Yes, We Have No Small Olives…

It all started when I was trying to explain America to a resident of Blighty. “America is a big country,” I wrote, “and nobody wants anything small, or so the marketing theory goes. There’s simply no such thing as a small olive on American supermarket shelves! One has to choose from such official USDA designations as large, extra large, jumbo, extra jumbo, colossal, super colossal, mammoth, and super mammoth. (Whether the “mammoth” olives are the least bit woolly is something I am unable to confirm.) This obsession with largeness is a tedious feature of American culture: large cars, large superheroes, large wars, large political scandals…”

Somehow, the rumors started flying… Hot Tin Cat went to the supermarket in search of small olives and couldn’t find any. What on earth were the small olives for? Small salads? Martinis for munchkins? Ammunition for an outsized peashooter? It’s gotten so bad that young schoolboys (and first-year law students) send me raisins surgically altered to look like olives with notes scrawled in crayon saying, “Hey Hot Tin Cat, are these small enough for ya?”

Time to clear up the confusion: I have never gone to the supermarket in search of small olives, nor would I have any particular use for them. I was merely citing them as an example. Nobody in America wants to buy anything labeled “small.” It might make them feel inferior. That’s why the official USDA designations are all transmogrified synonyms for “large.”

To be perfectly honest, I learned everything I know about the subject from educational television, specifically The Great American Dream Machine. Let’s grade the olives with Marshall Efron:


All Creatures Great and Tea Party

Video memes for understanding John Boehner and the Tea Party

Like vikings and beekeepers, Tea Partiers and veterinarians go together (at least in the person of Ted Yoho). Dissatisfied with existing memes about “financial lemmings” or the “Seinfeld shutdown,” I began searching my mental archives–specially the bin containing reruns of All Creatures Great and Small, the British TV series about Yorkshire vets, based on the books by James Herriot.

When I first posted this, the video memes seemed persuasive. In retrospect, I just enjoy the videos for their own sake. This revised version has less heavy-handed commentary, but you will find 4 embedded clips from All Creatures Great and Small, plus one Farm Film Report (SCTV), and a hilarious music video from the 80’s: “House of Fun” by Madness.

So what about a drunken and irresponsible John Boehner as The Mad Conductor:

Then again, this clip suggests that Tea Partiers are outlandish, scary (but ultimately ineffectual) political “experts” called in to perform an elite task:

Yes Ted Cruz, “Thank you kindly for your expert help.” The idea that TPers are blowing up government led me to this gem. Call it cowshed humour if you like:

It turns out another useful meme is SCTV’s Farm Film Report. What happened to the social safety net under Tea Party influence? It blowed up–blowed up real good.

Like Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, Tea Partiers are the ultimate deconstructionists, taking more relish in destroying things than building them up.

I could go on, bringing in the famous Monty Python cow fling and the Northern Exposure retread, but here’s another All Creatures clip from “The Bull With The Bowler Hat.” That cryptic moniker actually describes a Min of Ag boffin who officiates over artificial insemination of cattle. This is a delicate operation requiring the greatest diplomacy–not unlike switching Tea Partiers to a clean CR just as they’re thrusting away at Obamacare in full ardour. So to complete the setup, imagine John Boehner and Eric Cantor as the vets, and Ted Cruz as–well, the bull:

I shall never look on this cast of political characters in quite the same light, now thinking of Boehner and Cantor as strange matadors armed with party-popping collection devices, and Ted Cruz as the hapless bullock.

Maybe I need to do another post called “Welcome To The House of Fun.” Take the Madness music video from the 80’s and superimpose pics of Louis Gohmert, the U.S. House of Representatives, and all the fresh-faced Tea Partiers–still truly adolescent but “up for fun.” In retrospect, perhaps they’re best remembered as a “pack party-poppers that go pop in the night.” On the other hand, TPers are about as a subtle as a Mack truck, lacking the featherlight touch extolled by the sixteen-year-old in the song. They would be more at home in a joke shop.

I can just picture a Tea Partier eyeing a vacant House seat being told by Republican elders: “Try the House of Fun–it’s quicker if you run.”

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