Earlier today, a couple of friends forwarded me a press release put out by Dallas-based Pizza Patrón pizza chain and urged me to do -or rather, write- something about it. The headline was attractive enough for me to pay attention:
At the heart of the matter was the refusal of “a number” of Spanish-language radio stations to air an upcoming radio spot for Pizza Patron’s new jalapeño-stuffed pizza. The reason? The name of such pizza, “La chingona” apparently does not sit well among executives at the radio stations and is considered un-apt for the good ol’ Latino family.
My immediate reaction was: Really?!?… Actually, that’s not accurate: My immediate reaction was: ¡No chinguen!
As a native of Mexico City, I grew up listening -and learning to master- all forms and variations of the noun chingada and the verb chingar. See? Growing up in Mexico, you don’t say “Damn it!” when things don’t go according to plan, you say Me lleva la chingada. Same when someone is getting on your case, you don’t ask him/her to bugger off, but instead say Chinga tu madre. When you are supremely awesome and superior (i.e. like yours truly) you simply say Soy muy chingona… etc. etc. The concept is so wonderfully rich, that even Octavio Paz wrote an entire essay about la chingada: Los hijos de la Malinche.
But I digress… According to the aforementioned press release, Pizza Patrón was informed that its new ad campaign “would not be permitted to air on a number of major radio networks,” because the word chingona is considered a profanity and presumably would offend the Great Catholic -and Well-Behaved- Latino Family in America.
Oh so let me understand: The point is to forbid words like chingón or chingona on the basis that they offend consumers of Hispanic media; never mind we’re talking about some of the same media outlets that give us an almost naked TV host going into a hot tub with a scantily-clad celebrities at 4:00 PM (family time); a celebrity judge –in primetime– cross-examining a guy who loves to paint with his… penis and a sensationalist daily show hosted by a lawyer-turned-TV-star known for using poor people and humiliate them in the name of ratings.
Readers of my blog know I’m not fast-food’s best friend. In fact, I live a somehow happy life free of frito-stuffed sandwiches or jalapeño-stuffed pizzas. But to cry “profanity” for using a harmless, beautiful word like chingona in an ad campaign to tout a “chingona pizza” just makes me want to scream: