Was thinking today about all the short-lived marketing ploys that corporations have used over the years to whip the public into a feeding frenzy...actually, more about those that were incredibly silly or doomed to failure from their inception. Here's my list of favorites (in no particular order):
Pepsi Clear: In this age of chemical flavoring, the average consumer is savvy enough to know that a cola's taste does not emanate from the same ingredients that give it it's color. But if we wanted clear cola, we'd drink 7Up or Sprite. Besides, that dark color prevents the soda from degrading in the presence of sunlight (a scary proposition, given that it begs the question..."Degrade to what?"). Transparency, we learned, is not always best.
Michelob Dry: I was working as a stock clerk at a deli when this (and other dry beers) was released. I was also drinking heavily at the time and was never one to shy from sampling a new beer. Funny thing tho, Mick Dry tasted just like regular Michelob. I imagined the folks at Anheuser-Busch snickering as they dumped the old Mick into the newly labeled bottles. There was a heftily funded ad campaign; not sure if it helped. Definitely the Ishtar of Beers.
Cajun Spice Ruffles: The Cajun food craze of the late 1980s was rather remarkable. And it did give national recognition to N'awleans chefs like Justin Wilson (the guy who gave us "Wundamuss!"). But applying the same spices to potato chips that were once reserved for crawfish may not have been such sound reasoning. Nonetheless, Cajun chips joined the snack roster...and departed as suddenly soon thereafter.
McDLT: Should have been called the McDisaster. Any fool can tell you that the CHEESE goes on the HOT side, so it MELTS on the burger. This thing was as much a pain for McDonalds' workers as it was for customers. If I wanted to build it myself, I'd have cooked it at home. You may also remember other McDisasters: the McLean Deluxe (only half as bad for you as the Quarter Pounder), and the Arch DeLuxe (which was on the market so briefly, you may have missed it altogether).
Feel free to add to the list while I go listen to my Adam Ant records.
Have been generally crab lately, and I believe it's due to my "no fast food, no pizza, no pb&j" diet. Funny thing, of course, is that the damn thing seems to be working. Gall bladder's been quiet, and I've lost about 12 pounds. And honestly, on a conscious level, I don't find myself craving any of those foods. I'm just generally crabby. So naturally picked a petty fight with Cecily tonight when she mentioned the possibility bringing salad as dinner to the pool this summer. The words "salad as dinner" are, for me, like "water as whiskey."
I guess part of me feels as if I've given up enough already. I no longer drink. I no longer smoke. I'm too broke to gamble. And sex is, while excellent, occasional. So if you remove high-fat junk food, that leaves: coffee. Now if someone attempts to take away my coffee, I'll likely cut their throat.
I'm guessing that this irritability will pass, as it has every time I quit some substance or other. Till then... this bear is gonna be grumpy.
I suppose you've all heard by now that the latest court challenge to California's Prop 8 has failed, allowing the state's ban on gay marriage to stand...at least for now. Somehow I am not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Americans have long considered themselves citizens of an enlightened nation while simultaneously embracing some very medieval ideas. I'm not sure how that works. For my part, I understand neither America's fascination with, nor the abhorrence of, homosexuality. Perhaps it's because I was raised in large urban environments, but gay people have been, for me, nothing unusual. And certainly no threat to, well, anything. Other than, perhaps, to those closely held American values, prejudice and fear.
I remember in the 1970s, while a teen and still living at home with my parents in a New York City high-rise, I watched as many of my parents' friends went through painful divorces, some involving infidelities, many entailing bitter financial disputes...while the gay couple in the apartment next door (who had been long-time partners) lived in what seemed complete harmony. So any idea that straight people have some kind of monopoly on making long-term relationships work has never held any merit with me.
As for gay marriage being a threat to straight marriage....that just seems so absurd, I don't think it deserves a point-by-point response. And as regards the Biblical anti-gay stance...I must only marvel at how selectively the Bible gets used to guide social convention. If we are to follow Leviticus to the letter, it's goodbye Red Lobster. What, no surf-n-turf? Now THAT's what I call an abomination.
There is, however, one issue that seems to require some smoothing out, and that is the idea of marriage vs civil unions. Marriage, of course, is a spiritual ceremony...while civil union guarantees certain rights to each member of a relationship. As I understand it: the question is: Should each partner in a gay union be afforded the same rights (hospital visitation, inheritance, etc.) as is afforded a partner in a straight union? That, to me, seems an obvious YES. Or perhaps, "yes, duh."
As for the spiritual aspect of romantic unions, that gets messy. Because we're dealing with a range of religious institutions, most of which seem to be somewhat uncomfortable with gay marriage. So, it would seem that guaranteeing the rights of civil union to gay couples in all 50 states will probably precede acceptance of gay marriage by all faiths and denominations.
But I think we, as a country, are at a pivotal point as we were in the 1910s, when women's suffrage stood on the threshold of success. Opponents of that movement put forward objections that were every bit as silly as those put forward today by opponents of gay marriage. Namely, that somehow allowing women the vote would 'wreck the system.' Gay civil unions (and marriages) are, I believe, a feature of tomorrow's America. Future generations will probably take it all for granted, looking back and wondering what all the fuss was about. Maybe then we'll be half as enlightened as we claim to be.