Saturday, July 02, 2005

Honest Tea

P.C. Tea - New York Times

The obvious question raised by a product called Honest Tea is: What, exactly, is dishonest tea? This sounds smart-alecky, but the name of the bottled tea does imply something more serious than mere thirst-quenching, so it's legitimate to wonder what it is trying to communicate. Is it healthfulness, or a tie-in to a cause, or a solution to an ethical quandary (in the way that Fair-Trade-certified coffee lets you wake up without feeling as if you're exploiting third-world farmers)?

It's also worth asking because a significant group of consumers seems to be responding. Launched in 1998, Honest Tea now sells more than a dozen varieties of bottled tea (and some bag teas as well), had revenues of nearly $6 million last year and expects to hit $9 million this year, according to the company.

Oh, Jesus, doesn't this make you sick? For all my political blueness, I can very easily understand what Reds are pissed about--this appalling New Moralism that's all the worse because it doesn't even understand itself as grossly, sanctimoniously, smugly moralistic.

Personally, I am now drinking my favorite dishonest drink: half and half Almaden white wine and store brand diet lemon-lime soda. I have no interest in being healthy. I do have a membership at Women's Fitness World but my only interest is in losing weight for aesthetic purposes. I wonder why the self-interested desire to "be healthy" is somehow supposed to be more edifying than the self-interested desire to look ok and fit into reasonable clothes, or for that matter the self-interested desire to make lots of money.

As far as Honest Tea, Fair-Trade Coffee and Politically Correct Chocolate goes, how much utility do consumers produce by buying these products? They're expensive and hard to find. Take the premium you pay for this crap (including the money for gas to take you to that health food store and the cost of your time) and send it to Oxfam


J F said...

I agree with your commentary about "Honest Tea". It's our old friend, Commerce, cloaked in an updated mantle of political correctness.
Uh, um, but, I'm unclear on what you're asking or claiming here about relative moral weights.
Are you equating being "skinny and attractive" with being "healthy and full of energy"? Are you not aware of the difference?
Edification may not be the point. The ability to be a useful participant for a (possibly) longer mortal span in better health may make one more fit to put one's energy into edifying activities. It's not always the case that aesthetics -driven self-interest has the same end. As for the desire to make lots of money, that in itself is neither edifying nor non-edifying, just as money itself is not inherently good or bad.

H. E. said...

Are you equating being "skinny and attractive" with being "healthy and full of energy"?

Of course not. I have no interest at all in being "healthy and full of energy." My only interest is in being skinny and attractive.

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