The Scourge of Mockolate
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I never thought I'd be talking smack about the Hershey Company. It makes me feel like I'm wiping my oily hands on the prom dress of America's sweetheart. We all know Hershey. We all love Hershey. For crum's sakes, they're the chocolate people. Got a whole town named after them. The sugar rush dealers of our youth: Almond Joy, Mounds, Kit Kat, Reese's Pieces, and of course, the ubiquitous Hershey Bar. Which, if you believe all of the fairy tales of the Greatest Generation, were used in WW II to acquire the overnight company of comely foreign born ladies. What could be more American?
But now, this Pennsylvania champ of snacks seems to be allergic to its own concoction and itching to get out of the chocolate business and into the imitation chocolate business. They recently petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to legally redefine the term "chocolate" so that it includes artificial sweeteners, milk substitutes, and trans fats. That's right. They're about to become the foremost manufacturers of something destined to be known as Mockolate.
They claim the broader labels are necessary to keep up with changing consumer tastes. Yeah, right. Unbeknownst to us, phantom consumers have stormed the placid town of Hershey rallying and protesting the disgusting flavor of actual chocolate and crying out for something just as fattening, worse for our health and tastes like cardboard dipped in stagnant runoff. Reminds me of those mock apple pies the Ritz Cracker people tried to pawn off on us back in the 60s. Mmm, mushy crackers instead of cooked apples. Now, that's good eating.
I don't understand this whole "close, but no cigar" business. Like decaffeinated coffee. You schmuck. That's why I drink it. You take the caffeine out of it, this stuff is useless to me. Its hot bitter dirty water. Without the kick. "I like the wiry buzz, itâ€™s the rich flavor I could do without." Wine without alcohol. Why? I thought Welch's had that gig sewed up. And the kids and their juice sticks. Juice Sticks? Whose major connection to juice is what? The fact that their color is often not totally dissimilar to the fruit they're named after?
A spokesperson for Hershey says this is about modernizing food standards, increasing flexibility, and accommodating changes in technology, but the real answer lies right where you expect it, oozing down there on the bottom line. Cocoa butter costs $2.30 a pound. Vegetable oils? Less than a third of that. You know who I blame for this whole propagation of bogasity? George Bush. He's earned his position as poster boy for this national avalanche of hollow charade through his fraudulent masquerade as a leader.
His Healthy Forests Initiative encouraged logging. His Clears Skies Bill was a sop to big contributors allowing increased pollution. The Patriot Act stripped ordinary citizens of civil liberties so he can spread democracy across the globe by scooping up the excess we have here. Success and acceptance these days has nothing to do with what you do. Its how you sell what it is that you do. Or don't do. And what you do or don't call -- what it is that you do do. And it won't be long before our candy bars, will soon be, just like George Bush already is ... full of some of that doo doo.
Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability.