Absolut Pulls Controversial Advertisement

Swedish vodka maker, Absolut has pulled a controversial advertisement that showed a map of the United States and Mexico as they were before the Mexican American War. The advertisement read “In An Absolut World.”

A spokesperson for Absolut said that the ad wasn’t meant to stir up anti-American sentiment.

“In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,” a spokeswoman wrote on Absolut’s Web site.

“Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal,” she wrote.


Absolut vodka pulls ad showing California in Mexico
[Yahoo!] (Thanks, Anne!)

Comments

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  1. JustaConsumer says:

    I still won’t buy it.

  2. Nicholas_schaulsohn says:

    USA! USA! USA!

  3. thewriteguy says:

    “Pulled it”? More like, “allowed it to run its course which was not going to be long anyway, after it drummed up enough publicity for our product.”

  4. laserjobs says:

    Mmmm Tacos

  5. Toof_75_75 says:

    “Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal,” she wrote.

    Right, and the American ad will run with Mexico not even appearing on the map…can’t wait for that ad campaign!

  6. mduser says:

    If anyone who does not want their bottles of Absolut, I would be more than happy to take them off of their hands :-)

  7. Pro-Pain says:

    That ad was both offensive and just plain stupid. Whoever came up with that should be fired.

  8. dronnac says:

    I still wonder how come the budget for this ad was approved? Regardless of the message or non-message, don’t tell me they haven’t see this coming?

    Maybe me I’m wrong and the objective was actually attained…

  9. Juggernaut says:

    Is Canada still on strike?

  10. gqcarrick says:

    @mduser: Me too.

  11. Chairman-Meow says:

    Here, let me try parsing this -

    “In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,” a spokeswoman wrote on Absolut’s Web site.”

    Should read -

    “Some moron in marketing thought this was a brilliant idea in order to pander to a select market group. This person forgot to understand the law of unintended consequences and is now looking at new & exciting employment opportunities”.

    As for this little gem -

    “Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal,”

    Should read – “We should read about history before we assume history”.

    Great Job Absolut ! You not only get an epic fail for your target audience, but you manged to piss-off you core market . Double-plus ungood!

  12. Dobernala says:

    Just make the map without any borders and label it ‘North American Union’ so that it will be insulting to everyone (except the globalists).

  13. friendlynerd says:

    I rarely purchase vodka above the bottom shelf, but I know which brand I won’t be buying when I splurge…

  14. ChrisC1234 says:

    You know, I think that Mexico is slowly reclaiming most of that territory.

  15. I will continue my boycott of Absolut on the grounds that is is grossly overpriced.

  16. matsayz says:

    too expensive anyways f’em

  17. Buran says:

    Did they not think of the fact that implying to some that ideally they’d be living in Mexico — I’m sure many people in those areas do NOT want to live in Mexico — is sure as hell not ideal, and offensive to those people?

    This is the Internet age. If you think people in the areas you’re talking about aren’t going to see your slur against them, think again. A hundred years ago this ad might have never been seen by Americans. In 2008, they’ll see it instantly and put your reputation in the toilet for insulting them.

  18. Beerad says:

    Yeah, I think that statement translates as “Oh please oh please keep buying our product! PLEEEEEESE!! And, uh, thanks for the ‘controversy’ and bonus media exposure that has allowed us to remind people about our fine vodka far beyond what a normal ad campaign could achieve.”

  19. @friendlynerd: You must love hangovers. I get mine from the middle shelf, usually Smirnoff. Decent stuff, especially when it’s mixed 1:2 with tonic.

  20. boandmichele says:

    ill buy MORE just because everyone got so pissed off about it.

  21. EDogII says:

    Pussies!!

  22. ratnerstar says:

    I don’t like vodka and if I did I wouldn’t like Absolut, but I have a hard time feeling any anger over this. No wonder people make fun of Americans; the greatest military superpower on Earth and we’re hurt by some gentle teasing from a middle-shelf liquor brand? Grow a pair and stop caring about dumb shit.

  23. coan_net says:

    Who the hell needs to see an historic map. Everyone knows that Americans were the first on this Earth and Americans slowly expanded to other parts of the world.

    Screw history….. who needs it.

  24. Subliminal0182 says:

    Geez! People whine when things like this get advertised but if it were a map of the Middle East, with something like an American flag on top, they’d be like “Har har let’s drink to that!”

    I for one liked this ad and will keep drinking Absolut!

  25. Subliminal0182 says:

    @boandmichele: Amen to that!

  26. akyiba says:

    History does tend to repeat itself…

  27. ilikemoney says:

    “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

  28. isilia says:

    @ratnerstar: I second that.

  29. Not offensive unless you are just looking to be offended.. there are so much worse ads out there and yet we have to stop and waste our time complaining about this one. Get over it. Carry on, absolut.

    @subliminal0182 you are exactly right. we are definitely hypocritical enough as people that we would probably enjoy a map criticizing the middle east or some other place we generally do not like.

    so if that ad does happen, lets enjoy both. lol

  30. Blinkman says:

    I don’t understand how this ad is offensive. Can some bleeding heart liberal/crazed conservative please explain it to me? I guess I just don’t care enough to understand why I should be angry.

  31. forgottenpassword says:

    “A spokesperson for Absolut said that the ad wasn’t meant to stir up anti-American sentiment.”

    Yeah I agree…. it WAS however meant to use mexican’s ALREADY anti-USA sentiment to sell their product.

    Nice way to be deceptive absolut!

  32. Munsoned says:

    Not trolling, but what if the ad (or an ad for a different product) was aimed at Palestinians, and showed Israel with the West Bank and Gaza Strip removed, or all of Israel changed to Palestine? How about to China w/o Tibet, or WITH Taiwan as part of mainland China? How about all of Ireland under the UK? How about Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe behind the iron curtain?

    It is not hard to imagine that there might be some offense taken by the “other” side in these instances. I think Absolut should not get a pass on this one for that reason alone. Pandering to one nationalistic emotion while offending other market segments is not a great way to sell booze.

  33. Nighthawke says:

    At least the mAD men didn’t release it on the week of the Siege of the Alamo, that would have been a cold piece of work.

  34. DoctorMD says:

    How about “ABSOLUT SOVEREIGNTY” with the Berlin Wall on our Southern border.

  35. @fall_farewell: Finally someone has some common sense. There’s so many people that bend things out of shape. I’m not sure why the ad was offensive. Is it because it’s showing how big mexico used to be and a bunch of ignorant people don’t like to see that the us was once small? If so then they have a lot more childish problems than a vodka ad.

    @friendlynerd: Last I checked absolut was almost the top brand of vodka. so i think you’re probably thinking of something else.

  36. friendlynerd says:

    @Steaming Pile:
    I just don’t drink that much vodka! :)

  37. friendlynerd says:

    @The Marionette:
    Right. Read my post again. Slowly.

  38. consumerd says:

    @mduser:

    If anyone who does not want their bottles of Absolut, I would be more than happy to take them off of their hands :-)

    Amen to that!! Please e-mail me with an address to deposit bottle of absolut.

  39. Mr. Gunn says:

    The apology should actually read: “We sincerely apologoze for playing into anti-immigrant hatred in the U.S. We had no idea that the right-wingers were making this into the next huge campaign issue now that everyone’s all hated-out on the “moral issues” thing. We also didn’t realize the depths to which some American bloggers would stoop. On behalf of everyone at Absolut, please enjoy the following drink recipe:

    Fill shaker with crushed ice
    Add 2 shots Absolut vodka
    Add 3 parts STFU
    Strain into chilled glass
    Drink rapidly
    Turn off TV and go outside.

  40. rmz says:

    @akyiba: I expect the Charleston to make a comeback, myself.

  41. bohemian says:

    This was stupid, it was an insult at the expense of the US used to sell vodka in Mexico. It is like badmouthing your friend to someone else. When the friend finds out your saying something negative about them they just might get offended and tell you to take a flying leap.

    I generally don’t get too up in arms about the whole immigration thing but I found the ad insulting in the realm of I wouldn’t buy Absolute due to it. But I also won’t buy clothes or perfume from companies that portray women as chained up naked animals either.

    Absolute got a ton of negative press out of this but it may not be a case of any publicity is good publicity. CNN printed out the comments sent to Absolute’s website, most of them negative. The pile was close to the size of a Chicago phone book.

  42. jchabotte says:

    you know..

    I’m an American and i really don’t care about this ad. Does it bother me? Not in the least. Let them advertise however they feel will get them to have more sales.

    I would’ve gone for “a greased, naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck and a leash … and a man’s arm holding on to the leash extended out to her shoving a black glove in her face to sniff it.”

  43. Bladefist says:

    more examples of how america is becoming a bunch of babies

  44. Blueskylaw says:

    That ad was both offensive and just plain stupid. Whoever came up with that should be fired.
    @Pro-Pain:

    Though I doubt it was their intention to cause controversy, the free press it got was invaluable. They let it run its course, apologized for any negativity or personal, emotional or financial pain it may have caused the 300 million Americans living here then gave the ad agency a bonus for unintended creativity.

  45. Beerad says:

    @Munsoned: But the examples you site are recently disputed boundaries, if not active violent conflicts. What if they showed a map of Europe circa 800 AD with a large Frankish Empire united under Charlemagne for a French ad campaign? Would it be offensive to other Europeans?

    This would be in poor taste if there were routinely Mexican terrorists setting off bombs in Texas and California trying to take back the land, but, well, there aren’t. Yeah, it’s a bit odd or perhaps a bad idea to run an ad poking fun at your biggest market (I assume USA is Absolut’s biggest market) but it’s not exactly grossly offensive.

  46. backbroken says:

    Is there anyway we can actually give those lands back to Mexico? And they can have Florida too.

