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"Don't Get Me Started on the Gadsden Purchase":

I bet you didn't expect that in a vodka company press release. Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

Displaced Midwesterner (mail):
I think I may have to drink more Skyy after this.

But good marketing or not, they can't beat some nameless Russian vodka that comes in a plastic jug or a bottle with Stalin on it when it comes to knocking you out senseless - which of course is really what vodka is all about.

Hmm, maybe Smirnov should do something about Seward's Folly.
4.12.2008 2:04am
Sua Tremendita (mail):
Tremendous!
4.12.2008 2:09am
highway61:
That is pitch-perfect 21st century marketing. Hats off.
4.12.2008 2:23am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
As a resident of Gadsden Purchase territory, I am happy they know the difference between that and Guadelupe Hildalgo, which begins as I recall at the Gila River.
4.12.2008 2:43am
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
I'll stick with my Belvedere and Chopin, either way.
4.12.2008 2:59am
hawkins:
is anyone really offended by the Absolut ad? If so, why?
4.12.2008 3:30am
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
is anyone really offended by the Absolut ad? If so, why?

I think that some people think that the ad encourages illegal immigration.
4.12.2008 4:02am
stunned:
@Larry Fafarman: lulz.
4.12.2008 4:10am
Watts (mail) (www):
While I think those offended by the original Absolut ad need to step away from their blogs and go out and get some sunshine for a while, this response is pretty brilliant.
4.12.2008 4:18am
BGates:
I wonder what the people who see nothing wrong with Mexican irridentism would have to say about an Absolut Confederacy ad?
4.12.2008 5:03am
stunned:
@BGates: doubtless there is little, if any, difference between a failed pro-slavery, secessionist state and our neighbor to the south!

Whatever the case, as a soon-to-be resident of California, I welcome my new vodka-slinging, Swedish-Mexican overlords.
4.12.2008 5:51am
Jeff Res (mail):
"doubtless there is little, if any, difference between a failed pro-slavery, secessionist state and our neighbor to the south!"

Oh, none at all, stunned, save for the fact that your "Friend's" nation is a massively corrupt failed socialist state that was built on the ashes of the ancient Aztec empire whose inhabitants were enslaved and massacred by Spanish-speakers.

"as a soon-to-be resident of California"

Oy.
4.12.2008 6:15am
DDR:
Sometimes, to sell their product to Country A, a company mocks Country B, making the residents of Country A feel superior. The problem is when this kind of ad campaign gets back to Country B and hurts sales there.

Another example: Kirin made some CMs (TV commercials) in Japan, in the 1990s, using Nomo the pitcher, in which they made Americans look like a bunch of morons and klutzes. Of course, the ads weren't ever supposed to get back to America. However, I hope someone has the videos and puts them on YouTube. Since then, I've always avoided Kirin products.
4.12.2008 6:20am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
I guess when it comes to people of a certain political persuasion nothing offends them as long as it is against the US. So what if Absolut Vodka is catering to the worse nationalistic fantasies of a segment of the Mexican population. They are just too sophisticated to be bothered by this. However, if the ad showed the northern boundary of the US to be the Arctic Circle they would fall all over themselves to attack it as being jingoistic. Somehow I think the Canadians would also not be too amused by the ad.

It is hard for me to fathom the level of stupidity that would make a company that is trying to sell a product offend a larger country in order to sell the product in a much smaller country. Did they really believe that they ad would not be seen outside Mexico?

But then again maybe I am just too thin skinned. We should be able to take a joke. After all no wars have ever been fought over disputed territories. Anyway, the ad is harmless since there are no longer any disputed territories in the world.
4.12.2008 7:28am
stunned:
@Richard Nieporent:

"After all no wars have ever been fought over disputed territories."

Relevance to the appropriateness or lack thereof of this advertisement? Of particular note, realize that there is no dispute over the territory in this ad. (Sure, I'm sure you can dig up some fringe lunatic who disagrees, but you can easily find lunatics who claim that Texas remains a sovereign nation.)

"Anyway, the ad is harmless since there are no longer any disputed territories in the world."

Again, what's the point of this comment? Are you suggesting that a stupid vodka ad will somehow harm Palestinians in the West Bank?

"But then again maybe I am just too thin skinned."

Indeed. I am not offended by this ad and I would not be offended by an ad showing Canada as part of the United States. I would find it to be in incredibly poor taste to have a vodka ad with an apparently pro-Confederate stance. My reaction to an ad promoting a reconstituted USSR or Nazi Germany would be similarly offensive (as certain other bloggers have picked up on).

There are lines to be drawn, gentlemen, and we can draw them reasonably if we try
4.12.2008 8:46am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
Well that didn’t take long. Thanks, stunned, for proving my point about who would not be offended.

Of particular note, realize that there is no dispute over the territory in this ad.

I assume you have heard of MEChA and their “struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán”.

(Sure, I'm sure you can dig up some fringe lunatic who disagrees, but you can easily find lunatics who claim that Texas remains a sovereign nation.)

And it is precisely “the lunatic fringe” that commits acts of violence in the name of their cause.

Again, what's the point of this comment? Are you suggesting that a stupid vodka ad will somehow harm Palestinians in the West Bank?

Unlike you, it wouldn’t be the Palestinians that I was worried about.

Indeed. I am not offended by this ad and I would not be offended by an ad showing Canada as part of the United States.

Really? I believe you are dissembling. However more to the point, the Canadians would be offended.
4.12.2008 9:31am
ak47pundit (www):
Brilliant! The Skyy is now the limit.
4.12.2008 9:39am
stunned:
@Richard Nieporent:

I'm still not comprehending your argument. I guess your problem, at its most basic, is that these MEChA people want the map of Mexico to look the way it does in the vodka ad, the MEChA people are bad and so the vodka people are bad since they're basically advocating for MEChA?

But that doesn't explain why, nor does it really explain the principle you're applying. Can you provide it and demonstrate how it affects your interpretation of these hypotheticals so I can get a clearer idea of what you're getting at? (i.e., can you tell them if they're offensive or not, and in the same way as this ad or in a different way?)
1) a vodka ad showing France in possession of the territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.
2) a vodka ad showing the Confederate states carved out of the US.
3) a vodka ad showing Texas as an independent nation.
4) a vodka ad showing the entire world under US control.
5) a vodka ad showing Taiwan as an independent nation.
6) a vodka ad showing Taiwan as owned by the PRC.

For my part, I find only #2 offensive because of its unambiguous ties to slavery, secession, etc. I don't have the slightest problem with #3 despite the violent extremists who call for an independent Texas. I dismiss your MEChA claims similarly: they're on the fringe, they're basically irrelevant, etc. (Though I'm willing to stipulate that they're the worst people in the world for the sake of discussion, I'm not getting any hint of their desire to carve out a large portion of the US from their web site, at least.)

You seem to be getting irritated by the discussion and I'm not going to continue to participate if it's bugging ya. (Specifically, saying that I am "worried about" Palestinians and impliedly not worried about Israelis seems like a cheap, irrelevant shot which is untrue.)
4.12.2008 10:01am
Hoosier:
My question (And, NO, it's NOT "irrelevant"):
Is Mexico really a promising market for vodka?
4.12.2008 10:28am
Bender (mail):
Hawkins:

I was offended enough by the Absolut ad to email them a nasty letter guaranteeing my future boycott of their products and to cc my email to some mass retailers of liquor, e.g., COSTCO, suggesting that I would like them to do the same. Those who don't understand why will be as surprised as Pauline "no one I know" Kael, when the Republicans win this November's election. As the back-and-forth between stunned and Richard Pierpont suggests, the perceptual gulf between those deeply offended by this ad and those who are not is probably unbridgable. Therefore, I'm just letting you know that there are people who were offended -- and many who were very offended -- at this ad.
4.12.2008 10:40am
stunned:
Bender: would you be offended by hypothetical ad #3: "a vodka ad showing Texas as an independent nation"? If not, can you explain the key differences?
4.12.2008 10:43am
stunned:
Hoosier: if you've got about £600 you can find out here.
4.12.2008 10:46am
ShelbyC:

is anyone really offended by the Absolut ad? If so, why?


How 'bout the Mexicans who paid thousands of dollars and risked their lives to come to the US? If Absolut had their way, bang, all of a sudden they'd be back in Mexico.
4.12.2008 11:03am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
I'm still not comprehending your argument.

That is obvious, stunned.

I guess your problem, at its most basic, is that these MEChA people want the map of Mexico to look the way it does in the vodka ad, the MEChA people are bad and so the vodka people are bad since they're basically advocating for MEChA?

People are bad? Do you always express your ideas using such juvenile language? I will explain it to you once more in language that hopefully you can understand. What the Absolut people did was to take a cheap shot at the US by appealing to the extreme nationalistic beliefs of some groups in Mexico and the US. I would assume that you would not be in favor of jingoism because it appeals to people’s worse instincts. Obviously, that is not the case.

You seem to be getting irritated by the discussion and I'm not going to continue to participate if it's bugging ya.

Irritated, no. Actually I find your posts to be quite amusing. You are trying so hard to prove that the Absolut Vodka ad is not offensive because in your solipsistic view it doesn’t offend you.

Specifically, saying that I am "worried about" Palestinians and impliedly not worried about Israelis seems like a cheap, irrelevant shot which is untrue.

It was you that used the Palestinians as an example. I am happy to know that you don’t want Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth.
4.12.2008 11:27am
Bender (mail):
I'm offended by any ad by foreigners that appears to support anti-US irredentism. I realize that the gut instinct of some is to applaud such ads. That's fine. Just don't expect me to go along.

By the way my outrage is particularly strong when the foreigners are a Swedish subsidiary of a French multi-national. As I pointed out in my email to Absolut, a father of a friend saw "Made in Sweden" steel piping when he liberated a German death camp during WW II. Another friend's father was nearly killed by the Vichy French during the North African campaign in that same war.

