Comrade Child: Your Lunchbox, Please

[Edited for satirical clarity.]

FTAWIRE — A Comrade child at West Hoke People's Elementary School ate three people's chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her proletariat mother packed was not nutritious.

The Comrade girl's turkey and cheese sandwich: banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet either Food Commissar or Amerikan Agricultural guidelines, according to the interpretation of the the representative of the Nomenclatura who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the People's More at Four indoctrination unit that day.

The Division of Child-Citizen Development and Early Indoctrination at the Ministry of Health and Citizen Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten regimes - including in-home indoctrination centers - to meet Kremlin guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from non-state origins.

When non-state lunches do not include all of the required items, child indoctrinators must supplement them with the missing ones.

The comrade's mother - who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her incubation from state retaliation - said she received a note from the школа stating that inductees who did not bring a "healthy lunch" would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case руб 37.41.

"I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home," the incubator risked writing  in a complaint to her superior, Commissar G.L. Pridgen of Robeson Oкруг.

The little citizen's grand-incubator, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Pravda that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old citizen who eats the People's white whole wheat bread and is not big on the People's vegetables—or pickled beets.

"What got me so mad is, number one, don't tell my budding citizen I'm not packing her lunch box properly," the citizen's incubator told PV. "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable, or pickled beets. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn't really care for vegetables, or pickled beets."

When the little citizen came home with her lunch untouched, her state-caretaker wanted to know what she ate instead. Three people's chicken nuggets, the citizen answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

[...]

While the incubator and grand-incubator thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable—and pickled beets—were what disqualified the lunch, a spokescitizen for the Division of Citizen Indoctrination and Propaganda said that should not have been a problem.

"With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that's the dairy," said Jani Kozlowski, the propaganda manager for the division. "It sounds like the lunch itself would've met all of the state standard." The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said. "And this comes straight from the Kremlin," she reassured.

There are no clear restrictions about what additional items - like potato chips - can be included in preschoolers' lunch boxes. "We're still waiting on guidance from the Grand Poobah," she added.

"If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the little citizen watchman is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for that citizen," Kozlowski said. "The Poobah Rulz!"

Ultimately, the little citizen-comrade indoctrinator can't take the Coke and Twinkie away from the citizen-comrade, but Kozlowski said she "would think the Pre-K indoctrinator would talk with the parent about that not being a state-sanctined choice for their child." ...."And you know what that sort of disregard of the collective can lead to....," she aded.

It is unclear whether the state collective state school was allowed to charge the state collective state collective for the state collective cafeteria lunches they collectively gave to every collective indoctrinate in the collective class that day.

The state regulation reads:

"State units must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting Kremlin requirements during the regular indoctrination period. The partial/full cost (in Rubbles) of meals may be charged when citizen incubators and caretakers do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.

"When citizen comrades bring their own food for meals and snacks to the unit, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the unit must provide additional state food necessary to meet those requirements."

Still, Kozlowski said, the parents shouldn't have been charged. "We're all in this together," she added. "All for one and one for all....and it really smells of individualism, otherwise."

"The unit may have interpreted the state to mean they felt like the lunch wasn't meeting the nutritional-indoctrinational requirements and so they wanted the citizen to have the school lunch and then charged the parent," she said. "It sounds like maybe a technical assistance need for that school." "In other words, it's possible that the indoctrination center may itself be in need of remedial indoctrination."

The indocrinaire-commissar, Jackie Samuels, said he didn't "know anything about" parents being charged for the meals that day. "I know they eat in the cafeteria. Whether they pay or not, they eat in the cafeteria."

Pridgen's office is looking into the issue, as are other Nomenclatura, since this issue leaked international.

Sara Burrows is an associate editor of Carolina Journal, Pravda division.

Editor's note, Feb. 15: The first two paragraphs of this story were updated. Neither the Kremlin nor indoctrination-unit officials would identify the Nomenclature of he or she who inspected the homemade lunches and decided they did not meet Food Commissar or Amerikan Agricultural guidelines. PV has made multiple requests to both state institutions for clarification. In an email to PV, servant of the people spokeswoman Lori Walston said: "As mentioned in the statement from the office of the Grand Poobah issued last night, this people's unit is currently working to determine the specifics of this case."

"And we won't stop until we have someone to hang it on," she added....right before leaving for her dacha, which she claimed she'd not visited in days.

[So there, that about clarifies it. Now, via frequent commenter Sean of Prague Stepchild and Nigel, there's evidence this was overblown, so here's the dissenting opinion. For myself, I was 2/3 of the way through this, and so take it on pure entertainment value, if that's your judgment. I think that either way, the state has zero business in the food business.]