  47. fuzzymuffins says:

    makes no sense to me.

    in an ‘absolute world’ you have to go back before north america was raped by the english and spanish.

    they should have gone for a native american tribe map.

    then i’d be impressed.

  48. hi says:

    @backbroken: If your giving away Florida can I have it?

  49. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Boy! The 2010 World Cup is going to be exciting!

  50. Saboth says:

    Ohh next lets do one for Germany where they control most of Europe, one for England that shows the US under British control, one for….

  51. SoCalGNX says:

    I will be boycotting Absolut, Ikea, Volvo, Husquevarna, and anything else Swedish now forever. Hhahahaha. (never bought any of this crap before anyway)

  52. Mr. Gunn says:

    jchabotte: Do you have a newsletter, good sir? Perchance might I subscribe, as I find your ideas to be quite relevant to my interests.

  53. Comms says:

    rolleyes

  54. DrGirlfriend says:

    @forgottenpassword: “A spokesperson for Absolut said that the ad wasn’t meant to stir up anti-American sentiment.”

    Yeah I agree…. it WAS however meant to use mexican’s ALREADY anti-USA sentiment to sell their product.

    Nice way to be deceptive absolut!

    That sums up how I feel about the ad. It’s playing on some not-so-pleasant feelings in order to sell a product.

    I can understand that not everyone knows that this issue runs deep for some people. But it does, and that’s why there are people who don’t like it. I don’t doubt that there are others who are offended out of a vague sense that “sumthin ain’t right”, but that reaction is not at the crux of this issue. I think there is a bit of disingenuousness going on on Absolut’s part.

  55. iMe2 says:

    @Steaming Pile: Stop being rational!

  56. Quintus says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

  57. azntg says:

    I have an idea for the next Absolut ad! And I’ll give it to them for free!

    How about an ad with some people looking at that “In an Absolut World” ad and others hurling bottles of their vodka wholesale at that ad.

    The tagline? Absolut Stupidity On Our End.

  58. Angryrider says:

    Now this would be slightly better if it said:
    En un mundo Absolut.
    That’ll drive up latino sales!

  59. freshyill says:

    Hey! Everybody getting upset about this ad: You’re idiots! I win!

  60. Maurik says:

    @freshyill: Exactly.

    Whiners – imagine if this was America extending into Canada, I doubt you’d be so upset then, you’d probably just giggle, realised it wasnt PC and get on with your lives. -_-

  61. Benny Gesserit says:

    @Juggernaut: Yes we are – until you people start to spell “colour” properly, no maple syrup for you!

    At the risk of starting another wave to Absolut hatred the “In an Absolut World” ad they’re running in the gay community features a simple, white ruler where all the measures read 8 inches.

    Teeny Weeny Wieny Committee on line 1!

  62. louveciennes says:

    And that has what to with vodka?

    Lame.

  63. Peeved Guy says:

    @Maurik: And yet, I could understand the Canadians getting a little miffed by some marketing punk poking his finger in their eye just to hawk some booze.

  64. Munsoned says:

    @Beerad: I’d call the politics with Latin American/US immigration a current and heated issue. That’s clearly what is stirring up US resentment over this, not an ongoing (violent) “border conflict” per se. There are no US/Mexico terrorist attacks, but how is that different from Poland/USSR? Taiwan/China?

  65. Munsoned says:

    @Peeved Guy: I agree. I’m not sure how Canadian’s feel about US cultural “creep” into Canada, but if it’s anything like how many Americans feel about US/Latin American immigration reform, I’d see how such an ad would tick off a lot of Canadians.

  66. axiomatic says:

    Are you guys serious?!?! There was noting wrong with that ad at all. I found it humorous… for about 5 seconds, and that was 3 seconds too long being that I am usually impervious to advertisements. It was a big “what if our product changed the borderlines.” Obviously not making any credible reference to history or whatever you idiots might be upset about.

    If you are really upset by this advertisement, you are most likely to have a heart attack by your late 40’s. Don’t be so serious you guys… it’s just a stupid advertisement.

  67. TomforPres2020 says:

    The ad is clever. Isasmuch as the USA did steal the territory from Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Now, I know there are those who would say “We won that territory! That is what we get for winning the Mexican American War!”
    Some might say that, but then if you look a little closer and see that those territories are the whole reason the war was waged in the first place, under falsified pretenses, then, I think the water becomes a little less morally clear, so to speak.

  68. Beerad says:

    @Munsoned: But it’s “current and heated” in that there’s a lot of irrational hatred towards illegal immigrants in this country, not that there’s a seething mass of enraged Mexicans protesting to redraw the borders — if anything, the immigration issue shows that plenty of Latinos would like nothing better than to join the United States!

    I’m having trouble understanding your claimed analogues. I think an ad showing Poland controlling the other Eastern Bloc countries would be puzzling at best given Soviet history (albeit perhaps popular in Poland). As for Taiwan/China, considering that mainland China does not consider Taiwan to be an independent country I would think that’s a rather different situation! If the U.S. insisted that Mexico was a territorial province then yes, this ad would seem a bit more revolutionary… but it’s not.

