Watch out, Mr. and Mrs. America: Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés and the New York Times are worried about what you have been eating, and they intend to make you change your evil ways. Luckily for you, however, Andrés is yet one more ignorant European, utterly clueless about American politics and values, so his efforts will prove futile and helpless.
According to the NYT, Andrés "wonders why the most powerful country in the world won't spend money to help the poor eat better." And he's made common cause with Michelle Obama to force Americans to start doing just that. If you hear the same patronizing tone in Andrés' words that is used by other Europeans, like Bono, when they want to lead Americans down some garden path or other, you're not alone.
You remember Ms. Obama, of course. She's the nice lady I wrote about a couple of years ago on these pages, when she was lecturing you about eating too much mac & cheese at the same time as she was publishing recipes for super-high-fat versions of the dish in national newspapers. Meanwhile, her best beloved was helping Domino's Pizza to lacquer on even more mozzerella on its already-bloated pies.
It's really quite breathtaking how little, despite their self-proclaimed erudition, most Europeans know about American politics and society -- and I'm not even talking about Andrés' obvious obliviousness of Ms. Obama's bona fides.
I'm talking about the basic facts of American history. If you know the first thing about the U.S. Constitution, for example, then you know that you can't work on changing American eating habits by talking to the president's wife. The Constitution doesn't give the federal government, much less the president, much less his wife, the power to decide what Americans can eat. If you want to address a topic like that in a meaningful way, you need to be talking to governors and state legislatures.
But doing that, of course, means a lot of hard work. It's so much more glamorous and easy to have tea with the First Lady and then get a presidential edict telling Americans to stop eating cheeseburgers (you know, like the kind President Obama took Dmitri Medvedev out for when he was in town a few years ago) and start helping their fellow citizens eat for free. That is, to be sure, the way they would do it in Spain.
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