Innocents in Amazon can look forward to expanding frontiers of fast food

On unknown tribes, McHaggis

Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2001

An unknown tribe is spotted

Scientists have recently announced the discovery of a previously unknown tribe of Indians indigenous to darkest Brazil. The tribe was said to have been detected during an airplane flight above them.

I can only imagine what it must be like for them to be flown over by what is essentially a UFO.

Researchers will travel 2,486 miles by boat, along the Amazon and its tributaries, to learn more about the tribe that lives in the frontier near the boarders of Colombia and Peru.

A story on MSNBC states that the Javari Valley, only accessible by boat, is home to other uncontacted tribes, such as the Marubo, Canamari and Culian. What I want to know is: Do they know how good the name "Marubo, Canamari and Culian" would be for a law firm? (Blatant homage to Dave Barry.)

The same story quotes an official from Brazil's National Indian Foundation that the new tribe will not be contacted, just studied.

What's up with that? I say walk right up to them, extend the hand of peace, filled with shiny trinkets, and say "howdy."

Why beat around the bush? If these researchers, who I'm sure have all sorts of good intentions, skulk about the perimeter of the tribe's territory, it's a very good chance that they may fall into leopard traps onto pungi sticks smeared with tree frog saliva and die a horrible death.

Besides, who are these "officials" to deny this primitive tribe all the benefits of the modern world? Don't these indigenous people have the right to determine for themselves whether they want to become mindless consumers like the rest of us?

Who are we to say they can't enjoy the life-affirming benefits of cable television, Sega DreamCast, and PalmPilots? Or $4 cups of coffee, frozen pizza and Cinnamon Altoids? What about cell phones, fast cars, eBay, and "Bay Watch"?

Don't you think their children want to wear Old Navy once they see the TV commercials? Shouldn't they get a chance to have Regis crown them a millionaire? Just think of the advantage they would have on "Survivor III: Into the Amazon."

How much better would their world be if they had a computer on the tree stump in the middle of their grass shack, powered by a hand crank just like me? They can Yahoo! like the rest of us. Who is this National Indian Foundation to deny Bill Gates the God-given right to sell them Windows ME?

These innocent people will need computer skills to survive once the Amazon, 23,000 times the size of Liechtenstein, is plowed asunder to make room for cattle ranches to supply the rest of us with fast food hamburgers.

Which brings us to ...

McHaggis

I had one of those new Johnsonville bratwursts at McDonald's the other day. I would not have otherwise bought one if it wasn't $1 with an extra value meal, but I was pleasantly surprised when I ate it.

It was good, not sausage-like or hotdog-like, but decidedly bratwurst-like.

Now, I have a co-worker, who will remain Jeff Helminiak, who is from The Land That Bratwurst Made Famous: Wisconsin. I know this for a fact, because the plaque on his car says it was bought from the city in America with the most humorous name: Sheboygan. And because he is a bratwurst snob.

Yes, I said a bratwurst snob. He is known to have bratwurst shipped, via express mail, from Sheboygan when his supplies run low. I admit to liking very much his beer-boiled brat dish.

A quick aside, and another shout out to Barry, "Bratwurst Snob" would make a great name for a rock band.

I've been telling Jeff that the McBratwurst is pretty good, at least to my untrained palate, but he won't hear of it. For some reason, sauerkraut served in a small plastic container doesn't appeal to him like it does me.

Now, the lowly hamburger had been around for sometime before McDonald's Ray A. Croc applied Henry Ford's assembly line theory to it, and it's never been the same -- they've been better. McDonald's gave up counting how many it has served at like 30 billion. Liking fast food burgers as I do, I, alone, have accounted for over 1 billion of the Big Macs consumed in the last 31 years. Check my waistband if you doubt me.

But I have a theory, prompted by McBratwurst: McDonald's is on a mission to someday McDonaldize all regional dishes in America, maybe even the world. Now, they aren't the only ones doing it. Anyone who's had chili at Wendy's will know what I'm talking about.

First, Mickey-D went after chicken, with the McNuggets. Fine. Then, it went after the salad, and once the McDonald's in Kodiak came up with McSalmon McBurgers.

Now, I can see the corporate office coming up with a McPhilly Cheesesteak sandwich rather easily, since all it is, is thinly sliced grilled Porterhouse, onions, American cheese and bell peppers on a hoagie bun. McDonald's employees can do that with their collective eyes closed.

I should know; I flipped burgers at one as a teen-ager.

As far as I know, there hasn't been McPizza, McPasta or McRocky Mountain Oysters -- yet. But once American regional cuisine is conquered, the international scene will have to be tapped.

McEscargot, McSushi, McBorscht, McVegimite, McLutefisk and McHaggis are right around the corner. Trust me, because the only difference between bratwurst and haggis -- a Scottish dish consisting of the heart, lungs and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onion and oatmeal and then boiled in the animal's stomach -- is that you leave the oatmeal out of the bratwurst.

All of which means the newly discovered tribesfolk in the darkest stretches of the Amazon jungle will soon be able to give up eating bugs and mangoes.

Jay Barrett is a reporter and photographer for the Peninsula Clarion.



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