OC Register Explains to Readers What Pho Is--Um, What?!

Pho: a soup. Soup: a type of meal. Meal: What humans eat. Eat: Eat
Pho: a soup. Soup: a type of meal. Meal: What humans eat. Eat: Eat
Photo by Das Ubergeek

The best way to gauge the readership of a particular publication is by seeing not only what kind of stories they publish, but examining the caliber and lingo of said stories. For instance, this infernal rag sometimes refers to hamburgers as "steamed hams," because we know most of ustedes are Simpsons geeks who'll howl at that joke. We'll also use ustedes a lot because we've taught core readers to know that ustedes means "y'all" and expect everyone else to have heard the word around.

When it comes to food, we'll explain new dishes that aren't yet part of our daily meals--sphihas, for instance, or pambazos. We sure as hell wouldn't explain what pho is, as you'd have to be a moron to live in OC and not yet encounter that most iconic of Vietnamese soups.

On the other hand, consider the Orange County Register.

For the past week, they've devoted dozens of stories to the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon--you know, because the Reg's retrograde readers still can't get over the fact that a buncha Vietnamese live here. There's been good stories, and some a bit obvious, but by far the most embarrassing piece is an infographic explaining what pho is.

"Everything You Want to Know about Vietnamese Pho, How it's Made and How to Eat It," is the title to the piece, and isn't that chortle-inducing already? My god, even wabs (again: we know our audience) eat pho in droves, and have been for at least 15 years. But the article gets worse from there. There's a list of the vegetables that go with pho (of course, they didn't bother with rau ram--which our readers know what it is--because that would be TOO authentic), different meats (did you know that beef pho can actually mean a lot of things? Like, that you can get brisket or rare flank or meatball pho? WOW!), and say star anise is a big part of the broth. You don't say!

This article would've been useful 20 years ago, when Vietnamese were making their first moves into OC's mainstream culinary world, when there was a need for Orange County to learn about pho. That the Reg feels this is a story in the present day shows how little they expect of their readers, and how dumb those readers are. I mean, we knew this already, but still...

But the biggest faux pas? The stylized pho photo they ran with has the chopsticks inside the bowl. Our readers know what that means; not even the Reg's editors seem to know, never mind that they advised their pendejo readers NOT to do that in the "Etiquette" section. PENDEJOS!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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