July 8, 2008

What happens when you blog about cereal?

Yesterday, I made fun of "Good Friends" cereal. Today, I get this email:
Hi Ann,

First off, like the new picture of you, it looks great. Second, I work on some of the Kashi Cereal Projects and I have to tell you that I was quite amused to see our “Good Friends” cereal making your site.

As you can see, that is the Left Coast ideal of what our 7 Grains can do for folks. The man and the woman picture actually is a characterization that depicts two former neighbors in Rialto, CA, who used to feud with one another, until they both realized that they both loved our “Good Friends” cereal and as such she no longer needed to complain about his son’s loud car stereo or he about her daughter’s drunken soirees by the pool, when she is gone. In fact they have become “Good Friends”. If only we could sneak some “Good Friends” into the Gaza Strip, alongside the Kassam rockets and some into northern Israel, imagine what the world could be!! Of course we would have to remove the Kosher designation. ;-)

I would like to send you some samples of our other fine products, though not of this one, which doesn’t seem to tickle your fine central Wisconsin sensibilities. We do make many other very good products which I think you might enjoy both visually as an ad and as a foodstuff. If so inclined, please send me your work address and I will send you off a care package.

Thanks for the great blog site and for your appreciation of the Kinks!!

Sincerely,

[I'm withholding the name for no particular reason.]

Manager, Contract Manufacturing

Kellogg Company
I feel like an accidental Lazlo Toth.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paul Zrimsek writes:
Maybe I've been watching too much Bloggingheads lately but every time I see those paired faces on the cereal boxes I expect to see them start arguing about Heller.

59 comments:

1jpb said...

Rob and Big must be swimming in this stuff, after the way they used it in their show.

Maguro said...

So it's true that there's no such thing as bad publicity. I'm looking forward to your review of
Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal!

rhhardin said...

I feel like an accidental Lazlo Toth.

Did you notice, in the book, that the only people who came off well were Richard Nixon and Nguyen Cao Ky.

October 15 and Nov 7, 1975.

Seven Machos said...

My wife loves Kashi Go Lean and too often sends me out to get it.

Also, I once sent an email to Post because they changed the taste of Fruity Pebbles AND took all the sugar out of Alpha-Bits. I received a form letter and a coupon for free cereal.

Palladian said...

I so want to be on a box of "Good Friends" Kashi with you, Althouse. Can you arrange that with your new connections?

blake said...

No, no! Althouse needs to be on the box with Amanda Marcotte.

Ann Althouse said...

They never have just two white people. It's a cereal about racial harmony.

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't realize Kashi was Kellogg. I guess it's a secret "K" clue. And is that why he likes the Kinks?

Palladian said...

"They never have just two white people. It's a cereal about racial harmony."

I'm a homosexual. Doesn't that count for anything?

dr kill said...

I'm betting Ray Davies doesn't eat that shit. He gets his cereals out of a twelve ounce can, just like all real men. I used to have a Schaefer can Ray emptied, then threw into the crowd at the Spectrum circa 1974.

Did he really say tickle your sensibilities? No one who wrote that third paragraph could ever appreciate The Kinks, unless his first name is Lola. It must be a woman.

Let me know when she gets a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"It's a cereal about racial harmony."

I believe that the appearance of the above phrase is the sign that civilization has ended.

Not with a bang but a bowl of cereal. About racial harmony.

Theo Boehm said...

Rialto, California??!!

What do they put into the cereal that makes anybody from that hellhole smile?

Rialto is one of the string of L.A. exurbs extending east to San Bernardino, the ├╝ber hellhole of Southern California.  I know. I grew up there.

Rialto is hot, dry, smoggy, filled with ugly, dilapidated little stucco houses, tacky garden apartments, and plastic strip malls with bad chain restaurants and stores.  It is ugly, polluted and expensive (although cheaper than L.A.)  Think Newark, NJ in the desert with scraggly palm trees.

I shouldn't denigrate Newark.  It's on a much grander scale.  Rialto manages to be both insignificent and horrible at the same time.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the places I have been in this country worse than Rialto.

I now live in a leafy Boston suburb, known for its participation in the first battle of the American Revolution.  Every time I get irritated or depressed about life in Massachusetts, I think of places like Rialto in the so-called "Inland Empire" of Southern California, and recall my life growing up there.  Nothing cheers me up faster than looking outside and seeing it isn't California.  There are trees, tasteful historic surroundings, and actual seasons to remind you that you are alive.

My mood may be improved by thoughts of never going home again, but not as elevated as the grinning idiots on the box.  If "Good Friends" cereal can do that for Rialto residents with dysfunctional families, think what ecstasy might await the rest of us.

P.S.-Blake: You're on to something! Too bad about the racial harmony baloney.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

I sent a complaint to Purina for changing the composition of the dry Cat Chow so that it no longer soaked up milk and egg yolk, making it useless for feeding orphan baby birds.

They sent back some boilerplate about cats.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm a homosexual. Doesn't that count for anything?"

Don't you think by calling it "Good Friends" they are trying to deny that the people pictured are gay. Rob and Big make a joke about that. (I found the Rob and Big video after 1jpb mentioned it.) I think "Good Friends" is the racial harmony cereal. The "we love gay people" cereal must be something else. Not sure what.

Theo Boehm said...

Strike "racial harmony baloney." Bad style.

But how do you dismiss the idea of "racial harmony" as terribly old-fashioned now that we are becoming a post-racial society with the impending election of President Obama?

Theo Boehm said...

Identity politics on a box will not make you as happy as those people are.

I still say it must be something IN the box.

Ron said...

I wonder if "Bitter Enemies", the Cereal of Imperial Hegemony, would sell if it were sponsored by the Hoover Institute up there by Stanford, and had Mother Theresa and Christopher Hitchens faces on it?

Probably couldn't be a finer source of roughage!

blake said...

P.S.-Blake: You're on to something! Too bad about the racial harmony baloney.

OK, so put one of 'em in blackface.

Race is a flimsy construct anyway. Why can't our cereals understand that!

BTW, aren't corporations great? You can mock them roundly and they'll still send you polite letters and coupons.

Prior to this, I'd never heard of the cereal so there's something to be said.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Maybe I've been watching too much Bloggingheads lately but every time I see those paired faces on the cereal boxes I expect to see them start arguing about Heller.

blake said...

I wonder if "Bitter Enemies", the Cereal of Imperial Hegemony,

Mmmmm, "Bitter Enemies", the dry cereal you add cold coffee to, and for an extra treat, top with slices of sardine!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Isn't the Lazlo Toth author the same fellow who played Father Guido Sarducci?

Meade said...

"I'm a homosexual. Doesn't that count for anything?"

Homosexual, heterosexual, metrosexual... Please. No sex at the family breakfast table. Just be a good friend and pour the coffee and pass the 50% of your daily fiber needs. Thank you.

Randy said...

I enjoyed that email. Humorous, informative, and gracious. Well done, sir or madam. Well done.

Skeptical said...

I read The Lazlo Letters when I was ten or so years old. It had a massive influence on my humor sensibilities. What a great book.

The best entry is Toth's entry for conserving natural resources: replacing toilet paper with a Toilet Cloth.

ricpic said...

The only way to remain good friends with anybody for any length of time is to maintain a respectful distance from that person and especially so at breakfast time, sharing no more than a few perfunctory words at that most fraught time of the day.

Methadras said...

And my previous point has been proven.

Pogo said...

It's probably just me, but those smiling faces on Good Friends are off-putting precisely because I myself have never ever made a face like that so close to another person in my entire life.

Those foodgasm smiles, so achingly huge, so full of zest and verve and gusto and zip and all sorts of crap no one is ever really full of for real.

If any of my real friends ever stood that close to me and smiled out loud like that I'd kick him in the kashi, even if he was multi-ethnic.

