Fwd: Gorditas Are the Opiate of the Masses (fwd)

{ brad brace } (bbrace@ncal.verio.com)
Mon, 3 Aug 1998 17:40:33 -0700 (PDT)

>From the Orange County Weekly. Guten Appetit.

> Gorditas
> Are the
> Opiate of
> the Masses
> Taco Bell's rat
> dog
> revolutionizes
> the Web
> By Wyn Hilty
> Eating tacos can lead to communism.
> At least that's the impression I get from the latest series of Taco
> Bell ads-you know, the ones featuring that irritating
> weasel-dog Chihuahua. I was appalled, though not particularly
> surprised, to discover that the trembly little rat has fan sites (as
> in more than one) on the Web. Ah, well-I suppose that if
> Charles Manson has a fan site, anything's possible.
> The Taco Bell Dog site
> (www.everwonder.com/david/tacobelldog.html) helpfully
> provides video clips of these commercials for those who
> haven't had their fill. For the benefit of the hermits in my
> reading public, the commercials feature a fast-talking,
> Spanish-accented Chihuahua willing to sell his soul or forgo
> sex for some fast-food tacos. They have proved inexplicably
> popular; a USA Today poll placed them second among the top
> ad campaigns of all time, and they're a topic of hot discussion
> on Usenet.
> The campaign has been running for months, but only recently
> was I alerted to the Red menace lurking in the advertising
> community. The latest commercials feature the Chihuahua
> (who offstage answers to "Gidget") decked out in a snappy
> black beret, leading a revolution devoted to Gorditas, a new
> taco wrapped in flatbread that Irvine-based Taco Bell has been
> promoting as better-tasting than the Whopper.
> One ad has Gidget's legion of followers belting out a rousing
> anthem with proper Soviet fervor that goes (ahem) something
> like this:
> Gorditas, Gorditas
> Taco souls are we
> Whose lives are pledged
> To warm flatbread
> Your salsas make us free
> Gorditas
> Let's go eat one now!
> Other ads have Gidget standing on a balcony, Peron-like,
> accepting the worship of his admirers and rescuing a WASP
> from the horrors of another bland burger; the hapless consumer
> is seated on a wood-sided truck, much like those used by
> migrant farm workers (read: proletariat).
> I'm not the only one to notice the pinko tinge to these
> commercials: Reuters reported that some members of Miami's
> Cuban emigre population were offended by the thought that
> they glorified Che Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary who
> aided Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. I can't imagine where
> they got that idea, except that I noticed it immediately, too. For
> one thing, the jaunty beret Gidget sports is identical to the one
> Guevara wears in that poster that was de rigueur for
> fashionable '60s and '70s leftists everywhere.
> Taco Bell has denied any intentional mimicry of Guevara. Vice
> president Peter Stack told Reuters the ads were meant to
> portray a generic revolution. "The advertising is about our
> revolutionary taco," he reportedly said. "It's about Gordita-ism
> and not any other kind of 'ism' out there."
> But come now. Guevara in his beret has been a Marxist symbol
> for 30 years. Is Taco Bell asking us to believe that they
> appropriated it as a revolutionary icon without considering its
> other implications, such as communism, Castro, and the
> destruction of monolithic capitalist institutions like Taco Bell?
> No, I think there are at least two possibilities here: either the
> exploitation of a Marxist icon, an act that would have gotten
> Taco Bell executives lynched in the McCarthy era, means
> communism is dead (an announcement that would surely
> surprise the nearly 11 million Cubans and a billion or so
> Chinese), or Taco Bell is actually infested with Reds plotting
> the overthrow of Western civilization. Perhaps the highly
> touted Gorditas are saturated with a psychotropic chemical
> designed to lower our resistance to the Marxist propaganda
> being piped subliminally into Taco Bells all over America.
> Hey, to a woman weaned on the Kennedy assassination, it
> sounded more plausible than a third alternative: that the Taco
> Bell execs simply weren't thinking.
> Determined to test my thesis, I lay in wait for my husband to
> get home from work and dragged him, weakly protesting, to
> the nearest Taco Bell. In the car, I explained our strategy:
> "We're going to stuff ourselves with greasy Mexican food until
> we feel leftist sentiments taking over. Then we're going to join
> the glorious revolution and overthrow the bourgeoisie."
> "Do we have to?" he asked unenthusiastically. Clearly he was
> not getting into the spirit of things.
> Once at the restaurant, we ordered a wide assortment of
> Gorditas (they come in three flavors: supreme, fiesta and Santa
> Fe) and gorged. The pop music playing on the speakers did
> nothing for my Marxist sensibilities, but I did notice the paper
> tray liner was attempting to indoctrinate me. "Arise, fellow taco
> patriot!" it exhorted. "For Gorditas are here. Guaranteed to
> liberate your taste buds. Seize freedom from the ordinary with
> three revolutionary choices. This is the people's taco. Viva
> Gorditas!"
> "Are you feeling at all communist yet?" I asked my husband.
> "Maybe," he said doubtfully, politely stifling a belch. "Of
> course, it could just be gas."
> Disappointed and slightly bloated, we drove home and
> countered any lingering revolutionary effects by watching
> several hours of commercial television while nursing our
> swollen bellies on the couch. My experiment was a failure.
> Of course, many would say the same of communism. But
> regardless of your feelings toward it, whether you're a member
> of the New Left or the John Birch Society, communism is one
> of the most significant economic and political movements of the
> 20th century, and it seems a shame to cheapen the memory of
> one of its brightest stars by transforming him into a Chihuahua
> and using him to hawk fast food.
> "No other alternatives are left," Guevara wrote in 1967, "either
> a socialist revolution or a travesty of the revolution." Guess
> which one Taco Bell picked?
> Revolt Wyn at whilty@sprynet.com
> The following is a partial list of sites devoted to Gidget the
> Taco Bell Chihuahua and Taco Bell in general. Devour them in
> good health.
> Yo Quiero T*co B*ll
> (www.everwonder.com/david/tacobelldog.html)
> This site had video clips of Gidget's commercials until, it
> claims, it received letters from Taco Bell threatening legal
> action. You can still read his sad tale of corporate oppression,
> though.
> Taco Bell Dog
> (www.everwonder.com/david/tacobelldog.html)
> This site offers pictures and video and audio clips from the
> commercials, although perhaps not for long (see above).
> Taco Bell
> (Taco Bell)
> The restaurant chain's official site. Buy the Chihuahua
> merchandise you crave here.
> The Taco Bell Love Page
> (members.aol.com/freak0ut33/tacobell.html)
> Purports to explain why Taco Bell is so popular, a
> phenomenon that strikes me as particularly inexplicable in a
> county crammed with great, cheap Mexican joints-it's perfect
> for stoners with a bad case of the munchies.
> And, for those of you who are interested . . .
> The Che Guevara Information Archive
> (www.geocities.com/Hollywood/8702/che.html)
> News, pictures and biographies of everyone's favorite
> revolutionary.


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