Burb Rocking
Friday, April 28, 2006
  Worlds of BlāK
Yep, Coca-Cola BlãK returns as promised (spelling it the way it appears on the bottles at the store - for now). Time to throw out some links - easily found on Google or Yahoo, of course, but I'm doing the work for the Dear Reader, which is a major point of blogging in the first place. Here's link Number One: Syrup (Amazon.com). Read it for a laugh. If I've learned anything in my several decades on this planet, it's that we could all use a laugh.

Yes, this book by Max Barry (infamous in the gaming world for his black comedy starring the title character, heroine Jennifer Government, soon to be a movie - really!) well predates Coca-Cola BlãK. So much of this crap we see happening in the world boils down to markets and marketing. Which, of course, really means money.

Does anybody remember when they got rid of the original Coca-Cola to introduce New Coke?

As should be obvious from the afore-mentioned several decades on this planet, I, for one, remember. A Coke addict at the time (anyone at the FBI reading this?), I saved a few bottles of original Coke and rationed it out after the original stuff went off the market (gave one 2-liter bottle away as a gift at a wedding - yes, I really did). After the New Coke fiasco ended and "Coca-Cola Classic" came on-line, I compared the two. (Remember, I used to be a participant on a site called Conspiracy Theory.) Only after tasting it and noticing a difference. The ingredients had been changed. Original Coca-Cola contained sugar. Coca-Cola Classic contained corn syrup. There were no other differences that I can recall.

Sugar costs money. It has to come here from other countries. So it has been steadily replaced by the cheaper alternative. America's current corn syrup addiction helps keep the corn industry going. On the plus side, it helps farmers (though, increasingly, that really means large corporate farming operations, as opposed to smaller independent family-run farms). On the minus side of the equation, however, corn syrup may be the leading contributor to America's obesity problem.

Though I've done absolutely no research other than to compare the ingredients on the side of a can of original Coca-Cola to those on the side of a can of Coca-Cola Classic, my conclusion is this: The New Coke fiasco was engineered so the producers of the most popular product of all time could switch out sugar and replace it with corn syrup. Result? America (and the rest of the world's Coke-drinking population) got fukked by the switch. Now check out the Amazon link supplied above, whose text begins like this:

Lampooning corporate "ethics," sexual politics and the marketing and film industries, this clever debut satire by 25-year-old Australian writer Barry will have readers nodding in agreement and quoting it to their friends. Ingenuous new marketing graduate Scat (he feels that his full name, Michael George Holloway, just won't do for a career in marketing) moves to L.A. hoping to become rich and famous. After he gets a million-dollar idea for a new cola product, cheeky and arrogant Scat approaches a beautiful, ruthless marketing manager named 6 at Coca-Cola. The new product's name is, hilariously, a "dirty" word, spelled unconventionally and in stylish font on a black can...

(By the way, I believe the Coke BlãK-Coke [expletive deleted] connection first popped up on BrainFuel - this insight does not originate with Yours Truly.)

The same sweetener issue plagues BlãK (see Consumer Reports' Taste Test: Coke Blak). The French version really is better, as hinted in the previous post.

The Coca-Cola Company isn't pioneering into new territory here. Try Answers.com and you'll see Pepsi got there first. Three times. Perhaps most famously with Pepsi Kona, now a collectible on eBay. (My favorite part of the eBay link? "This drink is not consumable.") Now might be a good time to lay up a stockpile of Coke BlãK - just in case. That, at least, is the opinion of BevNET.

Getting back to the people at BrainFuel, very likely brought together by a mutual love of Starbucks (from the Pointing Out the Obvious Department: "brain fuel"), here's one of their favorite books: Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time. Having that having-come-full-circle feeling? Or maybe just the this-rambling-about-Coca-Cola BlāK-has-been-going-on-too-long feeling? Okay, time to get to "Worlds of BlāK."

So far: gaming world (honorable mention); marketing world (overindulgence in this syrupy stuff); literary world (2-book foray). What about the mystical world of artist-poet William Blake? If that's a macron appearing in the name of Coke's new product, then that's a long "ā" and the rules of free association permit - perhaps even require - introducing this English genius. To some, that logic may sound unconvincing, but check this out:


(If you want more, a couple of places to try: Magister - Art of William Blake; Ferret Image Repository: ENGL - Blake Collection.)

Case not overstated. William Blake may be the best artist England ever produced; he was certainly a visionary, seeing with a consciousness that was of his time while also being well beyond it. Which is one reason the second image was chosen. There stands Los, opening a door into the otherworld, his right eye on what is behind him (the Past, the Reader, the Material World), while the corner of his left eye glimpses the uncreated world ahead (the Future, the Creator, the Spiritual Realm). (See Web Gallery of Art, Los Entering the Grave for a better and more in-depth appraisal.) Blake, whether he knew it or not (and, mystic that he was, he probably knew it), was in pursuit of the Grail, a story of redemption, of second chances, of opposites united in the name of a greater whole rather than hurled against one another in the name of all-out annihilation. Healing. Blake was rebelling, not with destructive violence, but with constructive creativity, against the repressive times in which he lived. (A glimpse of his critique of England, aka Albion: Web Gallery of Art, Los Resting from His Labours.) Why should experience and the senses be bad? Why should Heaven and Hell be at war? No surprise, therefore, that his works include Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Here is an image of redemption as good as anything offered by Danté: Reunion.

On the subject of Hell, is it time to address murder in Hollywood? The dark side, which is why all I'm providing is the link.

There's really no way to bring this back around to coffee and Coca-Cola BlāK. So, instead, here's a poem about the dark energy of creation, and I'll leave you to guess the author:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Great post! I enjoyed ;-)

I wanted to mention this blog:


lots of syrupy stuff there
Thanks : )

By the way, if food smells good, it's good for you. Checked out the blog. Ah, food, you have this wonderful power over us - ich bein ein Accidental Hedonists!
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