Me?
Leave me the hell alone for like an hour in the morning.
Seriously. And for an hour after that, gauge my features as to the proper timing.
I tend to bite.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Ann, I think you've been duped.

That Kashi rep is an impostor.

If the two feuding neighbors were fans of "Good Friends" before they were featured on the box, it means that the name "Good Friends" existed prior, right? How could they have been the inspiration for the cereal if they already liked it and were already consumers of it before Kashi exploited their relationship? This is fishy if you ask me. Which came first, the cereal or the friends?

Nancy said...

Heads up, Ann. I recently bought some Kashi to make parfaits. I was impressed by the protein content, but the cereal crunched like it was harvested from a quarry.

Meade said...

What's this stuff?

Some cereal. It's suppose to be good for you.

I'm not gonna try it.

Let's get Pogo!

Yeah!!

He won't eat it. He hates everything.

He likes it! Hey Pogo!!

Pogo said...

That's because it's Quarry - breakfast cereal made from rocks; "Better tastin', 'cause it's mined."

Theo Boehm said...

As my Spanish grandfather used to say, "Hasta piernas tu comes..."
He was reciting an old Spanish proverb about hunger, not talking about lifestyle choices.

I'm glad we're being visited by Pogo, who, as a medical doctor, might be able to tell us what, other than granite, might be in Good Friends cereal to make people praeternaturally happy?

I will not make any tasteless jokes about getting your rocks off. No, I won't.

Theo Boehm said...

Nancy, I hate to pry, but how in the hell do you use Kashi cereal in parfaits? I mean, you must have an awfully good dental plan.

Pogo said...

Best guesses:

THC
Paxil
fentanyl
Soma
20 oz of Mad Dog 20/20



In reality, the only thing that makes people smile like that on a photograph is cash.
Cold, hard cash.
Or sex.
Mustn't forget that.

But sex and cereal?
Ick.
Too many crumbs.

rhhardin said...

I've had this cereal box on the table because it's nice to look at, anyway if you had a similar fantasy as a ground-locked kid. It's been there, apparently, since 2004, if one is to believe the date on the box.

It's easily possible. I had some Bob Evans' placemats for over a decade until a dog ate them, advertising dessert.

Ann Althouse said...

"Zachary Paul Sire has left a new comment on your post "What happens when you blog about cereal?": Ann, I think you've been duped.That Kashi rep is an impostor.If the two feuding neighbors were fans of "Good Friends" before they were featured on the box, it means that the name "Good Friends" existed prior, right? How could they have been the inspiration for the cereal if they already liked it and were already consumers of it before Kashi exploited their relationship? This is fishy if you ask me. Which came first, the cereal or the friends?"

Zachary, I thought of that as I was writing the post and I was going to call attention to it, but I decided that probably the cereal has been around for a while, with different photos on the front, and that people write in to Kashi, telling their Kashi friendship stories and making a pitch that they should be on the next package. Similar to Wheaties, which has had many "champions" over the years. Don't you think that's the most likely situation?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I thought that too. But it still bothers me not knowing how/why they decided to call it "Good Friends" in the first place. It's an inappropriate name for a cereal.

I'm thinking there was an original name (Twigs N' Friends?) and then they changed it to "Good Friends" once they got their first piece of fan mail. But they need to be up front about it if they're going to put out such an offensive packaging design and brand name.

Sorry, I just really hate it.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

From McSweeneys:

Other Cereals From the Makers of Kashi's "Good Friends."

BY DAVID WOLINSKY


Strictly Platonic O's

Let's Get a Divorce Honey Nut Cheerios

We're No Longer Speaking Give Me Back My Blender Nut Clusters

Prenuptial Wheat Crisps

I'm Having Your Bastard Child Reginald Grainfest

XWL said...

More than two years ago, Lileks posted a picture of this brand (towards the bottom of the post),

They have two white women pictured, and it struck me at the time that they looked like more than just "good friends".

So I think the Palladian/Althouse box duo is a go, depending how 'gay' of a 'gay face' Palladian can make.

