Voodoo in the world cup?
The U.S. vs. Mexico soccer match February 11th in
Columbus, Ohio is a world cup qualifying match and supposedly a
friendly confrontation between neighboring countries. But we hear
different. A newspaper in Mexico City is encouraging Mexican soccer
fans to buy little voodoo dolls to hex our American players. They
even had the Mexican branch of Radio Shack on board to serve as a spot
to pick up the dolls.
To this, we have to shout “Whoa!” and “Wait a moment!”
Isn’t it enough Mexico came in and took over our
sitcom market with its Ugly Betty show? Isn’t it enough Mexico took
over our fast food market with their taco stands and Tex-Mex stuff?
Isn’t it enough Mexicans came here and took our jobs? Granted, its jobs
we like them taking but now they’re also taking our voodoo and just
when New Orleans is trying to rebuild?
I’m not sure New Orleans, our voodoo capital, will
forgive Mexico if they persist in this theft. Relations between New
Orleans and Mexico are not so strong, anyway. Not after Mexico sent
Hurricane Katrina their direction. You doubt New Orleans feels that
way? Hey, let me ask you: from what Gulf did Katrina hit New Orleans?
Here’s a clue, it wasn’t the Gulf of China.
Voodoo is a New Orleans tradition. Of course, it’s not the national
product like it is in Haiti, but right behind French Food, jazz and
wacky cross-dressing, voodoo is the thing they do do in the Big Easy.
Already, Mexico gives New Orleans a run for its money in the crime and
exporting-people-we-don’t-understand departments, it’s not right to
also steal their black magic.
Here’s the promotion. The Record,
a sports daily in Mexico trotted out the idea to promote interest in
February 11th game by ordering 10,000 little voodoo dolls with
likenesses of American soccer players’ uniforms complete with
numbers. They invited fans to clip coupons which are redeemable at
Radio Shack stores where they could pick up the dolls… and needles… and
scissors. The needles and scissors are, of course, for mangling and
maiming the dolls. How quaint! Why Radio Shack would initially go along
baffles us. Did they consider people in the United States might be
offended? Was it only about “Here’s your voodoo doll. Don’t you
also need a radio or a television to watch the game?”
Radio Shack responds that the plan wasn’t just to
hex the American team, a team Mexico hasn’t beaten for a decade, but
also to use against teams from Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and
Trinidad. So then, obviously, detractors responded by saying “Okay
then, if you plan to cause pain to the players of all these other
countries, unilaterally, it’s perfectly justified.” No, we’re kidding.
We threatened to boycott Radio Shack. We threatened to trash their
TRS-80s or whatever computers they are now hawking (don’t snicker, I
once tried to put a $ 10,000 program on a TRS-80). We threatened to
turn Radio Shack into Radio Cardboard-Box-in-the-Alley. Radio Shack
finally came to their senses (realizing they also had stores in the
States) and stepped back from the promotion.
This did not deter the Record
from lining up other Mexican companies to go on with the campaign. The
Record claims the promotion is just a “novel and fun way” to draw
attention to the game. Other stores taking Radio Shack’s place include “Manuel’s Casa de Maim” and “Taco Tortura.” We knew these guys would come aboard. Good luck visiting New Orleans, Manuel. They will have their eye on you. Their evil eye!