25 April 2010

Diet Songs: Nutrasweet

I'm quite a stick-in-the-mud about artificial sweeteners, I think they're revolting, they're marketed on fatphobia, and I subscribe to the belief that they fuck with your health. A foul aspartame aftertaste is one of life's downers. On the other hand, I know that artificial sweeteners are appreciated by many diabetic people; I'm not into policing what people eat; and there's a lot of fatphobia and pomposity floating around 'real food' discourse, which is also a turn-off.

Nutrasweet is a brand name for aspartame, and it's used in a bewildering array of products. I'm particularly fascinated by it because of the way it's marketed: as a wholesome choice for all the family.

This Diet Song features a jingle by the otherwise splendid Randy Newman, who must have had an almighty brain fart when he accepted this brief. Oh well, we all have days like that. Two loveable moppets brag about their moms, and there's an authoritative male voiceover convincing us all of the benefits of this fine product. It's a hoot.

Simon and my Nutrasweet production offers a nod towards Broadcast Booth, a track by Drag Racing Underground, formerly known as Big Stick, a band that makes beautifully fucked-up noise. In Broadcast Booth John Gill assumes the identities of a group of drag racing commentators with crazily speeded-up voices. It is a masterpiece.

Diet Songs: Nutrasweet by Charlotte Cooper + Simon Murphy (.mp3, 640kb)

Diet Songs
New Project: Diet Songs
Diet Pepsi
Diet Coke
Special K


Atchka! said...

By far, my favorite aspartame trivia question has to be about the approval process. All through the Carter administration, the FDA refused to give it final approval until further tests on its carcinogenic risks took place. Then Reagan was swept into office and, from the Wikipedia, "On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan's new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry's decision."

And from a truly creepy aspartame timeline, "September, 1983-- FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. (General foods is a major customer of NutraSweet) Burson-Marsteller, Searle's public relation firm (which also represented several of NutraSweet's major users), immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant."

Okay, so here's the trivia question... aspartame was invented by the company G.D. Searle. Guess who was CEO, President and Chairman of G.D. Searle throughout most of the aspartame/FDA debacle...

This guy.

Creepy, no?


Charlotte Cooper said...

Aspartame conspiracy theories! Bring 'em on.

Kowalski said...

I so love your diet songs! It's a shame they're so short.
Incidentally, my diabetic friend loves them, too.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Good! Thanks. They're short because they're jingles.