Friday, December 26, 2008

Weekend Flashback: Brazzaville vs. Burgerville.

[OK, we're coming back from Christmas Break nice and easy, with the first of a very occasional series of "Weekend Flashbacks," lightly editted blasts from the blog past. Originally appearing on August 2, 2007, this silly item has always been one of my favorite posts ever. I have a hard time justifying that opinion, but there you go.]


Do you ever do that thing where you see or hear one word with your eyes or ears, but a different word goes into your head? Sure you do, everybody does. I'm just not articulating it very well.

(In fact, there should be a word for this phenomenon. I encourage you to suggest a word for it in the comments.)

Anyway, whenever I see a sign for the Pacific Northwest fast food chain "Burgerville," my brain thinks "Brazzaville." I know. I'm a freak. But whatever. I have created and will now share with you this guide to distinguishing between the two:

Faceoff: Brazzaville versus Burgerville

The Basics:

Brazzaville: Capital city of the Republic of Congo, population 1.5 million.
Burgerville: Chain of fast food restaurants in Oregon and Southwest Washington, with 43 stores.

Founded by:

Brazzaville: The French Explorer Pierre Savoignan de Brazza, in 1880.
Burgerville: Entrepreneur George Propstra, in 1961.


Brazzaville: “Unite' - Travail – Progress.”
Burgerville: “Choose fresh, local, sustainable; choose Burgerville.”

Under the Shadow of:

Brazzaville: Congo/Zaire’s capital Kinshasa, five times as large and directly across the Congo River.
Burgerville: McDonalds, Burger King, and other national fast food chains.

The French Connection:

Brazzaville: Capital of French Equatorial Africa until independence in 1960.
Burgerville: Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold French Fries are always big sellers.


Nabemba Tower, tallest skyscraper in Central Africa.
Burgerville: “Last Burgerville for 24,700 Miles!” billboards.

Natural Resource Use:

Brazzaville: Major port for natural resources of the Congo Basin, including rubber, timber, and agricultural products.
Burgerville: Makes major fuss about using fresh regional ingredients, including beef, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.

Recent Problems:

Brazzaville: Unrest in the 1990s caused thousands of civilian deaths and sent refugees streaming out of the city.
Burgerville: Planned expansions into Central Oregon and Seattle markets have apparently been postponed.


Brazzaville: Underdeveloped social and physical infrastructure; unemployment; poverty.
Burgerville: Annoying oldies music; half-hearted 50s diner theme.


Brazzaville: Congo's economic prospects remain largely dependent on the country's ability to establish political stability and democratic rule.
Burgerville: Whether Burgerville's regional popularity will allow it to compete against much larger competitors, with their buying power and economies of scale, only the future can tell.

There. I hope that helped.


Rebel said...

You rerun the posts, I rerun my comments. ;)

I remember sitting in the Burgerville across from Fabric Depot reading The Poisonwood Bible - which takes place in the Congo. So I get the connection.

Oh, I miss Burgerville. I had a 'sandwich' tonight, it was on generic white bread with fake cheese and fucking Salad Cream - pardon my French but that stuff should not exist, it's like mayonaise but sweet. Ugh. Anyway I miss Burgerville. And yet no desire to go to Brazaville.

Anonymous said...

I was headed to the psychological journals to find the name for that because there has to be one. Those people came up with APA. They name everything.

But first glance at the rabbit hole tells me that making one up would be better. So: Prolonged Cognitive Content Signifier Vacillation with Neuro-Stockholm Syndrome. (That last is when you become fond of or amused by the mistakes your brain makes. I do that often. It also needed a name.)

Now all I can think about is what Brassierville would look like. Probably utilitarian with the odd bow or tat of lace.

Tereza said...

This is not a cute or upbeat comment, but here are a couple of insightful pieces from last month for those of your blog readers interested in what is happening in the Congo and why:

"When something happens in the Congo, it affects not only its neighbors, but the entire African continent. And it’s the geostrategic storehouse of minerals that are central or vital to the functioning of modern technology, as well as the US and Western aerospace and military industries. So it’s a critical country not only for the African continent, but for the world as a whole. . ." More here.

and: "The war that has already cost 5.5 million Congolese their lives has been rekindled, the ghastly product of a rapacious international commerce that has descended on Congo. Amidst the carnage, displacement and starvation, international 'humanitarian' outfits navigate, intertwined with the ethnically fueled militia groups and big business from the USA, Europe and China. At the vortex of the violence is rebel warlord Laurent Nkunda. It is said that Nkunda even boasts the born-again Christian patch he wears on his fatigues as a badge of solidarity with President Bush and many other American Christians. . . The DRC has the world's purest and largest deposits of strategic minerals, including gold, coltan, niobium, cobalt, heterogenite, columbite, copper and iron, valued between 3.1 and 4.9 billion dollars a year. Diamonds account for another billion dollars annually. Oil has been pumping off the Atlantic Coast for decades, but now oil and gas deposits are being exploited." The full article here.

Michael5000 said...

@Reb: Fair enough. Sorry about the sauce.

@Boo: Excellent! ...and thanks for the cookies.

@Tereza: Yes, although wrong Congo if I'm not mistaken. But yes. No disrespect intended to either the fine folks of the R of Congo or of the Holland Company.

Tereza said...

Oh, right. My bad. My comments always are a bit off on your blog... something to ponder. You're talking about the Republic of Congo, not be confused with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, right next door. The Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960. Silly me. Your Congo also has a huge diamond and oil industry. It also has a natural gas reserve that hasn't been tapped into yet. Oh, the opportunities...

Beth Handley said...

I suggest "Brazburg's phenomenon"

Chance said...

Burgerville: excellent, high-quality milkshakes made with local ingredients.

Brazzaville: milkshakes in very short supply, and what few there are of dubious quality; however, they are probably made from local ingredients, so there's that.

Yankee in England said...

Um so I liked the Weekend Edition better than reruns, even if I have not read them. I have to say though the few times I have been to your blog latley instead of just reading it on Reader I have thought your adds have been much more appropriate.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Is Burgerville any good? How are the milk shakes? Do they give you a metal tin, too? That's usually the sign of a good shake.

Dan Nolan said...

fresh and local ingredients in a fast food burger joint? Burgerville is not Michael Pollan approved by any chance, is it? If so, I'm kidnapping my girlfriend and moving there pronto.