  69. jeff303 says:

    @Munsoned: I think they should get a pass because words, particularly from a LIQUOR company of all places, can do no actual harm to anyone.

  70. Peeved Guy says:

    @Beerad:

    not that there’s a seething mass of enraged Mexicans protesting to redraw the borders

    See that is where you’re wrong. There is an active movement among many Latinos advocating the ‘retaking’ of this part of the US.

    if anything, the immigration issue shows that plenty of Latinos would like nothing better than to join the United States

    I disagree simply because many of the illegal immigrants do not assimilate to the US, they just carry on as if they were still in Mexico. If they want to be Americans (“US people” for you word lawyers), maybe they should make an effort to fit into the culture of their new home? Just sayin’.

  71. ClayS says:

    @Munsoned:
    True, I’d like to see Absolut erect a billboard advertisement written in english in Quebec. They would be more than offended, it’s actually prohibited by law.

    I think we are pretty tolerant of cultural creep. There is significant Mexican influence in the US southwest. I was in Orchard Beach, ME last summer and a large number of stores spoke very limited english. Nothing wrong with that.

    But the Absolut ad plays to some fringe elements that would like to see Mexico somehow reclaim some of the southwest. What if Jack Daniel published an ad showing a map of the southeast states as seceding from the US, with a confederate flag, etc. That would appeal to some crackpots down south. A lot of other people wouldn’t find it so amusing.

  72. Raanne says:

    @Peeved Guy: They assimilate at the same rate as other immigrant groups of the past. There is just a much larger number of first generation immigrants here from Mexico than there is from other countries.

  73. Peeved Guy says:

    @Raanne: Maybe. An argument could be made, for sure. But it seems that there is not real desire for some second and even third generation “immigrants” to make the cultural leap. For example, Spanish is spoken at home, in local businesses and schools, why bother learning it? But with previous immigrant groups (Italians, Poles, etc.), I get the sense that while the parents (first generation immigrants, the folks who left their country of origin) may not have learned English (many did, BTW), they made damned sure their kids did.

  74. Ghostface915 says:

    @ratnerstar: Amen to that, brother. How can some of you POSSIBLY be offended by this? Buncha crybabies if you ask me….

    Also, how exactly are these immigrants supposed to “fit into the culture of their new home” as one pendejo…err person put it? Should they start naming their kids “Skylar” or “Preston”?
    How about if you saw more of them shopping at the Gap? Or if you heard them blasting John Mayer from their lowriders? Would
    that put you at ease? Would you sleep better at night?
    I personally find it hilarious that some of you are so threatened by our culture, our language, and our customs. We have our own identities and it’ll be an ice-cold day in hell before we give them up and forget where we come from and who we are. So how about you try and get your panties out of a bunch, its GOTTA be bad for your circulation…

    3rd Generation Mexican-American…

  75. mobbo says:

    AMERICA!! FUCK YEAH!!

  76. asten77 says:

    I’m confused.. if it was an ad for Mexico, why is it in English? Most Mexican immigrants don’t/won’t speak English here.. do they speak it there?

  77. ilikemoney says:

    @Peeved Guy: Oh damn them for wanting to preserve their sense of ethnic identity! FOR SHAME!

    Think about WHY previous eastern European immigrants would so rapidly “assimilate”, they lived in days where having the wrong color of skin excluded you from dining at the same restaurants and using the same public facilities as others. Of course they tried to integrate themselves as fast as possible. Personally, I find it really sad that so many Americans who claim to have German/Italian/Polish/whatever ancestry are so out of touch with their roots, especially considering that their parents could have taught them to be multilingual, but would outright REFUSE to do so. Knowing more than one language is an asset for the future generations, especially in an increasingly globalized society.

    I’ve got two words for you: Gabacho ignorante.

  78. AddisonMavenue says:

    is it me or does america look like a gun in that picture

  79. ilikemoney says:

    @asten77: Many upper-class metropolitan Mexicans (read: the ones who are well-off enough that they get by just fine without resorting to migrant labor) learn English at a very young age. This ad would be targeted at such a demographic.

  80. djanes1 says:

    With the presidential primaries turning into a battle of who can be
    the most offended, it isn’t surprising Lou Dobb’s America wanted a turn
    at taking umbrage.

  81. Slytherin says:

    People,

    Zip it, relax, it’s over, move on. Oh, and unbunch panties from butt while you are at it.

  82. kbarrett says:

    Maybe we can get Absolut to run the ad again … but re-label the green part “Texas”?

  83. Anonymous says:

    This was dumb, even if I was Mexican it would be in bad taste. It’s like a huge “NAHAH ANAHA NAHAHAH” look how bad you !#!@#2ed up.

  84. ilikemoney says:

    @kbarrett: HAHAHAAHAH!!! Best response!

  85. dwneylonsr says:

    Perhaps for those unaware of the “Aztlan” movement among many of the Southwests latino population a little reading is in order.

