OPINION: THE IDLE AMERICAN – Much Adieu About Malignment…

Published 7:26 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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   It’s just a guess when conversations about fruitcake headed south. But, if negative views of fruitcake began a few generations ago, malignment of the holiday dessert has run full bore since memory runneth not to the contrary.

Disdain for fruitcake is stacking up. The many tentacles of naysayers are clutching the throats of folks who, down deep, really delight in its sweetness but hate to admit it.

They don’t want to join the ranks of “boat-rockers,” choosing instead to join the choruses of fruitcake critics. Deep within me, however, is a craving for fruitcake throughout the year, and sometimes the cake that made Corsicana, TX, famous is not to be found.

Yep, fruitcake continues to get a “bad rap.” It remains a favorite gift, however, wrapped with a chuckle that it may be eaten or used as a doorstop. It also can be retained to give away next Christmas to “friends” we don’t really like to start with.

If fruitcake were an automobile, it would be an Edsel, a brand that skidded quickly to a stop.  Truly, few foods are more maligned than the fruitcake. It could be the “poster picture” for malignment.

(The word “malignment” has many synonyms, some of which we’ve never heard before. The list includes spiteful, defamation, slander, misrepresentation, calumniate, traduce, denigrate, disparage, slur, derogate, abuse, revile, asperse and vilipend. How many of you find calumniate, traduce, asperse, derogate and vilipend to be unfamiliar?)

Wayda minute. We have drifted aimlessly from our initial topic. Whether COVID is blamed–or whether ships languishing in the Pacific with unloaded cargo are at fault–inflation has shown up quickly. Cost of pecans–front and center requirements for fruitcake–has skyrocketed.

Pray tell, what costs haven’t shot skyward?

With ordinary shelled pecans selling in stores at $12-$14 a pound, recipes for fruitcake are bound to change. We may have to find some other item for the dimly-lighted airheads in our land whom we refer to as being “nuttier” than.

With the premise that more people eat fruitcake than admit it, please note that Corsicana’s Collin Street Bakery foregoes substantial advertising because it simply isn’t needed. Their employees work long hours for months before Christmas simply to meet ongoing annual demand.

One can’t say that about automobile manufacturers, and several others whose charge for whatever they’re offering for sale would be substantially less if they didn’t spend ad money by the tens of millions for us to see TV ads we know by heart.

How about that GMC TV ad that promotes pickup trucks that have more features than the next rocket blasting into space?

I chuckle every time I see that good-looking couple, standing on a snowbank in a close embrace. “I’ve got something for you,” the guy purrs before giving a shrill whistle to summon a frisky dog that bounds straight into her arms. Then she responds that she likewise has a gift, her almost-as-shrill whistle preceding a GMC pickup truck charging toward them through the snow. Immediately, he starts his cheek-to-fender “love gush” for his new vehicle.

Let’s get real. Most men know that spouses would rather choose their own pet, and most women wouldn’t dare try to pick-out their mate’s pickup trucks. In another GMC ad, he’s the one “gifting” a couple of GMC vehicles, differing only in color, his blue and hers red. She claims to “love blue,” and he admits that “red’s not bad,” so they switch immediately. Okay, if we get real again, how many people do you know who have $200,000 to fund gifts for each other?

Wanderer that I am, failure to stick with my introductory fruitcake topic is admitted. So, I’ll go ahead and add one final thought. May 2022 be a year of good health and much happiness for you, and those you love.

Dr. Newbury was a longtime university president who continues to write and speak regularly. He may be contacted at 817-447-3872, or via email, newbury@speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: Don Newbury.