Pacific Ties: An Ode to SPAM

SPAM.  No, I am not talking about the hundreds of junk email that you receive on a daily basis.  I am talking about the pink meat that comes in the blue can.

First introduced to the American public in 1937 as “HORMEL Spiced Ham”, SPAM has survived the Great Depression, World War II, the psychedelic turbulence of the 60’s, and the hair metal bands of the 80’s.  Since then, SPAM has gone global.

SPAM Luncheon Meat has been a fixture in my diet for as long as I can remember.  SPAM with rice, in soups, the occasional salad when I’m dieting, California rolls, and whatever else I can think of at the time.  And I cannot forget my discovery of SPAM musubi while I lived in Hawaii.  Made of simply of rice, seaweed wrap, and a fried slice of SPAM, it is an ode to THE MEAT.

You may be asking yourself, “What’s with the love?”  The answer is simple:  SPAM is getting a bad reputation.  I am here to defend it.  Sure, it’s mystery meat.  Yes, there is that gelatin that coats it.  And it really has no nutritional value.  But, it has its good qualities.  It’s easy to prepare, can replace meat in any recipe, portable, and cheap.  On a college budget and the raise in tuition, how else can you survive?

Some of you know what I am talking about.  Those of you who go to the grocery store and sneak that can of SPAM into the cart, or those who cannot walk past the monument of SPAM in an Asian market without paying homage.  There is a reason why Hawaii and some Asian countries have the highest consumption of SPAM in the world.  Some even consider it a delicacy.

I can remember so many mornings, the smell of SPAM traveling into my room and awakening me from deep slumber.  I would go into the kitchen and watch my mother fry up my breakfast, and then she would send me off to school with my SPAM California roll.  SPAM is a link to my past; it is a part of me.

SPAM is also a part of your identity.  Do not deny it any longer!

I am here to beg you all to let go of your inhibitions, go against the norm, and declare your love for SPAM.  Put on your SPAM memorabilia, visit the SPAM museum in Austin, Minn., learn the history at SPAM.com, join the fan club, walk down the sidewalk carrying SPAM on a fork, or simply open a can, fry up a few slices, and enjoy your delicious meal.  Whatever you do, do it true to SPAM.

In conclusion, quoting the great and fantastic band Save Ferris, “Forget your O-S-C-A-R. There’s one meat by-product that’s best by far.  It’s S-P-A-M!”

Mmm…burgers: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Being a West Coaster for most of my life, I didn’t even know what White Castle was until I saw the poster for “Harold and Kumar.” After my uncle told me it was a fast-food joint, I was curious as to why Harold and Kumar went. In truth, what initially attracted me to the film was the fact that two Asian Americans, John Cho and Kal Penn, were cast as the leads. Yeah, there was Better Luck Tomorrow, in which Cho also starred, but this movie was bigger and well-funded.

On the surface, the story is the typical stoner epic with gross humor and outrageous events thrown in. Boys get high. Boys get the munchies. Boys go through hell to get the cravings satisfied. However, a twist is added: the boys are Asian American.

In their quest for White Castle sliders, the boys are confronted by the white “extremists,” a group of guys obsessed into making everything “X-treme.” They are the oppressors, the enemy dedicated to foil the heroes’ plans. Yes, their racism is X-treme and X-aggerated, but it serves to point out some of the racist tendancies still inherent in American society. People still laugh at the comedic portrayl of South Asian convienent store owners (*cough*Apu*cough*), but most people do not realize that there are obstacles in the path of immigrants to go beyond the small business owner.

Racism was also personified by the white policement, determined to arrest all minorities. Harold finds himself jailed with an African American, arrested for “DWB” (Driving While Black).

Harold and Kumar, along with all the other racial minorities depicted in the film, finally got their revenge–the X-tremists were exposed to be “posers” that rocked out to Wilson Phillips and arrested for drug possession, the racist police department was dismantled, the white guys at work were caught in their lies, and Harold and Kumar get their sliders.

The movie tried to address serious issues concerning race relations in the United States. The discrimination against racial minorities were magnified to bring out the absurdity of the practice. By joking about racism, the movie showed that you did not have to be white to be American. The freedom to smoke pot and go to fast food joints is available to all, no matter race, creed, or religion; it is the American way.

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