All The Newzak That's Fit to Print

There was an interesting juxtaposition of articles on the second page of the S.F. Examiner's front section yersterday. The main article, reprinted from the New York Times, described the opening of a museum devoted to the history of Jell-O. It was an enjoyably informative article, laced with compelling Jell-O arcana: did you know, for example, that Jell-O was invented in 1897 by one Pearle Wait, who later sold the formula to an enterprising neighbor for a mere $450? That over 400 million packages of Jell-0 are sold each year? That when hooked to an electroencephalograph, Jell-O emits waves that are quite similar to those of the human brain? (This last fact, of course, probably speaks less of Jell-O's intelligence than our own lack of the same.)

But enough digression - back to the juxtaposition. Running alongside this fascinating instant dessert trivia was an article about beloved Jell-O shill Bill Cosby; the woman who tried to extort him by claiming that she was the product of an extramarital pudding pop between the cuddly comedian and her mom has been convicted of "extortion, conspiracy, and crossing state lines to commit a crime." While the verdict does not completely restore Cosby's wholesome image - he did, after all, admit that he had sex with the woman's mother - the expiation that winning a court case affords one these days is remarkably absolute. The defendent was found guilty, so that makes Cosby not guilty...

This second article didn't mention the Jell-O connection, but of course the conclusion is impossible not to make: once again, Cosby is a suitable spokesperson for the "basic values" that Jell-O has come to represent through its hundred-year history.

To make the Examiner's devotion to product placement even more complete, the third news item featured on the page in question was a large photo taken at the Tokyo Auction House, where someone from China paid $21,000 for a pair of old Levi's. To the Examiner's credit, however, it must be said that this page was not comprised solely of editorial focusing on the most compelling products and entertainment personalities of our day. There was also a regular old-fashioned advertisement from Saks Fifth Avenue, which apparently did not have the foresight to open a museum or the persuasive ability to convince Asian yankophiles that its products were the supreme embodiment of American style.

-- G. Beato

current   |  archives   |  about   |   |  elsewhere