Monday, September 10, 2007

The sociology of smashing fruit

David Weakliem sent me this article from the Guardian. It's a sociological analysis of why Americans *love* to blow up fruit... I know that I do! For Joshua's 4th grade science project, we catapulted fruit down the street to see how far it would go a function of its weight. The cool fruit-explosion at the other end was a bonus.
Recently a friend sent me a YouTube link to a video of him blowing up a watermelon with a firecracker. This was, it turns out, far from the only video of an American blowing up fruit. In fact, YouTube is rife with videos of Americans blowing up fruit. Google it, you'll see: lemons, bananas, kiwi. Basically, if it's fruit, we're blowing it up.

The preferred technique is: jam firecracker into fruit, light, stand back, laugh upon explosion, as if no one but you could be so cunning.

Americans can also be seen blowing up certain canned foods - spelt, in one video, "Cand food". "Cand Food", it turns out, can be exploded by letting it sit a long time in a campfire. Other food - a nasty-looking rice dish, for example - can be exploded via overheating in a microwave, while The Exploder's mother complains ineffectually in the background that dishes being heated in a microwave should be covered.

This is funny. The Exploder's mother thinks that The Exploder is heating up the food in order to eat it! While The Exploder knows (as do we) that she is just blowing it up in order to film it and then put it on YouTube.

Why are Americans so inclined to blow up their food? I think it is because we're so fat. We are breaking new ground every day in terms of how fat we are. The human body is being pushed into new territory, fatwise, by us, as if we are enacting a bold experiment with the skeleton to see how much it will hold before it snaps. Ergo, subconsciously, we are angry at our food.

But there's a flaw in my theory. If it is correct, shouldn't we be preferentially blowing up those foods most responsible for our fatness? Potato chips? McDonald's burgers, various high-fructose-containing snack foods loaded with artificial colours? But no, I can't find a single video of an American blowing up any of these. Mostly we are just blowing up our fruit.

Actually, this makes a kind of perverse sense. Perhaps we feel threatened by fruit, subtly accused by fruit. Fruit, we feel, is smug. Fruit just sits there, quietly passing judgment on the good-hearted, pleasure-giving new arrivals in the Food Kingdom, such as Doritos CherryBlast, Sweet-'n'-Sassy-Tropical Lard Rinds, Burger King's Chicken/Pig Combo Crowns.

Americans are a tolerant people, but one thing we will not tolerate is intolerance. And we feel our fruit is intolerant of other kinds of food. Ergo, we are disciplining our fruit for intimidating us.

If my theory is correct, we should soon see a rash of YouTube videos of Americans exploding other things by which we feel intimidated. Works of literature, say; articulate, honest politicians; decent TV; pacifists.

Fruit bombs George Saunders Saturday August 18 2007 The Guardian
Copyright Guardian News and Media Limited


Anonymous said...

I'm going to start praying for you.



Michael Kruse said...

Fruit got us kicked out of Eden. It is payback time!

Knumb said...

Michael, that line is comedy gold.

Brad Wright said...

Thanks Paula, Lord knows I need it!

Michael, ROTFL...

Anonymous said...

You have the watch the Chappelle's Show episode with Black Ghallager..."are you ready to smash some fruit!!!" Classic.

Brad Wright said...

Hey Andy,

I'll look it up. Dave Chappelle does some wonderful sociological comedy.