A battle rages, and were I one who prefers his breakfast delivered from a restaurant window through my car window, I’d be caught up in the hostilities.
On one side, Taco Bell’s new offerings to the on-the-go breakfast crowd—the Waffle Taco and the AM Crunchwrap. On the other, the breakfast-market-share-leading McDonald’s and its iconic Egg McMuffin. Just about every article I’ve read has described the two fast-fooderies as engaged in the “breakfast wars” as they “battle it out” for the $50 million breakfast market. TB is “taking aim” at MickeyD’s. “Shots have been fired,” a “salvo” has been launched, a “bomb” dropped, “heavy artillery” rolled out. McDonald’s will not be “ceding ground” however; in offering free coffee for the next two weeks, it has “fired back” with “coffee cannons.”
Well, metaphors structure how we see and understand, so perhaps journalists describing the thrust and parry of two corporate giants as a battle for the hearts and minds and palates of breakfasters everywhere isn’t so unusual. It’s a no-brainer, actually. And that is the problem.
What are we to make of the herd-mentality journalism; the lazy, cliché-mongering, carnival-barking journalism; and, ultimately, the cynical journalism that uses threadbare metaphor to attract and churn up our interest in skirmishes over the vehicles by which eggs, meat, and cheese are delivered? Why is it that the important questions are never raised: why do we break so fast to be breakfasted? What drives us through the drive through? And how did a simple ritual of daily home life get outsourced to corporate griddles, fryers, and microwaves?
Who asked if roses wanted to be smelled and would rather that passersby not stop to sniff? Who questioned if they had any desire at all to symbolize someone’s love or if they wanted their buds to be gathered? Who wondered if lilies in their fields wished to be considered untoiling or wanted to be gilded? Who inquired whether or not apples aspired to keep doctors away, or be American pied, or compared to oranges, or be in anyone’s eye or cheek, or represent the means of humanity’s fall? Did grapes consent to being known as wrathful? Who had considered whether some potatoes preferred or be known as potahtoes, or even cared about how the vowel was pronounced? Would pickles appreciate being considered as no-win situations? Did anyone seek to know if daisies wanted to relinquish their freshness, or prunes their wrinkledness or peaches their fuzz? Perhaps peas do not want to share a pod. Were olives OK with their branches being held out as a token of peace, or cherries with being gathered in life’s bowl, or carrots with being associated with sticks?
Did they want to be clichéd? Who consulted them? Who asked permission for their otherness, or even thought to?