Just out of curiosity and as an attempt to understand an alien mindset: Why would anyone think it whimsically amusing and/or inoffensive to imagine imposing the corrupt, brutal, and decadent political, economic, and social order of contemporary Mexico on one-third of the USA's citizens?
4.12.2008 11:29am
Adam K:
To quote Pee-Wee Herman: Lighten up, Francis.
4.12.2008 11:37am
Thoughtful (mail):
In compliance with the sensibilities of several posters, I have obligingly burned my book "History of World Maps".
4.12.2008 12:21pm
sbron:

I dismiss your MEChA claims similarly: they're on the fringe, they're basically irrelevant, etc.


MEChA is not on the fringe, they have chapters at most US universities. Its members are in high positions of power in California -- Antonio Villaraigosa, current LA mayor was a leader of the UCLA MEChA chapter in the 1970s. Fabian Nunez, until recently the second most powerful person in California (Assmebly speaker) was similarly a member, as was Cruz Bustamante, former Lieutenant Governor. One of the MEChA founding documents, Plan Espiritual de Aztlan (get it, Aztlan?) contains the infamous phrase "Por La Raza Todo, Fuera La Raza Nada." The notion of reconquista is not on the fringe, the combination of continuing bilingual (Spanish monolingual) education, open defiance of Federal immigration law (Villaraigosa just sent a letter to ICE demanding they stop workplace raids) and quasi-nationalistic rantings by Chicano Studies professors (look up Armando Navarro and Jose Angel Gutierrez) suggest anything but.
4.12.2008 12:27pm
Hoosier:
stuned: Ugh. Just GREAT! And I have my money tied up in Confederate bills . . .
4.12.2008 12:44pm
stunned:
@Richard Nieporent:

I'm still very interested in hearing your response to my hypos, number three in particular. Any chance you'll indulge me?

"What the Absolut people did was to take a cheap shot at the US by appealing to the extreme nationalistic beliefs of some groups in Mexico and the US."

Here's one thing I find implausible about this argument: Absolut wants to sell vodka to LOTS of Mexicans, not just the extremists. If the ACTUAL appeal is only to these extremists, as you seem to be asserting (and if you're not, please correct me but update the rest of your explanation!), wouldn't it be in Absolut's interest to come up with an ad with broader appeal? (Unless most of the fairly-high-end-vodka-buying Mexicans are extreme MEChAns or whatever). It's got to be at least possible that the ad intended to invoke thoughts along the lines of, "Boy Mexico is a crappy country. We might be a little less crappy if we'd never lost all that prime territory to the US. Oh well, time for a drink of fairly-high-end vodka."

I keep trying to get a response to the Texas hypo because Lone Star beer's long-standing slogan is "The National Beer of Texas." (NOT "The State Beer of Texas.") And, as linked in my post above, there are real gun-toting extremists who think Texas is and should be an independent country. Why is that not a "cheap shot at the US...appealing to the extreme nationalistic beliefs of some groups in [Texas]"? Maybe it's because they're using an image of the state that nutjob secessionists are really into, but that also appeals to the independent streak, history, and general awesomeness of Texas? (Whatever your thoughts on the matter, I suggest a boycott of Lone Star beer because it's terrible.)

----

"You are trying so hard to prove that the Absolut Vodka ad is not offensive because in your solipsistic view it doesn’t offend you."

My last few posts have been attempts to understand your position because I don't think it reflects a principle that you could (or would) apply in analagous situations. I readily update my views when I realize they've been wrong or short-sighted. What about my position reflects my solipsism?

And, yes, I try to write as simply as possible for the sake of clarity (call it "juvenile" if you will, but doesn't "jejune" have a lot more pop?). Maybe clarity and logic are failing me today, but I do well enough at one of our nation's finest law schools to give me a enough self-confidence to get over it.

-----

@sbron: I realize that MEChA is a big group. However, some quick googling suggests that, whatever its initial stance, it spends very little of its time trying to repatriate the western US. So, what I should have said is that the subset of MEChA really into this idea seems to be a fringe. Anyway, I'm going to give up this tangential discussion because it's not relevant to the issue I find interesting.
4.12.2008 1:43pm
Cenrand:
Wow. Its a joke. To sell vodka. To hear some people talk about it, war with Mexico is imminent. Generally, these are the same people who cry about political correctness in every other aspect of modern life...
4.12.2008 1:51pm
hawkins:

Why would anyone think it whimsically amusing and/or inoffensive to imagine imposing the corrupt, brutal, and decadent political, economic, and social order of contemporary Mexico on one-third of the USA's citizens?


Wow, I am left speechless. While I dont find the ad funny or compelling, thank god I dont interact with anyone with such little sense of humor.
4.12.2008 1:59pm
hawkins:

Wow. Its a joke. To sell vodka. To hear some people talk about it, war with Mexico is imminent. Generally, these are the same people who cry about political correctness in every other aspect of modern life...


Great point - this is political correctness for the non-PC. Nationalism and religion, better not make fun of those topics.
4.12.2008 2:01pm
corneille1640 (mail):
Dear Cenrand:

I agree. This controversy reminds me that political correctness is not a vice solely of those "liberals who hate America."
4.12.2008 2:08pm
Steve2:
Hmm... the ad in question really just made me laugh, much as that months-back posted "map" of the U.S. from some Japanese role-playing game did... the one that was basically "if you got a few random Japanese guys in a room drunk and asked them to draw you a map of what they could remember about the U.S."... Uh... This post,, which was also by Professor Volokh!

