Michele Humes (I live in New York and I write about food.)

Rhetorical Chaos In Mass-Market Branding

I have long urged copywriters to consider the consequences of playing fast and loose with high-stakes rhetorical propositions. As I noted some time ago, encountering the conceptual morass pictured above, gravitational collapse is not the only process that can create a black hole.

As usual, nobody has listened to me.

Domino’s Pizza recently introduced a new line of “Artisan Pizzas.” Or did they? “We’re not artisans,” the copy reads. “But this might just convince you we are.” They go on to describe the new crusts as “artisan-style.”

So let me get this straight: The pizzas are artisanal in style, but not actually artisanal, although they taste so close to artisanal that they might fool you, only they never get the chance to fool you, because Domino’s has a policy of total artisanal transparency, although it’s a muddy sort of total transparency, seeing as they’ve opted to call their convincingly artisanal yet admittedly unartisanal pies “artisan,” and, while we’re on the topic, what does “artisan” even mean anymore?

After all that, it comes as a relief to learn that the toppings on Domino’s Artisan Pizzas are standardized and non-customizable, allowing me to skip straight past the part where I’d have had to decide whether to ladle my pie with a white sauce or a “robust inspired tomato sauce,” a concoction apparently inspired by robustness, but not quite so inspired that it is able to attain either legitimate robustness or a hyphen, unless I have it all wrong and the sauce actually possesses both robustness and inspiration as entirely distinct qualities, although we are left guessing as to the particular source of that inspiration.

For some of you, the real story in this post may be that I sometimes order from Domino’s. I don’t know what to tell you other than that the only way I can be made to sing karaoke, an activity I avoid as much as possible until it can no longer be avoided, is by the administering of liquid courage in such doses as to result in a profound depletion of mineral salts, for which the only cure is a Domino’s pie with 24 times my RDA of sodium. So what I am basically saying is that my occasional Domino’s orders are manifestations of a form of sporadic, distress-induced pica.

You believe that, right?