Sometimes you start reading a news story and think it's odd, and you keep reading only to find it turning into a whole different level of weirdness, provoking the Five Stages of Incredulity.
And, yes, this is one of those stories:
Soy Diet Is Cruel and Unusual, Florida Inmate Claims
MIAMI — One too many bouts of flatulence and cramping has led a Florida inmate to sue the Department of Corrections, arguing that the prison’s soy-based turkey dogs and sloppy Joes amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Stage 1: Surprise. A prisoner is suing because he farts too much?
Eric D. Harris, 34, who is serving a life sentence for sexual battery on a child, said the soy in his prison chow is threatening his health by endangering his thyroid and immune system. Florida prisons serve meals with 50 percent soy and 50 percent poultry three times a day, a mixture that costs half as much as using beef and pork, the Department of Corrections says. The cost per meal: $1.70 a day for each inmate. ...
Stage 2: Astonishment. It's possible to feed an adult for $1.70 a day? And couldn't the prison get it down to about 10 cents by just feeding bread and water, if that's it's aiming for, and I suspect it is? Or, you know, encourage cannibalism for those who really demand meat?
Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said inmates can choose an alternative vegan meal if they do not want soy. “We have a constitutional obligation to feed them healthy, nutritious food, but we don’t have an obligation to feed them beef,” she said.
Stage 3: Bafflement. It's better to have a prison full of hostile, half-starved prisoners than spring for a ham sandwich occasionally? And the spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections is named Gretl? Also, could you please make this story weirder? And can I bold the weird part to make it stand out even more?
“Excessive soy can be toxic to the thyroid gland,” said Sally Fallon Morell, the president and treasurer of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates a diet of whole, largely unprocessed foods and food high in saturated fats, and is publicizing the lawsuit. “It can have hormonal effects.”
Stage 4: Disbelief. There's a nonprofit group devoted to eating gobs of butter? And it's suing on behalf of prisoners sick of eating soy dogs? You're not making this up?
Knowing that Weston A. Price was a real person, you might suspect that he was a nutritionist. One that encourages you to put an extra pat of butter on your steak, but still a nutritionist of some sort. So, let's check his bio:
Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), a Cleveland dentist, has been called the "Charles Darwin of Nutrition."
Slogan: Survival of the tastiest.
Here he is in action. Oh, and be prepared to cringe:
My favorite part is when he pats that "native" like a piece of meat and says, "You look as though you were a child! My, my!"
So, Weston A. Price Foundation, can you state your admiration for third world peoples in way that is strikingly creepy?
These primitives with their fine bodies, homogeneous reproduction, emotional stability and freedom from degenerative ills stand forth in sharp contrast to those subsisting on the impoverished foods of civilization-sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk and convenience foods filled with extenders and additives.
Oh, Dr. Price, you had me at "primitives with fine bodies." The "homogeneous reproduction" is just the lard-based icing on the beef-tallow cake.
Stage 5: Wonderment. Where did I put the vodka?