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Comments

  1. They already found someone to hang it on – the little girl. It was all a misunderstanding on HER part, you see.

    While the brouhaha is all very amusing – loved your take on it – I don’t care WHO pays to put this kid in preschool; her mother had submitted SEVERAL requests, in writing, not to serve her daughter food from the cafeteria. True, she was asking because she was told she could be charged for the food (forced) on her kid, but still. Parents should have SOME sort of rights considering their own child. And that doesn’t even address the fact that the neither the country nor the state nor the city nor the school have any business telling ANYONE what to eat. Toot finee.

  2. The solution is simple…there needs to be a government agency that watches the government agency that watches what you eat.

  3. Я люблю его!

  4. Wow. And you Amerikans accuse us in gentle Canuckistan of suppressing our citizens with a glorious worker’s paradise. It seems we have a thing or two to learn from our gentle socialist brothers and sisters to the South.

  5. Four-year-girl goes to communist health reeducation camp in lovely Siberia.

    Second four-year old girl asks, “What did they give you?”

    First little girl: “Ten years.”

    Second little girl: “What did you do?”

    First little girl: “Nothing.”

    Second little girl: “Bah, for nothing they give you fifteen years.”

    First little girl: “Alright, I brought my lunch from home and it didn’t pass the Party Secretary’s requirements, plus my mother forgot the requisite 10 ruble bribe.”

    Second little girl: “Da, now that makes sense.”

    Third little girl, working for the AP (Asocietská Pravda), writes: “Fears that a nutritional traitor to the State was improperly treated were massively exaggerated by Yankee imperialist bloggers and Radio Free Europe…”

  6. I hear the Gulag is lovely this time of year.

  7. Don’t they need a search warrant to go through the kid’s lunchbox?

    • Doubt it. They weren’t looking for anything criminal, in which case, that would apply. otherwise, theay have free reign. Fred, I sincerely have to urge you to really dive into the books because that sort of goof is rather inexcusable to me if you’re over about 15, and if you actually vote. Holy hell.

      The classics. Begin with Bastiat. Now, please…free on the Internet. Common sense is a good place to start. Then tackle Lusander Spooner, some Paine (he signed the Delr), et cetera.

    • I’m not sure how the Fourth Amendment would apply in this case. Let’s look at the original text:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      I’m no lawyer but I would guess there’s implied parental consent with a four-year-old, given by the parents so this wouldn’t violate the “unreasonable searches” aspect. If I’m handing my child over to a caretaker I really don’t think that that caretaker’s looking into their lunchbox or giving them milk ought to be a problem or should be considered an unreasonable search.

      Here’s the rub: in an ideal world, parents would be putting their kids in the hands of selected caretakers (pre-school) and later teachers. Instead, most people, by necessity have to hand their children over to public schools. We are doing this also. The private pre-school we sent our son to went bankrupt because it couldn’t compete with the essentially free government pre-schools here in Prague. The quality was VERY much different, but the new school is almost free and it’s within walking distance. The government pre-school teachers aren’t evil, of course, not by a long shot, but the quality is not even close to the level of the private pre-school run by two extremely nice, young, motivated (and now bankrupt) entrepreneurs.

      The point is that I have to trust my child’s keeper, I implicitly give this trust, but I don’t get to choose that keeper because the State has made it very difficult for me to do this by private means by crowding out competition. I’m granting my implied permission for a teacher to look in my kid’s lunchbox by handing over custody but I’m extremely limited in who I can hand over custody to. (This fourth amendment stuff is all moot in my case because I don’t even live in the US but the argument is no different). If I was extremely wealthy, I could bypass all this, hell I’d just give those wonderful girls plenty of money to stay in business. But I’m not.

      Hence rights are encroached upon by the behemoth of public-school education here and all over the world. I am forced to hand over my child to a teacher I may or may not despise as long as I don’t have the resources for a private school, and by doing so, I give my implicit trust to that teacher whether or not they actually suck ass or not. Hey, what could go wrong with that. Why the fuck would this make me angry?

      Still, I don’t think this violates the Fourth Amendment.

      • The constitution is a totally proscriptive document. Not long after the ink dried, plotiticians and judges turned it into a permissive document and when they worked just fine and everyone cheered for more booty, it became prescriptive,

        Lysander Spooner was right all along.

  8. I’m impressed with your translation of the NCDA Dietary Guidelines! Poor Cooksey doesn’t stand a chance. Heil!

  9. You must abide by the directives of the party. No deviations allowed, unless you are member of the party elite.

    • Palo, a hint. Never use party elite again. Use nomenclatura. Google it.

      • Richard, you misunderstood my use of the word party elite, which you equate with nomenklatura.

