Tuesday, March 3, 2009


He seemed like a nice enough fellow, but he represented so much that is wrong. This morning I sat across from him at a marketing roundtable. A senior executive for Wrigley.

To quote an old colleague of mine, "once we're done with the tobacco companies, we go after the gum companies." Singapore seems to have the right idea on this. It's illegal there.

Note to young readers looking for jobs. LOSE THE GUM. Your mother was right. The smacking and cracking takes a full 20-30 points off of your IQ, to say nothing of labeling you as a classless schmo.

That last comment saddens me, as I have a more-than-passing-acquaintance from college whom I saw on television, on the podium at President Obama's inauguration. He appeared frequently on camera, as he was seated next to an important member of the President's family (I'm trying to be kind by not naming him or his relative). This successful, nationally known Ivy League graduate was...you guessed it...smacking away like Violet Beauregarde. What a way to ruin a great, proud moment. Does Desiree Rogers have to stand at the entrance to every Presidential event with her hand extended admonishing attendees to "spit ... it... out?"

Back to the promoters of this horrifying habit, the now Mars-owned Wrigley Company. It's not bad enough that they promise us exploding flavors and the hope of a threesome with twin women...now they're trying to convince us that being classless is also good for our health...that there are...and I quote..."benefits of chewing?"

Paul Fussell, noted expert on English literature, world wars, and social classes in the US, a Harvard Ph.D. and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania wrote a whole book about practices like this. He called it BAD, or The Dumbing of America. It's bad to put sawdust in the flour. It's BAD to try to convince your customers that by so doing you make it healthier.

The only health benefit that chewing gum carries it the healthy disdain for its users among those with taste.

Oral hygiene certainly has its place. It's in your bathroom. In public, spit... it... out.


julie said...

ooh - watch it, Ban. There's a fine line between artful commentator on the inanities of life and crotchey old man...JFLY

Mike Diefenbach said...

I agree wholeheartedly (and “I ain’t no crotchety old man” either).

I’m still recovering from being told, just a few years ago, after years of blissful ignorance, that all those silver-dollar-sized black spots covering the sidewalks and subway platforms of our great cities are actually spit-out GUM wads that have been flatted under foot and darkened by dirt and soot. They are disgusting, and far more so than cigarette butts (that ALSO have no place on our streets) because at least butts can be swept up.

But back to the disgusting act of CHEWING gum in public. How delicious it was that, among the many things Dave Letterman slammed the crazed and disheveled Joaquin Phoenix for recently was his gum-chewing! Phoenix was the perfect poster boy for gum chewing because he looked like a cross between Charlie Manson and a ZZ Top band member (sorry, guys... I DO appreciate your music). And Joaquin punctuated his chewing gaffe by removing his wad and sticking it on the underside of Dave’s desk! (Stay classy, dude.)