Why Do I Like Mountain Dew?

Being an American can be confusing sometimes, though because I have no intention of writing an extremely complicated political blog post, I’d like to focus on one aspect of my confusion in detail: snack food products. Namely, the fact that as an American I tend to like, well, pretty much everything. I’d love to know the reason for this. Why is it that I enjoy expensive wine and cheese, but also enjoy frozen corn dogs? How can I enjoy the subtlety of good sushi and the sledgehammer anti-subtlety of Flaming Hot Cheetos? The first is delicate, fresh, and is worth all the effort it takes to explore; the latter is about as delicate and fresh as a three-day old dead woodchuck, and the flavor isn’t something you explore, but rather that something that explores you. I’m not even sure you have to open a bag of Cheetos to taste them.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. A little while ago they started selling Mountain Dew in China. Mountain Dew belongs in that category of snack-food products which I really enjoy, but really shouldn’t. It’s ghastly, and no one really knows what’s in it. What is “Yellow #5,” for example? Why weren’t they able to use the previous four incarnations of yellow? Was it because those went wrong in some chemical plant and created some kind of super-virus? And what made the fifth attempt that much safer? See, these are questions we should be asking, but we don’t. Or at least I don’t. In China, whoever decided to market Mountain Dew displayed a great deal of boldness by not only refusing to hide the ultra-synthetic nature of the drink, but actually enhanced it by putting it in a bottle that’s the same neon-yellow/green color as the tarmac signalling batons they use at airports to wave in airplanes. They may be one and the same, for all I know. It alters the experience considerably when you feel like you’re drinking your beverage out of a highway cone. Well, that and the flavor, which is, and I know how this is going to sound, far more synthetic than the original. (!!!!) That’s a little like saying something is blacker than black, Mountain Dew being the standard-bearer for factory-produced non-foods. But somehow the factory in China managed to go one step further. It tastes like they threw it together in a Home Depot paint mixer.

So why have I willingly, cheerfully, bought it four or five different times? Is there something about me as an American, or perhaps as a world traveler, that allows me to tolerate, even desire, hideous as well as beautiful things? I’m sure there’s a reason somewhere.


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