I never thought being called an “ass” on national TV could be so much fun.
It happened the other night on Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor.” I was a guest with substitute host Juan Williams, and I was brought on to debate some anti-obesity activist -- who would ever think obesity could spawn activists? -- named MeMe somebody. I think her name is MeMe Roth. Or maybe it’s Ross. It’s not important.
The “debate” was over a new ordinance passed by a local government in Santa Clara, California that bans toys being sold with Happy Meals at McDonald’s. Now why in the world would the local Board of Supervisors bother to ban toys being sold with Happy Meals, one might ask? Evidently, they have the peculiar belief there that allowing parents to buy their own children meals at fast food restaurants that include toys only encourages the little whippersnappers to become fat.
I’m not kidding.
So when the Fox News producer invited me to appear on the show to discuss this little slice of insanity, I didn’t expect there’d be much of a debate. What could possibly be the argument? Seemed perfectly clear to me that Santa Clara, California has a few numbskulls that masquerade as Board of Supervisors who have nothing better to do with their time than to tell adults what products they may or may not purchase from a private business like McDonald’s.
But there would be a debate! MeMe whats-her-name was ready and loaded for bear.
She seemed to center on what she called “the nag factor.” She lectured me about how parents shouldn’t have to be subjected to their little bundles of joy nagging them into buying things that aren’t good for them, namely chicken strips or cheeseburgers that include little toy characters or plastic thing-a-ma-jigs, or whatever they’re putting in Happy Meals these days.
As the parent of four grown boys, I asked her if she was a parent, too. She sarcastically told me that she was quite capable of reproducing (this was not a very pleasant lady), and that yes, she did have two children.
At that point, I suggested that she might consider doing what my wife and I always did when our kids wanted something, and perhaps ponder the reaction of millions and millions of parents since the beginning of time -- say no.
That prompted a most interesting reply on her part: “Oh, don’t be an ass, Mike.”
Which led to guest-host Juan Williams, to give a, “Whoa, whoa there, MeMe!”
Whoa there, MeMe, indeed.