Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yes, yes, but can the United States make a decent cup of coffee ...

(Above: found here, and with plenty more images to hand around).

Life is tricky.

It's well known that coffee-slurping, latte-sipping, decadent inner city elites are the ruination of everything and everybody, including but not limited to News Ltd, the Greens, the Labor party, and all the state and federal governments throughout the land.

They've even been known to infiltrate the Liberal party (thanks to big Mal and innocent eastern suburbs types who simply can't understand the dangers in a cup of coffee).

They're the bane of Gerard Henderson's life, they disregard the needs of the people of Penrith, they never venture further down Parramatta road than Leichhardt, and only Bob Katter and his noble band (ably helped by Barnaby Joyce) stand between them and chaos for all Australia.

But hell, someone has to sell the decadent wretches coffee, so why not Gloria Jean's?

Well for a start Gloria Jean's tastes like overly sweetened soapy water, but a deeper problem is the participation of the likes of Peter Irvine, one time Mercy Ministries head and Hillsong elder, in its operations.

Reflecting its ownership heritage, the local franchise has been proud supporter of a bunch of fundie causes, including the Australian Christian Lobby, Family First, Jesus Racing and Hope 103.2 Christian radio, and been caught up in all sorts of controversies, not just limited to support for anti-gay groups but for the sugar and fat content of its products (wiki a few here).

That's not the way to market to trendy elitists, and just lately they've gone feral, with Gloria
Jean's bragging providing an example of a typical response to Gloria Jean's sputtering efforts at social media.

Worse, somehow the silly coffee peddlers have got themselves tangled in a "social media, take no prisoners, don't put cinnamon and shit in my coffee, fire fight", as you can see if you head off to #WithHeartLocal.

Here's a few random samples, and yes you can have frothing, foaming cream with them if you like. Click to enlarge:

Wow, the inner urban elite fight back, and by golly they fight mean.

There's more news on the boycott here. The pond wishes it could join in, but long ago decided that it would rather chew on horse-scented leather than drink Gloria Jean's coffee. That's got nothing to do with religion, it's just that a Catholic Italian generally knows how to make a better coffee than coffee brewed to suit the taste of mid-western Americans and fundie US evangelists.

There has to be limits to American banality - and if you can't understand the difference between Italian, French, Greek, Turkish or middle eastern coffee coffee, and the muck they serve in the United States and here in American-related franchises, go drink soda until you bloat and explode. European cheese-eaters rulez.

All the same, it's nice to know that good taste also allows, even encourages, a hard line on bigotry and prejudice.

These little eruptions of protest and dissent are likely to put a spring in the step of the average urban elitist. They can try to flog crap, but there's no reason to imbibe it ...

Speaking of US crap, the pond was inspired by the excellent opinion piece by Warwick McFadyen, Abbott's seeing stars and stripes all right, to head off to Tony Abbott's site to check out his speech to the Heritage Foundation, Washington D.C. (well Abbott calls it an address, but the pond always thinks an address is where you post letters).

McFayden wonders if Abbott suffered a bump on the head or was on drugs as an explanation of the contents of the speech, without seeming to realise that Abbott might have had a cup of American coffee ...

Anyhoo, it's a few days old now, but meat left in the sun can gain a lustrous stench, and Abbott's effort, now fully ripened, is truly wondrous to read.

It's the sort of headland effort that makes Kevin Andrews blush and go weak at the knees.

With great discipline, the pond managed to overlook the opening joke where Abbott explains as a liberal that he's spent the first few days being introduced to virtual communists. Oh slap mah knee and hornswoggle me. Why he might have even met that dangerous Kenyan socialist commie pinko pervert Barack Hussein Obama.

Never mind, let's move quickly on to other highlights, as Abbott finds himself amongst like-minded Americans:

English-speaking countries have beckoned to people everywhere, especially in troubled times, harkening to the immortal words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

Well they might beckon, but if you want to catch a boat from Indonesia or jump the wire from Mexico, you can just bugger off, you hopeless tired and huddled losers. As of now, the immortal words have been modified to read, if the Indonesians don't stop you, we'll turn you around, and provide a pillow case to help stop the breathing.

And then there's this sort of self-serving tosh:

Narrow self-interest would have kept America out of Iraq, as it did the French and German governments of the time.

Never mind that lies got Australia and the United States into Iraq, and the French and German governments had better sense (and they drink better coffee too).

Various distortions niggled at McFadyen, and they might niggle other readers too, like this one:

The United States and Australia are separate legal entities but few Australians would regard America as a foreign country.

Say what? They must be the Australians who've never been herded around like a bunch of tired, foreign sheep at LAX.

We are more than allies, we’re family. Around the world we seek no privileges, ask no favours, crave no territory.

Crave no territory? Yep, this is a man in the grip of seriously sycophantic delusions.

McFayden gets particularly agitated at the way Abbott pretends that the United States hasn't used war to enhance its territories, allegedly since the Mexican-American war, as if the Spanish war never happened, and as if the United States hasn't routinely used war, and its military power to extend its spheres of economic influence.

But then the speech isn't an exercise in truth, or talking truth to power, it's yet another example of Abbott's capacity for suckery, and for saying in one context what people want to hear, even if in another context, he might modify or disclaim what he's said.

The level of euphoric uxoria in the speech is high:

For most of the world, the whole point of growing richer is to be able to enjoy more of the movies, music, fashion, pastimes and consumer goods of America and Britain and to adopt the kind of lifestyle enjoyed by the residents of Western cities.

The inner city elites? Sorry, but the United States still can't produce a decent cup of coffee (no not even in New York), but ain't it grand to read an allegedly patriotic Australian explaining how the sooner the world turns into an American mall (would you like fries with that) the better the world will look.

By a large margin, the United States has the best universities, the most creative research, the most sophisticated intellectual property and the most accomplished high-end manufacturing.

Now successfully outsourced to China.

America is exceptional so exceptionalism has its place.

Except for a decent cup of exceptional coffee.

American world leadership might only truly be appreciated were it to disappear.

Could we just settle for Gloria Jean's and Starbucks disappearing?

Never mind, what Abbott's speech reminds an astute reader, is that if the United States ever heads off to Iran, it won't matter whether the Liberal or Labor parties are in power, Australia is sure to be galumphing along behind, imagining everything is for the best in a truly exceptional American world.

Abbott makes a few obligatory gestures towards Asia - someone in China might be reading - but for the most part he's content to fawn and pander.

The pond commends the speech to any reader searching for a momentary fit of depression, though reading McFadyen while sipping on a restorative coffee from anywhere but Gloria Jean's might just be the antidote you're looking for ...

(Below: the twitter storm has subsided this morning, but you can track the conversation by heading here and here).


  1. Wow. Tony Abbott channelling Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty. This may be the most hypocritical, two-faced thing he has ever said (a tough field, i know). The only thing that could possibly make this any more farcical would be if Scott Morrison was standing alongside him, nodding solemnly in agreement.

  2. Only had G. Jeans coffee once. Never again. At Mascot airport several years ago, while waiting to pick up the mother-in-law, got two cups for the wife and I and had to leave them un-drunk. Super hot and tasting like melted plastic. Horrible. Never bothered since then. Glad to know there's another good reason to boycott the buggers.


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