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Cleaning Up the Crass and Clueless

July 22, 2013

Zipperhead was a landmark on South Street in Philadelphia. Apparently, it’s gone now. It was a funky hole in the wall to buy things like bongs, handcuffs, black light posters, and all the other accessories for your alternative lifestyle. Although I think if you had the money to shop at Zipperhead, you could lay no claim to actually living the lifestyle, despite its inclusion in a Dead Milkmen song

It’s complicated.

Even more complicated is that I just found out that the word zipperhead is actually an offensive term used to reference people of Asian descent. But since the store existed before the internet, I’m wondering if that Korean war era slur was completely lost on the owners who were likely referencing all the zippers that were once popular on leather jackets and on other pieces of punk clothing.

Regardless, looking back on it, the store was potentially quite offensive to a large group of people. However, given its market niche, it’s unlikely to have caused much of a stir. Places on the periphery can get away with a lot. But that all changes when you move into the national spotlight.

Let me tell you the story of two local food trucks with a similar problem.

Slidin’ Dirty makes sliders. It’s a playful truck. Their name riffs on the notion of a previous generation that food trucks are full of grime and bugs. The idea of food trucks as “roach coaches” is long gone, but the dirty moniker is a good sexy hook.

It allows the owners to wear shirts dripping with innuendo that say things like, “Feelin’ Dirty?” “Get Dirty” and “Dirty Girl.” But this fun can get taken a little too far. And in the first iteration the theme extended to their slider menu with dishes like the “Dirty Greek” and the “Dirty Asian.”

I don’t offend easily. And I know that my occasional salty language might cause offense to others. I also understand the value of bending some social norms and breaking others.

My Asian friends don’t offend easily either. If they did, we wouldn’t be friends. And while they didn’t find the “Dirty Asian” to be so offensive as to avoid the truck entirely, it always elicited a grimace.

To quote a line from Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven, “Everybody thinks they have a sense of humor, but then they don’t though.”

The other food truck in the region with a marketing plan based around mildly offensive language is the Wandering Dago. And while by all accounts “Dago” is an offensive term to describe Italians, the Italian owner of this truck is interested in taking it back. Especially since there is some evidence to suggest it referred back to Italian day laborers who would get paid as the day goes. Which incidentally is exactly how the operator of a food truck is compensated. I totally get it.

Except the offensive-to-some ethnic slurs carry through to the menu more directly with a sandwich called the Polack and a dish with potatoes called the “Mick and Cheese”.

In their respective corners of upstate New York each of these trucks has been wildly successful. As they have gotten more popular, they have received increasingly more attention from a much wider audience.

Slidin’ Dirty did something very smart.

Before they were going to appear on national television they cleaned up their act. The “Dirty Asian” became the “Dirty Ninja”. Similarly, the “Dirty Greek” became the “Dirty Spartan”. The idea is still the same. But now instead of denigrating a large group of people based on their ethnicity or national origin, the sandwiches were re-aligned with certain signifiers of that culture.

The Wandering Dago may not quite have realized exactly how much attention they would get at the Saratoga Race Course. Opening day was last Friday and this food truck had planned to be there for the entire season. While it’s located within upstate New York, this is an international stage. People come to Saratoga Springs from all around the world. I don’t quite understand the appeal, but that’s beside the point.

To make matters a tad more complicated, the venue is owned by New York State and operated by the not-for-profit New York Racing Association.

Well, apparently some state politician had not been briefed on the food vendor contract negotiations, and were surprised to see the offending language at this historic location. Apparently, others complained too. To make a long story short, the Wandering Dago truck was told to leave the premises.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. And really, they shouldn’t be either.

Looking at their logo, and knowing what they do, the solution is obvious. Modify the D into a B. The G can easily be converted into a C. And then all the truck needs is an N and the end.

There you have it: Wandering Bacon. Impressively, they do make their own bacon right on the truck. The truck drives around. Their logo is a pig on a bike. And as of right now, WanderingBacon.com is still totally available. Part of me wanted to snag it up and sell it back to them for $1,000. But they’ve had a tough time over the last few days, and that felt mean spirited.

So this one is on me.

47 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2013 10:28 am

    I maintain that no matter how good the food is, I don’t want to associate the word “dirty” with an establishment I’m buying food from.

