Culture Notes

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AdAge reports:

Breaking with the long tradition of producing separate versions of ads for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic U.S. markets, a number of top advertisers such as Coca-Cola Co. and Volkswagen are using a single version of a Spanish-language ad for all markets.

In Coke's commercial, Salma Hayek "sneaks into the kitchen of a chic restaurant and devours a big taco with a Coke while chatting in Spanish to the waiters. Mexican-food craving satisfied, she slips back into the dining room and resumes a dinner meeting with Anglos, waving away her nouvelle-cuisine meal with the demure excuse that she is watching her figure."

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  1. Or maybe the ad is expressing the extremely common, cross-cultural belief that good ole’ peasant food is preferable to an overhyped “nouvelle-cuisine meal”, exploiting a language difference to emphasize the contrast of situations?

    (And isn’t it, usually?)

  2. “Oh no! Speaking Spanish! Where Americans can hear her! Heaven help us all!”

    “Who are you parodying, Joe?”

    Malkin, Buchanan, Savage, and all those other neo-knownothing twits…

  3. Of course, the 250 million Americans who can’t understand the Spanish chit-chat, will completely miss the point that Coke is a great thirst-quencher after eating spicy food.

    The point flew over my poor monolingual head.

  4. I’d have to see the ad to be sure but the description sounds like it’s well executed. The nouvelle-cuisine aspect is a good “Warning: Prententious People” alert. I like that since it goes above the whole racial aspect to say that this person really eats like a human and not like the poseurs who pay a fortune to nibble in a restaurant and eat a real meal when they get home on the verge of starvation.

    Anybody seen the Carl’s Jr. with the babe eating a big burger while riding a mechanical bull? It’s great.
    http://carlsjr.com/home/

  5. How about an Anti-Pretentions Pretention alert? When I eat at a fancy place, I usually end up stuffed to the gills. And too bad most of us can’t eat greasy gruel and still look like Salma Hayek — who probably doesn’t eat like that in real life anyway.

  6. “Floyd always acted like a senile old drooler. Thanks to that, and the way he was always leering at Opie…”

    The uninformed can be so cruel. Howard McNear, who played Floyd, suffered a serious stroke sometime around the second year of the series. He was kept on for another couple of years by Andy Griffith, out of loyalty I understand, until McNear was too sick to keep working. What you take as senile drooling and leering was probably just the pain of the poor guy trying to breath without the oxygen tank long enough to get through the scene.

  7. “… most of us can’t eat greasy gruel …”

    Good Mexican food is not greasy gruel, it’s one of the wonders of the world.

  8. Where’s the scene where that latin coat hanger goes and stuffs her fingers donw her throat. No way she ever lets a coke run all the way through.

  9. “How about an Anti-Pretentions Pretention alert? When I eat at a fancy place, I usually end up stuffed to the gills. And too bad most of us can’t eat greasy gruel and still look like Salma Hayek — who probably doesn’t eat like that in real life anyway.”

    But they’ve got that end covered too. She goes back out and out-poses the poseurs, by not eating even their little meals.

  10. They spared us the part where she barfs everything up and downs the Coke to kill to aftertaste of the vomit.

  11. Where’s the scene where that latin coat hanger goes and stuffs her fingers donw her throat.

    Defense offers as its exhibit no. 1 the February 2003 Vanity Fair cover photo, which no less august a personage than James Lileks has proclaimed to be evidence for the existence of the Deity. Members of the jury, I respectfully submit: hummina hummina. Defense rests.

  12. “Latin coat hanger”? “greasy gruel”?

    Jesus, guys! Lighten up and enjoy the beauty in the world (of which I consider the form of Salma Hayek and the simple splendor of good Mexican food to be very much a part).

  13. Douglas Fletcher,

    Jeez, man, now I feel kinda bad. It’s almost as embarassing as the time I asked that guy how many push-ups his dad could do.

    fyodor,

    Well, count me in the “anti-pretensious pretension” club. It just about makes me go insane with anger to see one of those meals with a small lump of food stacked just-so in the middle of the plate, and the sauce spread out in some kind of elaborate design, for more money than I can earn in a day. My idea of a good meal is something hearty, filling, flavorful, and lots of it. I wish they really made those “Glutton Man” TV dinners like Gary Larson drew in The Far Side.

  14. “Good Mexican food is not greasy gruel, it’s one of the wonders of the world.”

    Greasy gruel, one of the wonders of the world: not mutually exclusive!

    Well, who knows exactly what quality of taco Salma is eating in the fictional kitchen; my only point is that while these caricatures likely work just fine for the commercial in question (haven’t seen it myself, but it sounds kinda fun), let’s not start believing the convenient stereotypes!