Now, the press-release mostly made me wonder not "why are they dragging up obscure 19th century territory acquisitions?" but rather "since when are potatoes 'grain'?"
4.12.2008 2:12pm
eddy:
Wouldn't it be clearly reckless for Absolut to develop different marketing for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots with a map of Cyprus designed to their fantasy?

What sort of nationalistic gripes should be catered to?

“Don’t get me started on the Zimmerman Telegram”
4.12.2008 2:15pm
Fub:
Steve2 wrote at 4.12.2008 1:12pm:
Now, the press-release mostly made me wonder not "why are they dragging up obscure 19th century territory acquisitions?" but rather "since when are potatoes 'grain'?"
Because "Oh, Beautiful! For spacious skies, for amber waves of potatoes..." just doesn't cut it.
4.12.2008 2:41pm
Steve2:
But Fub, vodka comes from potatoes, not grain. Grain makes whiskey.
4.12.2008 2:53pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
It's marketing. No matter how many people are offended by the Absolute ad, more people liked it. Due to millions spent on marketing and focus groups, Absolute is guaranteed to have more people saying "I'm going to have to drink more Absolute!" after their add than before it. If they get some publicity due to some people not liking the add, even better.

And if SKY (which is pretty crappy vodka) gets a few non-hispanic, non-swedish Americans to buy its vodka over absolute by jumping on the bandwagon of critizing, more power to them.

But anyone who changes their lifestyle habits due to marketing is an asshole, plain and simple. By doing so, you're encouraging these people. Always ignore marketing in all its forms. Don't be an ass.
4.12.2008 3:03pm
Dave N (mail):
I suppose this means we should also stop playing the boardgame Risk, since in that game the United States has been divided into 3 territories.
4.12.2008 4:02pm
affe (mail):
This is like two drunks arguing over politics. That being said, I await the Smirnoff ad in which Alaska remains part of Imperial Russia, geared towards the enormous Russo-Alaskan market - Repeal Seward's Folly !
4.12.2008 4:22pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
I wonder if Absolut would try this campaign in any other country -- maybe a version showing Ulster as part of Ireland, or Alsace-Lorraine as German territory.

Or maybe depicting Sweden as part of Finland.
4.12.2008 4:35pm
Jay:
"But Fub, vodka comes from potatoes, not grain. Grain makes whiskey."

Not really--a few vodkas, like Chopin (I think), use actual potatoes, but most are distilled from some sort of grain. It doesn't really matter since vodka is essentially just alcohol mixed with water. The whole potato thing has enormous hold as a popular belief, though.
4.12.2008 4:36pm
Fub:
Steve2 wrote at 4.12.2008 1:53pm:
But Fub, vodka comes from potatoes, not grain. Grain makes whiskey.
In Soviet Russia, potatoes come from vodka!
4.12.2008 4:39pm
Taltos:
But Fub, vodka comes from potatoes, not grain. Grain makes whiskey.

Vodka is typically made from potatoes, but not always. It can be made from grain or even sugar beets. Vodka dates back to the 16th or 17th century while potatoes didn't reach Europe until the early 1700's.
4.12.2008 4:40pm
mf24 (mail):
Whiskey is basically just vodka that's been aged in wood for a while.
4.12.2008 4:45pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
This is just a dumb controversy. The Absolute commercials are clearly supposed to represent a fantasy for some group the audience can identify with. They obviously aren't saying that such a world would have overall more utility.

I mean where were the protests when absolute had commercials suggesting a normal guy would get lots of hot babes in swimsuits to service him? I mean wasn't absolute recklessly disregarding the interests of those girls who might prefer a world they didn't have to serve some plain guy?

If those don't offend you why should one that suggests that Mexicans might prefer a world where they maintained greater territorial sovereignty.
4.12.2008 4:51pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Isn't gin just vodka that's been mixed with aromatics for a period of time? Doesn't the distilling process pretty much make every liquor start out as vodka? Aren't most of the variations due to how the liquor is handled after distillation?
4.12.2008 5:30pm
Vinnie (mail):
Vodka comes out of the still at the highest proof possible. For good vodka you want the most pure alcohol. Rums and whiskeys are distilled to a lessor extent, around 140 proof. to retain some of the essence of the mash.
4.12.2008 5:56pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Or maybe depicting Sweden as part of Finland.

You mean the other way round, don't you. Depicting Finland (or Norway) as part of Sweden, as they once were.
4.12.2008 6:02pm
Hoosier:
Dave N: Do we play 'Risk'?
4.12.2008 6:12pm
Hoosier:
Steve2: I just checked the map.

Good show! I have a friend who will be taking a job at U. of Montana this summer. She will so happy to find out that Seattle is in Big Sky Country. She was thinking she'd be somewhat cut-off from urban America.
4.12.2008 6:17pm
Anderson (mail):
Pretty funny SKYY release.

The treaty and the war were pretty shameless, scarcely a moment in American history to be celebrated.

