by Adam Chandler
Were we once a nation of tinkerers that split the atom, created the phonograph, and gave Kevin Costner’s career three distinctly different eras? We were.
And yet, despite all the transistors, pneumatic tires, Roombas, and swivel chairs, the elites apparently have no room in their heart for the Waffle Taco, the most obvious object of derision in Taco Bell’s newly announced breakfast line-up.
“Gross,” they cried, in their truncated communiques. Breakfast, they libeled, would now be served by “a fast food chain heretofore known primarily for serving shredded cheese, refried beans, wilted lettuce, and horse meat in various combinations of tortilla containers.” Taco Bell breakfast “could conceivably ruin America” they warned. “If you eat breakfast at Taco Bell,” one friend said, “we can’t be friends.”
This, people, is typical East Coast job-killing poppycock. Opponents of Taco Bell’s First Meal™, which will go national next month, may be free to dwell in their delusion (or in the pocket of Big McMuffin), but their objections are as alarmist as they as are anti-choice.
That Taco Bell is enabling some epidemic of national self-harm by serving exotic and decadent food things at an early hour is the exact same kind of paternalism we sought to end when we placed Novus ordo seclorum on the reverse of the Great Seal. Taco Bell is part of the new order of the ages, in which free will extends into breakfast hours and we choose because we can. These scoffers, surely, were the same who “had beef” with that remarkable KFC invention, the Double Down.
Since A&W;, arguably the first fast-food chain (if you can believe it), expanded in 1923, the American consumer has had countless chances to smother the fast-food enterprise before it crept across the national foodscape. Did we? No. The opposite occurred. The last 91 years have seen an ever-tighter arduous embrace of fast foods of all stripes. We forded the rivers, survived diphtheria, won another world war with the help of Taco Bell founder Glen Bell, and overcame a Great Depression as well as several other non-economic ones. (The “Heroes” reboot should be a piece of cake.)
Anchoring our growth has been the concept of choice. So sayeth Taco Bell President Brian Niccol about American breakfast. “We can turn the breakfast conversation into a two-horse race,” he said, adding that Taco Bell aspires to be a “strong No. 2” after McDonald’s.
Okay, admittedly, between bringing up horses and the number two, the Honorable President Niccol could probably benefit from a wee bit of media training. But can competition for the day’s cheapest most important meal be a bad thing?
Consider the “coincidence” that on the very same day that Taco Bell announced it would bring breakfast burritos to the masses until 11 a.m., McDonald’s whistled that it may push back its cruel and arbitrary 10:30 a.m. breakfast cut-off to a less responsible hour. Comrades, a revolution has already been won with nary an A.M. Crunchwrap even served yet.
Of course, Taco Bell breakfast may fail. The saccharine bough of the Waffle Taco, like most American marriages, may collapse after enough time passes. But when it comes to breakfast, we should never simply bacon-tent with what we already have.
Adam Chandler writes for The Wire and other places. He lives in Brooklyn near Choire’s doppelgänger. Follow him @allmychandler.