by Rob Horning

26 February 2010


Maybe I have been focusing too much on HRO Exegesis lately, but: Is there something that’s supposed to be indie or “alt” about eating burritos in America that I am unaware of? Driven to desperate measures by the impassable slush everywhere in New York City, I went next door from my office building to Qdoba, a fast-food burrito chain, and playing over the speakers in the place was “Stillness Is the Move” by the Dirty Projectors. What is that about? I nearly choked on a cilantro leaf. And Chipotle, another haute-burrito chain, has long been in the habit of playing music by the likes of Wilco, Nick Cave, Neko Case, Tom Waits, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, etc., in their dining areas—perhaps a sneaky effort to quickly drive customers out and keep turnover sufficiently high.

Anyway, what is the explanation for this branding strategy? Is it an effort to make burritos seem safe for white people to eat, to accelerate the process by which Mexican food is demexified?

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