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Ben & Jerry's Linsanity Insanity

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posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:04 PM
Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream maker, has apologized to Jeremy Lin and to the guardians of the Asian community for introducing "Taste the Linsanity", a frozen yogurt flavor intended to honor the Chinese-American B-Ball phenom, who plays for the Knicks.

The yogurt, sold only at the one store, had swirls of lychee honey and crumbled fortune cookies. There were complaints about quality — soggy fortune cookies were replaced by crumbled waffle cones — as well as the ethnic reference to the Asian-American player.

I am very disappointed in Ben & Jerry's for apologizing and deplore the current state of politically correct hypersensitivity on the part of any ethnic group with a hitherto unnoticed chip on its shoulder.

“Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery?” the Asian American Journalists Association said in a statement. “In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.”

That's fair enough as far as it goes, but we're not talking about "news coverage" here. We are talking about a confection flavor put out by a company with a reputation for an artistic flare.

This is art we are talking about.

I contend that "Taste the Linsanity" falls into the same category as any number of stereotypes common in art and is not offensive in the least, in context.

There is a long history of chinoiserie in the art of the West. The reasons for its existence are many, among them, fascination with the different, admiration for things in another culture that are new to our own, testing and trying the culture, familiarizing ourselves with it, making friends with it.

Chinoiserie is found in the art of Vincent Van Gogh, the cartoons of Walt Disney and in innumerable designs of fabrics, and household goods. In the movies heros like "Charlie Chan" and villains like "Dr. Fu Manchu" are both examples of chinoiserie. It is found in opera and song.

It is also found in the exaggerated stereotype of the "yellow peril" and in the sinister meaning attached to the name of the city of Shanghai.

But people can tell the difference.

Wiping out a playful example of chinoiserie like Ben & Jerry's "Taste the Linsanity" is a retrograde step, in my opinion, in the ongoing search for mutual understanding among the races, creeds and colors.

The "Baby Ruth" chocolate bar was seen as a compliment, not as an insult to Babe Ruth's intelligence or emotional maturity.

Jeremy Lin and the safeguards of Asian integrity should have taken "Taste the Linsanity" as it was meant, lightly, as a compliment.

My two cents worth.

edit on 5-3-2012 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:18 PM
Some of the old walt disney cartoons were almost as racist as the kkk. Infact in the days of the shows mentioned the Chinese were rarely shown on tv without the implications that they were some kind of squinty eyed freaks.

These shows and movies would have been highly offensive to any oriental people who took them selves seriously and I would find the fortune cookie part very distasteful if I was oriental.

The lychee part seems fine but maybe mini chocolate or cookie baseballs may have been a slightly less insulting ingredient.

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:35 PM
Lets not forget that Ben and Jerrys is an international conglomerate owned by unilever and neither Ben nor Jerry has any influence on the company since 2000.

Just thought I would chuck this into the mix in case anybody has been fooled into thinking its a 'homely' company owned by a couple of dudes.

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by lewman

I think you might be right about the ingredients of "Taste the Linsanity", but I don't think ethnic references should be beyond the pale. Ben & Jerry's could just have easily brought our attention to Lin's Ivy League pedigree, in a sort of "league meets league" way, but they were right to choose the ethnic track in my opinion.

One of the banned cartoons in the "Merrie Melodies" series is the famous Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs. Here's the intro to the Wikipedia write up on it.

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (working title: So White and de Sebben Dwarfs) is a Merrie Melodies animated cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, and released to theatres on January 16, 1943 by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Vitaphone Corporation. . . . The stylistic portrayal of the characters, however, is an example of darky iconography (see blackface), which was widely accepted in American society at the time. As such, it is one of the most controversial cartoons in the classic Warner Bros. library, has been rarely seen on television, and (because it is one of the Censored Eleven; see below) has never been officially released on home video. However, it is often named as one of the best cartoons ever made,[1] in part for its African-American-inspired jazz and swing music, and is considered one of Clampett's masterpieces.

I have seen "Coal Black" and it is a fantastically well made cartoon. It is just superb and very obviously was made with a lot of affection and sympathetic observation of typical scenarios in not just black American culture, but in all human culture.

Coal Black's mother is the embodiment of motherly love and Coal Black as a young woman is the embodiment of the unconsciously hot young chick, unaware of her appeal. I think this cartoon, like "Taste the Linsanity" has been relegated to obscurity for all the wrong reasons.

It is absolutely tame and inoffensive when compared to examples of self loathing and self destruction common in "gangsta" culture. The "bitches 'n hos" mentality.

edit on 5-3-2012 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:51 PM
Marketing to hippies gone awry.Stick with the vision corporate guys. No Jesus berry flavor or M-16 chocolate chunk sports treat. Monster truck marshmellow ain't gonna make the hippies happy.

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:51 PM
In Austin,Tx there is a company called Chi'Lantro. The best burritos in TX! They also were using a special sauce called Linsanity Sauce. It's a korean/mexican fusion food stand..Should they apologize? Is Lin Korean or is Chi'lantro ridiculous?

All the hype for Lin. It's starting to get a little annoying. I mean he has a great story being from Harvard and living on his brothers couch before he was actualy signing a contract with the team but daaaaaaaamn, stop being so annoying about it and creating SAUCES and ice creams.

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 01:02 PM
Fortune cookies, like "Chow Mein" are not Chinese.

They are American constructs marketed as "authentically Chinese" and assumed as such by the culturally ingorant and/or insensitive.

But marketing can, and often does, override consideration for another's semsibilities and a product may take on a life, and a "culture" of its own.

More's the pity.

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