    In the case of the Wandering Dago, the business name is one thing, but the meal names are another. They’re asking people to walk up to the truck and order dishes named with ethnic slurs. Many of them are going to walk away and order from somewhere else because that’s kind of weird.

  2. July 22, 2013 10:45 am

    We walk by a restaurant called Polock Johnny’s in Ocean City MD. I wondered about the name but I’m not Polish so it really doesn’t bother me. It’s a third generation family restaurant originated in Baltimore and they are, of course, Polish. I can’t find anything that talks about people being up in arms about the derogatory(?) name. If you read their history you can see where their name comes from. Are people here just to sensitive? I’m thinking that’s the case!

    • July 22, 2013 10:57 am

      The issue here is not people from this area. In fact the opposite is true. You should have seen the mob at the Wandering Dago and Slidin’ Dirty (pre clean up) at the Food Truck Festival. Their names and the names of their menu items didn’t diminish the popularity of the trucks in the slightest. As further proof, you should check out the comments on the Table Hopping blog that are for the most part incredibly supportive of Wandering Dago.

      The issue here is the reluctance of the owners to recognize that even though they themselves don’t find the name offensive, that there are plenty of other people out there who do. And that number grows as the truck gets more exposure.

      This shouldn’t be surprising to anybody.

  3. July 22, 2013 10:50 am

    The only way to take the bite out of these slurs is to remove the venom. The more we talk about them being slurs, the more they continue to have an effect. Nobody uses these terms as anymore as anything other than irony.

    If you’re offended by any of these names, you’re the one with the problem. And it’s safe to assume you’re the type of person who is easily offended to begin with.

    I for one will dine at the Wandering Dago whenever I can as to encourage them to not change their name and preserve their freedom of expression.

  4. July 22, 2013 11:03 am

    I had no idea that “Dago” was an even remotely offensive word until I heard about the Saratoga incident this weekend. I call total BS on this since the contracts had been written and agreed upon a long time ago. WD definitely has a breach of contract suit against NYRA.

    That being said, I believe in a free market economy. If the name is going to turn people away, and if they keep getting banned from venues, it’d behoove them to come up with a more PC friendly name. I don’t think it’s asking them to sell their souls just to change their name on the truck (they could still go by Wandering Dago as their DBA or LLC or whatever).

    Doing things your own way is great, but if it’s going to come at a price where business suffers, it might be time to rethink your game plan.

    • DEN permalink
      July 22, 2013 12:38 pm

      Regarding your opinion on breach of contract: There may well be a claim there for the food truck owners, but there may well not be. I have seen contracts which force a party to adhere to codes of conduct or other written standards of behavior which address this type of language. If one of those was involved here, the racetrack may well have been within its contractual rights to end the relationship. You really need to see the actual language.

      That said, you do make a fair point that the name of the business was known for some time, so this could have been avoided before the business experienced huge losses. It does seem like there may have been some compromise available (maybe there still is), such as a quick name change that Daniel suggested.

  5. July 22, 2013 11:14 am

    I agree completely with Chad’z above. If a business finds that its profit margins suffer because of a name people dislike, it should make a rational decision to change that name. But it’s not the role of a governmental authority to deny a permit based simply on what an operation chooses to call itself.

    I’m not familiar with the legal specifics in this particular instance, so I can’t speak to the terms of the contract or whether Wandering Dago has a strong case if it sues. But if a business changes its name, or any other important aspect of its identity that isn’t illegal, I think it should be in response to public patronage or lack thereof, not one race official sitting in a cubicle who chose to be offended.

    • DEN permalink
      July 22, 2013 12:27 pm

      caravan70: “But it’s not the role of a governmental authority to deny a permit based simply on what an operation chooses to call itself.”

      Consider a hypothetical where a business wanted to call itself, say, “Adolf Hitler, Inc.” (there are some real world examples where governments have shut this down) or use obscene language in its name. Would you prefer that the government be forced to approve permits with such names?

      • July 22, 2013 12:41 pm

        I believe I would, actually, DEN. There are a number of instances in which I think the government can exercise some degree over control over expression – such as the banning of certain content on over-the-airwaves networks before a certain time. But I don’t see why it should deny a permit to a guy who wants to call his business anything whatsoever.