    A snippet from Wikipedia

    “The name Aztlán was first taken up by a group of Chicano independence activists led by Oscar Zeta Acosta during the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They used the name “Aztlán” to refer to the lands of Northern Mexico that were annexed by the United States as a result of the Mexican-American War. Combined with the claim of some historical linguists and anthropologists that the original homeland of the Aztecan peoples was located in the southwestern United states, Aztlán in this sense became a symbol of mestizo activists who believe they have a legal and primordial right to the land.”

  86. ilikemoney says:

    @dwneylonsr: Seriously, speaking as a Mexican with a strong sense of Chicano identity, The Aztlan “movement” (if it can really be called that) is about as much of a threat to the integrity of the United States as Southern militias that claim that the south will rise again.

  87. SoCalGNX says:

    Actually, its called the “reconquista”
    and you can check gustavo arellanos “ask a mexican” column for details.
    @dwneylonsr:

  88. dogmaratt says:

    @Raanne:

    They don’t assimilate. That is asinine.

    They don’t even want to learn English when they illegally cross our border.

  89. ilikemoney says:

    @dogmaratt: Study up on your history. During the immigration boom at the turn of the 20th century, there were entire ethnically homogeneous communities throughout major cities in the country. There were Little Italys, Little Germanys, China Towns, et cetera. The communities would be so tightly knit that news publications would be made in the different respective languages. To this day, many of those homogeneous communities still exist, with many of the surviving immigrant generations still speaking extremely broken English at best.

    Assimilation doesn’t happen instantly. There isn’t a button that immigrants can choose to press that’ll magically grant them English-speaking abilities. It takes a couple generations.

    And if you wanna argue about how it’s not right, how about you talk to the nearest Native American tribe. I’m sure they’ll have a few words for you.

  90. Peeved Guy says:

    @ilikemoney: Take your sarcasm and shove it.

    If they wanted to be “Americans” then they would make just a little fucking effort to learn just a little bit of English, don’cha think? If they are so damn proud to be Mexican, or German or English or whatever, then stay in your own damn country. BUT,m if you want to be an American, I’ll be the first to welcome you.

    I’ve got two words for you: Bite Me

  91. vatica40 says:

    Rawr! An ad hurt my feelings! People should be fired and Im going to sue, and Im going to boycott something I never really bought in the first place! On the Internet Im tough!

  92. ilikemoney says:

    @Peeved Guy: How ’bout this. Are you in the service? Because I am. US Army, going on six years. My identity as Mexican has nothing to do with national pride, rather cultural. I’m proud of my roots. I’m proud that I speak two languages. I’m glad that my parents refused to speak English to me at home. I have a perfect grasp of English, as you can see. Just because I’m proud of where I come from, doesn’t mean that I’m not proud of where I call home. Get your head out of your rear.

  93. @Blinkman: I don’t understand how this ad is offensive. Can some bleeding heart liberal/crazed conservative please explain it to me?

    I think people are offended or not offended based on unspoken, personal assumptions, which is why the debate here is going nowhere.

    It’s not really about the ad. It’s like arguing about whether or not a Rorschach inkblot is offensive: everyone sees something different.

  94. President Beeblebrox says:

    @dwneylonsr: Yay for Oscar Zeta Acosta. Without him, “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” would have been another boring book about drug trips.

    Anyway, the Aztlan movement is about as threatening to our national integrity as the Montana Militia.

  95. ilikemoney says:

    @President Beeblebrox: Didn’t I just say that? lol ;)

  96. h0rnd0g says:

    Guess since most of the alcoholics that can afford name brand vodka are conservatives that would get their pantys in a wad over something like this, it makes fiscal sense for Absolut to offer an apology. But in doing so, they’ve offended me. Before I supported them. Now, I’m boycotting.

    Don’t they realize that only U.S. Americans can be jingoists? Maybe after kicking ass in the Iraq and such as the Afganistan, which could be any moment now, we should conquer and occupy the Sweden and make sure their democracy is our kind of democracy… The kind that doesn’t allow anyone or any ad agency to offend U.S. Americans (with maps) such as.

    Stands to reason that Absolut is being bought by a surrender monkey the France company…such as.

    I’ll bet that’s the last Absolut ad Miss Teen South Carolina gets to do…such as.

  97. Jesse in Japan says:

    They should have gone with the United States of Canada and Jesusland. Now that would have sold some liquor.

  98. RandomHookup says:

    How dare those Latinos continue to speak Spanish for two or three generations after coming to the US? Don’t they know us ‘mericans don’t tolerate people who talk funny?

    Since the biggest way to take an economic step up is to learn English, it’s obvious these Mexicans are just being stubborn.

  99. Peeved Guy says:

    @ilikemoney: See, my issue with this whole thing is that there sees to be a large contingent of immigrants that simply want nothing to do with the US culture. I tend to chalk it up to the fact that they came here out of necessity more that out of a desire to be an American. It just honestly bothers me that there are times that I feel like a foreigner in my own country (yes, really). Let me ask you this. How many people your own age in similar situations (Spanish only at home, etc.) that are not in the Army speak English as fluently as you? How many only speak Spanish?

