Okay, haters: go for it. Go on and rant that the anger that Chicano authors and I have for Chipotle after they announced the latest batch of authors for their "Cultivating Thought" series is laughable. That we should rejoice that the series included Hispanic authors this time, from Brazilian self-empowerment guru Paulo Coelho to Dominican writer Julia Alvarez to Spaniard Carlos Ruíz Zafón. That we should thank Chipotle for including diverse voices after the travesty of last time, shut up, and get on with our lives. Actually, that we should get lives, period, and go bend a taco or something.
But the fact remains: when curating author Jonathan Safran Foer had another chance to expose hipster America to Chicano or Mexican authors, he chose not to. And the question must be asked: why?
How rarified is Safran Foer's world that he couldn't find a single Mexi author to contribute a couple of hundred words? It's not like there's a lack of them. In Chipotle's hipster circles, you have futurist Alexis Madrigal and McSweeney's Salvador Plascencia; for perennial best-sellers, try Luís Alberto Urrea and Sandra Cisneros. In the cult favorites, there's Alex Espinoza and Dagoberto Gilb; in the veteranos category, try Rudolfo Anaya and Helen Maria Viramontes. And that's just the names that most immediately come to mind.
And the haters will ask: why does this matter? It's just fast food, after all. And that's Safran Foer's point: use such a popular medium to expose Literature to the masses. One can't accuse him anymore of excluding diverse voice, because he's obviously rectified that (other authors in the latest batch include Aziz Anzari and Augusten Burroughs). But for someone who supposedly wants to cultivate thought, the lack of Chicanos and Mexicans remains laughable. Not surpising, of course: as with most races in the diversity sweepstakes, Mexicans just got shut out again–after all, we're just Mexicans.
I guess the only bright spot about this fiasco is how deracinated the burrito now is from Mexican culture, how wholly American it has become. That's progress, right?