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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Red, White and Green

As the primaries are in full swing and the fates of many, indeed the whole nation as some of these pundits keep insisting, are on the line, this Super Tuesday's got me thinking: if cilantro were a presidential candidate, which one would it be.

To review, some things I think about cilantro, and why I hate it:

It's the skunk of the earth, it's everywhere, it's completely overwhelming, it makes me uncomfortable in restaurants and people love it but I don't (I feel ostracized).

1) Skunk of the earth: This is a tough one. Distinguishing between many politicians and general skunk of the earthiness is no easy feat, but for me, the skunkiest of them all is Mike Huckabee -- pretty much everything he has to say leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

2) It's everywhere: Easy one. John McCain. Everywhere. The Times reports today that his media coverage is killing the competition (quantity, not necessarily quality (although, as a digression, this whole liberal slant of the media thing is total bullshit)), including the two democratic contenders, Obama and Clinton, or as I would have it Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama Obama and Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton.

3) Completely overwhelming: Another easy one: Alan Keyes. But, if we're limiting the list to candidates who have a shot in hell of their party's nomination, gotta go with Huckabee again on this one. While Obama may overplay the message of hope, or what I like to think of as the audacity of the audacity of hope, Huckabee insists on actually hailing from Hope, Arkansas -- it's just too literal for me. Ease up dude.

4) It makes me uncomfortable in restaurants: Look, my most effective defense in avoiding my discomfort when having to avoid certain kinds of restaurants, dishes or make a special point to have the server check with the kitchen (and very often then back with wrong information) would be to somehow decrease the amount of cilantro that's around. Now this leads me to the immigration issue. We all know cilantro's proliferation is, if nothing else, but one byproduct of unchecked and uncontrolled immigration, it being largely found in Indian, Latin American and various Asian cuisines.* It is therefore Barack Obama who would make me most uncomfortable in restaurants, intentionally or inadvertently further increasing cilantro's presence in restaurants across the country through his lax immigration policies and cosmopolitan upbringing. But, then again, to paraphrase Voltaire, I disagree passionately with your cilantro herb usage and hence assault on my palate, but I'll fight til the death your right to, you know, cook the food you want to eat in a country you want to eat it in.

5) People love it and I don't: McCain. He's gonna win the primary, heard it hear first** Lot's of folks like him because, to quote some lady from a swing state on the times audio commentary today, he's a centrist. A lot of people think cilantro is just sort of a fresh, pleasant, citrusy, summery herb. But these people are wrong. Like cilantro, McCain's danger is in seeming so neutral, so friendly, like such a good guy that's going to unite the country and personify the inner would-be veteran in all of us. Not so. Not so.

In the end, the 1-2 punch of McCain's everywhere-ness and counter intuitive popularity I think make it (excuse me, him) most like cilantro. If cilantro went up in a race against my favorite candidates (I'll call Hillary tarragon [divisive, great in small doses, serious] and Obama Thai basil [worldly in an approachable way, fresh, full of hope***) he'd have a shot in hell of winning (unlike Huckabee, who I might like less but who is less of a threat -- I'd rather eat cilantro than hot cow dung, but hot cow dung doesn't present problems when I go to eat out or to a friend's dinner party since they don't like hot cow dung either) and I really just don't have the time to write another hate blog.

Go vote!

*This is a joke used for purely rhetorical purposes. I support melting pots and salad bowls and immigration and all that.
**Also a joke.
***Also a joke.


mg said...

If cilantro were a presidential candidate, it would most certainly be Senator Hillary Clinton, Democrat of New York. For those of us who enjoy this divine plant, cilantro represents a refinement and sophistication present only in the former First Lady and future President. Cilantro, being the classy and understated plant that it is, would also wear lovely (and, of course, always tasteful) pantsuits. The junior Senator from New York wears lovely pantsuits. Coincidence? I think not.

Erin Hollingsworth said...

Cilantro in a pantsuit? What are you a nihilist?

mg said...

Possibly, EH. Continuing with this theme of "if cilantro were an X, which X would it be?", consider this question. If Cilantro were a rock star, what rock star would it be? I say Billy Joel--a divisive figure. Some love him, others hate him. Very few are neutral.

Erin Hollingsworth said...

Two words: Rufus Wainwright. Let me know if this requires further explanation.

mg said...

Rufus Wainwright is just as likely to wear a pantsuit as Hillary (see what I wrote here: And, as we've established, Hillary equals cilantro. Thus, RW equals cilantro.

Erin Hollingsworth said...

If h wears p and r wears p and h=c, then r=c? I think this is not so.

Rufus Wainwright for reasons I cannot understand is everywhere and lots of people seem to like him; I, however, find his voice incredibly grating and terribly unpleasant to listen to. In other words, I hate Rufus Wainwright's voice (so perhaps it's his voice that is cilantro; I have no feelings towards the man, the myth, the legend himself, one way or the other).