Increased Promiscuity and Increased Risk for STDs.

It’s just not fair that Big Chocolate makes my job as a parent so hard.  Unable to resist the temptation of candy bars within easy reach at the supermarket checkout stand and inside school vending machines, my Tempy has ballooned to 314 pounds—despite a long-overdue growth spurt. (She’s now up to 5’3″!)

She has endured seven summers of weight-loss camp, stomach-stapling, and ER visits, like the one I reported about in 2012, when she overdosed on Paula Deen’s reckless and irresponsible “triple chocolate pudding.” And now, as she stands on the brink of womanhood, a mother’s worst fears are confirmed: Her dependency on chocolate may turn me into a grandmother before my time and put Tempy at risk for cervical cancer.

Thanks a lot, Big Chocolate!

[To learn more about my inexhaustible efforts to expose corporate malfeasance in the chocolate industry—specifically inside the paneled corridors of the wily and redoubtable Prock Chocolate Corporation— I invite you to purchase a copy of the novel CORPORATE AMERICA, which has been praised by critics as “hilarious and witty” and a “rollicking good read.”]

COCOH’s Exclusive Interview with Author Jack Dougherty

This month we’re privileged to feature an exclusive interview with Jack Dougherty, author of a new comic novel entitled Corporate America.

We recently caught up with Jack here in Washington, at a chic lunch hut in Adams Morgan.  As we dined on falafel wraps (served with a lavish spread of fair-trade hummus, Egyptian fava beans, Jerusalem salad, cabbage slaw, and pickled turnips), he told me about his new novel—and why he wisely chose to cast me as a character in it.

 

 

Author Jack Dougherty

 

 

 

Mona Sternstein-Fernandez:  What’s your novel about?

Jack Dougherty:  It’s a wicked little tale about climbing the corporate ladder.

MSF:   I don’t like multinational corporations.

JD:  I know.

MSF:  May I presume the novel is a brooding, postmodern meditation on corporate ennui?

JD:  Um … not exactly.  It’s a fun, fast read.  Sort of a “corporate coming of age” story.  The story centers around a young guy in his 20s named Francis Scanlon.  After being expelled from a prestigious graduate creative writing program when his novel-in-progress is denounced as hate speech, he’s forced to become a spin doctor at the fictitious Prock Chocolate Corporation while he clears his debt and awaits the publication of his masterpiece.

But Francis’s expectations of easy money and literary glory are thwarted by a paranoid boss, a charlatan writing coach, a snarky reporter, a sanctimonious public health crusader more Goebbels than Gandhi, an oily U.S. Senator with presidential aspirations, and a radical Muslim cleric with absolutely no sense of humor.

As the story unfolds in San Francisco, Washington, New York, Krakow, Mumbai and Jakarta, Francis is swept up by market forces and transformed from pretentious literary cliché to reluctant executive to master practitioner of the black art of corporate power-politics—but not without unleashing a comic catastrophe in the process.

MSF:  I don’t approve of market forces.

JD:  I know.

MSF:  Nor do I approve of the story arc.  Comic novels about the modern corporation are supposed to feature dehumanized, sensitive souls who quit working for The Man and reclaim their humanity by becoming poets or painters.

JD:  I’ve read a lot of those books and enjoyed them, but thought the idea of a “reverse commute” might be fun to explore.

MSF: I disagree.

 JD:  I know.

 MSF:  Why did you choose to set your story in the chocolate industry, at the fictitious Prock Chocolate Corporation?  Is it because you share my concern over Big Chocolate’s wily marketing practices and sinister product offerings?

JD:  Actually, just the opposite:  I think the chocolate industry in America is iconic, a national treasure.  I think they’re awesome.

MSF:  Then why chocolate?  And why did you make your novel a satire?  I for one don’t happen to think obesity epidemics and the production and marketing of sugary foods are laughing matters.

JD:  For two decades I have gleefully watched a battle unfold and escalate between the fast food slobs and the slow food snobs.  With withering eye, I have watched the food fights grow increasingly politicized, polarized, and absurd.

