The Worst Things Since Sliced Bread
The bread slicer was invented--where else?--in Iowa in 1912, but was not put into commercial operation until 1928. As anyone who knows anything about anything knows, the sooner bread is sliced, the sooner it starts to dry out and go off. This means, inevitably, that preservatives had to be added, and it may partly explain why Americans were taught to prefer a breadlike product with excessive moisture and lots of air whipped into the batter. The result --bread that is nothing like bread--is one of the most sinister contributions made by the 20th century.
But sliced bread is not alone. How about homogenized peanut butter or, especially, Jiff? They take the invention of a great man, George Washington Carver, who crushed and whipped peanuts to make a delicious and healthful spread, sucked out the valuable and wholesome peanut oil, replace it with the inedible oil of soybeans or cottonseeds, then add stabilizers and sugar. Yum.
Perhaps you prefer a sandwich spread popular here in the Midwest: bologna salad. How better to accompany a Miracle Whip, sweet pickle, and bologna sandwich that a bottle of carbonated toxic waste. After all, "Coke Is It," the pause that refreshes, though not the poison of choice for members of "The Pepsi Generation." What could possibly make a carbonated beverages even fouler than they are? Make them sugar-free, full of toxic chemicals like saccharine or aspertame. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence that fatties lose weight by switching to diet drinks. Apparently the body, by drinking diet sodas, is taught to crave sweets. Observe the people at Dunkin Doughnuts putting nutrasweet in their coffee.
Of course if the truly health-unconscious will make sure that they are drinking decaf coffee--another 20th contribution to the end of civilized life. Throw in filter cigarettes. They taste terrible and have to be pumped up with toxic chemicals to boost the flavor. But the best part is that all the evidence that filter cigarettes are less toxic than "straights" comes from smoking machines. In fact, people who engage in protected smoking suck harder on the cigarette in a generally successful effort to get enough nicotine.
I could literally go on all day, whining about milkshakes with seaweed instead of ice cream, pizza with sweet sauce, carob brownies, flavored yoghurt, childproof bottles, Public Radio and other state media--and, if we want to get really serious--vegan diets and sex without babies. "But the task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you. What are your nominations for the worst things invented since sliced bread?