Friday, August 22, 2008

Taco Bell Dads

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Ostensibly this is a candid video of a Dad’s first trip to Taco Bell after six years in prison. The Dad complains that he can’t remember the name of what he has been craving for years. He remembers that it had ‘a soft shell and a hard shell’ (a strange and perhaps impossible duality). He cannot remember the name. In his haste he orders something other than what he craved. Beneath this seemingly banal exterior there lie deep philosophical statements about longing, the nature of justice, and identity, all reminiscent of Kafka’s The Trial.

The Father wants something with a name he cannot remember! The significance of this nameless longing becomes apparent when it is juxtaposed with the fact that throughout the narrative we never learn why the father has been incarcerated. His crime (real or imagined), the source of his yearning, even his name have been meticulously erased. The father is faceless, obscured by shadow, and the glare of the Taco bell lights. One wonders how justice could have been served; everything that ‘Dad’ was has been monstrously erased by the inexorable push of ‘traffic.’

Dad bemoans the fact that he thought he would have been able to ‘Go inside’ and ‘sit and figure out what it is he wanted.’ But there is no time. Dad has no agency; he politely accepts his meal and dives off into the darkness. He asks his son to ‘turn that camera off’ a thinly veiled reference to suicide.

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