But then, my particular patch of fee simple in Mississippi was ripped off from the Indians in the "Treaty" of Dancing Rabbit Creek, and I have no immediate plans to move.

At some point, the evils of the past become undoable. At least, however, Mexico (and Absolut) should be able to tease us about them.
4.12.2008 6:18pm
Anderson (mail):
Hmm, maybe Smirnov should do something about Seward's Folly

And don't forget Fort Ross.
4.12.2008 6:20pm
Dave N (mail):
Dave N: Do we play 'Risk'?
Haven't for a while. This was good PR for Skyy but otherwise pretty silly. That was my point.
4.12.2008 6:36pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Where can I see the original Absolut ad?
Like last time, the Japanese map reminded me of The View of the World from Ninth Avenue.
We're having a similar argument on a local bicycling mailing list. Apparently Allstate ran an ad with some guy who can no longer afford to drive, because of the high cost of gas. It seems that riding a bicycle to save money is good, but being forced to ride a bicycle because you can't afford otherwise is bad. Must be the same as the difference between frugal and cheap.
How do they market tequila in Scandinavia?
4.12.2008 6:36pm
alias:
I think the map looks cool and that the people who are offended by it would probably be even more offended by much more trivial things (e.g. an Absolut ad in Boston showing Bill Buckner scooping up a grounder or George Steinbrenner in bankruptcy).

I'm wondering what other historical resentments Absolut could exploit with its ads. Some have suggested the Civil War, but the possibilities are endless. I wonder if they have ads on Indian reservations depicting a North America devoid of white people, or ads in Northern Ireland with the boundaries of Ireland redrawn... For many, many reasons, if Absolut tried to use similar tactics to sell vodka in the Middle East, they'd probably start World War III.

Perhaps Absolut should encourage people to make and send in their own personal ads. Politicians love to harbor resentment. Al Gore could make one showing Florida being sawed off from the rest of the U.S. and sinking into the ocean. The Federalist Society could have one that depicts Justice Bork instead of AMK, and a suitable replacement for Justice Souter. Trent Lott could make one with Strom Thurmond in the Oval Office.

Many, many, possibilities come to mind that are much more offensive, but I'm not going to list them here.
4.12.2008 6:57pm
alias:
...just now reading Sean O'Hara's and affe's posts. Nice.

If the unifying theme is regrettable land transfers, maybe Absolut could do something to exploit the resentment over the subprime mortgage business.
4.12.2008 7:02pm
James Blakey (mail):
Remember this classic from Wendy's mocking the Soviet Union

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7R8FOTjAcY
4.12.2008 7:12pm
Charles Oliver:
I haven't followd this issue that closely. But I have one question I haven't seen in anything that I have read.

The Absolut ad ran in Mexico. So why was it in English?
4.12.2008 7:48pm
Smokey:
"But Fub, vodka comes from potatoes, not grain. Grain makes whiskey."

From the press release: SKYY Vodka is made from American grain...

Fub: In Soviet Russia, potatoes come from vodka!

Which reminds me of Yakov Smirnov:

"In America, you can always find party! In Soviet Russia... Party finds you.
4.12.2008 9:13pm
Steve2:
Wow. Vodka can legitimately come from non-potato sources? I didn't know that. I'd thought when companies bottled a distilled grain and called it "vodka", it was pretty much the same sort of marketing lie as when Anheuser-Busch/Coors/SABMiller/etc. brew rice and corn and call it "beer". But if vodka can really be brewed with grain, then what's the defining characteristic of vodka? I'd thought that the names for distilled spirits were all assigned based on the base plant, with a scheme of
sugar cane = rum
agave = tequila
juniper = gin
grape = brandy
orange = triple sec
potato = vodka
barley = whiskey
rye = bourbon
grains other than barley and rye = everclear and moonshine
fruits other than grapes and oranges = schnapps or "{fruit's name} brandy"

Anyway, having made the mistake once in college of buying a handle of Taaka (made in Kentucky) because it was only $5.79 at Frugal MacDoogal, I'm inclined to take the same approach to vodka as I do to beer: when in doubt, drink imported.

Oh, and TruePath, there were objections "when absolute had commercials suggesting a normal guy would get lots of hot babes in swimsuits to service him", though I don't think much attention was paid to them.


And the map of the US... only slightly less outlandish than the "exploded-view" map of America I have lodged in my brain.
4.12.2008 9:28pm
PersonFromPorlock:
The heck with Mexico, the heck with Sweden and the heck with vodka, let's sell bourbon: "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" ;^)
4.12.2008 10:05pm
lyarbrou (mail):
Possibly the Swedes thought that the president of Mexico had some marketing clout.

From the NY Times:

Mexican President Assails U.S. Measures on Migrants

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: September 3, 2007

In his speech, Mr. Calderón, who has acknowledged that he has relatives who migrated to the United States, suggested that the deportation of undocumented immigrants bordered on a violation of human rights, and he vowed to help illegal migrants.

“I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico,” he said. “And, for this reason, the government action on behalf of our countrymen is guided by principles, for the defense and protection of their rights.”
4.12.2008 11:33pm
Hoosier:
Porlock: "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!"

