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by Wendy Vapors, 6/30/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free.
The latest big merger announcement involves Philip Morris and Nabisco.
The tobacco giant will acquire the cookie and cracker giant and add it to another company it already owns … Kraft, the cheese giant.
The announcement of this intended combination is setting off alarm bells in a certain segment of the snacking population. Wendy Vapors reports.

(sfx: children)

Wendy: It's ten o'clock Tuesday morning at Happy Clams Pre School … that means it's time for the kiddies to have some treats!

(sfx: lots of cellophane rustling)

Many of the children dig out a favorite snack, healthy and nutritious crackers and cheese.
But off to one side, the school's director Nancy Postlewait, shakes her head in dismay.

Nancy: They don't realize it, the little darlings, but they are already deep into a habit that will put them at the mercy of the largest food juggernaut the world has ever seen.
And there's nothing we can do about it. (sniff)

Wendy: She's talking about the distinct possibility of a worldwide cheese and crackers monopoly … a nightmare scenario being pushed by alarmist groups such as Snack Attack and Vending Avengers. This person, who wore a gas mask to conceal her identity, insisted that I call her "Commandante X." She claims to be a spokesperson for Snack Attack.

X: (extremely muffled to the point of being unintelligible) This is a corporate takeover of one of the people's favorite snacks.

Wendy: I'm sorry … I didn't …

X: (muffled, emphatic gibberish) Corporations should not be able to own and control such a large portion of the world cheese and cracker supply.

Wendy: I can't make out what you're saying. You're concerned about … what?

X: (careful, still garbage) I'm concerned about communicating our message.

Wendy: About … some sort of commune … and a massage?

X: (muffled) Aghghghg!

Spin: (phone) I don't think that's a very rational fear.

Wendy: Spin Williams is a freelance corporate apologist.

Spin: (phone) Nobody is talking about cornering the market on cheese. Cheese is almost … a human right. And crackers … what is a cracker but glorified toast? And toast is everywhere. Even in the desert. Especially in the desert.
I guess the point is … as long as there are cows and grains … the cheese and cracker market will be wide open. In my opinion.

Wendy: Are you saying people can make their own cheese and crackers?

Spin: I think they could. Should they, though? That's another question.

Wendy: Snack Industry Analyst Robert Munch has no trouble envisioning a "Brave New World" of leisure foods designed by large multinationals.

Munch: Why couldn't you … develop a special kind of cracker which is only sympathetic with a certain kind of cheese produced by your own company?
Sort of like a "default" cracker. The cracker and the cheese are hard wired to compliment each other. If used with somebody else's cracker, or another company's cheese … the snack is stale or sour. Or a little toxic, even. It would be a great way to protect market share. And that's good for the economy!

Wendy: Former Microsoft executive, and now snack industry analyst Robert Munch. But Commandante X of Snack Attack says … what do you say?

X: (muffled) The means of production will stay in the hands of the people, even if it has to go underground!

Wendy: What? I couldn't make out what you said because of the gas mask.

X: (mask off) Oh for crying out loud. I said "The means of production of cheese and crackers will stay in the hands of the people, even if it has to go underground!"

Wendy: Goodness! You're going to raise cows underground?

X: If we must!

Wendy: Better hang on to that gas mask!
Meanwhile, back at Happy Clams preschool, Nancy Postlewait puts on a cheerful face for her young charges.

(sfx: kids playing)

Nancy: When I was little we had cheese … and we had crackers.
We chose to bring them together. We were the masters of our own snacks. For these children … (choke) I look at their sweet faces and I realize … for them, cheese will always own crackers. Or is it crackers will own cheese?

Wendy: (int) Actually, tobacco will own them both!

Nancy: And that's going to take some getting used to.

Wendy: I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting!

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