Food is the new battleground on which the culture war in America is being fought.  The food industry—with all the fights over ingredients, marketing practices, sourcing practices, obesity, etc.—is a delicious backdrop against which to set this story because it bundles all of America’s class war issues into one glorious, landfill-clogging Styrofoam box:

  • It’s the unscrupulous capitalists at the food companies versus the insufferable do-gooders of the public health community, the news media, and Capitol Hill.
  • It’s the wealthy, wicked, white guys in the corporations against poor, undereducated, people of color and children.
  • It’s the paternalistic Left against the personal responsibility Right.
  • The obesity battle, in particular, has my personal favorite ingredient—that uniquely American class war issue that dare not speak its name—the skinny people against the fat people.

How could a satirist possibly resist this topic?  And setting the story inside a chocolate company seemed to me the pinnacle of ridiculousness.

MSF:  This character of yours that you describe as, ahem, ‘a sanctimonious public health crusader more Goebbels than Gandhi’?  Might that be me?

JD:  Yes.  But you and the other crusaders in the book are sent up lovingly. Honest.  I think activists and journalists, despite their occasionally underhanded tactics, play a vital role in a democracy; they keep big institutions on their toes.  My goal with the novel was to be an equal opportunity offender—to poke fun at everybody on all sides.

MSF:  Do you currently or have you ever worked in the chocolate industry?

JD:  No. I’ve never set foot inside a chocolate company.  Not even for a tour.

MSF:  What’s your background?

JD:  I grew up in St. Louis.  I began my career in politics, writing speeches for members of the Missouri House of Representatives, then I moved to Washington, DC, and did similar work on Capitol Hill.  For a few years I worked as a staff writer for a DC-based NGO, one focused on helping high school dropouts get back on track.  After that, I worked for a big PR firm and then went on to work as an executive inside two Fortune 500 corporations.

MSF:  You did what?!!

JD:  Nothing.  Sorry.  I misspoke.

MSF:  Which corporations?!!

JD:   I forget.

MSF:  Well, we’ll have our interns looking into that.

JD:  I suspect you will.

MSF:  And for whom do you work now?

JD:  For most of the past decade, I’ve operated my own consulting firm, which provides strategic communications counsel and writing services to corporations, trade associations and politicians.  Speeches for CEOs and politicians, op-ed pieces, magazine articles, corporate annual reports—stuff like that.  I also lecture on various communications topics at the University of Virginia.

MSF:  Is this your first book?

JD:  It’s my second, actually.  I am coauthor of a business book called Most Likely to Succeed at Work.

MSF: Are there any Big Food & Beverage companies whose products you’re currently boycotting or contemplating suing?

JD:  None, I’m happy to report. In fact, I pretty much eat and drink whatever I fancy, unquestioningly.

MSF:  So I’ve noticed.  Perhaps you’d like to tell me about that liquid you keep pouring from your tin flask into that bottomless glass of lychee juice?

JD:   It’s just a digestif.

MSF:  I don’t approve.

JD:  I know.

MSF:  But I do approve of your novel, and encourage all citizens, especially my virtuous colleagues in the public health community, government, the news media, and the plaintiff’s bar—as well as my legion of enemies in Corporate America, its public relations and law firms, and its boosters on Wall Street—to pick up a copy.  Thanks for joining us today, Jack.  I’m so delighted we could break pita bread together.

JD:  Anytime, Mona.  See you in my next book.

Click here to purchase Corporate Americahttp://www.amazon.com/Corporate-America-Novel-Jack-Dougherty/dp/0615836607/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372964711&sr=1-1&keywords=jack+dougherty+corporate+america

Road Trip!

Distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, friends and enemies:

Mona Sternstein-Fernandez here, begging a thousand pardons for my recent absence, but the past few months have been absolutely crazy.  We have been “in the field,” as my research colleagues say, clandestinely touring Prock Chocolate Corporation-operated cocoa plantations of Africa, South America and West Java.

There’s so much I’m dying to tell y’all!

Sadly, we promised our traveling companions—an undercover British TV film crew dispatched by an investigative newsmagazine—that we would “embargo” our pictures and posts until after the documentary film program we collaborated on airs later in the year.

In the meantime, I have secured approval from our new British friends to share these two anecdotes.