        On most issues, I tend to skew just to the left of Karl Marx. ;) But I’m a libertarian when it comes to the First Amendment. I don’t care what you call your business. What I care about is what you do with your business. I don’t care if there’s a business called “Adolf Hitler, Inc.” that sells surfboards, for example. But I have a much larger difficulty with a business like, say Halliburton, that markets destruction, or one that defaults – with its CEO living in a Park Avenue penthouse – and needs a government bailout.

      • DEN permalink
        July 22, 2013 1:27 pm

        If you think that government can ban content on over-the-air networks, then how is that materially different from a government refusing to issue permit to a business which uses that same content in their name (and can presumably print that content on a sign as big as zoning restrictions allow)? My only point is that the government has a right to regulate business names as a permissible time, place, or manner restriction (or under other laws), and such regulation has no meaningful effect on our freedom of expression.

        To illustrate that point a little differently and in a different context: What if I wanted to open my own hamburger restaurant, and my last name is McDonald? Could I call the restaurant McDonald’s? Or what if I wanted to open my own food truck and also call it “Slidin’ Dirty”? The government can surely deny those permits based on their name, right?

      • July 22, 2013 1:40 pm

        Den, you’re venturing into trademark laws now, not 1st amendment rights.

      • DEN permalink
        July 22, 2013 2:26 pm

        CD1083: Caravan70’s point, at least as I read it, was that you should be able to name a business “anything whatsoever” without government interference. My point was that the government can surely regulate business names and that such regulation may even be desirable under some circumstances.

        My McDonald’s example was geared to test the limits of Caravan’s statement, but the example is also pertinent to a first amendment discussion because it is another example where the rights of expression can be legitimately reduced or prevented by the government. You wrote above that you would still patronize the Wandering Dago truck to support their “freedom of expression.” If I decided to open a food truck with the same exact name, and decided to park my truck directly next to theirs, would you also support my “freedom of expression?” Or would you agree that the Government might rightly deny my application based on its name, and thus agree that there are limits to “freedom of expression” in this context?

        That said, please note that I have not expressed an opinion as to whether the result for the Wandering Dago was right or correct, although I do think there was an opportunity for a compromise to allow them to stay. They may well have some legal recourse. Rather, my comments sought to challenge some assumptions and broad statements about the proper involvement of government in these types of issues, and to point out examples where such broad statements might be problematic.

      • July 22, 2013 4:02 pm

        Let me briefly clarify my original point, DEN: I am not claiming that there are no circumstances in which regulation of business names is not appropriate. I should have made that clearer in my original response. If I open a place and call it “Mac’s Place,” and you open a place next door and have a similar menu and call it “Mack’s Place,” clearly there are some trademark issues (assuming you managed to get your name trademarked in the first place). I don’t deny that the government has a role when it comes to intervening in those kinds of controversies. (I imagine the multiplicity of Ray’s Pizza owners down in NYC have explored this fully.)

        But simple issues of naming are different, I believe. First Amendment issues, as CD1083 pointed out, are quite different from issues of trademark infringement, which are actually adjudicated by different bodies, at least starting out. And I don’t deny that there are circumstances under which governments can say, “whoa… that’s not right.” If I decide I’m going to open a place called “Co**sucker Cafe,” I agree that a municipality has the right to indicate that they don’t want children riding by in cars or on bicycles every day and seeing that. There’s a difference between what you name your company and what you display, in some cases. Maybe some of the inappropriateness that was perceived stemmed from some big logo size… I don’t know. All I was attempting to get across is that I don’t believe government’s role is to tell you what to name your company. Can it tell you how to advertise it? Yes, in certain circumstances (see tobacco advertisement laws).

        But I think we’re splitting hairs here. I don’t think a name like “Wandering Dago” rises to the level I just referenced. But I think that in the final analysis, it’s your job to explain to your kids that there are things in the world that may offend you, and that sometimes people didn’t mean to offend, but were perhaps a little bit oblivious. When I was living in Hawaii as a kid, there was a popular Portuguese sausage soup everyone called “Portagee bean soup.” I didn’t think any less of Portuguese immigrants because of it; that’s just what the soup was called, and I remember my dad explaining that they were hardworking people that simply stuck a bunch of sausage and beans into a delicious concoction because they were hungry and didn’t have a lot of money. (They also brought the ukelele over, to some people’s delight and others’ dismay. ;) ) I learned later that it’s probably not a good idea to call your Portuguese friends “Portagees.” But it’s a legacy term, and it attaches to that particular dish. And I think everyone who’s had the privilege of eating it over there understands that, and divorces the term from the intent.