    I think there is a definite distinction between being proud of your heritage and trying to make your new home exactly like the one you left. Honest to God, I have no problem with immigrants, all I ask is 1) come in legally and 2) pretend like you like being here.

    And, BTW, yes, I’m coming up on 12 years in the USAF.

  100. Peeved Guy says:

    @RandomHookup: Since the biggest way to take an economic step up is to learn English, it’s obvious these Mexicans are just being stubborn.

    I understand that you’re trying to be sarcastic, but I think that’s a good point. Wouldn’t YOU learn English is their situation. I know that many do, but many, many more don’t and are relegated to less than fulfilling careers.

  101. ilikemoney says:

    @Peeved Guy: The problem is multifaceted. I won’t sit here and defend every single immigrant that comes over, because not all of them come and do the right thing. The legal immigration issue is murky, because let’s be honest, the process to come in to the country is vastly more complicated now than it was even twenty years go, let alone a century ago. The idea that just because someone comes over illegally automatically means that they wont’ respect any laws is unfairly characterizes many well-meaning and hard-working people that would prefer to live under the radar.

    Let’s consider this, for a moment. There’s an entire labor industry that can not afford to pay what would be considered a “fair” wage by most American’s standards. I’m talking about primarily agricultural jobs and other such unskilled labor. The US Government stands to lose by granting legal status to the amount of migrant workers needed to fill the demand. If that were to happen, all migrant workers would be able unionize and demand higher wages. If the US were to succeed in shutting all illegal migrant workers out absolutely, Americans would be left to pick up the slack; again, demanding higher wages that farmers can’t afford to pay. Both scenarios would result in either a massive increase in the price of produce, a massive increase in federal farm subsidies, or both; or worse yet: all domestic agriculture would go out of business thanks to cheaper imported produce. So, what does the government do? It does what it’s been doing for the last fifty years. It turns a blind eye toward illegal immigrants where they’re needed, and makes a few examples here and there to pacify the masses.

    Is this right? Well, just like any politics, these matters are rarely in such black and white terms. I maintain that this generation of immigrants is no different that previous ones. There are always growing pains, such is the nature of capitalism. So long as there’s someone who’s willing to work harder for less money, someone’s gonna lose out while another profits.

    As far as the question of integration, I believe most Americans are being all too short-sighted. Assimilation goes both ways. I don’t know if you were ever a fan of Star Trek, but I’ll take the example of the Borg. They were a race of cybernetic organisms that functioned as a whole through a hive-mind. They became a nemesis to the Federation because they would forcibly assimilate all organisms that they would encounter. This process would usually be preceeded by this greeting,“We are the Borg. Lower your shields. Your biological and technological distinctivness will be added to our own. Resistance if futile!”. Point being, the assimilatee contributes their own uniqueness to the assimilater. This is why “non-American” holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest, and yes even Cinco De Mayo, are still celebrated in the States. The most prolific fast food chain in the country is not McDonalds, but Taco Bell.

    Just give it time, and be flexible. Things change. As a fellow service-member, you should know that. SEMPER GUMBY!

  102. ilikemoney says:

    And one more thing… where do you stand on Puerto Ricans? Many of them don’t speak a word of English, yet they are natural born US Citizens. Hmm?

  103. RandomHookup says:

    @Peeved Guy: Thanks for recognizing the sarcasm.

    The usual pattern is: adults who come over directly have trouble with the language and spend most of their times in linguistic enclaves (see Greeks, Italians, Poles, Cubans, etc., especially in big cities). Depending upon their age, they may learn enough to get by, but are usually shuffled off to jobs that don’t require a lot of English (quite often with speakers of their own languages).

    Next generation usually is bilingual, acting as interpreters for their parents/ grandparents. The following generation may understand the original language, but only basics. Anywhere there is a strong cultural/language tie (e.g., Greek Orthodox Church), the language may linger around longer and have a life of its own, but once the generations stray from that, the language is lost.

    Sure, most illegals never learn much English. They would love to (in most cases), but there aren’t enough ESL classes and they are so focused on working manual labor jobs mostly with people in similar straits. Plus they are worried constantly about being caught, so they spend their time around other illegals. They are absolutely economic migrants and won’t assimilate without a substantial change in their conditions.

    I’m opposed to people being here illegally, but I understand why they do it and that enforcement is almost impossible. Europe has many of the same problems and does try stronger enforcement, but with not much greater success. And that’s with a society that requires ID cards.

    It’s almost impossible (other than a few guest worker programs) for a poor Honduran to get here legally. As long as there is a better chance of making it for their families here in the North, they will continue to come.

