(I just) can’t stop (it)

From the May 21st New Yorker, this Harry Bliss cartoon:


(#1) “Get those things away from me–I can’t stop eating them.”

A translation of a scene (of snack-food addiction, in the universe of tv commercials) to a parallel metaphorical world (of rampaging Godzillas, in the universe of monster movies).

Some notes about such translations between worlds; about snack-food addiction in tv commercials; about people-eating in Japanese monster movies; and about some “can’t stop” music.

From one world to another. The cartoon is based on a familiar scene, two friends having some snacks from a bowl (think: potato chips or Doritos), one noting that they just can’t stop eating the snacks. This scene is realized in the cartoon as two cartoon-memic Japanese movie monsters devouring terrified people, one noting that they just can’t stop eating the people. The cartoon translates the first into the second by identifying elements of the two worlds — setting, participants, activities, and so on. The speaker on the right is just someone chomping on snacks with a friend, but is also Godzilla #2, in the midst of a shared frenzy of people-eating.

All this is on a small scale in #1. Larger-scale translations are familiar from stagings of plays and operas in which the elements of an original are translated into other social settings, times, and places. Shakespeare’s plays are often treated this way. Example: the 2017 Delacorte Stage production of Julius Caesar. As reviewed in the NYT by Jesse Green on 6/9/17, in “Can [REDACTED] Survive in Caesar’s Palace?’:

Hang on to your comb-over because the theatrical [REDACTED] storm is now approaching gale force.

Hartford Stage’s recent revival of George Bernard Shaw’s “Heartbreak House” dressed that play’s pathetic bully character in a bright yellow wig. Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” imagined [REDACTED]’s presiding over a near-term dystopia of immigrant concentration camps. Opening soon is a shrewdly timed adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984”; Michael Moore arrives later this summer blowing Broadway-size spitballs at the White House.

Must I also mention “Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal,” a satire of [REDACTED] performed by a company of clowns? I must.

But the loudest alarm in this cacophony of cautionary [REDACTED] tales is the one now sounding from the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, where the Public Theater’s wild production of “Julius Caesar” has been in previews since May 23. (It opens officially on Monday.) Its depiction of a petulant, blondish Caesar in a blue suit, complete with gold bathtub and a pouty Slavic wife, takes onstage [REDACTED]-trolling to a startling new level.

(#2) Gregg Henry as the title character in “Julius Caesar” and Tina Benko as his wife, Calpurnia, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Naturally, some right-wing commenters are revving up their outrage over what they assume is an incitement to violence against the president. A recent Breitbart article about the show was headlined “‘[REDACTED]’ Stabbed to Death in Central Park Performance of ‘Julius Caesar’.” Uh, spoiler alert?

Even a cursory reading of the play, the kind that many American teenagers give it in high school, is enough to show that it does not advocate assassination. Shakespeare portrays the killing of Caesar by seven of his fellow senators as an unmitigated disaster for Rome, no matter how patriotic the intentions.

The Delacorte production, vividly staged by the Public’s artistic director, Oskar Eustis, bears the same message and, for good measure, comes with careful usage instructions. “Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic methods,” Mr. Eustis recently explained in a statement, “pay a terrible price and destroy their republic.”

On a small scale, such translations are commonplace in cartoons, where part of the humor comes from the absurdity of the identifications. Fearsome monsters in comfy chairs are reflexively crunching up people because their bodies are irresistibly tasty.

Snack-food addictions. In the first world, we have consumers at the mercy of wily food manufacturers and their ad agencies. Two relevant monuments of the snack-food industry, both from Frito-Lay: Lay’s Potato Chips and Nacho Cheese Doritos.

From Wikipedia:

(#3)

Lay’s is the name of a brand for a number of potato chip varieties, as well as the name of the company that founded the chip brand in the U.S. in 1932.

… In 1961, the Frito Company founded by Derrick Lothert and Lay’s merged to form Frito-Lay Inc., a snack food giant with combined sales of over $127 million annually, the largest of any manufacturer. Shortly thereafter, Lays introduced its best-known slogan “betcha can’t eat just one.” Sales of the chips became international, with marketing assisted by a number of celebrity endorsers.

Two ads: a Bert Lahr ad from the 1960s, which you can view here; and a more recent man and dog ad, which you can view here.

And from Wikipedia:

(#4)

Doritos is an American brand of flavored tortilla chips produced since 1964 by Frito-Lay, a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo. The original Doritos flavor is Nacho Cheese, though other flavors have since debuted for the company. Doritos originated in a restaurant [the Casa de Fritos (now Rancho Del Zocalo)] at Disneyland.

Doritos has also gained notoriety for its marketing campaigns, including many ads aired during the Super Bowl.

… The plain chips are made of ground corn (maize), vegetable oil, and salt. … Nacho Cheese Doritos ingredients (U.S.), in order of percent of product: whole corn, vegetable oil (corn, soybean, and/or sunflower oil), salt, cheddar cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), maltodextrin, whey, monosodium glutamate, buttermilk solids, romano cheese (part skim cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), whey protein concentrate, onion powder, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn flour, disodium phosphate, lactose, natural and artificial flavor, dextrose, tomato powder, spices, lactic acid, artificial color (including Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40), citric acid, sugar, garlic powder, red and green bell pepper powder, sodium caseinate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, nonfat milk solids, whey protein isolate, corn syrup solids.

In 1996, The Onion, a satirical newspaper and website, featured an article with the headline “Doritos Celebrates One Millionth Ingredient”, lampooning Frito-Lay for the sheer number of ingredients found in Doritos

And why can’t you stop eating them? Here’s the Daily Mail‘s (UK) idea from 10/2/13 :

(#5)

So they truly are irresistible! The science behind why you just can’t stop eating nacho cheese Doritos

– Chemicals, cheese, and colors all add to the magic of Doritos science

– Frito-Lay made $5 billion on Doritos in 2010

– When the developer of the chip died in 2011, his family even tossed the chips in his grave

Science has cracked the code of the nacho cheese Dorito’s ability to keep us coming back for more.

Ingredients, fat ratio, texture, and even the brightly colored bags all combine to make Doritos one of the most popular snack chip in existence.

People-eating monsters. In the second world, we’ve got Godzilla and his companion and antagonist movie monsters. Godzilla mostly consumes raw energy and great chunks of the urban landscape in the cities of the world (mostly Tokyo): trains, cars, buildings. and so on. The monster Zedus, however, devours a bunch of villagers in Gamera the Brave (2006). And Godzilla himself is sometimes portrayed as having a taste for human flesh, as in this Bizarro from 2010:


(#6) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

People viewed as calorie sources.

Music for the occasion. Just two selections from the big “can’t stop” juke box: from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the English Beat.


(#6) “Can’t stop, addicted to the shindig”

“Can’t Stop” is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers from their 2002 album, By the Way. It is the third single released from the album. (Wikipedia link)

You can watch the video here.


(#7)

Just Can’t Stop Itis the debut album by UK 2 tone band The Beat. The album was released in 1980 via Go Feet Records in the UK. It was released the same year in the US on Sire Records under the band name “The English Beat”. (Wikipedia link)

Just can’t stop it. Must eat more…

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