        You know, I hope the owners of this thing simply do what Daniel suggested, and get a new moniker. But I would suggest that if someone can’t see the humor in “Wandering Dago,” and walks by thinking the owners are picturing Sicilian people leading donkeys around or guys in Sopranos episodes hitting up a small businessperson for “the vig,” it really says more about their own prejudices than those of the people who own the truck.

      • DEN permalink
        July 22, 2013 4:38 pm

        caravan70: I am glad you clarified. Although people can certainly have different viewpoints of the slang used by food trucks (and maybe even different views of the same terms used in different contexts), and thus judge the actions of the racetrack through that lens, I would still argue what happened here could potentially be within the scope of what your comments suggest is permissible government interference from a first amendment perspective (and you are right we have driven it down to the micro level in discussing), although it is certainly unclear at this stage whether it is the “right” result from a legal perspective.

        I think we might both agree that a different outcome, by way of a compromise between truck and track, might have been available prior to the ouster, and may still be available. Even if one believes the track was justified, giving the truck a chance to change the offending language before getting fired might have produced an outcome everybody could have accepted.

      • July 22, 2013 5:03 pm

        I think that’s the key, DEN… they should have simply called the truck owners and said, “Look, you need to find a slightly different name, or we’re going to have to ask you to leave.” First Amendment rights and all of that aside, the practical reality is that there was a problem, and the NYRB should have given them a little time to solve that problem before simply booting them out. Excellent point.

  6. Elyse permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:14 am

    “If you’re offended by any of these names, you’re the one with the problem. And it’s safe to assume you’re the type of person who is easily offended to begin with.”

    GUYS STOP THIS. This is pretty much the excuse that all racists give. So you’re saying that if there was a slider called the “Dirty Jew”, there is something wrong with me if I’m offended by this? Seriously? Seriously????

    Sorry, Daniel, I don’t want to turn your blog into a “this is/isn’t racist offensive” argument but this kind of stuff really gets me up in arms.

    • July 22, 2013 11:22 am

      Yes, there is something wrong with you if you find the name of a sandwich to be offensive.

      • Elyse permalink
        July 22, 2013 11:57 am

        If hating a sandwich is so wrong, I don’t wanna be right!!

  7. July 22, 2013 11:20 am

    Elyse, I have to respectfully disagree. If someone slaps me across the back with a baseball bat because of my race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., then I’m going to be “offended.” Yes, that’s a hate crime in the classic sense. But as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by words in my life, simply because I don’t choose to let others have control over my feelings. If someone opened a food truck named “Dirty Honky” or “Nasty Cracker,” I wouldn’t care… I’d probably chuckle and order a sandwich. The name of the food truck in this instance should have been subject to the approval/disapprobation of the buying/not-buying public, and nobody else, I think.

    • Albert permalink
      July 22, 2013 12:08 pm

      “As a white person with all the inherent privileges that come with it, I would have no problem with white people being mocked. I don’t get why those people have a problem.”

  8. julie permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:23 am

    I always thought “Sliding Dirty” was a light-hearted riff on “riding dirty” ie. with drugs in the car. There was a really big song with that name a few years ago.

    I always thought Wandering Dago was a fairly offensive name, and the menu titles undermine their disingenuous argument that they had no idea it was considered inappropriate.

    I am a little tired of the bacon thing but your Wandering Bacon idea is pretty awesome.

    • DEN permalink
      July 22, 2013 9:13 pm

      Julie, I had the same interpretation of the “Slidin’ Dirty” name as you.

  9. Elyse permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:28 am

    As far as naming the truck and the food items whatever they did, this is within the food trucks right and it is up to the consumer to buy or not buy it but it is also their right to complain to the venue that is allowing them to serve food at that location.

    The whole “sticks and stones” argument is oh so tiresome when it comes from one white male after another- just sayin’.