  104. Peeved Guy says:

    @ilikemoney: Good post. To clarify, if you could guarantee that each and every one of the people that came across that border is a well-intentioned, hard-working person just looking to get to the land of opportunity, I would find it hard to get too worked up about it. BUT!! Not every one is like that, there are murderers, terrorists, and other scumbags that come over here for a variety of reasons. But, I do think that a majority of the folks who cross are just law abiding people looking to provide for their family.

    As far as the assimilation argument, I don;t really see how the borg is apropos. Unless you are talking about those that are COMING to the US. I, too, thought of the holidays you mentioned and really don’t have any issue with them, mostly there excuses for people to drink too much and act like fools. Hell, I’d wager that 99% of Americans don;t even know what Cinco De Mayo is about, or St. Pattys day for that matter. My issue is when my tax dollars are paying for the children of illegal immigrants to be taught in Spanish only. Government forms need to be printed in Spanish and English. I am annoyed that unless one is enabling the Latino population to continue like they never left Mexico, you’re a racist. I’m not demanding they wear wife-beater t-shirts, chew tobaccy, eat pork-rinds, watch NASCAR and wave the old Stars and Stripes 24×7, but at least pretend that you wnat to be here sometimes.

  105. Peeved Guy says:

    @RandomHookup: Agree on all points. My issue, as I mentoned in my above post, is that it seems to me that we are enabling the non-English speaker to remain a non-English speaker. Schools teach in Spanish only (no ESL classes for the kids), government forms are printed in both (several) languages, etc. I understand your point that the first generation folks would have a hard time learning English (one of, if not the, hardest language to learn, I think) and that has been the pattern in the past, but I just seem to think that more and more of the second gen. people are forgoing the learning of the English language for a number of reasons, more tolerance of those who don’t speak English, companies catering to the growing Spanish speaking population, etc.

    You bring up Europe in your post and I find that interesting considering that most of the “youths” that case so many problems in Paris are not French. I know that we will never get to that point, but, I thought I’d bring it up.

  106. Susie Bright says:

    Where can I get the poster? It’s funny… and educational. I love it! Old maps can tell you a lot, including about chauvinisms from the past.

    I’m a third generation Californian, and our Mexican and Spanish heritage – not to mention Native roots- is part of who we are! There is not understanding the meaning of “American” without understanding our past- it’s bloody and contested!

    People who get hysterical about this are ahistorical. We did not emerge from Zeus’ head.

  107. ilikemoney says:

    @Peeved Guy: The Borg example was merely to demonstrate that assimilation goes both ways. While those holidays may just seem like excuses for people to act the fool, for many, it’s a way to commemorate their heritage.

    That aside, this morning I had a conversation about this very issue with a Salvadoran friend of mine, also a Soldier. He brought up that extremes exist on both sides. You have people who are quick to put the blame on many of society’s ills on immigrants, and you have those that feel that society ought to cater to the minority. We both know that the ones on the fringe are usually the ones with the loudest megaphones. My friend brought up a good point that as far as illegal immigrants are concerned, they should expect to have dirt thrown at them, because they are here without sanction. They should expect to not have rights, to be exploited, and to have to live in substandard conditions. Not because they deserve it, but because they chose that path at their own peril. For them to suddenly demand the rights of a citizen undermines their struggle to be accepted as simply hard-working people that would like to earn their piece of the pie; and I stress the word “earn”. On the other hand, can you really blame someone for taking advantage of programs that the system offers them? It’s like telling a child that he’s not supposed to have any candy before dinner, and leaving a bowl-full of sweets in plain sight, unsupervised. Again, this is all about the system turning a blind eye toward the issue. Whether we like it or not, this country benefits from the exploitation of a working underclass. The government essentially throws them a bone from time to time, but please do not make the mistake of thinking that the life of an immigrant is easy. Far from it.

    I’ve advocated for years a simplification of the immigration bureaucracy. The issue needs to be tackled from a different perspective than it is now. Falling back on the same old talking points only leads to flaring tempers and the airing of sentiments that border on racist, and that goes for BOTH sides of the issue. The answer is somewhere in the middle.

    On a side note about the 60’s Chicano movements, keep in mind the context in which those movements were started. California, as liberal as it may be now, has an ugly history full of racism. I’ve heard on many accounts that if one were to open a history text book on California, it would seem as though the state didn’t even exist before the 1920s. Latinos, who at one point dominated the area, were relegated to lower class status as soon as the Gold Rush hit in 1849. The Chicano movements were a backlash to the gentrification of the state, and it demanded simply that people recognize that Cali was the land of their ancestors, and that that fact be respected and not buried. The movements were since hijacked by street gangs who used it to intimidate, rather than educate.

  108. past says:

    @Pro-Pain: Absolut is a Swedish company. Europeans aren’t exactly know for their “We love America” sentiment. I doubt they will be firing anyone for an ad.

  109. Peeved Guy says:

    @ilikemoney: You’re friend is a smart guy, what’s he doing in the Army…? Just kidding. Couldn’t resist.

