Were you as thrilled as I was to see Cam as the Mazola margarine girl on Modern Family recently?

Maize—kwatchoo call corn (or “what you call corn,” for those who are not of Native American descent). As a child, kwatchoo became one of my favorite words—kwatchoo call corn.

It’s hard to know which 1970’s margarine advertisement was better, the Chiffon “It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature” campaign, or the Mazola “We Call it Maize” campaign.

If I had to guess, I would say that the people recently responsible for the death of Seth Walsh (13), Asher Brown (13), Billy Lucas (15), Tyler Clementi (18) and who knows how many other beautiful children lately are afraid of the Chiffon commercial. Probably everyone else enjoys both, appreciates both from a distance, or doesn’t really care.

Let’s break it down, shall we?


Mother Nature is sitting in a crown of flowers on a chair in a meadow. Mother Nature is fooled by the delicious taste of Chiffon margarine, which has been passing as butter. She thought it was butter! She makes scary thunder strike and says, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”


The stern Native American explains to the stupid white person that Mazola is made with maize, something that comes from Nature and was there before the stupid white person took everything. The person who renamed everything in his own vocabulary took the maize and called it corn. The Native American explains that Mazola is so real it comes from the original word, maize, “kwatchoo call corn,” making it even more real than anything made with corn, because it’s made with maize.

The News Lately

The beautiful children who have been in the news because they are now gone will never have children of their own to have a favorite word like “kwatchoo.” This is because some people frightened by the Chiffon ad have acted in accordance with their fears, and said and done hurtful things.

Why would anyone do this?

The Chiffon thunderbolt is potentially frightening for all of us. Some of us are more afraid than others, and maybe we should all understand that. Maybe thunder sounds different to some people. You know the way everyone feels comfortable saying, “Maybe when I say blue and when you say blue I don’t see the same thing you see, and we are both using the word blue but it means two different things”? Usually this just elicits a “Wow” in response.

Maybe it’s the same with thunder. Maybe when I hear thunder I hear cozy blankets and a rationale for more hot chocolate, but when you hear thunder you hear a bell tolling, and it’s tolling for you.

Maybe when the Chiffon margarine lady says, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” 142,000 people on YouTube think it’s funny and quaint and a sign that we’ve come so far since the seventies, and maybe two or three people are really scared.

Maybe those two or three people who are really scared leave YouTube and go on Facebook and maybe they tell the rest of us that there is bad thunder outside, and maybe because of the apocalyptic way they say it, or because we know what fear is even though we don’t really care about thunder, or because we want everyone to love us, even people we don’t know, we put down our hot chocolate and jettison our blankets and rush to bolt our windows to protect ourselves from the threat outside.

Because if this is true, then here’s the thing: two or three people will always be scared by the thunder. It’s not their job not to be scared—they hear a different thing when the Chiffon margarine lady speaks and the thunder strikes. What they hear is scary for them.

Let them hear what they hear. But please, don’t rush to bolt the window against the thunder, because remember, that’s not what you heard. You heard something beautiful, you heard a storm that was part of Mother Nature, you heard something Mother Nature does just as naturally as she does anything else. Sometimes she makes it sunny, sometimes she makes a meteor shower, and sometimes she makes it thunder.

Kwatchoo call corn, we call maize. Cam is still making the face of the Mazola margarine Indian Maiden because he has to, because he wants to be loved, because we all want to be loved, because all the children who are not alive anymore just wanted to be loved, but they did not feel loved when bad things happened to them, and so they went away forever.

There will always be people who shut their windows and their minds to what is beautiful and scary and exceptional in nature. But you don’t have to shut yours.