  10. July 22, 2013 11:32 am

    Isn’t it a little “racist” in itself to suggest that an argument is “oh so tiresome [sic]” based upon who made it, Elyse?

  11. Ellie permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:36 am

    I am going to put this out there, and someone please prove to I am wrong. In light of recent national news, racism is front and center. Everyone is being really careful about it. So when a state elected official saw the selection at Wandering Dago, he saw the potential for another issue on racism. Furthermore, Saratoga markets as a family friendly place. Ordering a mick and cheese is going to bring up some conversations with the little one. Personally, I wouldn’t eat there.

    The frightening thing is that commenting that preference on TU elicited racial stereotyping. Which makes me ask: are we any more enlightened than Florida?

  12. Elyse permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:38 am

    Yes I’m a big fat racist I was just testing you.

    • July 22, 2013 11:43 am

      hehe… a transgendered Bull Connor, eh? :) I was just teasing, Elyse… I understand and sympathize with your point of view, but I tend to be very worried where issues of freedom of speech are concerned.

      • Elyse permalink
        July 22, 2013 11:50 am

        Thanks for your reply – I do believe (as I mentioned earlier) that the truck has every right to same their sandwiches the most disgusting, offensive names they can think of….BUT I also think that telling a group that they have no right to be offended by or complain about something because they weren’t physically injured or directly affected in some way is a way of taking power away from that particular group. I apologize if I’m not expressing myself well because I’m not a very good writer. I actually wasn’t offended by the trucks themselves (and I think it’s unfortunate for the dago truck because, while I think they were misguided, they obviously meant no harm) but it’s the attitude of the commenters there that frighten me.

      • July 22, 2013 12:03 pm

        Elyse, you’re a fine writer… please don’t worry about that. You expressed your point of view very eloquently, and your comment was a pleasure to read. I don’t know that Daniel wants us to conduct a political discussion on here, but I will just say this: I agree with what you said – very well – that you can’t tell a group that they have no right to be offended by something said. I think what I was trying to convey, and it’s only my own opinion, is that as you said groups and individuals have a variety of recourses if they do become offended by a name like Wandering Dago. They can choose not to patronize the business, or yes, complain to the track authorities. If the track authorities become involved, they can make a subsequent business decision not to renew the contract (assuming all obligations are met). The problem I have is the idea that the government can deny a business a contract renewal based on its name. It’s the old “slippery slope” problem.

        It occurred to me a few minutes ago that a similar situation might be complaints about someone’s license plate, albeit on a much smaller scale. I wonder what people would argue the government has the right to accept or deny there?

        In any event, I think Daniel’s “bacon” idea is a great one… don’t think I mentioned that before. (Although I hope the recent saga of “Bacon Bacon” in SF doesn’t jinx, it, Daniel…. ;) )

        And thanks for your response also, Elyse! :)

      • July 22, 2013 12:09 pm

        Thank you both for showing others how to do this well and not making me have to shut down comments on this post early. I’m really lucky to have such great readers and commenters.

        Keep it clean and respectful out there people.

  13. Elyse permalink
    July 22, 2013 11:44 am

    Also I spelled tiresome correctly!!! Now I really am offended!

    • July 22, 2013 11:51 am

      lol… I simply used [sic] because I wanted to make it clear that I quoted you exactly as you wrote. Your spelling was perfect, of course. If someone wanted to pick my comments apart, I’m sure they could do a pretty good job of it. :)

  14. July 22, 2013 11:57 am

    I agree with Chad’z. It’s one thing to be edgy, but another to continue to use something that you’ve been told is offensive. Slidin’ Dirty found a good compromise. Wandering Dago would do well to think about this instead of continually digging in their heels if they want to gain success on a wider stage. Having great food doesn’t matter if people refuse to even try it.

  15. July 22, 2013 12:08 pm

    There is a fine line between perception and reality. While the reality may be that both trucks serve an amazing variety of food (really psyched about the July 30th food truck rally in Saratoga, btw), you have to be so careful about this kind of thing, especially if you are a business that serves a diverse clientele. One person’s “taking back an ethnic slur” is another person’s “wickedly offensive terminology.” Hopefully they’ll take your advice. I love the emergence of the food truck culture in the Capital Region, and I’d hate to see us lose a good option!