  15. Speaking of which, this thread inspired me to drive down to South Tucson for lunch where I enjoyed a taco de cabeza, karamelo de asada, and a Sonoran hot dog. Washed down with a Coke.

    Nothing like it.

    Didn’t see Salma Hayek, but it was still worth the trip.

  16. Kevin Carson,

    Where do you see such food?

    I have various DIFFERENT ideas of what makes a good meal, myself, but, eh, what the hey. At the risk of sounding hoary (a word I learned from reading Reason!), to each his own.

  17. It just about makes me go insane with anger to see one of those meals with a small lump of food stacked just-so in the middle of the plate, and the sauce spread out in some kind of elaborate design, for more money than I can earn in a day.

    A really expensive entree at a really expensive restaurant in a major city would be in the $30-$35 range (I would exempt places that serve Kobe beef and a few similar specialty foods). If that’s more than you make in a day, call the Department of Labor on your employer, or stop knocking off after lunch.

    Incidentally, those elaborate designs in sauce are made with squeeze bottles that you can get at any kitchen supply store for about a buck; they are semi-transparent like old-fashioned ketchup squeeze bottles.

  18. Hmmm, must admit I’ve spent more than $35 on a meal plenty of times and there’s much bigger spenders than I (and much more expensive towns than Denver), but still, I reiterate, whenever I’ve spent a lot at a restaurant, I’ve practically split my gut. That’s partly cause I wouldn’t wanna waste that expensive shit! Often I bring enough home for another meal. Are there really people who spend a fortune on food just for its looks and then don’t get enough to fill up on? Well, I suppose if you look far enough you’ll find just about anything….

  19. Kevin Carson – visit your nearest Claim Jumper restaurant immediately. It will be to your liking.

  20. Whoops, alkali specified “entree” rather than the entire bill. There’s probably higher, but yeah, that’s in the upper reaches. Of course, one thing I’ve learned is that if you only order an entree in a fancy dig, then you WILL go home hungry!

  21. I heard Salma Hayek is Arabic, ethnically. Maybe a pita bread ad is next. What ever she is, she is definitely HOT. (I’m hep to the youth lingo!)
    [read in the voice of Dr. Evil]

  22. Rick,
    She’s half Mexican, half Lebanese. Maybe it was a falafel taco with tahini that she was eating. Mmmmm, Salma Hayek.

  23. joe, if you’re still reading this,

    You may have misunderstood me. I was complaining about people who raise scorn of pretensions to a level at which pretention hating becomes a pretention itself. I mean, who cares if some people spend lots of money on fru-fru food, if it bothers you that’s just yer own neurosis. From what anyone’s said about the commercial, it doesn’t sound like my gripe is covered as you suggest.

  24. No wonder she did such a good job looking like Frida, who was partly Semetic as well!

  25. Claim Jumper, eh? Thanks.

    I see the nouvelle cuisine on the “Great Chefs” series on Discovery. The “day’s pay” thing was a bit of an exaggeration; the objection is to very small, expensive dishes that owe most of their appeal to elaborate “presentation.” I very much prefer greasy gruel.

  26. I took my wife to a place Citronelle for her birthday because that what she wanted. And the food tasted great, and the portions weren’t tiny (but I do know what Kevin is talking about). Then again, the portions weren’t very large either. The only way to leave full was to have an appetizer, an entree, a dessert, and then a heart attack when you see the bill.

    I’ve never seen such artistic use of sauces. But the art didn’t enhance the taste at all, it just diverted the eyes from the large numbers on the bill.

  27. Any situation where we see more Salma Hayek is categorically good.

  28. Slipping back and forth between worlds. Interesting, though not quite sure what I thinkof that.

  29. Apparently it is alot easier to teach 250 million americans to speak spanish than it is to teach a few million immigrants of questionable legal status to speak english…

    Selma Hayek aside, i’ll take my Mt. Dew with a side of Britney…

  30. But it ignores the really big issue:
    Selma Hayek vs Friedrich Hayek
    http://www.csun.edu/~dgw61315/dgwhayek.html

  31. Friedrich Hayek looks just like Floyd the Barber.

    Floyd always acted like a senile old drooler. Thanks to that, and the way he was always leering at Opie, I can’t get the Nirvana song out of my head. So when somebody looks like Floyd, I can’t help thinking of them as a creepy old pervert.

  32. Salma can eat tacos in my kitchen any day.

  33. Oh no! Speaking Spanish! Where Americans can hear her! Heaven help us all!

  34. It may be in Spanish, but with a lot of body english.

  35. Oh no! Speaking Spanish! Where Americans can hear her! Heaven help us all!

    Who are you parodying, Joe?

