Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post-Post-Modern Pop (2 of 5): The Blue Raspberry Dilemma

This blog post is the second in a series of five on weird time wasting post-Post-modern dilemma's.  We pick up with Blue Raspberries.  What's the deal with them, huh?

If you're in the same generation as me (give or take one) you're probably familiar with the Artificial Flavor Equation Table (or AFET as only the coolest refer to it).  It is as follows:

purple = grape
green = green apple
red = cherry, strawberry, fruit punch, or water melon
yellow =  banana or pineapple

One thing all of these have in common is that the actual fruit preceded the artificial flavor.  That is, each fruit had an artificial flavor created based on it.  There is one exception, though, a rogue flavor: Blue Raspberry.  Give yourself a moment while your mind is totally being blown. 

There is fruit called grape.  They grow in bunches and exist in various colors and sizes.  When you see a gallon of "purple drink" at the grocery store, you know that means "grape".  You could say that purple, then, is a symbol for the real life grape.  This is generally the way things go: first comes the original, then comes its symbol.  What makes blue raspberry so wacky is that the symbol "blue" for blue raspberry popped up without an actual blue raspberry.  

Consider another example of the symbol cropping up without an original attached.  You're probably familiar with those plucky pals Phoebe, Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, and Joey of the sitcom Friends.  In a certain episode Rachel gives birth to a baby girl.  Joey is holding her and inspired by the babies cuteness he exclaimes, "She looks so real!"  Everyone looks at Joey perplexed.  Joey responds to everyone's glare by saying "Well,you know what I mean".

  The strange thing is that we do know what he means, or at least how he feels.  Maybe Joey was thinking of the Gerber baby, a baby doll, the movie Look Who's Talking, the baby from the e*trade commercial, ad infinitum.  Regardless, Joey was thinking of the concept of a baby, or the symbol for baby, rather than Rachel's actual infant.

Joey mixed up real life with the representation of it in a very obvious way (and we do the same thing all the time with blue raspberry).  But how often does it happen to us in a more subtle way?  When I look back on most everything in my life, the mundane and the monumental, I've seen happen before in movies, advertisements, tv shows, music, and so on.  My life has generally been represented to me before the original has played itself out.  My wife tells me that the way I look and act reminds her of Michael Sera.  I can't tell if its coincidence or if I subconsciously mimic him. 

In a world that is more than full of symbols and representations, it feels like it's becoming impossible to tell which comes before which and which is real and which isn't.  To oversimplify things: it feels like there's a camera taping me watching a show about me watching TV.  If that were the case, what would be my life and what would be the show?

Next: (3 of 5) The Brangelina Dillema


  1. Disclaimer: I do realize that there really is a blue raspberry. However, since its more commonly called the Whitebark Raspberry, is actually purple, and nobody much knows about it (and to conveniently support my argument) I didn't mention it.

  2. Synchronicity: Amanda had a blue raspberry lolly pop yesterday, in her mouth, lips and teeth all "death" like... (MIND BLOWN)