Racist Coca-Cola Super Bowl Advertisement Attacks Real Americans

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Super Bowl commercials. One of the last remaining expressions of pure-bred, all-American Capitalist values we have left. Through which we celebrate the ultimate in American brands, including Doritos, GoDaddy.com, and Budweiser, now headquartered in the most American of European countries, Belgium. But this year, the American public was let down, and howls of justified rage have been echoing across the Internet. Coca-Cola has deceived us all.

Coca-Cola, the official soft drink of the Confederacy

The inventor, John Pemberton, developed the original recipe and used it as a pain-killer to treat a saber-wound he sustained fighting for the South in 1865. Since its humble beginnings, Coke has pulled itself up by the bootsraps to play a key role in helping America take the lead in the diabetes race. In India, Coke helped farmers use all the ground water in Kerala. Same goes for Mexico. Coke also helped the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry by generously donating $1 million, while remarkably asking for nothing in return. Coke has always upheld the American dream of money uber allies; the top executives in Germany during WWII were Nazis. And the legendary American company also supported Reagan’s critical policies in South Africa by offering housing to its black employees in exchange for labor.

Coca-Cola has always protected the rights of real Americans. Unfortunately, minorities within the company complained about being paid less so much that the Eastern liberal elite lawyers made Coke pay $192.5 million to settle a class action racial discrimination suit in 2000. Bottling plants in Guatemala and Colombia have hired mercenaries to assassinate union leaders, taking out a potentially dangerous enemy to the USA. More recently, Coke has stood firm by America’s long-term ally, Russia. Putin signed some common-sense legislation that protects kids from being converted to the homosex. Americans are outraged to see that even the Russian president is more American than our own Kenyan-Socialist-Muslim. Coke has stood firm, sponsoring the Sochi Olympics and reassuring the most American of Russian presidents.

Coke is America. Through an advertising campaign in the ‘30s, the brand even invented Santa Claus as we know him today- an old white man in a red suit. We don’t know what went suddenly wrong, but we do know that Coke has turned its back on America. During Super Bowl 48, it aired the following commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktPm9wDmVSE

As you can see, the ad features a song that might even be the national anthem, although we can’t be sure, given that it’s sung in foreign languages. Alien tongues and the ugly spawn of illegals who hate our country so much they don’t even know that the national anthem is sung in American English! Coke has betrayed its long history of excellence by creating such a false, yet emotionally-compelling, advertisement. It is sneakily convincing our children, who just want to drink their non-nutritious chemical toilet-bowl cleaner in peace, that foreigners can be American!

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The uproar over the advertisement has brought out the best of Americans, as the patriots stand up against this tide of inclusivity. Michele Bachman had this to say: “if English was good enough for Jesus when he wrote the bible, it should be good enough for Coke.” Sarah Palin and Phil Robertson loquaciously stated: “#speakAmerican.” America has always been occupied by good, white Americans, and the Coke ad goes directly against our richly uniform heritage, from which we draw strength. Most upsetting was that one of the singers in the commercial actually spoke an Indian language. Who the hell knows where they came from, but they’re probably stealing our jobs. And our land.

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So you’re thinking about joining the Peace Corps

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Gao×wri   (noun)

Definition of gaowri

1: a foreigner, especially a white person

 2: a person who appears to be from Europe

 plural — guu×wur

Have you ever felt out of place? Have you ever felt out of place for 27 months in a row? This is, perhaps, the most salient, ever-present fact of existence for Peace Corps Volunteers. We are foreigners. We are unusual. We are the ones everybody in town vaguely knows about. We are the weirdos. Do you remember that person in high school who would walk around barefoot and rub mud in their hair? That’s us.

An anachronism is “a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists.” Anatopism is to space what anachronism is to time. The theater girl who rubbed mud on herself was an anatopism. That ‘jelly donut’ rock, which the Mars rover recently discovered, is an anatopism. In the Peace Corps, you’ll be one too. And, thanks to the internet, you’ll never forget it.