Hell! The LAST guy who PROMISED us that war didn't deliver . . .

How about "80 proof or fight"?
4.13.2008 12:16am
Cornellian (mail):
Those Skyy guys have a really good ad agency.
4.13.2008 12:33am
Russ (mail):
Most Mexicans might fantasize about this, but they wouldn't really want it. It'd mean they'd have further to go to come to the United States in order to escape their own disastrous economy.
4.13.2008 2:01am
Ricardo (mail):
I haven't followd this issue that closely. But I have one question I haven't seen in anything that I have read.

The Absolut ad ran in Mexico. So why was it in English?


English is often used to advertise or brand upscale products in non-English speaking countries. It's a way of showing that cosmopolitan, classy people like the product. People who worry so much about English losing prominence in the U.S. or get offended whenever they see signs or advertisements in Spanish should remember this. Aside from a handful of nationalists in places like France, nobody outside the English-speaking world cares much about how much advertising and signage is in English in their own countries.

It's ironic that an ad that supposedly appeals to base nationalism would be in a foreign language.
4.13.2008 3:11am
Jay:
sugar cane = rum
agave = tequila
juniper = gin
grape = brandy
orange = triple sec
potato = vodka
barley = whiskey
rye = bourbon
grains other than barley and rye = everclear and moonshine
fruits other than grapes and oranges = schnapps or "{fruit's name} brandy" '

Steve--I think gin is flavored with juniper berries, but its core is just a grain spirit like vodka. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by whiskey as opposed to bourbon (scotch?), but I think rye whiskey is a separate drink than either--i.e., purists claim that Manhattans should be made from rye, not bourbon. Scotch tastes different than bourbon because of the peat filtering process after it's distilled.
4.13.2008 3:55am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
is anyone really offended by the Absolut ad? If so, why?
People generally resent the message that in an ideal world their country would be a whole lot smaller.

Mexico's borders in the Absolut map go a bit too far north - or did Mexico ever claim the part of the Oregon territory? Refer to the map at Gateway Pundit. (The error seems to be due to the misplacement of the Colorado stretch of the Arkansas River that forms part of the border.)
4.13.2008 5:21am
J_A:

“I have said that Mexico the US does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexicanan American, there is MexicoAmerica,” he said. “And, for this reason, the government action on behalf of our countrymen is guided by principles, for the defense and protection of their rights.”

Does anybody here here have a problem with President Bush giving this speech? If you don't, then at least recognize that the Mexican President has not only the right but the duty to express the same feelings, and to act upon them.
4.13.2008 9:54am
Bored Lawyer:

Does anybody here here have a problem with President Bush giving this speech? If you don't, then at least recognize that the Mexican President has not only the right but the duty to express the same feelings, and to act upon them.


All the speech means is that the country has an interest in how its nationals are treated when they are in a foreign country. I have no problem with that, whether stated by the President of the U.S., Mexico or Upper Slobovia.

But nothing in that statement implies a claim to the territory of another country.

Mexico has a legitimate interest in how its citizens are treated in the U.S. -- whether that's Texas or Massachusetts. That is far from a claim to U.S. territory.

The same applies to Bush's statement.
4.13.2008 10:27am
Curt Fischer:
I like how the thread has devolved in part to a discussion of the distillation and appellation practices of the liquor industry.


Isn't gin just vodka that's been mixed with aromatics for a period of time?


Not exactly. Gin is essentially vodka that is mixed with aromatics (juniper berries) and then re-distilled.

Quick break-down of distillation: Distillation separates components on the basis of their relative volatilies. Compounds which are more volatile evaporate off more quickly. So ethanol evaporates from the still more quickly than water. Aromatics also evaporate more quickly than ethanol. Fusel acohols, responsible in part for the flavor of whiskeys, also evaporate more quickly than water. The distiller's choice is how clean a cut to take from the process. Depending on the exact chemical nature of the aromatics and fusel alcohols, they will evaporate more or less quickly than ethanol.

But the process isn't perfect! Take the case of the aromatics. They evaporate more quickly than ethanol (I'm guessing; it could be less quickly but my point would still stand). But some ethanol is already coming out of the still when the aromatics are coming off; when most of the aromatics have come out already and ethanol is predominating, traces of left-behind aromatics will still be coming off too.

The distiller's choice is how exacting a "cut" to make. Vodka is made from a relatively narrow "cut". The resulting spirit will contain little aside from ethanol. But the cost of this is a loss of all the precious ethanol that came out early, with the aromatics, or late, with the fusel alcohols. Other spirits, in general, are made from wider cuts which include more other stuff, and hence, more flavors.

Redistillation, aging in barrels, etc., complicates the process, but in principle, vodka can be made from anything but just choosing a narrow enough cut.

In the redistillation of gin after soaking with juniper berries, I therefore conjecture that the distiller would then have to take a wide cut which includes aromatics and ethanol (but presumably leaves out fusel alcohols and undesireable ultra-bitter berry extracts).

