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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Post# 203 - Jesse James Barbecue Sauce - An Outlaw for a Mascot?

Everybody has something that gets them revved up.  This man is passionate about Jesse James.  I admire his passion and I think that while things got a little bumpy, we ended on a good note.  Try his sauce!
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My letter to Jesse James Barbecue Sauce, sent 6/10/11:

Dear Jesse James,

I love your sauce.  Love isn't a strong enough word.  I adore it.  I dip everything in your Honey Sauce.  Chicken, cucumbers, apple wedges, and even a glazed doughnut.

Like a lot of the seven-year-old kids these days, my son has taken a real interest in the old west.  Jensen and his sidekicks Lucas and Milo, re-enact the gunfight at the OK Corral, as well as Custer's Last Stand.  He even incorporated your sauce into his role playing, using it as "blood."

Last week, Jensen had to do a report for his class, on a celebrity.  He chose Jesse James.  As I read his report, his following question rang true: "How can you eat that sauce?"  I continued eating and he continued judging.  Deep down, I realized I had to change my sauce brand. 

As it turns out, Jesse was somewhat of a doosher.   Jesse James, aside from being a murderer, may have owned slaves, and definitely married his cousin.  When a company is starting out, deciding on a mission statement, etc., how do they settle on a racist, murdering inbreeder?  How does that pass the "laugh test?"  More importantly, why didn't I think of this while I was dunking, dipping, slathering, and at one point, drinking your sauce right from the bottle. 

Buying your sauce equates to celebrating a villain and being a bad role model for my son and his friends.   If you squint at the bottle long enough, it starts to look like blood.  Lots of blood.  Blood in a bottle.  Blood in the streets, perpetuated by large companies glorifying killers.  Who is behind this?  Big tobacco?

Why not choose someone more positive, like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, or the guy that landed that plane in the Hudson?  What's next?  Charles Manson Sauce?

Sincerely,

Jerry
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From: Ray at Jesse James Sauces
Subject: RE: Jesse James Sauces
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011

WE ARE SORRY TO HEAR THAT YOU WON’T BE ENJOYING THE SUPERIOR TASTE AND QUALITY OF “JESSE JAMES” SAUCES. ALTHOUGH JESSE JAMES WAS A KNOWN KILLER, HE WAS ALSO AN AMERICAN HERO DURING THE WAR. AND ALTHOUGH HE MAY HAVE HAD “SLAVES” AS YOU PUT IT, THERE IS NO PROOF OF THE ACCUSATION. BY THE SAME TOKEN, DOC HOLLIDAY AS WELL AS WYATT EARP, WERE BOTH CRIMINALS AND KNOWN KILLERS, YET YOU ALLOW YOUR SON AND FRIENDS TO EMULATE THE FAMOUS GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL… REALLY? AND WHAT ABOUT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY? KNOWN SLAVE OWNERS ALL OF THEM. JESSE JAMES SERVED AND FOUGHT FOR THIS COUNTRY IN NOT ONE BUT TWO WARS. THE MAN THAT MURDERED JESSE JAMES WAS OSTRESIZED AND OUTCAST BY SOCIETY FOR THE COWARDICE ACT OF MURDERING A MAN WITH HIS BACK TURNED. THAT MAN, ONE OF THE FORD BROTHERS IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW LATER COMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE HE COULDN’T TAKE SOCIETIES RIDICULE FOR THAT MURDER.
MAYBE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIND FAULT WITH AMERICAN HISTORY, WHY NOT TRY CHECKING WITH THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FOR THE ACTUAL FACTS.

TAKE CARE
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My response, sent 6/10/2011:
Dear Ray,

Wow—you went all caps on me.  I will say this—your passion for Jesse James is admirable. 
Each of us is passionate about something.  In your case, it’s a man who, along with his brother Frank, Encyclopedia Britannica describes as being “among the most notorious outlaws of the American west, engaging robberies,  that came to typify the hazards of the 19th-century frontier as it has been portrayed in motion-picture westerns.”  Your war hero robbed trains, stage coaches and banks from Iowa to Alabama and Texas, in one instance, wearing a KKK mask.  Your war hero was part of a guerrilla force that killed civilians, executed prisoners, and scalped and dismembered the dead.
I’m just curious which facts I was so far off on that I’m being sentenced to a trip to the library of congress.  I stated that he was a killer, that he married his cousin, MAY have had slaves, and was a racist.  The only point of contention, in my mind, is your view of “a hero” versus mine.
You called into question my parenting.  Yes, in the past, I let my son engage in simulated re-enactments without performing background checks on the characters.  I also allowed him to pin a tail on a donkey at a party, and whack at make-believe moles in a simulated exercise that stresses sensory response and hand-eye coordination.  I allowed him to perform a computer simulation whereby he would use a slingshot and trajectory skills to destroy structures and pigs with birds.   I admit my wrongdoing, and have changed my parenting methods.  I’m wondering if you’re willing to do the same regarding your sauce mascot.  
1)      I like how you start out—“Although Jesse James was a known killer…”   That’s like saying, “Although Ted Kaczynski was a known killer, he was a remarkably punctual with his library books and movie rentals.” 
2)      Maybe Holliday and Earp were known criminals—you’d know better than me.  Obviously you rented Tombstone.   Maybe the likes of Washington, Pinckney, Mason and Blair owned slaves.  Does that somehow make it right?  I’d be writing the same letter if you had “Thomas Jefferson” sauce.   Isn’t all of this really beside the point?  Mother Theresa didn’t.  Neither did Gandhi.  Those were my examples of positive people.
3)      You mentioned that ALL of our founding fathers were slave-owners.  Not so fast.  Did Sam Adams?  John Adams?  Alexander Hamilton?  John Jay?  Thomas Paine?   In fairness to your point, Ben Franklin owned them, but freed them and started the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society.  I guess we can research that further on library day.
4)      The man who murdered Jesse James was, in fact, a murderer and should have been ostracized.  I wasn’t sure what you were getting at there.  Were you trying to state that the alienation and suicide lend credence to your selection of Jesse James as your sauce’s patron saint?  If so,  I’ve got to say, that’s some weak sauce.
5)      You state that I’m trying to find fault with history.  Not true.  I understand that history is full of colorful characters, story lines and sub plots.  I don’t find fault with history.  I find fault with a company that glorifies a known killer. 


Face it, Jesse James couldn’t hack it today. With all of the surveillance cameras, low-jack, night vision, satellite imaging and special task forces, he’d be shot dead getting ice for his Zima from the machine at the Super 8. If Jesse James were alive and in his prime today, would you really want him pushing your sauce?

YOU take care.  Better protect that caps-lock key.  Somebody’s going to sneak in there and steal it.

Thank you,


Jerry
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 From: Ray at Jesse James Sauces
Subject: RE: Jesse James SaucesDate: Fri, 10 Jun 2011


NO PROBLEM JERRY… I PERSONALLY DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING I READ ANYWAY. TAKE CARE.
BY THE WAY, I ALWAYS USE CAPS.
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1 comment:

  1. WELL I GUESS HE TOLD YOU. Of course, you told him much better - more literate & I could actually read all the way through your letters.
    This has to be my favorite exchange you've posted!

    ReplyDelete