Friday, April 13, 2007

Who says it wants to be American?

Interesting sight--smug, smirking Yanks acting all proprietary over "stuff [they] invented--fast-food hamburgers, fried chicken, pizza and doughnuts," as if America never borrows and bastardizes food from other countries.

Here's Time's Joel Stein, in "A New Fast-Food Invasion":

"All this foreign American food seems campy fun--bright, sweet, smiley and likable. Even in a world where so many hate and fear us, they still want to be like us."

Exhibit A?

"Jollibee, with more than 1,400 stores in the Philippines and 11 branches in California, makes McDonald's look like a funeral parlor. Its mascot is a jolly bee, and the restaurants are blindingly happy, all giant, shiny yellow blocks, as if they were designed by an architect from Legoland. Even if you gave Walt Disney all the ecstasy in the world, he would not have come up with this. America, according to Jollibee, is clearly a place of childlike optimism. Jollibee's two most popular items are called the Yumburger and the Chickenjoy. The Yumburger has a weird, plasticky dollop of French dressing in the middle. The crisped-up French fries are dry inside and taste as if they weren't just double fried but dunked in oil four or five times. The fried chicken is halfway decent, but the inflated, happy fakeness of Jollibee makes you feel that the only American its Filipino owners have ever seen is Pamela Anderson."

Yeah, and Taco Bell is your idea of Mexican food, too.

15 comments:

Rick M. said...

hay. everything has to be about them.

koji87 said...

eh bakit paborito mong "tagpuan" ang taco bell? hmmn, u like mexican men ano?..an medyo maangsud na maharang harang...

koji87 said...

heniwi, alam mo bang ang taco bell dito ay parang rolling store na minute burger lang dyan...hehehe. in aduhwoa, they're all american shit just d same

Ernesto said...

Although I dont agree with the authors main intention for writing his article (ie. make fun of foreign chains), I do have to agree with his review about the quality of the food. Don't get me wrong, I love anything Filipino. I just cant support soggy, forgettable burgers. Maybe its just the Jollibee that I've been to here in L.A. but I just couldn't eat it. I do love the mango pies and the pansit is halfway OK. Once again, before I get any hate mails, I DONT like the authors's intention/tone.

judd said...

can't help it...my kids simply adore jollibee...

Jawaharlal Al-Zawahiri said...
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Jawaharlal Al-Zawahiri said...

the article is actually poking fun at america, as someone correctly pointed out. come on, the guy is joking, thus the hyperbole. and he ultimately directed the attack to his own. gibbs is right to point out, though, that americans are really the greatest bastardizers, este, borrowers, so what invention is stein talking about. is he crazy or what? he shouldve said borrowings or adoptations. or to be more accurate, bastardizations

Swipe said...

well... I love Chow king. hehehe

vincedejesus said...

Para naman silang timang.

The US colonized us, they taught us their language, they shoved down their synthetic culture down our throats, they fed us junk like hamburger, pizza and fried chicken and now they're surprised that most people want to be like them?

Our whole lives we were conditioned to love them, to be like them. They made us wear their Levis, smoke their Marlboros and dance their fox-strot. That is their way of colonizing the world --- not just by literally invading countries... but invading our minds, our way of life.

beektur said...
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beektur said...

Touche. Suddenly, Joel Stein is Boy Abunda, holding that tacky mirror to the face of Pinoys, saying, OK, you are looking at the American version of yourself, ano ang masasabi mo? Then you say, ay mukha pala akong chickenjoy. Stein, whose sarcasm, cynicsm and sense of irony are as American and thick as the transfat at the bottom of Jolibee's frying pot -- as Pinoy as the McSpag (sugar and hotdog) -- is poking fun at non-Americans making farce out of American farts. Totoo naman: Jolibee is not Pinoy. It's a Pinoy's version of what is American. Nick Pichay wrote a poem about this ages ago: pagkagat ni Perry ng burger sa mcdo, limang minutong states or words to that effect. Sell Pinoy fast food to Amboy and Kano market? Then sell tapsilog, longsilog, tosilog, dasilog, bangsilog, dasilog or pakaplog. Stein is not complaining about them, and I have no doubt he has tried them. He is not complaining about falafel, too. Or tacos. Aling Mameng's pares or or RJ's Bulalo sa may Mandaluyong circle, anytime.

Wait, this is like selling Regine as the Pinay Mariah to the kababayans of Mariah. Mwahaha - wala lang, gusto ko lang idagdag.

vincedejesus said...

The wonderful thing about Pinoy ingenuity (kahit admittedly ginaya nga) is we make it our own. It doesn't remain purely American. It becomes Filipinized, Tagalized, Ilocanized, Bicolized... basta! Localized. Magaling diyan ang Pinoy. We change something foreign to suit our own taste. We modify them to make it blend in with our culture. We have even found ways of utilizing and using their creations against them.

beektur said...

This sounds good in paper. In reality it is pepper, maanghang but with hardly any substance and nutritional value. First it depends on what one starts with. If you start with crap (McDo is not food) then you end up only with brighter crap (Jollibbe is happy kiddy non-food). In the light the global sun, it is as bright and sunny as any Pinoy stuff can get, but it is still crap. And that is the problem. Sabi nga ni Rizal -- everything about us (this was more than a century ago) is borrowed, even our faults are borrowed. Kaya pala ang pambansang kasuotan ay Barrowed Saya at Barrowed Tagalog.

gibbs cadiz said...

hi friends, many thanks for your comments. i see we have different takes on mr. stein's piece. my beef with it is mainly its sneering, supercilious tone tied to a bum premise. i've no problem with tearing into the likes of jollibee (i myself think it's junk food), but on fair terms. the whole point of indigenization, of taking something foreign and making it one's own, is precisely to honor the demands of local culture, of local tastes. there is more nuance to it than plain carbon copying. for mr. stein to say that we eat burgers and fries because we want to be americans is an oversimplifying conceit. he piles it on with the subtext that, kokopya na nga lang tayo, di pa natin magawa ng tama. it's not poking fun at americans, it's a backhanded way of saying, we americans are still better, crappy food and all. plain arrogance, considering how america itself freely bastardizes other countries' cuisines to suit its homogenizing and hegemonic bent. mr. stein thinks he's being funny with this piece. he isn't.

Horny Peter said...

I agree, Mr. Stein isn't funny with his article. I think his primary goal in writing the article was to bash not only the owners of Jollibee but the whole Filipino community as well. Although hindi ko masyado gusto ang Jollibee dahil matigas nga talaga yung fries nila, Stein still doesn't have the right to bastardized people na hindi naman niya talaga kilala. This is what we call racism, people. And we know that we don't deserve such treatment by Stein. Pero let's give him the benefit of the doubt, kasi marami din namang galit sa mga Kano.

Or baka naman kumain na si Stein sa Jollibee pero hindi niya nagustuhan yung food. Malamang, eh pang Pinoy lang naman ang Jobee eh. Kaya nga "panlasang Pilipino, at home sa Jollibee!"

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