Friday Night Thoughts About Vlad “Dracula”, His House and Who Might Be The Real Villain Here


You know, I’ve been hanging onto this photograph since summer, as it was taken during the medieval festival we went to in Sighisoara.

Long story short, on the day that Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes was born, his father was having some political trouble and so his family had removed to one of their “out of the way” manors, this one inside the medieval walls of Sighisoara.

That house is still standing. The photograph above was taken in its “back yard” so to speak, which is now a restaurant. Inside the house is some interesting artwork of Vlad but as far as I’m aware, none of it is original. The house itself of course is massive and quite interesting to explore, which you’re able to do (a little).

But out back it’s just a pleasant terasa, an outdoor cafe. I believe I had a coffee to drink. I know The Woman had some brownies with bechamel or something, which she dutifully reported to be quite delicious.

If you look at the top of the photograph and read backwards you can see it says “Casa De Vlad Dracula” and then half of the Coca-Cola logo. Yes. The Coca-Cola company paid the owners of the house and cafe and then put up awning emblazoned with their logo.

Somehow seeing that just made me sad and I guess I wasn’t quite sure why. It’s not like I’m actually Romanian, so seeing basically one of this country’s heroes, with his birthplace amazingly still intact after over 500 years, and now it’s got cheap advertising plastered all over it from a multinational corporation founded thousands of miles away in a country that didn’t even exist when he was alive, doesn’t really offend me, per se.

By a strange twist of serendipity (to this story anyway), I actually used to live on the former grounds of Mount Vernon, the family home of the hero of the United States, George Washington himself. Back in those days he owned a tremendous amount of land and over the years a lot of it got sold off, especially to his slaves. And so now regular people live on it and own it (including me).

But obviously it’s super close to what’s left of the original George Washington land and a ton of it still remains – the grounds are immense. Millions of dollars are spent every year on its upkeep and there are in-depth tours year round. It’s so large it even has its own post office (station) there.

I’m seriously trying to imagine what it would be like if Mt. Vernon was festooned with cheap banners from Tutti Frutti, a cheap Romanian soda (pop) that can be dangerously addictive.

Oops now I see it’s been re-branded to “Frutti Fresh” but as Karbeen Mafia say, re-rock is where you make all the money :P

But back to Mt. Vernon. What if little American kids came on a field trip to see Mt. Vernon where good old honest, tree-chopping George Washington sat on his rocker and thought presidential thoughts and then you get a glass of Tutti Frutti si paharul sus? I don’t know, somehow that scenario makes me laugh.

But Coca-Cola making what? A few hundred measly bucks profit a year? A couple thousand? And they can’t give that up ever under any circumstances?

Aesthetically it’s just crass as hell. I mean obviously they’re gonna push the product but at least lose that ugly banner. It’s like they’re saying right to your face “We own him and we own you too and what you gonna do about it?”

The advertising becomes so damn ubiquitous sometimes I’m surprised my facial hair doesn’t grow in patterns from trademarked symbols. Everything else is on its way to be branded half to death, so why not my hair too? Then I can see the Coca-Cola swoosh on my chin as I’m shaving and it’ll trigger me to pop out for a red can of the good stuff.

And frankly, let’s be honest. It’s Friday evening. Coca-Cola is evil as hell. Besides just the fact that it’s a can of osteoporosis and diabetes (2-for-1 special!) and all that other stuff you probably already know, I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t know.

It takes two liters of water to make one liter of Coca-Cola.

Not impressed? Hm. Let’s think about this. Obviously the EXACT secret of the “recipe” to make Coca-Cola is a secret but the ingredients are not. And it’s obviously about 98% water. The rest is additives like sugar (HCFS in USA), coloring, acid and preservatives.

Now imagine every single bottle or glass of Coca-Cola you’ve ever consumed in your life and double it, only the second group is filled with toxic water that essentially gets thrown away. Wheee…. billions of liters, goodbye.

Unless you live in or near a tropical area, making a cola drink at home is going to be a little difficult unless you’ve got access to some (legal) chemicals. But making your own soda in other flavors from ingredients you can get is incredibly easy. There are several different methods to choose from and they are all easily found online.

If you click on that link, you’ll see all four recipes (including) the video demonstration (done entirely in LowestCommonDenominator American English aka “How to Make Soda For Dummies”) say the same thing: Measure out a quantity of water equal to the amount of soft drink you want to make..

Now is that fact starting to impress you?

So why are Romanians in Sighisoara drinking Coca-Cola and not Americans in Mt. Vernon drinking Tutti Frutti?

Or better asked, why is almost everyone on the planet drinking the same drinks from the same multi-national corporations? Why doesn’t someone just buy a little equipment and begin selling local soda, using perhaps one liter of water to make one liter of drink?

And then the advertising begins to make sense. Clearly on the surface, it doesn’t. When billions of people are completely familiar with what Coca-Cola is. You could put me on a deserted island for 20 years and I still wouldn’t forget about Coca-Cola. Not to be crass but my retarded [family member redacted] knows exactly what Coca-Cola is, you know? And he’s lucky to tie his own shoes on a good day.

Sometimes when we think of advertising we think of “getting the word out” like oh hey here’s this new product and you didn’t know about it (or its new features) so here it is and you can respond by telling yourself, “Ah-ha, as a super smart product consumer I am intrigued and so I might check it out.”

No. Everyone knows what Coca-Cola is. Hell, half of you (and I?) might be tasting it in your mouth right now just because I keep mentioning it. So we know. We’re quite well programmed. We don’t need reminding every 50 meters on awnings, tables, napkins, stadium signs, billboards and on and on and on. I think I counted over 1,000 in Polus Mall alone (they’re even in the freaking rafters).

Or do we?

I think back to a stockholder’s presentation I saw a couple of years ago, given by the then-CEO of Coca-Cola himself. This is from memory so it isn’t a direct quote.

Coca-Cola CEO guy: And so, tallying up the sales figures, the Coca-Cola Corporation now sells over one billion drinks per day around the globe under all of our various brands. Although that is an impressive number, I know we have much work ahead and so I remain only cautiously optimistic.

Some Other Guy: What? That’s amazing. One billion per day? That’s an insane amount.

Coca-Cola CEO guy: Well it depends on your frame of reference. At this point we must remember that only 5% of all the liquid consumed around the planet by humans is a Coca-Cola product, so clearly we have much work ahead of us.

:-O!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Lazar says:

    Maybe you have forget how USA have sold Romania to the Rusia destroying our country and nation. How much do you feel you are more romanian then us?

    Like

    1. Sam R. says:

      If you think I’m going to defend American government policies, I’m afraid you don’t know me well enough (yet) :D

      Like

      1. bear says:

        Because of what happened at the end of WWII and not only the selling of Romania, but all of eastern Europe, it amazes me that Americans are so well liked in Romania. This has been my experience. I think if Churchill had a little more of the power and not FDR/Stalin, poate things might have been different……..who knows, but it was quite shameful to liberate Europe and then hand over half to an equally suppressive regime. By the way, not to defend coke and I rarely have one, but de ce nu cherry coke in Romania, anyone?

        Like

  2. Pornokontac says:

    Спасибо понравилось !

    Like

  3. Corina says:

    Dumnezero,

    As I read through the page and your comment I was drinking a Mountain Dew… I guess in the back of my mind I always thought that Pepsi and Coke were like any other large corporations,abusing its workers and focusing on profits over fair wages and saving the environment, but ignorance is bliss. But now that I am no longer ignorant of such things and considering Sam’s comment about buying local pop or making your own, I find myself sad again. It seems that no matter who it is that you purchase something from, if that person selling their product had the opportunity to be like Coke, they would jump on the chance. Greed seems to win out everytime. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic but if we all stopped drinking coke, would that make way for some other superpower to take its place and our money? Is there a solution to this? Also, to tie this back into Romania, do you think the way the country stands today that it will be different from North America by letting local businesses grow or will it too surcome to having large companies take monopoly of their market?

    p.s. I couldn’t finish my Mountain Dew.

