Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big Dick!

Just because we're all American an' sh*t, doesn't mean we've cornered the market on silly marketing that's culturally insensitive, outdated or just plain wrong. Visiting with some German clients, I was offered a taste of this:
The Krauts tell me that this means "Really Big Fat Man" versus what it used to be called, which was "Neggerkusse", which, they told me, translates loosely as "Negroe's Kiss" but more accurately and literally as "Nigger's Kiss." Don't get all excited and kill the messenger. I'm only reporting what I was told. I also verified this with a little research and found that this isn't the only product in the post-Jim Crow millenium that has a speckled, or rather, "dark" past - and present. He ha.
But first, let me describe this confection. It's a kind of creme marshmallow, much less sweet and less spongy than American-style mallow, really more cream-like, but I said that already, covered with a thin coating of semi-sweet, but not dark, chocolate, yet, not milk chocolate, a lot like what might be on a Funny Bone, but thinner, all sitting on a communion-wafer-sized, well, wafer-like. On the whole, not bad. A little big for my mouth, but, just the same. I kinda made a fool of myself, trying to jam the whole thing in my mouth. How women do it, I just don't understand.

The other thing I don't get is why it was called "N-word Kiss." They don't look like lips. They rather look like short, squat dicks sporting shiny brown condoms.
(image sourced at The Museum of Public Relations site)

At least the Germans did something about it. According to an article on, Finnish confectioner Fazer is presently refusing to alter their unpleasantly retro (to put it very nicely) packaging for a licorice product called Lakritsi which features a Sambo-like graphic. Another Finnish company, Brunberg, had been forced to remove the slogan "Nigger's Kiss" from one of their candy product lines but has refused to alter the imagery, shown here.
So, chuckle, chuckle, Super Dickmann, huh? What a hoot. Only, the Germans weren't laughing. I explained that the product's moniker and suggestive product shape kinda more evoked a box of disposable sex toys than midday treat. On the other hand, come to think of it, a midday treat could be a sex-toy. Huh. But I digress from the groggy path this tale takes. They looked at me in uncanny unison and beseeched me to eat one. Which I did. Case closed.

The thing is, and there is a thing here, one should recollect a few things. Until the last few decades, there just hadn't been many black people hanging out in continental Europe. Yes, I know, someone will cite some statistic that indicates that I'm not quite right, but they can blow me. I can tell you from personal experience in two decades of intermittant travel in Europe that seeing a black person was as likely as seeing a penguin in a leper colony. I remember visitng West Germany in the late eighties nineteen-eighties, wise ass) and observing the very white Germans in Cologne's banking district literally staring at a very nattily-dressed black man in a Burberry suit and bowler walking down the street. He was the only black person I saw in more than a month in Germany and he might as well have been naked.

So, I'm kinda excusing all of Europe, except for England and Paris and maybe Marseille and most of Spain, probably, for having these images persist into the twenty-first century. Black people were nearly a novelty. The homogenization of culture worldwide has only really come underway in the last twenty years with the mass availability of television and then the internet. But, yeah, they should probably get on the stick at this point. And, please, Euro-dudes, please don't take us Ugly Americans as your example because we're still crass and loud and xenophobic and we still have Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima, sans kerchief, as nationally recognized brands woven into our psyche.

Eventually, it will all go away. That's not to say that patently offensive images and language should be ignored. Indeed, those who are offended should be allowed to voice their opinion and move to have their agenda satisfied. But, lest we forget the reaction to that Danish cartoon, no has to mean no at some point. Political correctness can and often does go too far, like the case this week of the teenager who wore a "I (heart) Lady Gay Gay" t-shirt to school in Greenbrier, Tenessee and was sent home because of the word "gay." This amongst a school filled with kids wearing Confederate flag and "Jesus Is My Lord . . . and Yours Too, Byotch" t-shirts. Some might be offended at that, but if it's the cultural norm, then who is to say?

That's easy. The community decides whether porn is obscene or simply smut, for instance. The community decides based on its culture and values. And when it comes to products with offensive packaging, the community votes with its collective pocket-book. So, if the Finns don't really care whether they offend the 2% of their population that's classified as black, should we? Well, yes, we should be aware that cultures vary all over the place and that what we classify as racist or sexist or ageist is how their very homogoenous society defines itself, in part. We need not be the Ugly Americans in that sense, at least.

But still, Super Dickmann's . . . ah ha ha ha ha ha ha . OMG, LOL. That absolutely cracks me up.

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