Mooooooo ... latté®

The proverbial red-state/blue-state dichotomy contextualized with the aid of a new frozen coffee drink from Dairy Queen

I prefer my coffee unflavored, with a little cream, no sugar ... definitely no straw.
I prefer my coffee unflavored, with a little cream, no sugar ... definitely no straw.

For the record, I'm a fan of Dairy Queen. I don't go there very often, because that would be, well ... foolhardy. But one of the things I enjoy most about our little cowtown is that it's got “Dairy Queen” written all over it. Albuquerque is an onion-rings-and-chocolate-dipped-ice-cream-cone kind of burg if ever there was one.

Last week, Alibi Managing Editor Christie Chisholm handed me a press packet from Dairy Queen announcing “hazelnut” as the restaurant's new MooLatté® flavor. I had no idea what a MooLatté® was, but the packet included a pass for a free one, so I figured I'd better do my journalistic duty and check it out.

Yesterday, I strolled over to the Dairy Queen on Central just west of Downtown. The little roadside joint's menu board did not list MooLatté® (hazelnut or otherwise), but when I handed over my pass, the girl behind the counter didn't seem puzzled. In a few minutes, I had my hazelnut MooLatté® in hand.

Just so you know, a MooLatté® is a coffee-esque iced beverage similar in consistency to a 7-Eleven Slurpee® yet topped with a mysterious white substance vaguely reminiscent of whipped cream. Bottom line: I honestly wanted to like the thing, but I just couldn't.

It's not just the excess sugar or the fake creaminess or that rancid aftertaste that all flavored coffee drinks seem to be cursed with. I'm certainly not buying into the absurd P.C. criticism that the tan-colored drink's name sounds too much like “mulatto.” (That seems like kind of a stretch, doesn't it?) For me, the main problem is simply that the name MooLatté® implies some kind of misguided touchy-feely stab at rural-urban, Republican-Democratic reconciliation. This irks me.

Of course, it could be that I'm reading too much into this. But, really, I don't think I am. I can just imagine those poor insecure little executives over at Dairy Queen. They think if they change the name of their fast food joint to “DQ” it'll give their place a hip urban zing. We don't want a hip urban zing! It's called Dairy Queen, not fucking DQ. Live with it, for Pete's sake!

Likewise, a MooLatté® might sound like an ironically sophisticated drink, especially coming from a restaurant ordinarily associated with all things bovine and barnyard. But no one goes to Dairy Queen for ironic sophistication. Seriously, the idea of blending traditional, rural, red-state values (Moo) with cosmopolitan, blue-state pretension (Latté) is idiotic. They just don't blend. We're talking oil and water here, people.

Look, facts need to be faced: This is a divided country. I honestly believe that the main reason this drink will make your stomach churn has very little to do with its actual taste (however unpleasant) and much more to do with its schizophrenic subliminal message.

We simply aren't at a point in this nation's troubled history when the red and the blue can be effectively combined. There is no purple—I don't care what that map in Time magazine says. Likewise, the “Moo” and the “Latté” hate each other, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

Sure, Dairy Queen's heart is in the right place. But the Culture War is raging here in the United States of America, and it's getting bloodier by the minute. This country's problems certainly aren't going to be resolved by the machinations (however well-intended) of a few ditzy corporate fast food executives in Minneapolis.

So, Dairy Queen, thanks for the freebie, but you'll do more for the cause of bipartisan understanding if you stick with onion rings and fried fish sandwiches and Oreo® Blizzards. No one's blaming you for this crazed war in Iraq, or the looming obliteration of Iran. After all, I'm a blue state kind of guy, but I have no problem crossing the line for your greasy, fried, chocolate-dipped, red-state delectables—at least every once in a while. This isn't a political statement on my part. I just happen to like onion rings, all right?

Tell you what, let's make a deal. When I come over to your side, just treat me kindly. Tip your hat. Curtsy. Shoot me a “How do you do?” When I see you at Flying Star, I'll do the same.