For John Banzhaf, the founder of ASH (US), suing restaurants for making people fat is the 'next logical step' in the public health crusade. As a bonus, it also offers him the chance to become stupendously rich.
The rotund 'legal activist' has been trying to sue McDonald's for years and, as this recent televised interview shows, he hasn't given up yet.
It's worth watching for the presenter's sarcastic and incredulous reporting of the whole sorry farce, and also to see how Banzhaf keeps resorting to fallacious arguments. He talks about cigarettes again and again, as if to drill home the idea that fast food and tobacco are as bad as each other. After comparing his McLawsuit to lawsuits that fought racial segregation, he uses this piece of specious reasoning:
"Many of our most famous lawsuits - the ones my students studied and you studied in law school - were originally called frivolous."
Maybe so, but a lot of frivolous lawsuits have been called frivolous too. I'm reminded of the conversation in the movie Bedazzled...
- You're a nutcase! You're a bleedin' nutcase!
- They said the same of Jesus Christ, Freud, and Galileo.
- They said it of a lot of nutcases too.
Predictably, Banzhaf resorts to ad hominem attacks on his opponent, calling Congressman Rick Keller "the mouthpiece for the food industry". Keller responds with this gem:
"I think we should have labelling on the people who bring these lawsuits; a T-shirt that says 25% junk science, 50% greed and 25% seeking publicity."