Saturday, 24 February 2018

Finger Lickin' Research

[Apparently from]

I would now like to offer my readers a 'so what?' moment. How banal and stereotypical it is to jump out of the bath and run down the corridor ululating εὕρηκα! Now, you will be able to slither across the wet tiles shouting "so what?" I am presuming, of course, that you are reading this in the bath, which may prove fatal if the electronic device on which you are reading it is plugged into the mains and inadvertently makes contact with the bathwater.

Few US states are commonwealths: Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, of course, but also Kentucky. On its leading citizens, the Commonwealth of Kentucky bestows the title of 'colonel' in honoris causa. And so, thanks to large quantities of fried chicken and a fortuitous friendship with the Governor, we arrive at Harland D. Sanders (1890-1980), a 'Kentucky Colonel', who all but invented franchising. He started that process when the opening of Interstate 75 left his roadside restaurant and gas station bereft of customers. All he was left with was his savings and £105 a month from Social Security. In 1964, after 14 years of travelling around to open new outlets, Sanders sold most of the franchising rights. He remained as an 'ambassador' for the brand, which meant that he was constantly visiting KFC restaurants. If he did not like the cooking, with many expletives, he would dump the food upside down on the floor. The problem was that the new owners of the KFC franchise had cheapened the recipe. Sanders went on record to say that they had turned his great culinary invention into wallpaper paste, and he explained that observation in some detail.

What is there to learn from this? On the one hand, this information can be used to indulge in the luxury of a full-blooded 'so what?' moment. Alternatively, things are often not what they seem: First of all, Sanders was from Indiana, not Kentucky. Secondly, he had standards that were definitely higher than those his business eventually perpetuated. Thirdly, he knew all about wallpaper paste. Hence, that which is obvious may also be wrong. Sometimes, conventional wisdom can be mere foolishness, or laziness. Thirdly, things rarely turn out as expected. Who would have predicted that Sanders would become more of an icon in Beijing than Mao? Yet it is so. But not Sanders the man, Sanders the icon, the abstraction. Sometimes the figuration, or abstraction, of reality is more real than reality itself. So take it or leave it. But if you leave it, take nothing on trust, look beneath the surface, verify rather than assume, do not be ruled by your prejudices, strive to understand objective reality.

I thank Wikipedia for most of the factual information. Fast knowledge about fast food.


Evans, S. 2016. The face you can't avoid in China. BBC News, 13 January 2016