Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



It's the boxing match no one expected to see.  Shh...You're just in time for the introductions.  Here's the public address announcer:  Ding! Ding!  "Ladies & Gentlemen.  Welcome to the championship bout to determine the heavyweight snob of the world!  In one corner...the defending champ...weighing in at 65 million people...with his nose high in the air...it's the REPUBLIC OF FRANCE!  The opponent...with a hefty population of 37 million...the challenger and reigning snob of the Western Hemisphere...the STATE OF CALIFORNIA!"

Oops!  Once again...we've gotten ahead of ourselves here at the DUNER BLOG.  How did France and California become enemies?  It all began two weeks ago...on July First to be exact.  On that day, Section #25980 of the State Health Code officially became a law, thus banning the sale of FOIE GRAS in California.  It took years of intense lobbying, but persistent animal rights activists finally achieved their goal.  And they were particularly proud about the wording of the ordinance.  They wanted everyone to realize that the: "force feed[ing of] a goose for the purpose of enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size" qualifies as animal cruelty.  All violators will be punished with a painful $1,000 fine.

So...why do the French care about Section #25980?  Well it just so happens that France is the world's largest supplier of delicious Foie Gras.  And it just so happens the California is the world's largest importer of Foie Gras.  It's no secret: The Golden State loves to be decadent.  Believe it or not, but those chardonnay swilling and brie munching Californians account for one quarter of the world's total goose liver consumption.  And in our wacky global economy, this means a lot of people in France are going to lose their jobs because activists half a world away managed to get the state assembly to ban a delicacy item.

But guess what?  Nobody pushes France around!  Or so says PHILLIPE MARTIN, a member of the French National Assembly.  The politician from the Pyrenees is pursuing legislation that would ban all California wines imported into France.  Martin feels singling out one luxury item is unfair and wants to show solidarity "for our foie gras makers and for all food makers."  Now that will show 'em!  Or maybe it won't.  California Wine Institute spokesperson LAUREL PINE points out that very little Californian wine is consumed in France. "It feels like a little bit of a slap in the face of a product that France is proud of."  Pine also pointed out Americans buy one trillion dollars worth of French wine annually.

Enough!  The truth is...We here at the DUNER BLOG are hesitant to support either side.  We admit to enjoying haûte cuisine.  For example, we simply adore Swiss chocolates.  However, we also understand that no living creature should ever have to be force fed.  The problem is that we feel issues involving ethics and appetites are best solved in arenas other than the French National Assembly and the California State Legislature.  We'd like to see the Assemblée Nationale in Paris concentrate on getting marginalized Algerian immigrants some overdue civil rights.  And we'd love it if the fools in Sacramento stop slashing our Education budget.  Let's leave the foie gras issue for the talk shows, PETA protesters and social media outlets to work out.

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