[T]he media now seem to think arugula has the same elitist cachet as caviar and truffles. The cover of the latest Newsweek suggests that Sen. Barack Obama has a “Bubba Gap” that lies somewhere between some arugula sprigs and a mug of beer. The cover references an Iowa campaign stop in which Obama asked a group of farmers if they had been to Whole Foods to “see what they charge for arugula,” adding: “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.” Obama’s point was simple — supermarkets are charging more and more for produce, but farmers aren’t seeing a similar increase in the price of their crops. And, yes, arugula is grown in Iowa and is widely available at supermarkets throughout the state.
The arugula remarks quickly morphed, however, into an example of Obama’s supposed “elitism” and evidence of his inability to appeal to “beer track” voters. The Chicago Tribune reported that Obama’s remarks “made it clear that he sometimes forgets he is not in his intellectually and financially affluent section of Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.” Newsweek‘s cover story on Obama’s “Bubba Gap” never actually uses or explains that term but is quick to point out that Sen. John McCain’s aides make “gleeful jokes about Obama” and arugula, and “sometimes order the arugula salad” when at dinner with reporters, “poking fun at” Obama’s comments. Oh, the hilarity.
The idea of arugula as an “elite” food is a concoction of Republican operatives seeking to tar Obama, and it has been accepted by the press and plastered across the media landscape. And “elitist” foods seem to appear on Democratic plates only.
We’ve all learned, thanks to our wonderful national media, that no “regular guy” would ever have arugula on his plate. Thus, this AP article about Obama’s visit today to New York City needs to be corrected ASAP:
Obama began the day at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, a Manhattan firehouse that lost 15 firefighters on 9/11, more than any other in the city…
The president saw the bronze plaques with the names of the companies’ fallen. But he shared a hearty firehouse meal (eggplant parmesan, mesclun salad, a shrimp-and-scallops dish), joked and talked sports.
Mesclun salad? Huh? Look what’s in mesclun salad!
Mesclun (French pronunciation: [mɛsˈklɛ̃]) is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces and endive in equal proportions, but in modern iterations may include an undetermined mix of fresh and available lettuces, spinach, arugula (rocket, or roquette), Swiss chard (God’s Breath), mustard greens (Dijon’s Child), endive, dandelion, frisée,mizuna, mâche (Lamb’s Lettuce), radicchio (Italian Spinach), sorrel, and/or other leafy vegetables.
There’s obviously a mistake here. Maybe the AP should make it clear that arugula can’t be part of a “hearty meal” and that firefighters who rush in to burning skyscrapers are effete liberals who should be mocked for eating a mix of greens associated with what to teapartiers are, after Kenya, the two most anti-American places in the world: France and Hawaii.
Or, maybe the national media–which is chock-full of effete elitists who think “regular guys” are a bunch of rubes–includes a lot of tools who spend their work day dutifully parroting whatever “Republicans-are-salt-of-the-earth-while-Democrats-are-effete-elitists” drivel they hear from conservatives and Republican operatives…followed by a dinner that includes a mesclun salad.