Thursday Afternoon Merriment: Rainbow Doritos and the Culture Wars

Doritos now has Rainbow Doritos. And because nothing is too banal to become a highly charged signifier in the never-ending culture wars, these Frito-Lay corn chips have electrified the antigay right. By partnering with Dan Savage’s #ItGetsBetter project — which, while certainly pro-LGBT, is probably better described as anti-teen-suicide — Doritos have now become the thin edge of the wedge for the toppling of Christianity.

[jump] Action, reaction, and reaction against the reaction: It’s all as predictable as possible. And because both sides of this war are highly attuned to anything that has the potential to be a proxy battle, it’s virtually instantaneous, too. It only takes seconds for everyone to coalesce under the banner of their tribe. Suddenly, Doritos are a beacon of equality for the left and symbol of oppression for the aggrieved right, even though they were just processed snacks only yesterday.

By the way, they’re just Cool Ranch with some dye.

The semiotics of rainbows are complicated. If I were being empathetic to a fault, I can see how some Christians would feel like the symbol of God’s promise to Noah to never again extinguish all life on earth by drowning it has been stolen from under them by Gilbert Baker and the equality-industrial complex. Still, the Rainbow Doritos logo looks more like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon cover than anything you’ll see at Pride. I don’t remember anyone getting upset about Rainbow Goldfish, which are obviously queer af even if they didn’t buddy up to a nonprofit for homos. (I’m also old enough that I used to eat Pop Qwiz popcorn while watching T.G.I.F., back when only a few liquor companies were marketing to the gay demo. That shit stained everything, and it was hard not to scald your eyeballs while opening the bag to see what color your popcorn came out as, but it didn’t cause a fuss.)

So there you have it: Buy some Rainbow Doritos to show you’re on the good side, or #boycott them eternally as a gesture of support for all that is moral. You know what I’d rather see? Burgers with rainbow-dyed unconsecrated communion wafers stuck to the buns, because it would be a great way to piss off the worst people without also lining the pockets of a gross corporation. And watch out if you get really enthused about your Rainbow Doritos and, upon finishing all the chips, and tilt the bag back into your head to eat the polychromatic crumbs. If you’re not careful, you could get rainbow lung.

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