Facing the white menace: Life was so much simpler when our biggest fear was nuclear Armageddon instead of the fat, systemic antibiotics and the now-intolerable lactose in once-benign moo-juice… and we didn’t even mention the dairy board conspiracy
By Charley Gordon
If you truly want to know what’s dangerous in the world, you have to read the Style and Living section of the newspaper. The dangers in the rest of the paper are predictable. They haven’t changed in centuries — war, flood, earthquake, pestilence, terrorism and undercooked pork.
But the other dangers are changing all the time, particularly the ones that attack you in your home and in unfashionable restaurants. Keeping track of them is a bit of a chore, but worth it. Otherwise, there are diseases and syndromes that would catch you unawares. Plus, there are new letters every day that follow LGBT and you don’t want to seem insensitive. *
If you want to know what’s hot now in the list of things to be wary of, it’s milk. Books have come out about it, and Style and Living journalists have written about the books and asked other people what they think about the books. This is how investigative Style and Living journalism is done. You wait for someone to come out with a book and email somebody about it.
It’s not clear that milk will actually kill you, although you could drown if you fell into a vat of it. But milk is not going to help you, at least not as much as the dairy industry and your family doctor have been saying. Not to mention the government and the food guides it puts out. According to the Style and Living section, there might even be a conspiracy involving the government and the dairy industry to convince you to drink milk.
It’s all right there in the Style and Living section, the dangers of milk, right beside the wine column.
The Style and Living section concedes that there might be some calcium in milk, but says you can
get the same effect by eating broccoli. The Style and Living section silent on the etiquette for putting broccoli in your coffee.
Milk is only the latest harmful commodity to be exposed in the Style and Living section. Various grains that were once thought to be beneficial are now pronounced unbeneficial and before some of us even learned to pronounce them. A further development is the revelation that some substances thought to be harmful now may not be, such as fat. Fat may be good. It may be better than milk, although clearly not as good as wine.
You have to keep checking in and this does complicate life. Life was simpler when some of us were growing up. In those days, there were only two dangers you had to worry about — Communists and radiation. We all know what Communists could do to you and, as for radiation, the movie industry kept us up to speed on that.**
Mostly, radiation turned insects into creatures as big as apartment buildings, only with no balconies. Nobody worried about milk in those days. How could they?
But now, Communists are mostly gone and giant insects have been replaced, in the public imagination, by dinosaurs. But we’ve learned dinosaurs are mostly cute and the only thing to be feared about them is sequels.
So until the scourge of communism comes back, which, thanks to Putin, it just might, we rely on the Style and Living section to frighten us. Beware of milk. And if the fear of that keeps you awake at night, drink a broccoli spritzer.
* (Ed. note: The latest are Q, for questioning, and A, for asexual.)
** (Ed. note: Yet the Dairy Board remains quiet about the monsters with white moustaches they’ve created through irradiated milk.)