    I understood the Borg reference, it’s just that in todays climate, the assimilation is skewed heavily in favor of the immigrant, simply so Americans do not appear bigoted (in my view). My argument is that I really don’t think its unreasonable to ask that people try to blend with the society they chose, of their own free will, to make their home. Does that mean completely shunning their roots? Of course not, have at it, but when I see protests in LA and other large Mexican communities that have posters very similar to the one produced by Absolut, talking about “taking back” the US, well, it does not sit well with me. I know it sounds trite and I’ll get jumped for saying it, but I think the line “USA, love it or leave it” is appropriate.

    Now, with all of that said, I agree that the government is to blame for many of my gripes and I don’t blame the people who are taking advantage of the services offered. I would too in their position, why not? Absolutly the government needs to do some sort of imiigratiuon reform to make it easier for people to emigrate here. But, I really think that we need to secure the border first and work on the social issues second rather than just letting any old person come here and worry about paying for that (either monetarily or with another terrorist attack or with more drugs on the street) later. Maybe paying “$12 for a head of lettuce” is what Americans need to do before it’s taken really seriously.

    Interesting info on the Chicano movements. Reminds me of something that I heard recently on a local talk station. The host of the show (who is vehemently anti-illegal immigration) made the point that when Ronald Regan was governor of California it was the same time that Caesar Chavez was active trying to unionize the migrant workers. He went on to say that Regan was SO anti-union that he intentionally made it very easy for illegals to come to CA to work as scabs to undermine Chavez. I thought that as very interesting.

  110. DakotaEpic says:

    As a resident of Arizona, I just laughed at this. Because it’s pretty much almost true.

  111. Consumer007 says:

    Wow, I think this is a fascinating essay on how not only ignorant but oversensitive people are. It should be clear to anyone who took high school American History class what this map is instantly upon recognition, and that is simply a historical map. What part of history, and reality can’t people understand? What is so offensive about this map? It should be no more offensive than a civil war map, a modern map, etc.

    Perhaps Absolut wanted to just give us a glimpse at the past and reflect on how things have changed over time?

    Probably the line of thinking of the ad – countries may change, but you can always count on Absolut…tacky to be sure, but honest to God, people offended by this need a therapist.

  112. wesrubix says:

    I see no problem with this ad. It’s PC-thuggery striking again!

    If anything, the ad is a historical reference, but I can see how one could easily misinterpret the ad.

    Shame on the populace’s ignorance.

  113. Peeved Guy says:

    @Consumer007:
    Perhaps Absolut wanted to just give us a glimpse at the past and reflect on how things have changed over time?

    Yeah. That’s it. “In an Absolut world” is the ad campaign. In other words; how things would be in a perfect world. As was mentioned in comments previously, they are pandering to Mexicans by basically saying, “The big, bad bully to the north was mean and took your land 150 years ago. See how it ought to be! Buy our shit ‘cuz we think the US is mean too”. Compound that on the already tense feelings of immigration in this country and I think Absolut fucked up. Long and short of it… am I ‘offended’, no not really, it’s not the Mexican Army is going to see that and com storming across the border, but Absolut is basically thumbing their nose at a large consumer base and I think their idiots for doing that.

    Not to mention that the map in the ad campaign appears to me to be historically inaccurate. They have Mexico going well in to Oregon and Idaho whereas the borders of 1847 were on the Northern California/Southern Oregon and Northern Nevada/Southern Idaho border. So, they’re “giving their land back” and a little more? What the hell is that, interest? Although, on second thought, I guess they can have Southern Oregon and Southern Idaho, no biggie.

  114. RandomHookup says:

    @Peeved Guy: Agreeing with me is always a good thing.

    I wonder about the reality of Spanish-speakers resisting learning English. People born here (or raised from young age) are very likely fully English fluent. They may do a lot of their conversing at home in Spanish, but they certainly aren’t fighting English. They just use Spanish as another tool in their bag of tricks. It’s much like the young like to use slang as a way to separate themselves from their peers (or parents).

    But the more we label Spanish-speakers as illegals automatically, the more we will ostracize them. We as an economy need more Spanish speakers anyway, so we can more easily do business with all the countries south of the border. Our tendency to overwhelm mother tongues has hurt us as a global power.

    English is a powerful and perhaps unstoppable force.

  115. eskilla says:

    Hey, all of you guys who think that it’s just another case of ‘stupid Americans overreacting':
    Imagine a map depicting the continent of Europe as the sole property of the ‘Drittes Reich’. Think that’d go down a hoot with, I dunno, France? The Netherlands? The British? Hell, anybody? Now, I’m not saying that Mexico is in any way comparable to Nazis, but even at the best of times tensions are high between the US and Mexico. And even that notwithstanding, implying that things would be better if part of a country belonged to someone else is ALWAYS inflaming.
    In a similar vein, a map of Ireland as belonging solely to one side or the other, or as being completely without English rule would not be received well.

    (All this being said, if Absolut Vodka were smart, now would be a good time to roll out a map of Asia with Tibet as a very, very independent nation and nobody’s property ‘in an Absolut world’.)