        According to Wikipedia “The nomenklatura (Russian: номенклату́ра, Russian pronunciation: [nəmʲɪnklɐˈturə]) were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of those countries’ activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.
        Virtually all were members of the Communist Party. Some authors who opposed the Soviet regime, such as Milovan Đilas, critically defined them as a new class.
        THIS IS NOT THE PARTY ELITE.

        The party elite are the Secretary General of the Party and the Politburo. This is the body that DICTATES POLICY FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

        I used the term party elite because if I had mentioned the above description, some readers would have been baffled.

      • My reply was tongue in cheek. Moreover, my use of nomenclatura is never aimed at splitting hairs.

  10. Its only going to get worse.

  11. It is my understanding that the inspector had a recent bathroom break, wore no sterile gloves and the chicken provided had government allowed chemicals added. Also, the chicken had 499 mg trans fat and was labeled as zero transfat following govt guidelines. So said child may have been forced to ingest several grams of life threatening trans fat. Part of the die young group I guess.

  12. Er, I don’t get it is this real?? Are they really required to have a serving of grain? Imagine the shitstorm when they force a vegetarian child to eat chicken nuggets.
    My wife is a teacher at a very poor school and they are constantly having to feed children who are , no shit, given mars bars(candy) to bring in for lunch. I am constantly having a polite disagreement with her about this as I say that the children shouldn’t be fed as it is encouraging neglect, she makes the very pragmatic point that the kids not only can’t learn but are also distruptive on their sugar bomb “lunch”.
    The little girl in NC had what I would describe as a crappy lunch but then it would be much better than many. and certainly adequate to get her through the afternoon.
    I could easily imagine the Govt enforcing lunch guidelines in British schools but then we don’t live in “the land of the free”.

  13. Home educate, people, ftw. Somewhere upthread our gracious host outlined just a tiny bit of what is available for free on the internet. If you’re even marginally vested as a parent, you can do it. And the lunch rocks, if I do say so myself.

  14. This entry has won teh internets!

  15. “Now, via frequent commenter Sean of Prague Stepchild and Nigel, there’s evidence this was overblown,”

    I call BS on that. it is the same MO every time the system test how far it can go. They do something and await the reaction.

    They run this script every time they seek to expand the boundaries of their influence.´:

    If ‘reaction’ == violently angry then
    ‘back off’ elseif ‘continue’

  16. Hi,

    I teased you to breaking point the other day. I can do that when I vehemently disagree with people. As Sean pointed out (after I teased him), I can be a bit of a cunt (in the British sense). So, sorry for that. It has made me think about things I don’t usually think much about. So, thanks for that.

    I’m curious as to why you wear rose-tinted glasses for some large organisation and shit-tinted glasses for some others. Where all large organisations are concerned, my glasses are shit-tinted. Where people are concerned, they’re initially rose-tinted.

    • Galina L. says:

      How different the English sense of the word “cunt” from the American one? I know the meaning of the American expression only.

      • Hi Galina. Did you click the YouTube link? It’s safe. Over here, “cunt” means “bad person”.

      • One time I was at a bar with an English acquaintance here in Prague and some English tourists heard us speaking and one of them said to my acquaintance, “Hey, you’re English.”

        And he snapped back, “No, I’m Czech you cunts.” To which they they laughed.

        That was a very English exchange of humour, and a very English use of the word “cunt”, which could probably apply to the UK in general and Ireland as well. If I’d said the same thing to a couple of American tourists I’d definitely not have gotten a loud laugh in response.

        That’s my impression of cunt (in the British sense).

      • To wit, I’ve heard cunt used plenty of times as essentially an endearment by Brits. There’s a lot of subtlety there, but it has been turned upside down in many ways. I find this aspect of British humor, sorry humour, quite interesting, even if I do think all Brits are cunts.

      • Don’t keep saying it! :-D

      • It was supposed to be aunt.

      • Sean, you’re a aunt!

      • Typo. Otherwise, you’d have said he’s an aunt.

      • There’s definitely one typo!
        Trust we Brits (& Anzacs) to turn one of the worst cuss words into a term of endearment. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cunt

      • Galina L. says:

        So, it is more like the perception difference as I can see it. It is often the case with cursing, no one takes meaning literally(imagine that!), but people get upset mainly because they know their opponent tried to offend them.
        Thank you for your explanations. Do you think you will come back some day? Probably there is no answer and it usually depends on many things. I doubt I will come back to Russia to live, just to visit. Probably, some day I will be back in Canada. Vancouver is unforgettable.

      • Yeah I think there’s a much different perception.

        I really don’t see going back, no, unless it was to a house in the woods or something. If I ever get a million bucks dropped me…

      • Galina L. says:

        Sure, hilarious video!

