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What’s Wrong with This Picture?

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 15, 2012

Remember those puzzle pages in children’s magazines that ask you to find all the details that are wrong with a picture? A duck is wearing galoshes, a girl in a bathing suit is also wearing earmuffs, a pioneer wagon is equipped with TV antenna? That’s how I feel about this ad from a 1958 Improvement Era — so many details that would not be part of a 2012 ad!

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13 Comments »

  1. Hooray for chemically blended plant foods!

    Comment by HokieKate — March 15, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  2. I agree! Were it not for “chemically blended plant foods,” yields per acre would be substantially lower than they are now, and a lot of people would go hungry.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  3. I’m not a huge fan of meat in general, but those monstrosities on the table look especially disgusting. There is something cadaverous and gruesome about them that gives me heebiejeebies.

    Plus, it seems to me that those hunks of flesh and bone are raw (with all of those fatty rinds still intact) and yet they are steaming and the carver is prepping his knife to serve them up. Maybe the happy meat carver just slaughtered the animal and what I took for steam from cooking is steam from the residual body heat of the carcass rising in a cold room.

    Lawsy, this picture gives me the creeps.

    Comment by oudenos — March 15, 2012 @ 9:16 am

  4. This ad is much more in keeping with my idea of eating meat sparingly. Nothing like sitting down to a nice, juicy, 3-inch thick steak the size of a dinner plate. Who needs room for potatoes and veggies? Heck, who needs the plate? Pass the A-1!

    Comment by Matt — March 15, 2012 @ 9:23 am

  5. Same reaction here! I mean, no adwriter today would think of deliberately linking Standard Oil with food products! And oudenos, your comment is an even more graphic statement of my own reaction to those huge cuts and the amount of fat.

    Okay, so I know this isn’t Mormon history, but it was fun to consider yet another difference between the world of our recent ancestors and our own world. (Message to 1958: No hard feelings, I hope, but no thanks!)

    And Mark, I certainly don’t disagree with your acknowledgement of the benefits we derive from these things, or the severe difficulties we would face without them. I only intended to comment on the advertising techniques, and what points advertisers pitched to their consumers in 1958 vs. what they use to sell to us in 2012.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 15, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  6. Standard Oil of California is now Chevron. Would it be out of place to comment on Chevron’s current weird advertising?

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 15, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  7. Your problem, Ardis, is you don’t remember the “LSD: Better living through chemicals” bumper stickers from the late 1960s!

    Comment by Mark B. — March 15, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  8. To summarize the above comments…
    * Oil logo on meat ad
    * Raw meat that is supposed to be cooked
    * bragging up the chemicals in the feed
    * And who names a subsidiary “spray-chemical”

    I vote for bringing Eliza R. Snow’s song back into vogue: “They are precious and they eat but a very little meat”

    Whoever said obedience to the Word of Wisdom was compulsory missed the meat in winter and vegetables in season clauses.

    Comment by The Other Clark — March 15, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  9. Makes me wonder where the BP ad for seafood is running in Gulf Coast states!

    Comment by kevinf — March 15, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  10. Did cattle really grow by over 50% in size in those 10 years? Well, for my part, I grew about 10 times my 1957 weight by 1967. Must have been all that beef. Good thing that slowed down.

    Comment by Grant — March 15, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  11. This kind of makes me want a steak or a roast dinner. Haven’t had either for a long time! :)

    (Loved your intro to the picture, btw.)

    Comment by michelle — March 16, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  12. Another Standard Oil angle comes to mind from Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water. In early 20th Century California, agricultural was a function of pumping aquifers which was a way of turning oil into food. Dam and aqueduct projects like the Central Valley Project were still in process in 1958. Good synergy to have a chemical division that is also producing fertilizer. As Wallace Stegner said, “Water. It’s about water.” Also, Standard Oil itself owned 80,000 acres in California’s Central Valley.

    Comment by John Mansfield — March 16, 2012 @ 5:39 am

  13. The word is not “raw,” it is “rare!” I see the golden brown crust on the roasted meat’s outer surface, rendered in gray on in the black and white illustration. The chef is obviously about to carve out 4 oz portions to serve to the large crowd lined up just outside of the frame, large families who have trekked out across the desert hills of southern California to fed by the beneficence of the S.O. (now Chevron) pesticide and fertilizer subsidiary, maker of the Ortho brand products that we all consume (in moderation, of course). No, there is nothing out of the ordinary here.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — March 16, 2012 @ 8:07 am

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