On my roof today, while reading about an ultra-high-speed magnetic rail project in California, I got a strong whiff of poison from a nearby burning pile of plastic. I read about cars that drive themselves in a place where people laugh at you when you wear a helmet. Ideas are different. Words are untranslate-able.

Of course, some people like standing out. Everybody enjoys it once in a while. Why do you think Dennis Rodman’s spending so much time in North Korea? You think he really gets along with the newest psychopathic dictator of DPRK? He wants attention.

Maybe the stares make you feel important. Maybe the experience imbues your day-to-day with more meaning, as you exist in opposition to the masses, to the hoi polloi. But nobody likes it all the time.

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And people stare. Children yell, “gaowri, gaowri, gaowri!” Maybe they throw rocks. Or try out a foreign language they may know. Or talk about you right in front of you, assuming you won’t understand. They may hear you’re from America and ask if you know their uncle who lives in Germany. Why do they do it? It’s because you look different. People will be slow to trust you. Appearance is everything, and yours will get you all sorts of attention and special treatment.

Me & neighbor girl

Her: “Mimoun, you’re looking very white”

Me: “I was in meetings all week so I never saw the sun”

Her: “I’ll tell all the girls in town who want to marry to come here; they love white guys like you”

Religion is probably going to be another separator.

1. People will bring it up inappropriately: I went to a school a few days ago hoping to gather students for a job fair. The Director told me I had no choice but to convert to Islam.

2. People will not be respectful of your own beliefs (or what they think are your beliefs): A man at the beach laughed in my face after telling me Christians must be stupid. How could Jesus possibly be the son of God?

3. People will use strange logic to prove you wrong: Last week a co-worker told me that Christians are wrong (and of course, everybody from America is Christian), because, in the Quran, Mary was told to eat some dates and drink from a spring in order to become pregnant. But dates only come in at the end of the year, so how could Jesus possibly be born on December 25th?

4. And everything about daily life will be positively saturated with the dominant religion: Today, before eating lunch at somebody’s house, we all watched the King do his prayers on television.

Me & person I’m meeting for the first time

Him: “You should convert to Islam”

Me: “Maybe some day”

Him: “In order to learn about the religion, you must have operation on your penis”

Me: “I don’t want to”

Humans are naturally social animals. We have evolved to live in groups: tight-knit tribes of people who hold similar beliefs, tell the same stories, and have the same narrative about our place in the universe. Humans were not built to be Peace Corps volunteers.

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“But what about ex-pats,” you may say, “don’t they always have a great time?” There is a difference between ex-pats and Peace Corps Volunteers. Ex-pats usually have money. They can manage to buy their way out of living like a normal citizen of their adopted country. PCVs, on the other hand, receive the average income. In places where unemployment statistics aren’t even kept, this isn’t a lot of ‘fluus,’ as we call it. So, not only is everybody constantly trying to rip you off, you actually have very little to spend.

Your personhood will be flattened and simplified. Upon meeting somebody, I am entirely reduced to his or her notions of the archetypical foreigner. Who knows how those archetypes were formed. I met a girl who learned English almost exclusively by watching youtube clips of Maury. In my own case, generally speaking, it seems that I am now Christian, rich, I eat a lot of pork, I have tons of casual sex, I drink a lot, I enjoy guns, I want to start wars in other countries, and I watch the television show WWE.

Me & another guest at somebody’s wedding

Him: “The Jews!”

Me: “What?”

Him: “The US Congress is full of Jews, I know”

Me: “Well, that’s not really the truth, nor objective”

Him: “You’re not Jewish right? You’re a real American?”

 Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 1.45.15 PM            Of course, many American volunteers don’t fit the mold. If you’re black, or of Asian ancestry, or Muslim, or Latin-American, or really short, or dark-haired, they’ll ask you why the Peace Corps didn’t send them a ‘true American’. I went to visit my Asian-American friend in a nearby town. I ran into his neighbor at the door, who assured me that I had no idea what I was talking about- the guy must be Chinese and love Jackie Chan. If you’re black, people might try to buy you, thinking you’re a prostitute. If you look Asian, people will pull their eyelids into slits and show you their kung-fu moves. Even if you look like them, you’ll get it: they’ll ask why you can’t speak the language. No matter what color or creed you are, you will constantly, always feel like the anatopism that you are.

*But that’s kind of the point*

The staring won’t just make you feel important: you will BE important. You might be the only foreign person they’ve ever met. Everything you say or do directly affects their picture of “the American.”

The Peace Corps has three major goals. Only one of them is to actually do ‘work’. The second is to “help promote a better understanding of Americans.” In the States, we enjoy a pluralistic society with unbelievable diversity. But everybody in your Peace Corps town will think that all Americans are just like you.

So the pressure is on! Don’t screw up, or they will hate us all! You are responsible for representing the stars and stripes. It is exhausting. But you can, if you work really hard at it, leave one hell of a good impression.

Self and Time, by MM

I work at a youth center in the middle of a rapidly urbanizing small town in Eastern Morocco. One of the civic projects I started here is an environmental club. On Friday, we were cleaning up the grounds of the youth center, full of fallen trees, decades-old plastic, abandoned liquor bottles, shoes, and egg cartons. We unearthed a teapot, an umbrella, a toilet, and a 12-foot tall slide. Made out of steel and heavily rusted, the old equipment lay on its side, forlorn between small bushes and a pile of trash. I pointed it out to my friend Mohamed Jifjaf, who said he remembered when it was part of a playground, some twenty years earlier. He clearly recalled using it as a child. I asked him how do you say ‘slide’ in Moroccan Arabic. But he didn’t remember.

It should be noted that this was the first slide I have seen during the 22 months I’ve lived in this country. They are uncommon. So you can imagine the excitement he must have felt as a child, and you can picture the importance of that playground, in a place with few parks and no diversions outside of dirt-soccer.  This thing played a significant role in his young life. Now it is rusted and its name is lost.

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 Although its basic skeleton remains, the slide is radically different from what it used to be. Can we say the same of Mo Jifjaf? It is a question I’ve been thinking about for the last few years.

An article recently came out in the online science magazine Nautilus titled “Why we procrastinate”. Building off the philosophical work of Derek Parfit, the piece explored recent neuroscience discoveries relating to how humans see themselves in the future. Parfit claimed that a child who begins to smoke, while knowing full well that a later version of him will potentially die young of cancer, does so because he considers his future self to be a stranger. Looking in the opposite direction, we’ve already broken our new year’s resolutions because they feel like somebody else’s promises. One of Parfit’s most memorable claims related to this line of inquiry is not mentioned in the article: he doesn’t need to worry about dying at some point in the future because, by the time he gets there, he’ll be somebody else.

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Now for the neuroscience: The medial prefrontal cortex and the rostral anterior cingulated cortex show high levels of activity on brain scans when the subject is thinking about themselves. However, those areas show no activity when the subject thinks about himself or herself in the future, or when they think of a random third person. Other, specific areas in the brain show the same activity, when thinking about your future self and when thinking about another person.

Naturally, psychologists want to figure out ways to strengthen commitment to future selves. After all, it could be a powerful advertising and policy tool. Allianz, an insurance company, is currently showing state employees digitally manipulated pictures of their own aged faces immediately before the employees make decisions concerning pension allocations.

So the current Jifjaf and the childhood Jifjaf consider each other to be strangers. But is it just a trick of the mind? A psychologist’s sleight of hand? Or are they actually different people? Parfit’s answer is yes and no.

How do people persist through time? Put another way, what is a person? Am I, at the age of 24, fundamentally the same person I was as a child? Two competing theories have emerged in recent philosophy, underpinned by emerging neuroscience, quantum physics, and post Einstein-ian notions of time. People may perdure, or they may endure.