  17. I think this is a little more complex than all that. I did read the linked article, which didn’t change my mind on anything. Reading both made me angry that a school would take it upon themselves to tell anyone what is healthy and “supplement” their lunch. But, I work in schools and in people’s homes and have seen people feed their kids circus nuts (the candy) for lunch. The reality is that a lot of parents don’t care and a lot that do care are uninformed about what is healthy. I don’t know what the answer is, but I like to think somewhere, someone is being motivated by helping out kids who no one else is looking out for. Unfortunately the implementation often ends up being misguided and having its own problems.

    • I think it’s a big problem when those the government employs to investigate the worthiness of a child’s homemade lunch can’t tell the difference between crap (chicken nuggets) and real food (not that the lunch was perfect…just infinitely better than chicken nuggets, for cryin’ out loud). This IS going to get worse.

  18. Shooting from the hip here.

    I think it should require that if the government wants to give MY care-child something, they have to get MY explicit permission.

  19. Curmujeon says:

    After watching “Who Killed the Electric Car” and “The Future of Food” I truly realized how much our supreme business and wise government leaders really do know what is best for us. This episode certainly definitely confirms that!

  20. Otlichno!

  21. Abijah L. says:

    Here is the actual story:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2012/02/15/a-north-carolina-non-troversy/

    The little girl was offered a box of milk and some vegetables which the mom didn’t want her to have because she was afraid she might be charged for the veggies (although she wasn’t). Making sure that very low income children get enough food doesn’t seem too Nazi-like. The chicken nuggets were pure fabrication.

    The above blog is a conservative blog even though he disagrees with Rush Limbaugh.

  22. Richard….your satirical take on the story was great. But the cast of characters responding are f*cking hilarious! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Thanks!

  23. Richard, it was hilarious (of course!) and thank you for the fair note at the end “…and so take it on pure entertainment value, if that’s your judgment ” , which I did. But here’s where maybe we see things differently : “the state has zero business in the food business”.
    Well, the state has no business being, period. Given though that it exists, that this is how, unfortunately, people have been organized, and having lived in countries where the state actually had no, or rudimentary, involvement in food, or water or air…I’d rather there be an EPA than not, and an FDA, than not and…
    Howl! I know! but bear with me : unless and until the whole stack of cards comes crashing down, in other words unless there’s a world where regulatory agencies aren’t needed, then the mere fact that we have ‘states’ means our societies are set-up in such a way as to require regulatory protections, however crappy and extreme they sometimes are. It’s our job to take advantage of any mechanisms, however badly-operational, in a self-proclaimed democracy (they protect an illusion, but still, they are there) in order to make those agencies better, more effective, more representative of, well, us.
    You’ve guessed that I’m thinking along the lines of “Democracy is a terrible system….except for all the others”. IF we have to have a state system, democracy is it. And if we have a state, then it must regulate or you have filthy water, choking air, contaminated food….and malnutrition and hunger, all proud emblems of dysfunctional states, eh?
    I don’t know of course, is my reasoning faulty? I wouldn’t mind seeing my way out of the implied compromise, but up to now all I can see is “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”, in which case I guess we each just choose which damnation is less distasteful ? Oh ‘damn’ – there’s another religious meme…but such a very Satisfying word :-)

  24. Galina L. says:

    I wish another subject of your previous posts Steve Cooksey received close level of attention by media. Looks like he was less lucky in finding the right media outlet to complain than the girl’s mom.

  25. Making a child eat a serving of grains? Sounds like a lawsuit in the making when a child with celiacs or some other gluten allergy is force fed wheat products from the Kremlin. Can’t wait until some vegan’s kid is made to chow down some chicken nuggets! PETA will have a field day with that one. I don’t see this idea lasting very long. It will be a tort nightmare.

    Great post Richard. I enjoyed the humor.

  26. I know that was supposed to be funny, but it’s just confusing.

    I hate to say it, Richard, but you do comedy about as well as you do food photography: everything turns out looking like a plated turd.

  27. What I find funny about the story is that a mother with a kid she cannot afford to raise gets free child-care from the state and she goes on a letter-writing campaign out of fear that she might be expected to pay for a little carton of milk and some veggies that the school gave to her child, free of charge.

    God forbid she should have to bear the cost of raising her child.

  28. If you voted for Obama you got what you voted for with this policy.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I think Richard Nikoley and I may have switched personalities for a day.  I read about a school official telling a four-year-old her lunch wasn’t USDA-approved and got REALLY ticked off, as last night’s post demonstrates.  Richard wrote a laugh-out-loud funny post on the same subject. [...]

  2. A t « Cranberry's says:

    [...] I just wanted to share Richard Nikoley’s piece about the matter. It’s a worthwhile and humorous [...]

  3. [...] Comrade Child: Your Lunchbox, Please [...]