Eek of the Week: Chia Obama
Spotted before last Christmas, offered in plenty of time for the lucky recipient to have Washington, Lincoln or Obama – sorry, Texas, no Reagan – to be in full greenery by Presidents Day. Still not on the clearance counter, however.
According to wikipedia “The Chia Pet was first used on September 8, 1977, and aside from its name, the Chia Pet is not a patented invention. The first Chia Pet was the ram, marketed and distributed in 1982.” They must mean trademarked; you can’t patent a name.
Bust embellishment notwithstanding, chia (salvia hispanica) isn’t an ornamental. It’s a food crop, native to Central America, where its highly nutritious seeds have been part of the diet for at least 3000 years.
As far as I know, the Aztecs – who were eating a lot of chia when the conquistadores got there – didn’t adorn their terra cotta sculptures with wooly green mats. But they may have been missing an opportunity. Joseph Enterprises, the company that manufactures the pets, reportedly had 98,000 employes in 2008.
Jeff Koons’ Puppy (1992) has already sucked up all the air in the irony department, so I have nothing else to say except don’t despair. The planting time that revives hope and brings change is just around the corner.