To prove my conjecture, someone could soak juniper berries in vodka for a week or two and test that the result in really bitter, crappy-tasting swill. Have fun.
4.13.2008 12:53pm
Ken Arromdee:
The Japanese map was an intentional parody in an intentionally parodical game. It wasn't designed to appeal to people who wanted the map to become reality. And the types of changes in it aren't ones that revanchists strive for anyway--they want to redraw borders, not move dirt around. None of this is true for the Absolut map.
4.13.2008 1:11pm
Hoosier:
Bored Layer: I say "God DAMN Upper Slobovia!"
4.13.2008 1:12pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
J_A wrote:

I have said that Mexico the US does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican American, there is Mexico America,” he said. “And, for this reason, the government action on behalf of our countrymen is guided by principles, for the defense and protection of their rights.”


Does anybody here here have a problem with President Bush giving this speech?

I'd bet that if GWB had made that statement--and directed it at Mexico's treatment of Americans within her borders--El Presidente Calderone would pop a gasket. At least some of those who consider the Absolut add to be harmless fun-poking (i.e., those who are Obama supporters) would read the statement as Bush declaring the right to invade any country where American citizens reside. You know that's true.

For the record: I'd boycott Absolut, but it is not good enough to drink straight, so I don't buy it anyway. Finlandia is usually cheaper and suitable for use in mixed drinks.
4.13.2008 1:40pm
KenB (mail):
I am offended by the ad, though not nearly as much as I would be were there any realistic prospect of the ad's suggestion ever happening.

It is true that the Mexican War cannot be justified. It was an act of naked aggression by the United States. Even Ulysses Grant recognized that in his memoirs. But the original injustice doesn't mean it would be just to undo the result. It has been too long, and too much has happened since. If we took a vote of those now living in the affected area, it would overwhelmingly favor staying in the United States. I suspect there would be little difference in how the Anglo vote and the Hispanic vote shook out. Self determination should control.

If we're going into the business of righting historical wrongs, why start with American ones? When this subject comes up, I often suggest trying to set the Norman Conquest right. That was at least as unjust as the Mexican War.
4.13.2008 3:04pm
Warmongering Lunatic:
Here's one thing I find implausible about this argument: Absolut wants to sell vodka to LOTS of Mexicans, not just the extremists. If the ACTUAL appeal is only to these extremists, as you seem to be asserting (and if you're not, please correct me but update the rest of your explanation!), wouldn't it be in Absolut's interest to come up with an ad with broader appeal?


So, I'm supposed to be less concerned because the irredentist fantasy portrayed as desirable in the ad has broad appeal in Mexico, a country that has sent tens of millions of colonists into mine over the last two decades?
4.13.2008 4:31pm
Steve2:
Jay, re: "whiskey" v. "bourbon", my understanding was that whiskey is distilled in the British Isles from malted barley, with Irish having indirect convection heating for the malting process and Scotch having direct open-flame heating for the malting process, while bourbon is distilled from rye and made in Kentucky. And there's "Tennessee whiskey" which is kind of a cross between Scotch and bourbon, comes from Tennessee, and gets made with "sour mash". I don't know what sour mash is, but my guess was always that it was fermented grain smooshed together like mashed potatoes, kind of like the mashed apples they use to make good ciders.
4.13.2008 4:41pm
Curt Fischer:

I don't know what sour mash is


Mash is a brewer's term for what you get when you mix together (malted) grains and water.

After you ferment the mash you get the beer. "Beer" is the term used, regardless of whether the final product is beer or spirits.

Sour mash refers to a mash to which very slight amounts of the spent mash from the previous batch are added as a "starter". This probably ensures that lactobacillus, as well as the usual yeast, begin fermenting the mash. Just as sourdough bread is different from regular bread, so will the beer resulting from sour mash be different from "regular" mash. Apparently, distillation of this sour mash-derived beer results in "delicious" beverages such as Jack Daniels.
4.13.2008 4:59pm
mf24:
bourbon is distilled from rye and made in Kentucky.

No, bourbon is distilled from (at least 51%) corn, and can be made anywhere in the US.
4.13.2008 7:23pm
Warmongering Lunatic:
The major U.S. regulated-term whiskies are rye whiskey (51%+ rye), bourbon (51%+ corn), and corn whiskey (80%+ corn).

Tennessee whiskey isn't a regulated term, but is used to mean a bourbon filtered through sugar maple charcoal prior to casking; both brands on the market are made in Tennessee.

Scotch whisky (note no "e") is specified as containing barley and is usually all-barley, but other whole grains can be added. It must be made in Scotland.

Japanese whisky was originally conceived as, and generally still is, a Japanese copy of Scotch whisky.

Irish whiskey (note reappearance of the e) is usually all or mostly barley, and is made in Ireland. Variation between distilleries with both Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky means the geography is the only thing that distinguishes them as classes.

