Pablum - Not so easy to swallow.

There's a word in our culture used to describe something oversimplified, watered-down or dumbed down for mass consumption. "Pablum". CNN's election coverage is a good example of potentially significant content squozen dry of any real information and presented to the viewer in a pelletized, insulting form that no one with a fifth-grade education could possibly find worthwhile. Remember Wolf Blitzer talking to a pretend "hologram" of Jessica Yellin about election returns in The Ridiculation Room? That's pablum. Turns out it used to be a real product before it became CNN's bread and butter. Baby food!

Aaaaah. Pablum was food specially de-flavorized for babies. Got it.

Today's ad features an adorable fantasy out of every mother's... umm... fantasies: The age-old tableau of an emancipated baby living alone in a giant single-bedroom shoe in a forest preserve. Awww, isn't she cute? She's just about to finish her pablum before sending herself off to work at Applebee's, where she manages the second shift, making sure to drizzle each entree' with enough cheese to balance out the massive salt content.

"Strained for babies". This could describe most
new mothers.
People who design labels would probably have you believe it's harder than you think. Of course, no one will tell you their job is dead simple, or they may find themselves suddenly out of a dead simple job. I believe the truth is that most things are simpler than people make them. I'm not a packaging designer, but I think it's a pretty simple rule never to put the phrase "baby juices" on the can. "Orange juice" is not "juice made for oranges". It's made from oranges. So, when you put "baby juices" on the label, it may be a bit of a turnoff to certain kinds of people... or at least I hope it is.

Perhaps in a brief flash of not-completely-stupid judgment, the good people at BiB also pointed out the actual nature of the product, a little lower down - areola juice. No, wait. It says "acerola". I guess that's a South American berry known for it's high nutrient content. Damn me, but no matter how many times I look at it, I still read it as "areola juice", which is just about enough to put me off my feed for the rest of the day.

Man. "Areola juice". Some babies will swallow anything.

Click for big.


Steve Miller said...

You got most of it in there, P -- fresh squozen baby juice sounds deliteful. But, sadly, you failed to comment on the liberal use of Vaseline in front of the camera lens for that gauzy, fairy-tale quality as befits a purple felt shoe in the enchanted forest.

Vaseline -- it's not just for baby butts!

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