Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hydrating Swine Lip Treatment

What? My title refers to lipstick on a pig, my friends. It’s still a pig. It's bad enough people pay extra to display advertising for their favorite brands. I’m amazed at how gullible marketers think we are. Of course, they may just be right.

Let's start with "certified pre-owned". So I couldn't tell by the worn tires, paint scratches, door dings, "Proud parent of a suburban middle school honor student" bumper sticker, upholstery tears, faded dashboard or the simple fact it's a 2002 model amazingly still at a 2006 new car price that the vehicle I'm about to purchase is indeed used. I need a certificate to tell me.

Taco Bell has a special soft taco with carne asada grilled steak! Carne asada literally translates to “grilled meat” in Español and or loosely to the generic term “barbecue”. Wow! Taco Bell puts barbecued meat in their tacos.

Everyone’s gone chipotle! It’s a smoke-dried jalapeno. Not exactly gourmet.

And now there’s Asiago cheese! I doubt you’re getting the real cheese imported from the town of Asiago (in the Veneto region of Italy), but more likely the cheddar-cheese-like equivalent mass-produced around the world using the same recipe. I remember Miller Beer tried the same thing with Löwenbräu. That was awful.

Apparenty if you add a little international flair to simple items, we feel a little more cultured and are willing to pay more. Remember the “soft Corinthian leather” Ricardo Montalbán told us was only available in the 1976 Chrysler Cordoba? It was plain old leather that came from Jersey and not the ancient Greek city.

Most people now realize Häagen-Dazs ice cream was invented in a basement in Brooklyn. So was the name. It translates to…nothing, but the umlaut is kicking!

A popular soup was allegedly invented at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and given a French name, again made up, to make it sound more appetizing then “cold potato and leek soup”. The soup? Vichyssoise.

Look, if people spend the money they do on caviar (salty fish eggs - also great for fishing bait), and actually ingest it...well, I believe we are that gullible. Ah, but is it Beluga?

We still love pulling up next to our friends, rolling down the car window, and asking for Dijon mustard. “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” It’s a condiment! Yes we use Dijon (the French town that used to produce mustard seeds) to indicate it’s a strong mustard, but it’s not imported. Well, most of the seeds come from Canada so it’s sort of exotic, eh? And I have to question the brand name Grey Poupon, which phonetically states a natural but unappetizing act.
For as much disrespect and xenophobia I witness against people who have names ending in vowels (including my own), we sure love adding non-English words (often totally fabricated) to our bland consumer goods to feel a sense of sophistication that is often undeserved.