Pop Culture Gauntlet: Dunkin' Donuts vs. The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

December 14, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Welcome to Pop Culture Gauntlet, where people, places, and things from various subjects face off in a virtual cage match. As part of an ongoing series we will bring you new battles each week between randomly selected items from the Thunder Matt's PCG database. We will provide you with a brief background of both competitors. After reading, you can then vote on your choice in the poll located in the right sidebar column. Monday battles will run until 12am Thursday. Thursday battles will run until 12am Monday. Also we welcome any arguments for either competitor in our comments section. May the best man, thing, or whatever win.

Today's match: Dunkin' Donuts vs. The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts is one of the largest coffee chains in North America. Founded in 1950, and based in Canton, Massachusetts, the company has expanded it's presence to over 30 countries. Originally serving coffee and simple pastries, Dunkin' Donuts has diversified it's product base to include specialty coffees and breakfast sandwiches. This evolution was prompted by competition from Starbucks and McDonald's, amongst others, in the burgeoning "morning fix" market. Their national operations are largely based East of the Mississippi River. There are currently no Dunkin' Donuts stores in the state of California, and oddly enough, plans to expand to the latte-slurping West Coast do not appear imminent. This may be in deference to the strong foothold Starbucks holds on that region, though the Dunkin' Donuts marketing team has never shied away from their prime challenger. In a series of ad campaigns over the last several years, Dunkin' Donuts has been known to poke Starbucks in the eye, often slighting the pretentious Italian terms that the Seattle-based company insists on populating their menu with. Most of you will also remember the Fred the Baker commercial campaign in the 1980's and '90's. His catchphrase "Time to make the donuts" made him a pop culture landmark. Sadly, the actor that played Fred passed away four years ago due to complications from diabetes (or Sugar AIDS as it's known in the Chip Wesley home).

Strengths: John Goodman provides the voiceover in their ad campaigns; heavy concentration of stores in Chicago which aid in ThunderFist hangovers; coffee actually tastes good

Weaknesses: Strong affiliation with Patriots and Red Sox; queer logo; need to move out West

Fun Fact: On one television spot, Rachel Ray promoted Dunkin' Donuts while wearing a peculiar scarf. Conservative pundits called for the company to pull the ad, claiming the scarf was similar to that worn by Yasser Arafat, and was thus supportive of terrorism.

The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is widely held as the precipitating factor that spurned the beginning of World War I (or The Great War as grandpa called it). Younger generations, however, know him only as "the guy that that shitty Scottish band named themselves after." The groups and actors which played a part in the archduke's assassination are shrouded in the the same lore one might expect from a Dan Brown novel. In fact, the events of that day were a comedy of errors, befitting of an Ocean's 14 screenplay. In a nutshell: Franz Ferdinand was an archduke of the Austria-Hungary. Basically, Serbs were trying to get the southern Slavic provinces to to break away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in order to re-form Serbia or Yugoslavia. A secret society known as Black Hand had decided that a logical course of action would be to kill a high ranking member of the Empire and escalate tensions. Six young men were recruited to take out Ferdinand. As the archduke passed through Sarajevo in a motorcade, the six men were stationed along the route. Most had a grenade and/or pistol. As the motorcade passed, the first two assassins failed to act. The third threw a grenade, which blew one car but did not kill anyone. Following instructions, the assassin swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka River. Unfortunately for him, the cyanide pill only induced vomiting, and the river was only four inches deep. Talk about an epic FAIL. The remaining assassins walked away in the ensuing hoopla. Shortly afterward, the motorcade continued on. One of the assassins, Gavrilo Princip, was eating a sandwich at a deli when the cars rolled by. As anyone involved in a secret society knows, you keep going until the job is done. Princip seized the new opportunity, and shot the archduke in the neck. The rest, as they say, is history.

Strengths: indirectly led to the creation of the armored vehicle industry; subsequent research into more effective cyanide pills, which Hitler would eventually take; finally got rid of that insipid Austria-Hungary

Weaknesses: gave Serbs a bad name; inadvertently led to thousands of high school students having to read All Quiet on the Western Front; um, started World War I

Fun Fact: Princip died of tuberculosis in prison before he could serve his full sentence, which was only 20 years anyway.