  36. He’s probably parodying people who say things like:

    Apparently it is alot easier to teach 250 million americans to speak spanish than it is to teach a few million immigrants of questionable legal status to speak english…

    Personally, I think Selma Hayek in any language is just dandy. And Coke is running the ad with Spanish in it because they think it will increase their profits, not because they care one way or another on immigration.

  37. I think the point of the commercial is to contrast the uptight American way of life where everyone worries about everything with the carefree Mexican way of life where no one gives a shit about anything. I think it’s more about this cultural difference than the language issue. Am I missing something?

  38. One clear advantage to an add like that is it can be run on both the English and Spanish channels, w/o any dubbing or editing.

    My dad mostly watches the Spanish stations. After a life of shooting, running jackhammers, blasting, etc., he doesn’t pick up most spoken English or Spanish these days. But he likes the boxing, rodeos, and half nakid chicks on the Spanish stations.

    Brad S,

    I think the English/Spanish debate IS about culture.

  39. “do I qualify for a restraining order yet?”

    Only if the dry cleaning company goes to court.

  40. There comes a point where pretention becomes more important than the actual food. I mean… artfully displayed food and neat decor count for something.. but I’ll take a sloppy italian sausage sandwich and an Old Style at the Billy Goat over a super-expensive meal at Trio any day. The description of the place is ridiculous:

    “Chef Grant Achatz, formerly sous chef at the acclaimed French Laundry in Napa Valley, takes a daring approach to classic French cuisine. His most tantalizing creations “deconstruct” familiar dishes into their basic components.”

    Woo. Derrida on my plate.

  41. Can we get this thread backto how hot Salma Hayek is? Oops, violated my terms. Please don’t tell.

  42. Can we get this thread back to how hot Salma Hayek is? Oops, violated my terms. Damn.

  43. Sorry about the double post.

  44. nm156, thou shalt not be netcopped for the double-post, as thou art obviously woozy from a combination of truck exhaust, dry cleaning fumes, and thinking of Salma. Both hands on the keyboard, though, please.

    Part of the appeal of Ms. Hayek and of JLo is that they do look like they have actually finished a meal once in a while. The coat-hanger look doesn’t do it for some of us.

    Kevin
    (looks more like an aircraft hanger, himself.)

  45. Salma Hayek is without a doubt the hottest woman on the face of the earth. I would crawl naked through 5 miles of broken glass merely to sniff the exhaust of the truck that takes away her dry cleaning. That is how hot she is. So, do I qualify for a restraining order yet?

  46. Si! De acuerdo que selma es muy “caliente”.. pero mas en su propia idioma que en suyos!

  47. Steven:

    I agree, we can’t all see it the same way.

  48. I KNOW WHO THE CARL’S JR. MECHANICAL BULL GIRL IS. Get ready for this. She worked under the name Meredith Monroe, and you may recognize her from her stint on a little show called “Dawson’s Creek” where she portrayed bookish “Andie McPhee”.

    She also appeared recently on the nnew Bruckheimer show “Skin”. There she plays a girl from middle America who is attempting to sleep her way into a career as an adult film actress.

    Side note: in the “Creek” era, she admitted to being born on December 30th, 1970. In more recent postings she’s dropped at least seven years off of her age, now claiming to be 26 instead of 33. Maybe she figures men would rather watch a 26 year-old ride that bull than a woman in her thirties!

    I’m surprised that so far I have not seen anyone online recognizing her and making the Dawson’s Creek connection. But believe me, this is the same actress.

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  50. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  51. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  52. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  53. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  54. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  55. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  56. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  57. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  58. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  59. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  60. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  61. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  62. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  63. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  64. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  65. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  66. OK you FOOLS, it was definitely Penelope Cruz on that coke commercial. GET IT RIGHT. I AM THE SUPREME AND BELOVED COMBAT LEADER!!!!!

  67. The girl in the mechanical Bull commercial is Nichole Hiltz. She was in Gigli and also on The Shield.

    Meredith Monroe?!!! WTF, you people are blind.

  68. The girl in the mechanical Bull commercial is Nichole Hiltz. She was in Gigli and also on The Shield.

    Meredith Monroe?!!! WTF, you people are blind.

  69. The girl in the mechanical Bull commercial is Nichole Hiltz. She was in Gigli and also on The Shield.

    Meredith Monroe?!!! WTF, you people are blind.

  70. The girl in the mechanical Bull commercial is Nichole Hiltz. She was in Gigli and also on The Shield.

    Meredith Monroe?!!! WTF, you people are blind.

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