Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mr. Peanut

America is a nation of immigrants, misfits, cast-offs and the refuse of the world. The American Dream is that belief that anybody can work hard and "make it". At the end of the First World War, one European immigrant made a splash onto American culture and has lived a long life in the hearst and minds of Americans. I am talking about Field Marshal Klaus von Peanuftk, better known to the American consumer as Mr. Peanut.

Field Marshal Klaus von Peanuftk was the son of a Prussian Army officer. Raised in a strict Protestant home, he was a scholarly young boy who excelled at athletics. One of his favorite activities was lifting triangular weights that read 100 lbs in big block letters one arm at a time. Becoming an officer at the age of 21, he rose among the ranks extremely fast, and on the eve of the First World War, was named a Field Marshal. Prior to WWI, von Peanuftk was a strict defender of the Schlieffen Plan, which called for a decisive blow to France before turning to face Russia. Von Peanuftk was at odds with Helmuth von Moltke, who called for removal of units from the attack on France to cover the Eastern Front. If von Peanuftk had been listened to, the Schlieffen Plan might have succeeded, sparing millions of lives on both sides.

After Germany's defeat in WWI, von Peanuftk feared for his family's safety. Selling his family's holdings in Krupp Industries, von Peanuftk fled for the United States. Knowing that he could be tried for war crimes, von Peanuftk changed his last name to Peanut. Despite being a family man, his playboy image caught the eye of the Saturday Evening Post, and Planters quickly snapped him up as a spokesman. Due to German violence in the late 1930s and the outbreak of WWII, Planters suppressed Mr. Peanut's past. If you look him up today, many folks insist that he was the creation of an Italian-American family. Mr. Peanut does have a Euro-look, but he does not inspire images of Italian masculinity. First off, he is missing a mustache and long hair. Mr. Peanut goes much better with beer than he does with wine, and as stated above, he is a Protestant. Mr. Peanut has an obvious European style to his dress with the white gloves, and his monocle is reminiscent of the Junkers of Prussia. Mr. Peanut wears a top hat and carries a cane as if he were strolling the streets of pre-War Berlin.

As the American consumer has grown more conscious of his health, Mr. Peanut has changed with the times as well, informing American shoppers that his products are full of 'good' fats and can help you lose weight. If ever in doubt of his European roots, just look at his wheels.....


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