When a person perdures, he extends through both space and time in the same manner. Try to conceive of the lifecycle of an oak tree. Spatially, no two parts of the tree can occupy the same area; two separate leaves cannot exist in the exact same space. The trunk cannot be in the same place the roots are. Additionally, the roots are but a portion of the tree, as are the trunk and leaves. When an object perdures, its temporal extension is similar to its spatial properties. Each temporal stage, or instant in time, holds a corresponding portion of the tree that, when united, fill it out in its entirety. One temporal slice might hold the acorn, another might hold the sprout, another the full-grown tree, and another the decomposing matter of the organism. Just as each part of the tree is a portion that, when combined, unite to form the entire physical plant at a given instant, each temporal slice of the tree is merely a portion of the whole. Due to their extension across time, perduring objects are not present in their entirety at any given moment; instead, each moment holds its corresponding temporal slice of the object. Think of the self as thinly-sliced, 4-dimensional deli meat.

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The other theory is the common-sense version (endurance). An object or person’s spatial and temporal aspects differ ontologically. That is, I am me, always. I exist in my entirety now; I am not a mere time-slice of my overall self. As another modern philosopher Velleman says, when something perdures, each temporal slice contains merely a portion of the whole, but for something to endure, it must be “wholly present at a single point in time”.[1] Our basic ideas about people and objects states they are wholly present at the current moment. But, and here’s the kicker– persistence requires an object to be present in multiple moments in time. That is, we’re trying to talk about child Jifjaf and adult Jifjaf. We want them both to be Jifjaf, the whole Jifjaf. But if the entirety of an object is present at a single point in time, with no parts of it missing, then surely its various temporal parts cannot be simultaneously present- as those parts necessarily exist at different moments in time. So endurance is inherently contradictory. Or is it just a philosophical sleight-of-hand?

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I don’t think so. The mind, in general, shows exceptional bias towards the present moment. We always believe that things of great consequence are occurring, a notion that is reinforced daily in the news. We want to create links, to categorize things together. When I remember myself as a child, I elide the two pronouns- my current “I” and my childhood “I”. We don’t possess the grammatical flexibility to make subject distinctions between current self and future self. We want to say I am me, was me, will still be me. We want to conceive of each subject of experience as entirely present at all its particular points in time. But at each of those times, we are merely pieces of a greater whole- some of them smaller, some bigger, some rusted, some uncorroded.

How much do people change over time? Well, they don’t change at all, because they extend through time, rather than move through it. But then again, they radically change, as each momental self has very little linking it to other bits of the self that occupy other past and future time slices. We all strive to connect things, to write narratives onto existence. After all, what makes me think an old abandoned slide and four-dimensional personhood have anything to do with each other?

Who are we? We only have a couple tools to build the notion of ourselves. We have habit, memory, and the urge in our brains to connect past with present with future. But according to the article in Nautilus, we aren’t even that good at doing it. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

It means that friends you’ve lost still exist, as your past time-slices intersected. Time has not lost. You are not rushing towards death, and when you get there, it won’t even be you anymore. At least, that’s what Parfit says. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to explain it to Jifjaf in Oujdiya dialect.


[1] J. David Velleman, So It Goes, Amherst Lecture in Philosophy 11.iv.2006, 4.

Opening of a blog, and a review of the 2008 film Man on Wire, by M. M.

I am supremely jealous of a 64-year-old French man named Philippe Petit. He did something incredible and became famous and well loved. But that’s not why I’m jealous. I’m jealous because he found one, single thing- a dream- and he poured his entire self into it, without reservation. He didn’t hedge his bets- he went all in, literally putting his life on the line. Image

In 1974, on the eve of his 25th birthday, Philippe Petit committed “the artistic crime of the century.” Carrying a 50-pound, 26-foot balancing pole, he walked from one of the newly completed World Trade Towers to the other. At 1,368 feet, he looked down to the ground, and he laughed. He jumped, he lay down, he spoke to a seagull, and he kneeled, saluting the clouds. He called it “the coup.”

