Chipotle Now Says It Tried to Invite Latino Authors for Its "Cultivating Thought" Bag-and-Cup Series: UPDATE
See update on the bottom of the second page...
Its self-importance spilleth over...
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 16, 8:03 A.M.: An ex of mine used to love the works of Jonathan Safran Foer. She pushed me to read Everything is Illuminated, which I found too precious and twee and obviously the product of someone whose biggest problems are self-imagined. So it made sense that Foer, of all the people on Earth, would go to Chipotle one day and ask them to start printing short stories on its cups by famous authors because he needed something to read while gorging on a burrito and wanted the masses to have the same opportunity. "I really just wanted to die with frustration," Foer told Vanity Fair regarding his inspiration, and isn't it a blessed life when what makes you want to leave this vale of tears is the lack of literature at a feedbag factory?
So Chipotle granted Foer his wish, even allowing him to choose 10 authors to feature on cups and bags. It's a fine-enough list--Toni Morrison and Michael Lewis are great, Malcolm Gladwell is a hack, and I can't offer an opinion on George Saunders because I always mistake
her him for George Eliot. The Internet, understandably, trampled over itself to praise Foer and Chipotle...and almost everyone gave the two a pass for the sin of not including a single Latino author. Not one. Bill Hader made the cut, but not a Latino--think about that.
Not Pulitzer Prize-winning Junot Diaz, who also won a James Beard award for one of the finest pieces of food writing I've ever read. Not the doña of Chicano literature, Sandra Cisneros. Not best-selling author Luis Alberto Urrea. Not Tex-Mex loco Dagoberto Gilb. Not any other number of Latino authors who could easily contribute a story or two that would be appicable a Mexican-food chain. Judd Apatow made the list--but not one Latino.
In Foer's world, Latino authors simply don't exist and simply don't appeal to his Chipotle worldview of what the chain is advertising as "Cultivating Thought"--the only Mexican cultivation the two approve for their beloved burritos is the tomatoes harvested by Florida pickers. For crying out loud, one of Foer's chosen few is Sarah Silverman--and while I'm a fan of hers, her only contribution to burrito culture is once joking about aborting a burrito.
"I think it's just the latest variation on a theme: take our food, ignore our stories," says Alex Espinoza, the acclaimed novelist of Still Water Saints and English professor at Fresno State. Along with longtime Weekly pal, Irvine Valley College English professor Lisa Alvarez, Espinoza helped to start a Facebook page called Cultivating Invisibility: Chipotle's Missing Mexicans to call out the company and Foer on their shit.
Asked for comment, Alvarez dropped one of her ever-delightful neutron literary bombs: