Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On liberal elitist groceries

Okay, so I'm a little bit late to the game here, but I did want to comment on the recent spate of criticism against Barack Obama: that he tops his burgers with snooty foreign mustard in a direct and probably intentional slight against the common, yellow-mustard-eating American man.
From the May 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: And finally tonight, as you all know, President Obama is a real man of the people. And yesterday he dropped by a popular Virginia restaurant to grab a burger with his pal Joe. Now, the Gateway Pundit blog pointed out that plain old ketchup, well, it didn't quite cut it for the president. Now take a look at him ordering his burger with a very special condiment.

OBAMA [video clip]: All right. I'm going to have a -- just your basic cheddar cheeseburger, medium well. I just want mustard, no ketchup. If you've got like a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that.


HANNITY: All right, I hope you enjoyed that fancy burger, Mr. President.
[All emphasis mine, all the way to the end]


From the May 6 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Laura Ingraham Show:

INGRAHAM: I don't even like the way the man orders a hamburger. You're listening to The Laura Ingraham Show. What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup but Dijon mustard? See, he was trying to do this whole thing with Biden -- "We're like the regular people, we're like every other guy, you know, with our -- on our lunch break, we're going to go grab a burger, two guys, two bros." No --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a bottled water, what?

INGRAHAM: Well, we're gonna -- we're two bros hanging out together all right, man? How was your day? I love you, man. I love you. The guy orders a cheeseburger without ketchup? What is that?

OBAMA [audio clip]: I mean, that's nice.

I know, for real, right? A burger without ketchup? What's next, chicken fingers without honey mustard? What's it gonna be, prissy man? Huh? Huh?

From the May 7 edition of broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

STEYN: It was wonderful watching the coverage of the hamburger visit. He's amazing, Obama. This coverage -- he's a regular guy. He eats a hamburger with Dijon mustard -- Dijon mustard. John Kerry couldn't get away with that stuff, but he makes it seem like just like a regular thing to do. Now there's -- I see that some of the left-wing commentators are saying, "Why are people making a fuss about the Dijon mustard?" but that's just an example of the way Obama is able to enlighten us.


STEYN: [...] Barack Obama -- that was -- what was that? That was yesterday, Barack Obama had a hamburger. I don't know what he may do today to prove -- to pass for human.

Like spicy mustard is a regular thing to do, like he thinks he's a normal person. I bet those construction workers who came into Subway the other day adding spicy mustard to their five-dollar footlongs thought they were "normal people" before they hopped in their Escalades and drove back to their construction site, confident that their $7.39 meal would get them through an afternoon of snootily running shiny copper pipes and covering themselves with elegant drywall pixie dust.

This isn't the first time Obama has screwed up on the food issue. Early May brought us his challenges with the "Bubba Gap" issues because of something I don't entirely understand about beer and lettuce. He made the mistake of referencing the fancy, unattainable leafy green arugula in a recent visit with Illinois farmers.
“Although there are an awful lot of farms in Illinois, in the neighborhood where I live, the main livestock is squirrels,” said Mr. Obama, who lives on Chicago’s South Side. “So I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about agricultural issues.”

So the Obama campaign convened a Rural Issues Forum outside this central Iowa town, about 30 minutes from Des Moines. For more than an hour, he took questions about a smattering of issues. When the conversation veered away from farming – as it often did – Mr. Obama sought to steer it back to agriculture policy.


And the conversation returned to food and farms, including a question from one man at the back of the crowd who extended an offer to Mr. Obama.

“You can come and help me load hogs in the morning,” he said.

“You can tell that I’m dressed for it,” replied Mr. Obama, casually dressed in slacks and a pressed shirt.

Again, the crowd applauded and laughed. One line that landed a little flat, though, was when Mr. Obama sympathetically noted that farmers have not seen an increase in prices for their crops, despite a rise in prices at the supermarket.

“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” the senator said. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”

What an out-of-touch, rich-guy thing to say. I mean, talking about grocery stores! To people who grow food that goes into grocery stores! In a state where that snooty leafy green is widely grown! What the hell, man?

Here's the thing that gets to me about this whole kerfuffel, even outside of the fact that conservative commentators are so desperate for something to criticize about Obama that they'll pee themselves over his choice of condiments. What gets to me is this assumption that the average American is some sort of butt-scratching, monster-truck-rally-watching, tobacco-spitting, middle-school-education-having yokel who wouldn't know some uppity brown mustard from a hole in the wall - or, for that matter, that even said yokels wouldn't pick up a bottle of Dijonnaise at the Piggly Wiggly to spice up their hot dogs.

In their attempts to connect with the average, non-latte-sipping American, they patronize the hell out of us* by assuming the 21st century has yet to hit flyover country. We're expected to be head-scratchingly stymied at the mention of a salad green available on the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday or a mustard found in just about every grocery store and fast-food restaurant in the country. For we are just unfrozen cavemen, and their world frightens and confuses us. When we see food like Artisan Cheese Wheat Thins, Jell-O with antioxidants, and Cafe Vienna International Foods coffee on the shelf at the local Wal-Mart, we shrink back at the unfamiliar words and fear the exotic flavors. Our primitive minds can't grasp why Kroger would put parmesan and oregano in their store-brand pasta sauce.

But there is one thing I know: There's nothing more un-American than a cheeseburger medium-well.

*And when I say "us," I must note that I do drink lattes, but I like to think that my subsistence budget and Target wardrobe balance it out.

(h/t Pandagon.)

No comments: