Has “The Great Stupid” Reached Its Zenith With Anti-Putin French Fries With Cheese Curds And Gravy Sanctions?

I really thought punishing Russian cats to show solidarity with Ukraine was as ridiculous as anti-Putin virtue-signaling mania could get. I was wrong. I stupidly forgot Heinlein’s Law: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

It is time to officially declare “The Great Stupid” a world-wide pandemic. Woodrow Wilson set the Spanish Flu against the world by sending infected doughboys out to fight in a pointless European war, and now social media combined with Americans’ narcissism and addiction to serial pandering “in these difficult times” has done it again.

Poutine, a strange gloppy dish popular among some in France and Canada, is being pulled from some restaurants in those countries to protest Russia’s invasion. In French, the word for the french fries, cheese curd and gravy recipe, from the French-Canadian pronunciation of the English word “pudding,” is pronounced like the Russian dictator’s name. That’s close enough to justify, in the “minds” of some protesters, punishing the food and its fans.

Removing poutine from menus, it is safe to say, will have as much effect on Putin’s conduct as President Biden slashing U.S. oil production will have on the course of climate change. It’s that stupid.

The move did at least spawn a good formulaic joke on Twitter, as one wag wrote, “Please stop confusing Putin and poutine. One is a dangerous and unwholesome mix of greasy, lumpy and congealed ingredients, the other is a delicious food.”*


Pointer: Curmie

  • [I’ve eaten poutine. There’s a reason it hasn’t caught on in the United States.]

24 thoughts on “Has “The Great Stupid” Reached Its Zenith With Anti-Putin French Fries With Cheese Curds And Gravy Sanctions?

  1. Poutine — a favorite of many on the Quebec border where I grew up — does have a little in common with Putin: it clogs major arteries. And while it may contribute to killing people, those people freely choose poutine. It does not bombard cities, kill civilians who did not choose Putin (Poutine in francophone areas), terrorize the populace, and attempt to force compliance not chosen.

  2. God, when the French refused to participate in Iraqghanistan debacle, did we withdraw French Fries from the market? No!

    We made a stupid and futile gesture of calling them ‘Freedom Fries’, but at no point were deep fried potatoes unavailable due to make a vague ideological point.

    From now on, l’enfants de la pomme frites, je propose “Libertine!” en lieu du nom “Poutine”….

    • Actually, the French fought alongside us in Afghanistan, together with the other NATO allies. It was only in Iraq that they not only balked, but tried to mobilize the world against us.

  3. (shrug) I buy collectible figures from Russia, mostly of knights (yes, it’s an odd hobby, sue me). Most of these artists are one or two man operations, ordinary people just trying to make a buck by satisfying a niche market for collectibles. They have no opinion one way or another on Putin or his policies. Now they are cut off from ebay, from Paypal, from credit card payments, and from all their means to engage in this trade. It’s just another example of how these mindless boycotts end up hurting those who have the least to do with them, same as French vintners losing a chunk of their business and French hospitality people seeing rooms go unrented because the US got pissed off at Chirac.

    • It’s hard; war uses blunt instruments. Most civilians in a conflict don’t individually deserve to suffer, but it’s seen as a way to generate internal pressure to facilitate the removal of a dictator. Not equivalent, but our suffering at the gas pump and grocery store could hopefully result in some beneficial changes here in November.

  4. In French, the word for the french fries, cheese curd and gravy recipe, named from the a French-Canadian pronunciation of the English word “pudding,” is pronounced like the Russian dictator’s name.

    So, by extension, the next “We support Ukraine!” virtue signalling should come from the White House as they announce that they’ve banned mid-afternoon pudding cups for the President. Oh the humanity!

  5. “I’ve eaten poutine. There’s a reason it hasn’t caught on in the United States.”

    Well, maybe not in your area. And, maybe it is my proximity to Cheese-Land and Canadia, but it is popular in parts of the Midwest.

    Having tried it and enjoyed it, I will say that the picture you posted is not particularly appetizing.


    • I’ve had poutine and I thought it was quite tasty. Chili fries don’t look appetizing either, but they are delicious. Looks can be deceiving.

  6. Someone who’s WES born-n-raised will explain the real travesty here.

    IMO, forged by nearly a half a century of work in the field, Cheese Curds should NEVER be mixed with anything. Neither should they be shrink-wrapped-n-refrigerated, which forfeits their melt-in-yer-mouth essence as they harden and lose their signature “squeak.”