Highlight of the trip:

Our first stop was in Venezuela, which produces about 17,000 tons of cacao a year. We infiltrated an 11,000-acre Prock plantation east of Lake Maracaibo, a region once rich in rainforests and biodiversity.

While the “ostensible” purpose of the Prock Chocolate farm is to grow beans, we knew better!  Indeed, it is on this farm that the Company secretly cultivates its most sinister crop:  the mind-altering Datura flower, whose extracts, we believe, are mixed into all Prock Product formulations to stimulate customer dependence (if not necessarily taste buds).

This rare “psychedelic” plant, whose hallucinogenic properties are known to induce a mild state of trance, have been the “secret ingredient” in Prock products for decades. It’s not a coincidence, people, that terms like “addictive” and “euphoric” are so often linked to the Prock product portfolio!

The wily executives at the Prock Chocolate Corporation (who have handed over God-knows-how-many briefcases clogged with $100 bills to FDA officials) have managed to get this “undeclared ingredient” exempted from their product labels, claiming it is some sort of proprietary “trade secret” when it fact  it is a brazen product spike, pure and simple.

Months from now, when our documentary airs, the truth will finally be known.  And let the indictments begin!

But I am ahead of myself; back to the story:

While tangling with the Prock Chocolate Corporation is never an undertaking for those averse to danger, we were in good hands on our field trip.  Indeed, we’d have surely been discovered by the Barons of Big Chocolate were it not for the expert guidance of a lovely group of indigenous Venezuelans, the Yąnomamö People, who taught us camouflaging techniques, how to sleep under water (in shallow creek beds, breathing through reeds), and prepared for us snacks made from manioc root, a popular shrub. (Regrettably, I was unable to bring these natural, tasty treats home to my morbidly over-sized daughter, Tempy, as manioc root is unfortunately high in carbohydrates and altogether devoid of protein.)

 

 

The lovely Yąnomamö People of Venezuela

(Note:  The mother and child in this photograph are presented for anthropological/representative purposes only.  Our actual guides’ identities we have sworn not to reveal.)

Lowlight of the trip:

Hands down:  Port Bouet Airport, Cote d’Ivoire.  The country has such lovely and resilient people—except at the airport, where customs officials detained my colleague Jayne Gribble for more than 14 hours.

If we had a traditional, hierarchical structure at COCOH, or were wont to deploy martial language (which we are not), you might say that Jayne is my second in command, though I think of her more as a peer.

I hate it when people judge books by their covers. Which is exactly what happened to Jayne.

Despite being dressed in the native garb—a brightly colored traditional dress, a “pagnes” of red, orange and gold, with matching head scarf—she was nonetheless suspected, based solely on her appearance, of either trafficking heroin or being addicted to the drug.  The customs agents claimed that she was hiding her eyes (when in fact she wears stylish bangs).  Her teeth prompted skepticism because they were “insufficiently white.”  [Don't even get me started on that comment, people!]  We had to secure an affidavit from her childhood dentist in Cambridge, Mass., that Jayne’s parents—trailblazers who were 30 years ahead of their time—deliberately prohibited the ingestion of fluoride, which is clinically proven to damage fertility, destroy bones and cause early puberty in females.  Eleven hours into her detention, a local physician insisted Jayne’s was an “unhealthful pallor.”  Hello!  Anybody here ever heard of a vegan?!!

Despite evidence that Jayne is a productive and valued member of/contributor to Civil Society, the customs officials insisted on treating her like doped-to-the-gills Keith Richards trying to board a Swiss aircraft circa 1977.

It was infuriating!

Fortunately, Jayne was a better sport about the fiasco than I would have been.

“Every country has its rituals, traditions and superstitions,” she said when we caught a flight out the next morning.  “And it’s our job to respect those—even if we disagree.”

FDA Must Age-Restrict Chocolate and Regulate as a Drug

A San Francisco-based pediatric endocrinologist is making the Prock Chocolate Corporation’s executives’ blood sugar spike.

The physician’s core premise:  Sugar and Ethanol, the active ingredient in mind-altering martinis, are utterly interchangeable: They are both toxins; they both create physiological dependency; they both interfere with brain function; they are both dangerous, psychoactive drugs.  Fructose, alas, is ethanol without the buzz.

There’s a good reason our government leaders age-restrict alcohol beverages.  What responsible parent would allow her adolescent daughter to consume a quart of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey in one sitting?

Yet by allowing our children to consume sugar-laden foods such as chocolate, aren’t we “dosing” them with equally dangerous toxins?  On Halloween night, should we start distributing to children airplane bottles of vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, scotch whiskey, and Grand Marnier?

No … I didn’t think so either, people.

But we might as well.

Sadly, the FDA—terrified of incurring Big Chocolate’s wrath—have refused to take appropriate action against sugar.  But that can and WILL change when good citizens refuse to allow evil to triumph by doing something.

For this reason, we’re inviting you to copy, paste, print, sign and mail the attached letter to the FDA, demanding they regulate the chronic toxin sugar, age-restricting this dangerous substance to adults 21 and older—just as we do alcohol—and making it available only by a doctor’s prescription.

 “May I see your prescription and I.D., please?”

SAMPLE PETITION LETTER TO FDA

DATE

Dr. Margaret Hamburg

Commissioner

US Food and Drug Administration

10903 New Hampshire Ave

Silver Spring, MD 20993

FDA, GET SUGAR OUT OF OUR BODIES!!  AGE-RESTRICT CHOCOLATE AND MAKE IT AVAILABLE BY PRESCRIPTION ONLY

I, the undersigned, urge the FDA to regulate and age-restrict all forms of chocolate—whether available in single-serving candy containers or liquids (such as chocolate milk) as it is a psychoactive, mood-altering drug, and a chronic toxin shown in numerous studies to cause obesity, Type II diabetes, mood swings and addiction.

I demand that the FDA seriously consider and acknowledge through regulatory action the dangerous effects of chocolate in particular, and do what is right for the health and safety of the people of the United States—especially children, our most precious resource.

We are all exposed to high levels of sugar regularly as it appears in a variety of daily consumed products—ESPECIALLY CHOCOLATE.

This frequent exposure includes the 11,516 employees of the FDA, who, like children, are exposed to chocolate advertising and lured into temptation and involuntarily conscripted into a lifetime of addiction at grocery checkouts, in convenience stores, and in vending machines.

The FDA must take immediate action against BIG CHOCOLATE and both age-restrict and regulate sugar, a dangerous psychoactive drug.

Signed,

NAME

A Warning: Run(s) From Chocolate!!

Trust me, people, when I, Mona Sternstein-Fernandez, tell you that the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s legendary Michael Jacobson has never been reticent about saying the unsayable.  He was the first person (that I know of) to heroically utter the term “Anal Leakage” in polite company, back in 1997, when the horrifying fake fat substitute “Olestra” attracted his much-deserved ire.

Today, According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, more than 5.5 million Americans suffer from fecal incontinence, which is caused by diet, damage to the anal sphincter muscles, pelvic floor dysfunction, loss of storage capacity in the rectum, and even diarrhea.

Sadly, we still don’t talk about these 5.5 million sufferers in polite company—and that’s just the way the Prock Chocolate Corporation likes it.

Why?  Because caffeine-laden chocolate relaxes the internal anal sphincter muscles and can cause bowel leakage and release.

Even more disturbing, Big Chocolate’s sugar-free “healthy offerings” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) can wreak even more havoc on the delicate intestinal systems of adults and children …. children such as my daughter, Tempy.

As part of our most recent weight-loss strategy for Tempy (whom I recently wrote about after an unfortunate O.D. episode involving Paula Deen’s reckless and irresponsible Triple Chocolate Pudding), we switched her over to sugar-free chocolates.

Boy, was that a mistake!

Big Chocolate boasts that their sugar-free offerings deliver the Same famous taste, only sugar-free! And did we mention it has about 20% fewer calories!”

What Big Chocolate conveniently forgets to mention, however, is that the most common sugar substitutes in candies—sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and malitol, for example—are absorbed slowly and incompletely.  As a consequence, they attract water into the lower digestive tract that can cause explosive diarrhea in children and other vulnerable populations.

It just isn’t fair, people, that no one at Big Chocolate warned my daughter that consuming these products would doom her to more than six hours a day on the toilet, for three straight days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidenciary Photograph:  Tempy Sternstein-Fernandez’ bathroom

Nor did anyone at Big Chocolate warn Tempy that her favorite holiday present—a pair of electric-lime roll-cuff sweatpants with a PEACE sign stitched on the thigh, purchased at her favorite Tween apparel retailer, Justice—would be rendered un-wearable in the aftermath of her colonic catastrophe.

I wish Big Chocolate could have been there to see the tears welling in Tempy’s eyes when, clad in my surgical gloves, I loaded the odiferous sweatpants into an (empty) 1.5 gallon empty bucket of Maldon Sea Salt, sealed the container with duct tape, and hauled it out to the dumpster like so much radioactive waste.

Memo to accounts payable at Big Chocolate:  Be on the lookout for a letter from me demanding full reimbursement ($37.82) for my daughter’s sweat pants.  Oh, and be on the lookout, too, for a certified letter from our General Counsel at COCOH …  as the filing of our “Failure to Warn” lawsuit is imminent.

Ruthless Dictators’ Sweets Spot: Big Chocolate

This month marks the ninth anniversary of the capture of misunderstood Iraqi Dictator Sadaam Hussein.  In December 2003, Sadaam Hussein was discovered in his infamous “spider-hole,” in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, a small agricultural town renowned for its lush orchards of date palms, orange and pear trees.

The U.S. Military Industrial Complex, the neocons, and FOX News may want to keep alive the memory of Sadaam’s so-called “capture” for their own propaganda purposes—but I assure you, people, Big Chocolate hopes you’ll forget.

Sadaam Hussein, an involuntary ascetic at the end, had pared down his belongings to only that which was essential to his survival on the run:  an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol, $750,000 in cash, and …oh, by the way, a stash of ”7th Heaven” candy bars, the flagship offering of the Prock Chocolate Corporation.

This, people, is not the kind of “product placement” Big Chocolate wants you to see.

One has to wonder the degree to which the Prock Chocolate Corporation knowingly supplied its products to the brutal dictator over the course of his 24-year reign of terror.

Surely the dictator didn’t stroll down the road from his palace in Baghdad to the city’s Mansour district, heart of the junk-food market scene, and load a couple dozen bars into a burlap sack, did he?

No, the more likely scenario is a corporate-owned truck, festooned with candy bar logos, rolling through the gates of Sadaam’s palace—or one of the other more than 75 palaces and VIP complexes nationwide—to rack up profits and secure the strongman’s favor.

Big Chocolate has been a favortie of dictators for centuries.  Napoleon’s favorite dessert:  profiteroles made with chocolate and cream; Hitler loved his chocolate éclairs decorated with little swastikas.  Someone supplied chocolate to these evil men—or conveniently looked the other way as so-called “independent contractors” within Big Chocolate’s purposefully deregulated supply chain (deniability, people!) furnished product.

Interestingly—or perhaps instructively—among the approximately 600 assassination attempts the CIA is believed to have set in motion against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, one infamous failure called for covert agents to insert poison into El Presidente’s daily chocolate shake.  And while they succeeded in getting the poison into the beverage, an overeager servant inadvertently foiled the plan by putting the shake in a freezer to keep it cold; it froze, and the temperamental dictator demanded a new one.

Remember 1954, when the United Fruit Company, in cahoots with the CIA, overthrew the democratically elected government of Guatemala after the banana crops were nationalized?  It makes one wonder: Back in Cuba in 1963, might Big Chocolate have been in similar cahoots with the CIA over “Operation Chocolate Shake,” the botched Castro assassination?  Given that Castro had daringly rebuked American hegemony by nationalizing all the sugar plantations in the country—a move that must have surely displeased Big Chocolate—it’s not beyond the realm of imagination.

2013 New Year’s Resolution for Big Chocolate: Keep chocolate out of dictators’ hands!

Did Big Chocolate fix this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry?

Recently it was reported in the Washington Post and elsewhere that Two Americans won this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry.  In the same edition of the Post, a craftily placed sidebar story from the AP reported a “possible” correlative link between the number of Nobel Prizewinners a country produces and its per capita chocolate consumption.

