Nosey the Northcote Road, Peruse the Ibizan Promionades or parade the Post office Square, Brisbane, and you are guaranteed to find one ubiquitous offering amongst the cafes.,… avocado in a multitude of dissections, chopped, smashed, mushed, sliced and lathered on top of the very latest in gluten free artisan breads, and all for the price of a full weeks groceries. It is literally a world wide phenomena! So much in-fact that even the Mexican drug cartels are in on the act. The avocado industry alone is estimated to provide the Templarios Cartel with at least $150 million a year. That’s right, this little green fruit is going nose to nose with cocaine for a sniff of the underground economy.
Before you think this is an assault on those of you that regularly frequent your local cafe for a mid morning avo, I am certainly not, ransack my cupboard and it won’t be long before you find chilli flakes purposely bought to season my pompous bruncheon, and inspect the kitchen counters, you will be sure to find sourdough crumbs, remanence of my last gum cutting conquest. But why? Let’s be honest, I am just going to come out and say it, the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, and avocados taste of nothing. They must be the blandest, most tasteless fruit on the market, in-fact I feel like it’s an insult to all the other fruits to even call them that, fruits that have worked tirelessly to enrich themselves in a generous offering sugar and water, just to be shunned by a lazy, dry, flavourless, momentarily ripe fruit (it’s actually a berry which only makes matters worse).
But peel back the surface and the rise of the avacodo is quite a fascinating cultural comeuppance. It has managed, through a process of memetics, of which the term meme is derived – memetics is a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, used to describe how cultural ideas are analogous to that of a gene. A new gene, put in simple terms, first appears due to a mutation on a previous gene, if this mutation is beneficial to it’s host, it survives, and is passed onto future generations. Meme’s work in a similar fashion through a process of natural selection, mutations and proliferation. Using Instagram as it’s primary vehicle, and an ever growing trend of healthy lifestyle luminaries, the humble avacado has been selected, first for it’s properties as a “superfood” with an admirable list of healthy constituents, including healthy fats, omegas, folates, Vitamins B6, E, C and K, then, and perhaps more crucially for its aesthtic appeal. It has all of the requirements to become the poster boy for a health revolution, its pastel green innards gift it with the perfect symbolic colour palette, offset against a brown toast and garnished in anything red, give the avocado a photographic finish worthy of adorning the feed of even the most scrupulous instagrammers. As the carefully co-ordinated images start to filter across the favoured lifestyle bloggers, their likes validate this as the breakfast of choice, and the meme begins to spread. Before long im stood in my kitchen, in my pants, squeezing lime onto my carefully “smashed” avacodo wondering when I am become such a suggestible idiot.
I am actually delighted that with instagram nice healthy food looks nicer on someone’s feed then a Mcmadeoutoffuckknowswhat double coronary burger. It is great to see. Understanding how memes take hold in such a powerful way that they can jump from a tree, to a photo to our mouths, all over the world, can help us understand how to protect ourselves from more dangerous cultural ideologies and how to help proliferate and create ones that positively impact our health and each other. Im off to cover myself head to toe in coconut.