Friday, January 7, 2011

Stereotypes, Sauce & Sassy Jewelry

I love grocery shopping, & I really love pasta. How serendipitous, then, that the pasta sauce coupons I won  from Black Pearls & Bitch Boots they arrived on grocery day. Coupons in hand, I headed to my local store with my trust shopping list (written by my mom because I'm still 15 for the time being) & eventually made my way to the pasta sauce aisle, in all its tomatoey glory. I should mention that I only recently began to like tomatoes. Or pasta sauce.

ANYWAY. I once had a boss who looked a great deal like Paul Newman, but he didn't like being told this. I'm not sure why, though, because frankly, Paul Newman was a fairly attractive dude, even in his later years. Now, though, PNew is dead & all commemorated in illustrative form on salad dressing packets & tomato sauce jars.

This one caught my eye first. Paul looks normal, sure, or as normal as a smiley cartoon dead guy can look while staring out at you from a glass jar of sauce. Mostly, I was confused by the name of this particular Newman's Own product. Sockarooni? This sounds like something that a big, overenthusiastic, sweaty guy yells at his kids' soccer matches: "GO GET 'IM, TYLER! GOALLLL! SOCKKKKEROONI!" But apparently it's just "peppers, spices, & the whole shebang," or so say the folks at Newman's Own.

And then I noticed that some of the other sauces, while less amusingly named, feature Paul looking quite dapper in a variety of "ethnic" (is that racist?) hats. And actually, my question is this: Is that racist? Or xenophobic? Or awkward? Or any of those things? I've never met a joyful, pasta-eating Russian in an ushanka, nor a smiley, sauce-swilling Frenchman with a pencil mustache & a wine-colored  beret. But that's just me. Admittedly, I probably don't know international pasta consumers as well as the folks at Newman's Own do.

But the most bizarre of all, I think, is also the least explicable. Because really, I get why Newman's Own thought the Russian Paul should be in a furry cap & Paul-the-Frenchman should be all, well, Frenchy-looking, even if it's mildly offensive. But what, pray tell, is the illustrative logic behind the labeling on their Tomato & Basil Bombolina sauce?
 

Are you unsure? Good, because I'm not sure, either. From what I can tell, those are the bejweled hands of an unidentified woman holding Paul Newman's disembodied head over a vegetable garden. I'm still not sure how this relates to tomatoes, basil, pasta, sauce, or any combination thereof. Are Italians famous for toting happy heads around in their well-manicured hands? Is this a mobster reference with a play on pasta sauce? Is there a "Godfather" joke in here someplace?

I'm going to leave you to ponder that. But I'm also going to leave you to ponder this baffling piece or "artwork" (I use that term loosely) spotted at my local Panera. Listen, I'm as Jewish as the next bagel-eating Jewish gal, but this necklace & earrings set is too much even for me.

...I have so many questions.

27 comments:

Mandy said...

oh my god. seriously? i never noticed this. it's like when paul died, the creative directors decided to go batshit and have fun with their labels while still keeping his legend in tact.

"how can we photoshop paul today?"

"if we can't turn him into a racial stereotype, we'll just label it sockarooni and nobody will know. it's gonna be so fun!"

poor paul. but he does look good in a beret.

Nora_L said...

Sometimes the Panera artwork IS weird. I totally agree.
And I've never noticed the odd pasta sauce bottles that Paul Newman has, but I'll start noticing now!

rachelsmiles said...

I laughed out loud. I have never noticed how ridiculous the cartoons are. I'm going to pay more attention in the future. Also when I read Sockarooni, for some reason my brain translated that to: Snookeroni as in pasta sauce for Snooki. Yeah. It's Friday.

San said...

hahahaha.... you know I think subconsciously I might have wondered about the pasta sauce pictures before, but nobody ever laid it down for me like you just did. I am confused and mildly disturbed to say the least ;)

suki said...

I never noticed that about his pasta sauce, but I also don't buy it often. We do buy Newman's cat food. :P I'll have to go look at the label to see what craziness was applied to that label, if any.