Canadian whisky (there goes that e again) is usually multigrain, with rye usually (but not always) the principal grain, and must be aged in Canada for at least three years.
4.14.2008 1:15am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
MEChA is not on the fringe, they have chapters at most US universities. Its members are in high positions of power in California -- Antonio Villaraigosa, current LA mayor was a leader of the UCLA MEChA chapter in the 1970s. Fabian Nunez, until recently the second most powerful person in California (Assmebly speaker) was similarly a member, as was Cruz Bustamante, former Lieutenant Governor. One of the MEChA founding documents, Plan Espiritual de Aztlan (get it, Aztlan?) contains the infamous phrase "Por La Raza Todo, Fuera La Raza Nada." The notion of reconquista is not on the fringe, the combination of continuing bilingual (Spanish monolingual) education, open defiance of Federal immigration law (Villaraigosa just sent a letter to ICE demanding they stop workplace raids) and quasi-nationalistic rantings by Chicano Studies professors (look up Armando Navarro and Jose Angel Gutierrez) suggest anything but.

People who say these things need to come out to California, enjoy the sunshine, and see the real reconquista. That's right, Mariachi bands playing at Anglo birthday parties. Decent tacos all over the city. 5 FM radio stations playing Luis Miguel and Vicente Fernandez.

In reality, MECHA was founded by campus hotheads in the 1960's (there were white campus hotheads too), most of its members just want to join a Mexican social club, nobody reads the founding statements, and the idea that people like Antonio Villaraigosa and Fabien Nunez want to rescind the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is absurd.
4.14.2008 1:47am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
If "Por La Raza Todo, Fuera La Raza Nada" doesn't sound alarming, the preamble of the MEChA national constitution should (emphasis added):
Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlán must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán.
If the majority of MEChistas don't really believe in Aztlan secession from the US, then they should take out that stated goal from their constitution.
4.14.2008 11:19am
sbron:

People who say these things need to come out to California, enjoy the sunshine, and see the real reconquista. That's right, Mariachi bands playing at Anglo birthday parties. Decent tacos all over the city. 5 FM radio stations playing Luis Miguel and Vicente Fernandez.


Yes, I live in Southern California, and I have seen how the latent reconquista has destroyed public education and forced non-Latino students out of public schools. White teachers have joined in the insanity. In my town, one teacher actually compared teaching Latino students in English to Hitler's final solution. The problem is not just cultural, but economic change. A third world service and agricultural economy as developing in California simply cannot support a first-world infrastructure and educational system.

See today's NRO article by Heather MacDonald on the crisis in the Hispanic family to better understand the disaster unfolding in California.

http://tinyurl.com/6rp25v
4.14.2008 11:30am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
If the majority of MEChistas don't really believe in Aztlan secession from the US, then they should take out that stated goal from their constitution.

This is just wacky. The people you call "MEChistas" haven't gone to a meeting since COLLEGE. MECHA is a COLLEGE social and political group. Did you go to college? Do you remember that lots of people try out all sorts of radical views, especially if there is a group that espouses them and they want to belong, in college? Now how many of those would-be campus radicals grew up to be flamethrowing radical adults?

Antonio Villaraigosa isn't "removing" anything from the MECHA "constitution" (I think it was actually a founding statement, not a "constitution" that can be "amended") because HE DOESN'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT WHAT IS IN THE MECHA CONSTITUTION. Like most every other member of MECHA, and every such college group, he was too busy drinking Tequila and trying to hit on girls! Indeed, the MECHA constitution was written when Villaraigosa was something like 7 years old!

Yes, I live in Southern California, and I have seen how the latent reconquista has destroyed public education and forced non-Latino students out of public schools. White teachers have joined in the insanity. In my town, one teacher actually compared teaching Latino students in English to Hitler's final solution. The problem is not just cultural, but economic change. A third world service and agricultural economy as developing in California simply cannot support a first-world infrastructure and educational system.

If you really believed your own BS, you would move out of such a horrible place. But, of course, it isn't really horrible. The sun is shining, we are one of the richest states in the union, and many of the states that contain huge numbers of people who hate immigrants aren't nearly as successful as we are. For all of our education problems (which were actually caused by conservatives who passed Proposition 13, not hispanic immigrants), our schools send more kids to elite colleges than any other state in the union. And no, isolated comments by teachers do not constitute a reconquista.

This is a great place in part because we have so many hispanics. Why would racists want to ruin it?
4.14.2008 12:58pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
(FYI, "Mechista" and "MEChista" are what they call themselves - both are found in this document of the Cal State chapter.)

I did go to college - the University of Texas at Arlington. The people I knew who joined activist organizations (of both right and left) picked those that pursued goals they actually believed in. College political activity does actually influence post-college ideology.

There might be some who join MEChA on the first impression that it's just another ethnic club like the Vietnamese or Indian student associations, but wouldn't they eventually find out what the organization's doctrine is? Wouldn't its staunchest ideologues eventually tell them?

MEChA either does or does not adhere to the secessionist leanings of its founders. If it does not, it is dishonest (and exhibits extremely bad PR) for keeping that language in its national constitution. If it does, the fact that its history is far less violent than that of the Black Panthers or the Weather Underground doesn't make the desire to carve an independent nation out of a third of the contiguous United States an okay thing.

If there ever was such a change, it was extremely recent - and hasn't gotten any press, to my knowledge. MEChA's movers and shakers weren't too stoned on tequila to go through the trouble of revising their national constitution in 1999, an event reported in a 2003 Stanford Review article. They consciously kept the "liberation of Aztlan" clause in the document.
4.15.2008 9:17am