The “original study” from which the AP sourced its reckless and irresponsible story appeared in the formerly-credible New England Journal of Medicine, which—tellingly—published the findings by Franz H. Messerli, M.D as a “note” rather than a rigorous, peer reviewed study.   (Are you following this propaganda chain, people, as no-science “science” migrates to our media outlets masquerading as legitimate news?)

Hello!  Has anyone explained to the editors at the NEJM, AP and the Washington Post that correlation does not imply causation—as any undergraduate researcher can find explained on Wikipedia?

Sadly, the foolish media has been duped yet again by Big Chocolate’s wily tactics.

Why do you suppose the once-venerable New England Journal of Medicine would publish such content when it didn’t satisfy the criteria of a rigorous academic study?  Hmmm, could it be because of the Prock Chocolate Foundation’s ongoing contributions to academic institutions and medical journals?  One wonders if scientists don’t feel pressured by the economic might and political clout of Big Chocolate to reach “inescapable conclusions” about the product for fear of retaliation by corporate masters.  The media may not have wondered, but at COCOH, we did, and have subsequently launched a full investigation, including FOIA requests, to determine funding sources on every piece of positive-outcome chocolate research conducted since 1990 by publicly-funded universities.

Curiously, chocolate consumption’s dubious connection to Nobel Prize acquisition in the 23 countries covered by the study does not include hard data on Big Chocolate’s in-country marketing strategies, public health sector-initiated consumption control strategies, candy-vending machine incidence rates on college and university on campuses, acne incidence, or chocolate’s addictive properties.

Consequently, where Dr. Messerli’s research left off … ours begins.  We are culling data on “the dark side” of chocolate, which we will crunch alongside the puffery reported in the newspapers.  And when our report is complete, we will demand equal time for the TRUE STORY in all the media outlets that published this free, shameful advertisement for an industry that causes grief and heartache for moms, families and children.

The battle for truth and justice is always an uphill journey, people.

Big Chocolate and Women’s Bodies: Two Great Tastes that DON’T Taste Great Together

First things first:  Me and my colleagues at COCOH beg everyone’s pardon for sharing this offensive,misogynistic image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But if we’re serious about opening a dialogue, it’s important we expose Big Chocolate’s efforts to assert its hegemony over—and fortify its legitimacy within—the culture.

So why is it that the marketing executives at the Prock Chocolate Corporation so insidiously link their products to sex and, more disturbingly, the objectification of women?  And why do they do this when they know full well that children—our most precious resource—adore chocolate?  Could it be because in their determined effort to maintain levels of consumption post-childhood they have to find “adult applications” for their product?

Let this be stated for the record:  We are not prudes at COCOH. In fact, the members of our diverse staff enjoy robust, consensual, and in most states entirely legal erotic lives.

But aren’t there healthier alternatives to the more playfully inclined than befouling the sex act with gooey, dripping chocolate?

At the water cooler at COCOH, within five minutes we developed a far more imaginative list of mucilaginous alternatives to chocolate.  Among them:

  1. Hummus
  2. Tzatziki sauce
  3. Dal makhani
  4. Chicken à la King (sauce only)
  5. West African “Piri-Piri” Peanut Soup (recipe here)
  6. Vegan pumpkin pie filling
  7. Cashew Cream Sauce
  8. Swiss Fondue (use Emmentaler cheese, insists the head of our litigation team)
  9. Okra reduction
  10. Maraschino Cherry Sweet and Sour Sauce

Big Chocolate already controls the television sets in our living rooms, maneuvers its way into our kitchen cupboards, and bombards us with its seductive offering at the check-out counter.  Do we really want them in our bedrooms, too?

Instead, let’s show some imagination, people, as Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger did in “9½ Weeks,” when Basinger nibbled on “rude foods” in one of the most erotic scenes the movies have ever produced.

Consider and apply.

Click here to purchase a copy of CORPORATE AMERICA, a “hysterical and witty” novel about a young man’s adventures and misadventures inside the fictitious Prock Chocolate Corporation.

 

 

 

 

“Loco for Cocoa”

Has anyone seen the new Nickelodeon television live-action comedy series “Marvin Marvin,” a new television program directed at children?

The TV show, which is only a few weeks old, stars Lucas Cruikshank as the title character, Marvin Marvin, an alien teenage boy who lands on Earth and must adjust to life in his strange new environs.

Well, it didn’t take long for the Prock Chocolate Corporation to insidiously weave its way into the plot line, did it?

The second episode, entitled, fittingly, “Toothache: Chocolate Fever,” aired on December 8th.

 

Pounds and pounds of chocolate product were visible onscreen.

This program, which will spur an FTC investigation if the Obama administration is as committed to public safety as it claims to be, sends dangerous, mixed messages about chocolate consumption to children, tweens and teens.

On its corporate website, Nickelodeon, owned by $15b media behemoth Viacom, boasts that in the aforementioned episode “Marvin’s desire for chocolate knows no bounds.”

That’s the understatement of the century!

As you can see in this repulsive clip, Marvin goes on a chocolate-eating (…and drinking….and smearing) binge.

What a shame, people, that the writers and producers of this new program were too creatively bankrupt to recognize that they were missing a golden opportunity to send the right message to kids, who are, after all, our most precious resource.

Indeed, what if an alien came to planet Earth and registered shock at the levels of childhood obesity levels, junk-food consumption, and marketing directed at children?  What if an alien came to our planet and brought with him healthful snacks such as kelp, dried seaweed,  fresh fruits and “fun” vegetables such as “Radish Mice.”

I urge everyone to write to Paula Kaplan, executive vice president of Current Series at Nickelodeon, and respectfully remind her that the  airwaves  are supposed to belong to the peopleNOT big chocolate and the media conglomerates funded by their advertising.

 

 

 

In War on Childhood Obesity, is Big Chocolate Guilty of War Crimes?

Hello friends and supporters!  I deeply regret that I have been unable to post for more than a week, but my family has been in a state of crisis since the Thanksgiving weekend. It all started on Black Friday, one of the blackest day of my life, when my colleagues and I from COCOH attended an anti-consumerism/anti-Wal-Mart protest in the DC metro area.

Anyway … this story isn’t about Wal-Mart’s controversial labor practices, but my daughter Tempy’s continuing struggle with obesity—and the determination of everyone at COCOH to save her life, and the lives of other children, teens, and tweens targeted by the wicked executives at the Prock Chocolate Corporation (aka “Big Chocolate”).

While we were attending the rally, Tempy had what can only be described as a “massive relapse.”  Though she is prohibited from ingesting chocolate—and we don’t keep chocolate products of any kind in the house—Tempy went online and discovered a recipe for Paula Deen’s triple chocolate pudding.  Without my permission, she headed directly to Trader Joe’s —a grocery chain I must now urge you to boycott—and purchased the necessary ingredients with allowance money I shall now be forced to withhold.

Upon returning home from the anti-Wal-Mart rally, I discovered Tempy in the living room, passed out in front of the television.  Next to her were nine (9!) empty parfait containers.  She had slavishly and I would posit INVOLUNTARILY followed Deen’s recipe to the letter—down to the inclusion of the white and dark chocolate shavings!

 Paula Deen’s Reckless & Irresponsible Triple Chocolate Pudding

After reviving Tempy and wiping down her face with a moist towelette, between heaves of breath she complained of numbness in her feet and hands.  I was forced—yet again—to bring her to the E.R.

People, how much longer do we tolerate Big Chocolate’s efforts to undermine our parenting and assault the health of our most precious resource (kids)?  Tempy’s body is disfigured.  Though only 4’11″ tall, she was weighed last week by the E.R. admissions nurse and is now 288 pounds.

We’ve tried the crash diets; we’ve tried the counseling sessions; we’ve interned her at four separate youth weight loss camps and spas over the years; we’ve had to confront the onset of Type 2 diabetes.  And worst of all, we’re been forced to adopt that most radical therapy, children’s stomach stapling. (More on that topic, and our disastrous experience, in a later post.)

Yet every time we manage to advance her a step forward, she falls two steps backward after Big Chocolate ceaselessly bombards her with its seductive and deadly advertising.  And how does Big Chocolate respond to stories like these?  To declare that eating is a “personal responsibility” and “free choice.”

Shame on Big Chocolate.  Because to blame me or my daughter for what is happening to Tempy is like blaming a fish for being sick because it swims in a river polluted with toxic sludge.