Why do they hate us? Intellectually flaccid. Culturally naïve. This has to be one of the more inane questions to have arisen in the frightening months after 9/11. Worse yet, the question attracted a bevy of self-serving answers.
My personal favorite: They hate us because we're free.
It was the wrong question. And anyhow, anyone who really wanted to know the "answer" needed look no further than Osama bin Laden and his 2002 "Letter to America," in which he outlined his reasons for jihad: The West's continued support of Israel, America's historic support of Middle Eastern dictators, the country's penchant for establishing military bases in Islamic states and our perceived brass-knuckled approach to the global petroleum market.
It wasn't long before this saucer-eyed, why-do-they-hate-us line of thought vanished as daisy cutters fell on Afghanistan and later Iraq. Now, a full six years after 9/11, I recently found myself reminded of those early days and, particularly, of that silly question: Why do they hate us?
You see, I think I know the answer. It's not Palestine. It's not oil. It has nothing to do with military bases in Kuwait. The House of Saud is blameless. No, it's something closer to home. It's Domino's Pizza New Oreo Dessert Pizza.
That's why they hate us.
And who could blame them? This "pizza" a tasteless wafer really, ten-inches in diameter, slathered in "vanilla sauce" and topped with Oreo cookie shards before the whole thing is drizzled with another (un)healthy shot of "vanilla sauce" may insult Allah, but its real sin is against the Italians.
Served hot, the thin wafer of dried leather-like crust has an inoffensive flavor. It barely registers on the tongue. I suppose that's intentional. After all, we're pretty far from Naples, birthplace of the modern pizza where by law a pizza must contain extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes and buffalo mozarella. By that measure, calling the New Oreo Dessert Pizza a "pizza" is not only illegal; it's sort of like calling a burrito a sandwich: They both have a crust, right?
Sort of. Under the same law, only crusts kneaded by hand may enter the rarefied realm of pizza crust. The crust of a Domino's Pizza New Oreo Dessert Pizza, by contrast, is more of an Oreo delivery device.
But just as a New Oreo Dessert Pizza fails as a pizza, it also fails as an Oreo cookie. You see, the crumbled Oreos atop the pie are denuded of Oreo crème. That means that whatever crème you're offered comes in the form of "vanilla sauce." There's no prying apart of wafers. There's no dunking in milk (or buffalo mozzarella, thank Allah). The ratio is all off. There's too much cookie. The crust mars the consistency, and the whole affair is sickly sweet and chewy.
If this sort of ungodly concoction isn't enough to raise international hackles, I don't know what is. Then again, there is reason to hope. Just as the Italians pulled out of Iraq in 2006, Domino's Pizza claims that the Oreo Dessert Pizza will only be available for a limited time.
Phew! At least they have an exit strategy.
Seen a foodstuff you're too timid to try? Malcolm will eat it! E-mail particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org Keep It Down!