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really, i didn’t mean those things i said about green banana eaters. in all honesty, i feel sorry for them, pitty, really. they’ve never had a perfectly ripe banana picked from a banana plant growing in their back or front yard… all they know is the slave-labor bananas of dole or chiquita. really, it’s not their fault. however, when they put green bananas in banana pudding, it is a sin of comission and for that they should be rounded up in a plaza in colombia shot by the colombian army using american weapons (like the real event that inspired the scene in 100 Years of Solitude:)

Pablo Neruda (for the poem set to music)

La United Fruit Co.

When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America.

It rebaptized these countries
Banana Republics,
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies:
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people,
circus flies, wise flies
expert at tyranny.

With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.

Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the sugared depths of the
harbors and are buried in the
morning mists;
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap.



The poem’s good, sad—it is Neruda, after all—but I don’t think you should get off so easily for your banana snobbery. I let it go at first, but now, since you bring it back, I require more groveling. I don’t purposely eat green bananas, but when I want a banana I want a banana, preferably ripe but sometimes green are all we’ve got at the store, so green it must be. I used to ripen bananas well past the point of ripeness for the very pleasure of mashing them into bread.

On another note, K’s mom once claimed that eating two bananas in a day would make you constipated.

you don’t eat a cake that’s half baked nor a peach that isn’t ripe…

fine, go ahead and eat your green banana, set your teeth on edge, and cover your mouth in banana film…

of course, de gustibus non est disputandum, but… some tastes are stunted and not fully developed.

Excuse me, but no one in this household eats green bananas. G, stop bringing this shame upon us.

I think it is J who needs to illustrate precisely the difference between a green and a ripe banana. Because I suspect his definition of ripe is probably some kind gourmand puffery of the sort that would cause him to ask, with cocked eyebrow, “You’re really going to eat that banana?” He’d probably then shrug his shoulders and talk about how he spent fifteen years growing bananas in his Caribbean backyard, so if anyone should know when a banana is ripe, it is him, and if you’re not going to listen to him, then it’s really your loss. Which is all to say, when we say “ripe,” he probably says “green” just for spite.