If he can go full Anderson Cooper 'gay face', then I say its own, but if all he can pull of is a Rupert Everett 'gay face', then that wouldn't be nearly gay enough, and it'd be just the dreaded two white people together.

Kev said...

Isn't the Lazlo Toth author the same fellow who played Father Guido Sarducci?

Yup, one and the same. And his sister-in-law was Surgeon General under Bush I and for a skosh of Clinton's first term.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

If they really wanted to take it to the next level they'd have a threesome on the box.

By the way, I just went to the
Good Friends website.
Scroll down to the bottom and note the picture and message that the people on the boxes are "Friends On The Box Winners!"

They entered a stupid contest (which makes the whole idea even more absurd), and they don't seem to be a collection of purported frienemies who bonded over their shared love of twigs.

Oh, and the link to meet the contest "winners" is, of course, broken.

blake said...

Wow, way to stick to the man, Zeeps.

blake said...

Er, stick it to the man, that is.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Don't you mean, way to twig it to the man?

blake said...

Good lord, no.

Ralph said...

My wife loves Kashi Go Lean
I've tried a lot of cereals and that has to be the most tasteless one ever made. Hoping it was good for me, I ate about a dozen boxes over the last couple of years, with about 5 pounds of sugar. Per box. There's still a box in my cupboard, and it may never be opened. Can I mail it to you?

At first, I thought Kashi was a Japanese brand. If Kellogg's owns it, it certainly loses it's cachet.

1jpb said...

"So I think the Palladian/Althouse box duo is a go, depending how 'gay' of a 'gay face' Palladian can make."

Doesn't a man (sort of) choosing to be called Athena count for anything?

Paul Zrimsek said...

They've been trying to expand into the youth market with Friends With Benefits vereal but there's been a bit of legal trouble over the picture on the box.

MadisonMan said...

which doesn’t seem to tickle your fine central Wisconsin sensibilities.

Since when is Madison in central Wisconsin? That's Stevens Point territory!

Pogo said...

I think I'll wait unti Kellogg's makes a Kashi brand of cereal made from leftovers from other cereal runs that used to be discarded, combined with recycled cereal boxes and floor sweepings.

Call it Mother Jones' No Wastees, the first true enviro-friendly cereal.
On the cover would be a stern but pretty pan-ethnic 50 year old ex-hippie Earth Mother and her catch-phrase: There are starving kids in Darfur! Don't make baby Gaia cry.

Plus FREE for sending in 25 boxtops, a hairshirt emblazoned with Earth Mother's photo, wagging her finger, Clinton-style.

From Inwood said...

Maybe the NYT can do an article on the art of cereal boxes & the real anti-Norman Rockwell/Wheaties agenda of these pix or something else you guys might have missed.

Or maybe the pseudo-scientific body-language guru on O'Reilly can do a segment on these pix.

Or maybe Prof A can tie this stuff into her vomiting entry.

rightwingprof said...

That soy bar commercial with the Olive Oil-esque character is fairly disturbing.

Paul Brinkley said...

I think they should show more than just racial harmony. Imagine the Kashi box possibilities!

a sweet 10-year-old girl and a wizened centenarian man
a head cheerleader and a geek
an elf and an orc
a hippie and an ASIMO
any two Vikings
McCain and Obama
David Corn and James Pinkerton
DrillSgt and downtownlad

howzerdo said...

I have never seen the Good Friends variety in stores here (upstate NY) and I agree those claims are strange but I love many other Kashi products! Can I get a free box of stuff too?

veni vidi vici said...

"I had some Bob Evans' placemats for over a decade until a dog ate them, advertising dessert."

You must have an interesting household, if a dog eating the placemats signals that dessert is on its way.

Pundit Joe said...

The Kashi marketing seems to appeal to a person's ego in a slightly smarmy fashion. Smarmy cereal? Oh boy. As a result, I have never tried it. I ain’t one for putting on airs. Heh heh

James said...

Ha, Geo, you kill me. When do you start your own blog??