    Like

    1. Dumnezero says:

      ” would that make way for some other superpower to take its place and our money?”

      It depends on how the culture changes. France is a great example of this… this have a culture of buying locally produced stuff and they also like to drink the good stuff (wine). It’s not 100%, of course, but it is impressive and it supports the local economy, which is great.

      This is just one example and I’m not really sure Romanian culture could make that change, not even in a century from now.

      Coke’s strategy in Romania has always been to put its brand everywhere. Small local shops, groceries, made deals with Coke Co. (probably involving free stuff) so now you can’t see any shop (almost) which doesn’t have its signed with a background of red an a coke logo on it.

      Coke is almost omnipresent here, so it’s godlike; its religion is established through tv commercials and a presence in basic rituals (how many parties, dinner, conferences, gatherings etc. have you seen without coke? ) . The followers of this religion automatically recognize the brand and are comforted by any place which holds that symbol. That’s why the defacing of valuable places and monuments won’t stop; it’s a very simple business model. Put a coke sign up on any food shop and the coke “followers” will come in to feel safe… and pay.

      And it’s hard to de-convert. I tried to give up for health reasons and it didn’t work; when my loved ones asked me to stop, I couldn’t; when I was very low on cash I still didn’t stop; I didn’t stop for ecological reasons, even though I’m a supporter of the eco revolution; when I’m thirsty and tired, my mind still suggests I get some coke. But that’s me; I stopped because I realized it was a moral issue.

      For some other company to replace Coke, it has to the same amount of propaganda, so that’s not going to happen very soon.

      Like

      1. Sam R. says:

        yah just change the word “coke” to “heroin” and it makes you think, nu?

        Like

    2. Dumnezero says:

      @Sam, well I haven’t tried heroin, but I’ve heard it’s addictive…

      High concentration sugar is also addictive and so is caffeine (one can of Coke is equal to about a cup of coffee in dosage).

      Like

    3. bear says:

      Sadly, in this world and especially America, it is all about greed!

      Like

  4. Dumnezero says:

    I was actually quite the colaholic (relapsed) untill I saw a documentary about how they make it; …how Coke factories drain the water of poor communities and sell it back to them; how they have caused water crises all over the World; how the glass (the reusable) bottles are washed, pouring soapy toxins into rivers and ground waters; how Coke workers in South America are threatened if they join a union or even killed if they’re union leaders. After that… I said “fuck my addiction” and never bought a drop of Coke again. (First few days are a bad.) Nor Pepsi or any other international company. I’m starting to enjoy tap water again… or Frutti Fresh.

    Ontopic, romanians generally don’t really care about important historical figures or places. If it’s a historical house in some small village, it might be preserved because there’s no quick financial gains to be made from it, but if it’s a tourist location, central area or industrial zone – it’s “hammer time”. Sam, you’ve seen Cluj-Napoca. Do you know how old the “centru” area is? I bet you’ve seen many of the ancient roman ruins and the medieval era houses, the ones with nice baroque styles… take a walk from the centru area to the train station, but use the side streets. You’ll see.

    Centuries of feudalism under the Orthodox Church, decades of totalitarian socialism… these things numb the mind and destroy the intellectual class – you know – the ones who are supposed to notice these things, write about them and teach them in school and on TV. Nope, that’s level of society is in ruins; the people living now here are actually more like simple refugees trying to conquer a mildly hospitable wilderness; a place where ignorance, selfishness and chaos combine.

    This also goes for Rosia Montana, which is the basically the oldest settlement in Romania – dating back to ancient Rome, when romans were extracting gold from those mountains. It’s going to be literally obliterated if the state approves the project owned by the canadian gold corporation (“RMGC”) and if the locals are forced to leave their homes.

    Like

  5. Sam R. says:

    Dear any “journalists” reading this, esp in Cluj. Get down to the mall and count every last Coca-Cola advertisements, including the cast-iron ones built into the structure (jeez!), the branded refrigerators and the ads on the floor. Then write an article about why in the f–k Romanians drink so much of it.

    Not to get all King Henry V on you guys but seriously, will no one stand up to this mess?

    Like

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