Your RDA of Irony

A World Without Absoluts

Absolut Vodka had a very clever ad running in Mexico. Presenting a picture of an Absolut–which to say Perfect–world, the ad showed a map of Mexico circa 1830. If you were under the impression that Texas, California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico were named for shires in England, that old map would indicate otherwise. Of course, all that territory was purchased in a fire sale in 1848. (The fires were in Veracruz, Monterey and Mexico City–but there is no need to dwell on who set those fires.) For some reason, the Mexican public found the ad quite amusing.

Of course, in an Absolut World no one North of the Rio Grande would have seen that ad, threatened a boycott and forced the vodka manufacturer to apologize.

Now I have to wonder what other maps were part of that Absolut campaign. Germany in 1942 would be too tactless. Italians might be a bit nostalgic for that time when the Mediterranean Sea was a Roman bath, when Londinium and Alexandria were their suburbs. But probably not; the Italians are not longing to rule Britannia and Aegyptus when they are not interested in governing themselves. The French, however, would enjoy an Absolut map of 1750 avec tout Amerique Nord; after all, they have yet to admit losing the Seven Years War.

Of course, if Absolut really wants people longing for the past, there would be ads of the 8th century Caliphate. One realm, from Spain to India, and where the Jews knew their place–which was to have none at all. The Absolut map would be so popular that the grateful Arabs might take up drinking.

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