Published on: February 15, 2013by Kevin Coupe
It already has gotten a lot of attention, but I need to dip my beak a bit on this story.
Have you heard about John Alleman? He was a 52-year-old man who died of a heart attack the other day. In some ways, the heart attack was unexpected - Alleman was 180 pounds and at least from outward appearances, in decent shape.
But what made the heart attack so ironic was that for more than two years, Alleman ate at least once a day at a Las Vegas restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill, which has as its slogan, "taste worth dying for," and sells high-calorie, high-fat meals including Double Bypass Burgers, Flatliner Fries, Full Sugar Cokes, and Butterfat Shakes. Reports also are that the Heart Attack Grill would give free meals to customers weighing more than 350 pounds.
Let me be clear about this. I think that Alleman had the right to eat anything he wanted.
I think that the Heart Attack Grill has the right to sell anything it wants - and you certainly cannot accuse it of misleading labeling.
There are some who are saying that the Heart Attack Grill should be shut down. I'm not sure why. The restaurant didn't kill this guy. If anything, he committed suicide ... though it certainly was complicit is his death.
But what really bothers me about this is something that cannot be legislated. It is the exploitive nature of this restaurant, that it seems to delight in catering to lowest common denominator instincts. The restaurant certainly isn't alone in this - we live in a culture that does so. Think reality television. Think Donald Trump. Think anyone named Kardashian.
The best that the owners of the Heart Attack Grill could do with their lives is sell, among other things, a three-pound hamburger that had more than 9,000 calories, and give away food to people who are morbidly obese.
Heaven knows what these people would do for a living if heroin were legal. probably open a store and sell it to most people, but give it away to people with track marks on their arms.
At this moment, I'm sort of embarrassed that the Heart Attack Grill was included in MNB's "best hamburgers in America" list.
I think people should eat what they want, and I'm all in favor of gastronomic indulgence.
But there is something about this story - and what it says about our culture - that just makes me sick.
- KC's View: