I woke up this morning to find myself tagged on Facebook in this Vice article. It’s basically about how Gasolina has become a meme. It arose when a video of a Radiohead performance was edited to have the song playing over it.
People were amused and it inspired someone to make a Celine Dion version. These were the only two versions of this “meme” I could find and, in my experience, things need way more than two examples for it to become a full-fledged meme. Even the Know Your Meme entry for it is incredibly slim.
The subheading of the article also caught my attention. “Sure, it’s over a decade old, but if a song can somehow make Radiohead amusing, it deserves some sort of credit.” How much more dismissive could you get? This song managed to become a global phenomenon and a cultural centerpiece of Latin urban music, and he believes that it deserves credit for making some white band look funny. Way to dismiss and erase the work and impact of an incredibly prominent and successful Latino artist.
I looked into the writer of the article, Larry Fitzmaurice. He’s really pushing for Gasolina to become a meme, with little success.
So, why try so hard? To make the article actually relevant? Gasolina has an incredible virality quality. Just look at my previous post about the fake remix for it. Not only that, but it seems like reporters are seeing the impact of Latin America and are trying to appeal to this audience. Just look at last week’s article about Justin Bieber piggybacking off Despacito.
It’s Hispandering at its not so finest. Latinxs have incredible spending power. A Nielsen report from last year states that “In 2015, Hispanics controlled $1.3 trillion in buying power”. And projections show that it will only increase. That’s nothing to sneeze at. So more and more often we are seeing Latinx culture penetrating the mainstream in a variety of ways but with dubious intentions.
Sure, it’s nice to finally be catered to, but not when it’s motivated by numbers instead of our humanity.