Philippe is and was a human meteor; he is one of Kerouac’s infamous “mad ones.” Philippe is not a stuntman, nor a circus performer, nor simply an artist. He is a monomaniacal dreamer. And in August ‘74 he was dead-smack in the middle of his 20s. He made the choice to be great- to be large, bigger even than the tallest buildings in the world. As the star of their own play, people want to be significant. The questions we struggle with during this decade are broad and frightening to confront. “What do I want?” “Can I capture greatness?” “What am I willing to do, in order to grow?” Philippe’s answer is clear:

Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge – and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.

To hear him tell it, the story of Philippe’s obsession with the towers was almost comical in its simplicity. His decision, pursuit, and conquest were straightforward. At 17, he went to the dentist with a toothache. In a magazine, he saw an artist’s depiction of the future towers-to-be. With a pen, he drew a line at the top, from one to the other. Enthralled by this image, he skipped the appointment, ripped out the picture, hopped on his unicycle, and peddled home. Then he practiced and planned for six years. He walked in the air above Notre Dame. He went to New York and spied on the towers, pretending to interview workers on the top for a French magazine. He enlisted accomplices. Then he and a group of helpers broke in, climbed the stairs to the top, and at night they strung a cable across the chasm using a bow and arrow and some fishing line. At 7:15 AM on August 7th, he stepped off the steel beam and onto the wire, where he stayed for 45 minutes.

It seems there are three kinds of people. The first kind trudge along, avoiding choices, freedom, risk. They start digging their own graves at age 20. Thoreau called these “lives of quiet desperation.” The second kind of people takes a buckshot approach. Spraying shots everywhere, hoping to knock a few options out of the sky, they count on them leading someplace interesting. The third kind is Philippe.

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Walking on a wire requires a meditative, absolute focus. You must exist solely in the moment, in the act of balancing. When he left the dentist’s office, Philippe knew that he had captured and now possessed his dream. He brought his focus to the coup. And he did it. He chose to do something that was impossible, and he did it.

By choosing to attempt something beyond the realm of imagination, Philippe became bigger than any person has a right to be. His passion and hope for the coup consumed those around him. He drew in others, who risked imprisonment for helping him. His joyful disregard of the rules, of the laws of people and the laws of physics had a magnetic effect on others. When they watched Philippe dancing in the air, they saw the most wild, willful, and exuberant parts of themselves. But when he saluted, the conquest was his alone.

He stepped off the rope and shed his friends. The others’ role in his life had been played, and they knew it. They had attached themselves to Philippe’s desire. Once his passion was realized, they each went home, owning a small piece of it. But they had no relationship to the new Philippe. They had been attached to his obsession, but not to his enduring self. Philippe was lucky, in a way. For a time, he had a single dream. He was undistracted and unencumbered, as those around him asked for nothing in return but to see him victorious. He became his own desire, and once it was fulfilled, he stepped back onto the roof a new man, baptized in the sky.

What happened afterwards? The film Man On Wire gives no hints as to the next 30 years of Philippe’s life. But he has done other walks—incredible feats of concentration and physical skill. Nor does he say why he tried the coup in the first place. He definitely wanted to break some rules. And he enjoyed the resulting fame, dropping his girlfriend and falling into the arms of the nearest woman for days on end. He says that, when he sees three oranges, he juggles. When he sees two towers, he walks. He did it just to do it. He turned into a dream of himself, into an idea, a consuming urge. Only ideas can be eternal. And, in his moment of consummation, so did he.

Image Philippe has lived every day of his life “on the edge of life.” When he saluted the clouds, he conquered the biggest thing mankind could offer. At the same time, he conquered the Earth and the sky. Was he mocking the universe? Or was he just playing like an exuberant child who finally got what he had wished for? Do I want to be like Philippe? I don’t want to be one of the people on the ground, looking up. I don’t want to be one of his friends, stringing the cable for him. But I do want to be that perfect achievement of an absolute, consuming desire. But first I need to find my dream. I’m currently looking for it in Eastern Morocco. Perhaps writing for this blog will help me to find it.