Monday, April 7, 2008

No Absolut Vodka

My first reaction to this was that I'll never drink Absolut vodka. That was my second, third and fourth reaction also, and I'm sure plenty of patriotic Americans feel the same way.
The now-notorious Absolut map, is part of an ad campaign Absolut was running in Mexico. This campaign showed reality in an "Absolut" -- that is -- perfect world, where the Reconquista has gone forward, and Mexico has gotten back all the territory it lost following the 1836 Texas War of Independence; the 1846-1848 Mexican War; and the 1854 Gadsden Purchase.
Absolut has cancelled the ad campaign, and says it apologizes. Sorry, but for me, that does not cut the mustard: the injury is the same and now the ad campaign probably has tons more publicity than its makers ever imagined. Now Absolut is caught between people like El Jefe who are angry about the ad, and its targeted audience that probably liked it.
In any case, I think that the Absolut Map deserves more thought by Americans than the anger and revulsion of a simple emotional reaction. Revanchism is a very real historical and political force -- and one for which Americans have no ready frame of reference. Pressed to explain its ad, Absolut pointed out on its blog that "was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility." Unlike most of the rest of the world, Americans have never, ever, been in the position of losing territory to foreign neighbors. Since the founding of the Republic, US territory (save for the temporary exception of the secession of the Confederate States) has only increased, and Americans have never found themselves, as have our Mexican neighbors, on the losing end of a peace treaty that extorted part of the national territory at gunpoint.
May that perspective never change. But it is dangerous and naive to think that the Absolut Map is absolutely beyond the realm of possibility, and it is stupid to think that patriotic Mexicans might not feel that the history of our common border is a little less of a closed subject than patriotic Americans think it is. For hundreds of years until 1945, Breslau, Konigsberg, and Stettin were German cities. The River Pregolya was once the Pregel; and the Kaliningradskiy Zaliv was for centuries known as the Frisches Haff. Then, the Germans blundered royally, and the names, borders and inhabitants changed, the boundries being redrawn in blood. This was common in Europe: a Frenchman could have been born in Metz in 1850, become a German in 1871, lived long enough to be French again in 1918, then if especially long-lived, be a German again from 1940-1944, and then back to being a Frenchman.
Don't kid yourself that it can't happen here. Of course it can -- it has throughout history, and if it does, don't blame the Mexicans. No shame on them for taking whatever opportunities history gives them. It's up to us, every day, to keep our place in the world. Shame on us and on our children if Texas ever becomes Tejas or Mexico ever owns the Gunnison River. The future is never certain, and always up to us.


Bob said...

K of C -- Big Dog -- Frankly, I'm less concerned about advertisements than I am about miscarriages of justice. That said, I invite you and your readers to help me convince New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to PARDON PETER LYNCH. Lynch is the Air Force veteran who was found guilty of a crime after he removed a Mexican flag from the University of New Mexico after he found it flying alone, told officials about the violation of flag protocol and ran up against a "brick wall" before taking matters into his own hands.

louielouie said...

"All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme
measures, But Texas was absolutely overrun by such men."

which is why i love you side of the red so very much.
i was thinking.......
maybe my favorite liquor store in southeast tulsa will have a tulsa vodka party some evening soon.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Oh, put me down, LL, as long as you're serving Smirnoff, Stolichnaya, Seagrams or even Grey Goose.

As for ". . .noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures..." That ain't Texas, sounds like the French Revolution to me.

louielouie said...

That ain't Texas,

the fourth one down. consider the source.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Yeah, you may have a point there, LL. Of course, when you want to have a good revolt, revolution or war of independence, such people are no doubt treasures, but they do become a problem when things settle down.

Sam Houston is an interesting historical figure. . .I've never been able to figure out quite who he was working for, but that's another story.