The real story of “Dijongate” isn’t that conservatives are obsessed with squeeze-bottle condiments that you can not only get at a grocery store (and are served at McDonald’s) but instead the rather, shall we say…elitist way in which they approach the great unwashed masses of America.
The reason that conservatives are pushing this is that they think of “real America” as stuck in some decades-past version of society, where the bread at the store was either white, wheat or Wonder, you got yellow mustard or no mustard, you picked up lettuce and that was what you got, where you bought clothes with American names on them, preferably at a store with the word “Value” in the name. It’s a patronizingly out of touch view of things that ignores not only the reality of people’s lives (“bread” is an entire aisle now!), but also the impact of the free-market global economy the right supposedly so values and adores.
What’s even more bizarre, watching that Media Matters video, is the ways in which they define the customs of people who aren’t monied conservative talking heads. I don’t like ketchup on my burgers, but somehow, the fact that Sean Hannity likes it means that your sandwich must be drowned in Ronald Reagan’s favorite vegetable in order to be a real American. Real people not only like things a certain way, but in a nation of 300 million people, we have all reached an ironclad consensus as to the particular way to top a popular food item, because that’s how we roll (to quote Real Black Person Michael Steele). For some reason, the great bulk of American culinary (that’s fancy-speak for “food”, by the way) life is made up of asinine and arbitrary judgments that Democrats always fall on the wrong side of, such as when Barbara Boxer was nearly killed in the great You Don’t Eat Macaroni And Cheese With A Goddamn Spoon pogrom of aught five.
But perhaps the strangest part of all this is that when Democrats get hit for elitism (Kerry’s cheesesteak, Obama’s mustard), they’re asking for things that the places in question had in stock to sell to customers. I could understand some hearty mockery if Obama had walked up to a Burger King and asked for lasagna; that would just be clueless. But the idea that you have established your elite bonafides by walking up to an otherwise perfectly acceptable place of business and asking for a thing that they sell makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
It also makes going to dinner with these people a potentially legendary exercise in clueless neuroses, with fifteen minutes spent determining whether or not it’s okay to get a mushroom swiss burger without seeming too liberal or elitist or willing to spend 50 cents extra to eat the food that’s on the menu. Laura Ingraham is probably still boycotting her neighborhood Chinese restaurant until they put fried chicken wings and potato chips on the menu, refusing to bow to the Chi-Coms’ insistence that we eat noodles other than spaghetti and sauces that aren’t tomato-based. Bravery in action? The answer must be yes.