Fox News columnist Todd Starnes had quite a fright the other day after encountering a true nightmare of the American deli: the segregated dairy aisle. In what is possibly one of the most ridiculous "op-eds" ever published, Starnes mourns the "post-racial age" brought in by President Barack Obama, and fears the day Basmati rice will no longer share a shelf will Uncle Ben's.
Picture this, if you will: Feeling in a ham sandwich sort of mood, Starnes meticulously takes us through his supermarket shopping experience, right down to the cart with "three workable wheels" he pushed around while luxuriating in some Lionel Richie wafting out the speakers. The startling discovery was very nearly missed, but Starnes remembered he needed some cheese and came to a halt as his eyes fell upon the sign reading: "HISPANIC CHEESE."
Although it's news to Starnes, 'Hispanic Cheese,' usually just called 'Queso,' is a distinct family of cheese that warrants its own sign. Looking at the photo, the bottom shelf of the section in question consists entirely of Tropical cheese, a brand devoted to Hispanic cheeses like Queso Blanco and Queso Cremita.
Starnes, as a Caucasian man afraid of buying Hispanic cheese, has an imaginary conversation with the store clerk about the dairy segregation. He actually writes:
“Sir, I’m afraid you’ve violated our tolerance and diversity regulations,” I imagined the clerk saying. “It’s apparent that Hispanic cheese is nacho cheese.”
And then there's cheese through the lens of the Declaration of Independence:
I hold this truth to be self evident – that all curds are created equal, that they are endowed by their cheese maker with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of a Ritz cracker."
Finishing with with a truly Fox News-worthy pun:
Intolerance is bad for business no matter how you bag it. And in my estimation the only thing worse than intolerance is lactose intolerance."
But there are also clearly non-Hispanic cheeses on display in Starnes's photo of the "Hispanic cheese" section, which means the end of days aren't drawing in just yet for him. Velveeta, for one, is the epitome of American cheese, and the "Italian" cheese is self-explanatory. It must be the bag of cheese labeled "Taco" to the left, or the "Mexican" Kraft cheese bag on the top shelf that made Starnes think, Yes, my liberties are definitely at stake.
Starnes' column amounts to little more than an exercise in "political correctness gone mad" on what must be a slow news day for Fox and friends. Especially with this as the main news story of the afternoon: 6 million people have signed up Obamacare, four days before the deadline.
Unsurprisingly, there have been some excellent responses on social media.
GUYS. HE SAID "NACHO CHEESE." I CANNOT GET OVER THIS.— Carrie Bellatrix (@CarrieBellatrix) March 27, 2014
The Todd Starnes Hispanic Cheese blog is our generation's "A Modest Proposal."— Odd Hack (@Odd_Hack) March 27, 2014
Any cheese is Hispanic if Todd Starnes gives it a sidelong look.— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney) March 27, 2014