The Kellogg Company has decided to drop Michael Phelps because he was photographed doing what tens of millions of adults in the United States have done and do regularly.
Kellogg company spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz explained that, "Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg."
Regardless of their image, the reality of the company's founding is well worth a look.
John Harvey Kellogg was, to put it simply, a whack-job. Way out of balance. Freaked out. A bloody lunatic. But he wasn't just nuts, he was nasty. Kellogg was a prime example of the anti-pleasure crusader. Kellogg's life was dedicated to the abolition of sexual pleasure.
In an intellectual feat of surpassing audacity, he declared that sex -- even between married couples -- was "against nature," and should be avoided at all costs. (That such a view of nature could be taken seriously just a hundred years ago is a mystery for another day.) In his own marriage of over four decades, he and his wife proudly claimed never to have had sex together.
Kellogg believed that the pleasure of eating flavorful food led directly to the great evil of masturbation, so he created the blandest foods he could: corn flakes. If the tasteless breakfast cereals didn't cure you of the horrid onanistic habit, he was happy to take more drastic measures, such as circumcision, without anesthetic, "as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment…."
He also encouraged enclosing the penis in a metal band with sharpened spikes pointing in to render excruciatingly painful even involuntary night erections (which happen for nearly all sleeping boys) or sewing the foreskin closed over the head of the penis.
For girls who were caught touching themselves in ways this monster found offensive, he recommended the application of carbolic acid directly to the clitoris.
In addition to his crusades against sexual pleasure, Kellogg was an outspoken supporter of racial segregation, forming the Race Betterment Foundation in 1906. He felt that blacks and immigrants would contaminate the superior gene pool of white America.
The Kellogg Company, in other words, was founded by an American Taliban. Kellogg was a cruel and ignorant racist advocate of child-abuse with an insane aversion to anyone anywhere having any sexual pleasure (unless they got it from daily yogurt enemas, as he apparently did).
This is the company that is dropping Michael Phelps for doing a bong hit! Hardly surprising, in light of their history.
This is absurd. As Joe Conason writes in today's Salon:
It isn't only athletic stars who have been known to indulge in reefer madness. Important scientists such as Richard Feynman, Stephen Jay Gould, Margaret Mead, and Carl Sagan, billionaire executives like Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, and a great many of the literary and musical geniuses of the past century or so -- William Butler Yeats, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan among them -- got high. So have many of our top elected officials, notably including Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current governor of California, a highly successful actor and businessman whose pot habit was immortalized on film in "Pumping Iron"; Michael Bloomberg, the current mayor of New York City, another hard-driving billionaire who once told a magazine interviewer that he had not only smoked dope but "enjoyed" it; Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House; and Al Gore, former vice president, Google director, and winner of both the Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Our question is, since they're dropping Michael, why don't we drop them a line and let them know that it's time to end John Harvey Kellogg's campaign against harmless pleasure. Boycott Kellogg until they back off Michael Phelps and learn to live and let live.
Please digg this using the Share/Email button below if you want to get the ball rolling.
UPDATE (From Huffington Post): No uprising would be complete without, of course, a FaceBook group.
UPDATE II: The Marijuana Policy Project is jumping into the boycott fray. "Our members are as angry about this as I've ever seen them. We've been besieged by emails and phone calls from people wanting to boycott Kellogg's over the stupidity and unfairness of its action, so we will indeed be joining a boycott. This is a company that didn't mind that Phelps had a conviction for drunk driving, an illegal act that could actually have killed someone. For them to dump him for relaxing with a substance that's far safer than beer -- less addictive, massively less toxic, and overwhelmingly less likely to make users violent or aggressive -- is reprehensible. While boycotts are notoriously hard to pull off, the consumers who have made marijuana the number one cash crop in America represent a silent force that may just have been awakened big-time," said spokesman Bruce Mirken.