Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Organic Yogurt

My organic yogurt tastes sweet.

It makes me curious since I can't seem to find sugar in its listed ingredients. Upon further investigation though, I find the curiously worded "evaporated cane juice". "That's sugar" - my third grade science education saves me from puzzlingly over this myth for the rest of my life.

But I feel almost guilty. We are not suppose to think through these things. We like our yogurt organic and low-fat, we like sweet taste to help our happy digestion, but we don't like the word "sugar" on our otherwise healthy yogurt. "Evaporated cane juice", the geeky sound of it makes us feel so much better.

In Chinese idioms, there was a fable about "three in the morning, four for the evening". Once was a man who raised monkeys, he became poorer and had to bargain to cut their food. "I'd promise each of y9u three chestnuts in the morning and four for the evening." The monkeys were angry, "How can you treat us so poor!". "Then how about four in the morning and three in the evening?" the man re-offered. "That's much better", the monkeys were satisfied with his concession and jumped off triumphantly.

The modern day version of the story in the U.S. is probably presidential election. I don't know Barack Obama would keep his promises without raising taxes, nor do I know how McCain would balance his budget by cutting Pork Barrel Projects. No matter, all we care is whether Palin sounds stupid in interviews or eloquent in debates, or what "pro-America" really means. With Peggy Noonan weighting with mighty wordsmithship, is there any doubt this is more of a battle of words than anything else? Inside-out China lead to to an interesting article about verbage, but I see us more of prisoners of words. The challenge of the art is how to tell us we are in trouble without saying the word "trouble", or in McCains case, how to reassure the fundamental is sound without uttering the word "sound". Modern Homo Sapiens are not that different from old-time primates.

Certains words are to be avoided. While I'd love to be in that room to see the drama, no one in the media would utter nationalization or sociolization outright. If we were to sustain bailouts and revamps without otherwise changing our economic habit or raising our own taxes, we will sure shedding some of our burden to the next generation. But we don't want to hear that, we prefer to call it economic "smoothing". The chinese, being an old civilization surely understand the power of words, how else can you find naked capitalism basking under the glory of socialism? In a new market de-regulation, the China Security Overseeing Commitee calls the newly allowed short selling "security financing" (融券). My suspicion is that "shorting" would sound too much capitalist and unpleasant.

Give us our sweet yogurt, but never say sugar. You are in business.

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