Melissa said...

The best part of this post is you standing in the grocery store, taking individual mug shots of pasta jars. Lunatic.

Owen said...

I like his lemonade. Just thought I'd share that

Brittney said...

First, we need to talk about this thing with the not liking of the coffee and the just-now-liking of sauce. But mostly? HOW DID I JUST NOTICE PNEW'S SWEET MOOOOSTACHE?!

Home Sweet Sarah said...

Oh my. Maybe she wants to plant a big one on him!

Arielle said...

Someone needs to buy me that bagel jewelry set for my next birthday. Or..I guess I could just...buy a few bagels. I'll wear them with my SUPERJEW t-shirt.

Alicewonderland0 said...

i was SO sure you were going to tell us that bagel pic was a picture of you from your childhood. ALAS.

Katie said...

Also, for that matter...why do the pasta sauces have "Industrial Strength" on the sides of the bottles? I'm kind of weirded out by the idea of industrial strength pasta sauce.

shoegal101 said...

Vodka sauce rocks...and that picture is scary. So bagels are considered "art" now? Hmmmm...maybe in Ohio ;)

Kristin & Megan said...

OMG, how have I never noticed what was on those labels? And I've bought the shiz. So funny!

emmysuh said...

I have seen those before -- it's not so much xenophobic or racist as culturally insensitive. Just like a white man to be like, LOOK HOW AMUSING! I'm wearing a stereotypical idea of one culture's garb! HAHA! And! This sauce! It comes FROM THAT COUNTRY. GET IT?! BUY IT!

Chaviva E. said...

This had me rolling ... I always wondered about those sauce jars, lol.

Christopher said...

That's a bit creepy.

Roseanna said...

Ha! Oh dear, well at least they're trying to be different in the artwork on pasta sauce labels... Must try and look on the positive side. Although it is rather insensitive. Does the sauce taste good though?

Hermia said...

I need all those sauces!

skinny_dip said...

Kate, you've just tapped into my worst nightmare: that someday I'll become famous enough to have my face on a pasta jar label & after my death people will dress up my cartoon likeness with culturally insensitive head gear.

The "Vodka Sauce" cracks me up...I'm pretty sure Penne alla Vodka ISN'T RUSSIAN. And why have they given PNew creepy Hitler-esque mustaches for two of the sauces but not for Sockarooni?! THOROUGHLY CONFUSED.

Sam Lehman said...

Kate, Paul Newman is an ACTOR, so it's not racist when he does ANYTHING. Just look at Al Jolson!

theTsaritsa said...

I love Socakrooni!! Mmm. I wouldn't consider the labels xenophobic (the jars aren't afraid of other cultures) and not racist either, but definitely cheesey. I don't understand the Tomato Basil jar at all.

haha, as for the bagel art, it looks like the necklace may have been decorated with glitter at school, and then when she got home her mom took a picture and told her to pretend those bagel slices were earrings. Just an idea!

Rahul said...

Let's all be grateful that there isn't a curry spaghettis sauce or tandoori or something. Seeing Paul Newman with a turban on would probably break the space time continuum and implode the internet.

mandy said...

Wow. Those Newmans pasta jars do raise some questions. Obviously I need to pay better attetion in the grocery store aisle. Very interesting.

Kelly said...

This post reminded me of why I love reading your blog. I'm glad you like the sauce. We make it :)

Stefanie said...

Wow! You have a good eye! I have never seen those. I need to pay more attention during my grocery runs. ;)

graceelena said...

I read all of the comments because I thought, surely someone has explained the hands to Kate by now. But nope and I am surprised to see how few people have noticed the Paul Newman jars! I almost always by Paul Newman brand. 100% of the proceeds go to charity and Paul Newman was the most handsome man ever. Ok, the hands. It's bombolina sauce. Think, grandmother or aunt who is always pinching your cheeks. Those are her hands.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Real Time Web Analytics