Random Appropriation of the Day!

March 29, 2010 — 6 Comments

Via my friend Allison’s friend Kip–taken in Versailles, France. If you can’t tell, the orange peel is wearing a headdress, and the flavor is called “Indien” (you can click to make it bigger). It’s flavored with grenadine, which gives it the pinkish-red color. I was sitting here, trying to figure out the connection between grenadine and Indians–like were pomegranates indigenous to the New World or something? But grenadine is a French word!

Then my friend was like “duh Adrienne, they called it Indian because it’s RED.”

Sometimes, I guess I forget that not everything requires deep analysis and interpretation. Sometimes, it’s just straight up racist. Insensitivity ftw!

Also, if anyone out there speaks French and I’m missing something, please let me know.

(Thanks Allison!)

Adrienne K.

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  • http://sanguinity.livejournal.com/ sanguinity

    When I was in Paris a few years back, it was very clear that American Indians were kitsch/neat/cool/popular, that Parisians thought that Indiana is where the American Indians live, and likewise that American Indians eat curry. (Usually only pairwise combos of the above, but altogether, a consistent pattern and quite a mess.)

    Fr’ex, the Indiana cafes/restaurants/clubs, which uses a Plains Indian logo; and Speed Rabbit Pizza, which names many of its pizzas after U.S. geography, with the “Indiana” pizza being topped with curry sauce.

    (The other possibility, of course, is that Parisians are quite clear that “Indiana”, “American Indians”, and “curry” are all distinct, and they’re just having fun punning around with English words. But it didn’t feel that way. It got to the point that whenever I saw the word “Indiana”, I knew there was going to be a trainwreck attached to it.)

    Which is to say that, yeah, your example could be as straightforward as “Indians are red.” No other pop culture references to Indians that I saw were any subtler than that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04901157820779687718 Adrienne K.

    The Indiana/American Indian connection is definitely a new one to me…how funny! but really interesting stuff, thanks for the info. :)

  • http://laceandunlace.wordpress.com/ Ninouchka

    Hi Adrienne!

    This is a very interesting blog, really, I’m happy I came across it (via Sociological Images).

    I’m French, and discovered this Orangina version a few weeks ago when my boss’s daughter threw a party and had all these crazy drinks I had never seen.

    Orangina have that orange “Indien” one, and also a green one, that they call “Cow Boy” (Here’s a picture: http://labulledejul.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/7d94611177angina.jpg ).

    Don’t ask me how they taste though, I wasn’t brave enough to try them!

    Anyway, I just wanted to react to what Sanguinity wrote, if I may…

    I cannot say how many times I have seen confusion in people’s mind between American Indian and Indian, here in France, but also between all kind of religions, people, cultures… It makes me tired, really.

    I’m from a “bi cultural” (if you can say so in English) family, which gives me the chance to see how unwilling people are to try and understand the differences between one culture/country/whatever and another: it always seems so easy and tempting for them to assimilate everything together, that they just don’t care.

    Advertising, marketing and more generally mass media don’t help here: you’ll always find annoying assimilation… and don’t expect people to look for other information by themselves. :-(

    Of course, this kind of thinking isn’t representative of all us French people… but it sums up well what advertising and media use to make us buy stupid products…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04901157820779687718 Adrienne K.

    Thanks Ninouchka! How interesting that they created the cowboy/indian dynamic…I wonder how that affects my theory about the color of the “Indien” flavor? thanks so much for your insight!

  • finette

    (I’m here from Sociological Images too. Your blog is great!)

    Oh. Oh god, it gets worse. As Ninouchka said, there is also a “Cowboy” (mint) flavor. The “Indien”/grenadine flavor is represented in advertising by a muscular male puma complete with war paint, feathers, and loincloth, while “Cowboy”/mint is represented by a…sexy lady horse with breasts. Orangina has been getting a lot of attention in recent years with these creepy sexualized animals in their advertising, and as you can see if you watch the clips in the post above they are just continuing the theme with these new flavors.

    That post does explain that people were ordering Orangina “Indien” and “Cowboy” in bars and restaurants a long time before the brand caught on and started selling them pre-mixed. Since regular Orangina has been around since the ’30s and sold in mainland France since 1951 (before that it was marketed in Algeria which was still a French territory), I’m guessing those popular names probably arose when “Cowboys and Indians” movies and TV shows were the rage in the ’50s or ’60s. One would hope that somebody at Orangina (now owned by Cadbury Schweppes) would have realized that adopting those names was a really bad idea, but apparently not.

  • http://laceandunlace.wordpress.com/ Ninouchka

    I totally agree with you Finette: these adverts are completely creepy… I wonder how they could find such a crazy idea. :-/