Memories of Empire, Part One: Absolut(ly) Aztlan
Absolut Vodka has created a huge web flurry with this new ad campaign in Mexico. The ad depicts what an "ideal" world might look like from the standpoint of Mexico--one in which Mexico has the national boundaries it had in about 1821. This was before Anglo-Mexican settlers revolted in the state of Tejas and created the Republic of Texas in 1836; and also before the war of 1846-1848 with the United States (regarded by many to have been an aggressive and unjust war for territorial expansion. Young Abraham Lincoln, then a Congressional Represenative from Illinois, voted against the war. Thoreau went to jail for failing to support it with his taxes. Even Ulysses Grant was shocked at the the conduct of U.S. troops during the war).
Blogs all over the web are calling for a boycott of Absolut, calling the ad "racist" and in poor taste.
While Mexico does have many monuments to heros who fought in the war against the United States, I hazard a guess that most Mexicans are not dreaming of any Reconquista (despite what the nativists are arguing).
What strikes me as more interesting is how vociferous and angry the responses have been to this ad among conservative voices.
I'm sure that the anger is not a reaction of guilt for the imperalist impulse that the U.S. embodied in the 19th century, leading it to land grab so much in Latin America. Its more likely the case that the reaction is part of the growing fear being felt in the U.S. about a loss of power and stature on the world stage. Gregory Rodriguez calls the new border fence a "670 mile-long shrine to American insecurity".