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Friday, October 12, 2007

From The Cultural Imperialism Department:

The News & Observer: In Mexico, Taco Bell sells taste of America

It sounds like a fast-food grudge match: Taco Bell is taking on the homeland of the taco by opening stores in Mexico for the first time in 15 years.

Defenders of Mexican culture see the chain's re-entry as a crowning insult to a society already overrun by U.S. chains from Starbucks and Subway to KFC.

"It's like bringing ice to the Arctic," complained pop culture historian Carlos Monsivais.
The company's branding strategy -- "Taco Bell is something else" -- is an attempt to distance itself from any comparison to Mexico's beloved taquerias, which sell traditional corn tortillas stuffed with an endless variety of fillings, from spicy beef to corn fungus and cow eyes.

Taco Bell, a unit of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., made its name promoting its menu to Americans as something straight out of Mexico.

It's a different dynamic south of the border.

There, the company is projecting a more "American" fast-food image by adding french fries -- some topped with cheese, cream, ground meat and tomatoes -- to the menu at its first store, which opened in late September in the northern city of Monterrey.

Other than the fries and sales of soft-serve ice cream, "our menu comes almost directly from the U.S. menu," said Yum Mexico Managing Director Steven Pepper.

Some of the names have been changed to protect the sacred: The hard-shelled items sold as "tacos" in the U.S. have been renamed "tacostadas." This made-up word is a play on "tostada," which for Mexicans is a hard, fried disk of cornmeal that is always served flat, with toppings.

Mexicans eagerly buy many American brands, but the taco holds a place of honor in the national cuisine. Mexicans eat them everywhere, anytime of day, buying them from basket-toting street vendors in the morning or slathering them in salsa at brightly lit taquerias to wrap up a night on the town.

Taco Bell has taken pains to say that it's not trying to masquerade as a Mexican tradition.
"One look alone is enough to tell that Taco Bell is not a 'taqueria,' " the company said in a half-page newspaper ad. "It is a new fast-food alternative that does not pretend to be Mexican food."

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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