  7. I wouldn’t get *too* smug about this, Yankees, I’m old enough to remember when there was a lukewarm effort in America to rename “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries” because France wouldn’t join Dubya’s coalition of the willing.

    For clarity: I’m not justifying or supporting this, I think it’s just as stupid when people started boycotting Smirnoff for sounding Russian (It’s owner is British). I’m not even sure that boycotting Stolichnaya (which is at least actually state owned) is the right thing to do, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to buying Russian oil…. But we seem addicted to these performative measures that coincidentally don’t actually inconvenience us all that much.

    But as a tidbit, the Latinization of Putin’s name, which is actually “Путин” is different in English and French. Because you don’t often have perfect 1:1 translations between alphabets, translations between them are largely phonetic, and so “Путин” translates to “Putin” in English, but it translates to “Poutine” en francais. While we’re all doing meaningless performative gestures, I suggest referring to the dictator from Russia as Vlad Poutine for the foreseeable future.

      • I’ve been calling him “Vlad the Destroyer” for years. Fifteen years or so ago, I went into a local Russian owned Russian grocery store. At the checkout counter, there were a photo of Rasputin and a photo of Vlad the Destroyer next to each other. The caption read, “One Putin, Two Putin.”

  8. As we are discussing The Big Stupid (I thought Maureen had copyrighted that as a reference to me). What is on my mind? I am thinking this morning of what the WSJ called Europe’s “energy masochism.”Germany is still planning to close its remaining reactors, making it increasingly dependent on external energy sources….mostly fossil….as its wind and solar efforts are thus far not working, and they need to buy from outside sources. 15 years ago, Europe produced more than enough natural gas to serve its own needs. Anti-fracking efforts prevented access to substantial gas reserves. What is now clear is that Russia pumped funds into the anti-fracking activists in Europe. While I certainly understand quite well the “cons” of fracking, the biggest con has been Russian funding of activists. This has been documented by NATO head in 2014, reportedly by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and by some members of academia; and most recently be Elon Musk. Michael Schellenberger writes extensively about it. (The Soviet Union and other oil producers also pumped money into anti-nuclear activities some 3-4 decades ago). If Europe and we do not want to be hostages to Russian energy products, Germany needs to reconsider its reactor shutdown (political leaders have already said they won’t reconsider) and both Europe and the US need to increase indigenous production of natural gas — at least for the 2-3 decades that are the most optimistic schedule for replacing fossil with wind and solar.

  9. Have people considered that a counterproductive outcome from this type of nonsense is that it actually pushes Putin to assume that he’s dealing with a bunch of weak-minded fools (aside from just the President), and encourages him to stay the course?

    By the way, there’s a poutine stand in the Disney Springs resort area. It’s not bad; they have different styles, e.g., Indian curry. If you ask for the souvenir bowl, it’s served in a re-pressed vinyl Rush record.

  10. As for Putin’s name, you may be aware that a colloquial homophone of his name is a slang term for passing gas, so that news reports concerning the need to “stop Putin” often draw a lowbrow chuckle.
    Also, I as am sure most of the commentariat is aware, nuclear power mishaps have killed far fewer people worldwide (and none in the U.S.) than mining/drilling/processing of fossil fuels does annually. The longer we allow the hysterical reaction to the outliers of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and an opportunistic Jane Fonda movie to muddle our thinking about nuclear power, the longer the Russian oligarchs, Arab oil sheiks and other random totalitarians will have undue influence on Western governments. I live in the Tennessee Valley, where the TVA has been safely and reliably providing nuclear power for decades, in addition to electricity from hydro and steam plants (formerly coal-fired, now fueled by natural gas). Nuclear power is the most practical (all things considered) long-term solution to energy independence. The sooner we start seeing this clearly, the better.

    • The coverage of the fire at the nuclear power plant in Ukraine was hysteria on top of hysterics. It turned out that the Russians did not, in fact, bomb the reactor or line its core with explosives. The hit an administration building and a file cabinet caught on fire. Jerks all of them.


  11. The prevalence of poutine dishes was probably the best part of my time in Seattle. Probably ate enough versions there to cover a lifetime of heart disease. I would say this isn’t any worse than 2003, but at least then I could still eat freedom fries and freedom toast.

    On a related note, I saw an interview with a bar owner in Portland I think, about him getting rid of some of the vodkas. The interviewer brought up that Smirnoff is made in the US. The owner went deer eyed for a moment then said some gibberish. People have always been nuts and probably will always be nuts.

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