  16. July 22, 2013 1:22 pm

    I grew up with Texas, where racism is served alongside the breakfast hot sauce and always will be, and that gave me the realization at a very early age that when they think they can get away with it, many people will happy resort to racist terms (or homophobic or etc) to objectify those different from them.

    I was surprised when “Wandering Dago” popped up on the CD boards a couple years back and more surprised so few locals took objection to it. As the parent of part Asian children, I can tell you that “zipperhead” is not ok either. Sorry to be such a debbie downer, but the sole purpose of these terms is to make you feeling better by putting down others.. The fact that sometimes people within those groups apply the terms ironically does not make it ok.

  17. J. WELF permalink
    July 22, 2013 2:42 pm

    this sort of sounds like a TINY TOWN problem – GET IT, TINY TOWN … THE DEAD MILKMEN! AMIRITE? Anyway, more Dead Milkmen talk on this blog would be appreciated.

  18. July 22, 2013 3:20 pm

    I think the fact the we assign different semantic weight to different ethnic slurs is something that should give us pause for a bit self examination… In regards to this issue I keep hearing the argument, “what if it was Dirty *Slur for Jewish People?* or what if it was Dirty *Slur for African Americans?”

    I am of Anglo/Irish descent and my wife is Italian. You can drop the “mick” bomb around me all day long and I could give a crap. I spend exactly 0 minutes per day thinking about what dark corner of the British Isles my ancestors crawled out of in order to flee to the Americas. But I guess I don’t really ever have to… Discrimination against Anglo/Irish/Scots mixed types in this neck of the woods (if it ever existed) is a thing of the long gone past.

    However, when I asked the wife about the “dago” thing I and could see her tense up a bit. She grew up in the Hudson Valley in the same household as her Italian immigrant parents. I guarantee she has been subject to a crass Italian joke or two in her life. Should she be sensitive? Maybe a bit… I don’t think we need to go much farther then certain recent television programs to see that the prevailing American media culture still enjoys poking a bit of fun at Italians…

    In any event, I am not unsophisticated. I understand why different ethnic groups might take things of this nature a little more serious than others, you know, in light of the whole world history thing… I think how seriously a particular ethnic group takes their slurs is directly correlated to how accepted they feel by main stream (if that even exists anymore…) American culture. I don’t think we need to argue that a Jewish person or an African American could maybe feel a bit less accepted in Upstate NY than an Irish, Italian, or Polish American. For all sorts of reasons. (http://wamc.org/post/google-upstate-ny-2nd-most-racist-region-us , http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/06/can-google-predict-the-impact-of-racism-on-a-presidential-election/258322/).

    So do I think the Wandering Dago truck ventured into the land of the offensive? No not personally, and I have two darling little half Italian/partially Irish children running around biting ankles. I am even fond of making vaguely off-color jokes about their Irish/Italian heritage, “potatoes in their mouths, but spicy marinara in their veins…” stuff like that… But I think the WD was skirting dangerous territory when they set up shop (as Daniel stated) in a venue like Saratoga.

    I guarantee the legislature/or whoever got offended was from the NYC. NYC politics are still racially charged to a degree that we don’t really see up here (yet). Indignation bones are bigger down there, senses of humor smaller, and attempts to grab the cheap headline concerning a real or imagined “ethnic/racial” issues more attractive. In any event, NYC legislatures should mind their own god damned business about a lot of things, I won’t bemoan this point… But I bet you that is what happened. It is all about context.

    So I don’t necessarily think that the WD should have to change their name… I don’t think they should have been treated in the dramatic fashion they were by NYRA. Maybe cover that up for the day while we figure this out or something? I don’t know… Probably they should change it though for their own bottom line.

    This is a complicated issue I thinks.

  19. July 22, 2013 3:49 pm

    My ancestors are from Sicily and Naples and everybody KNOWS that olives are not grown in gardens, they are grown in ‘groves’. Generations ago it was a terrible slap in the face to suggest your family had a poor grove of olives and they would say “olive garden’ to insult you.
    I AM VERYoffended by this horrible slur against peaceful olive growing Italians….I want Darden to close or change the name of their very offensive ‘Olive Garden’ establishments. Oh the Horror, THE HORROR!!! ;)

    • Elyse permalink
      July 22, 2013 3:58 pm

      Oh, stop it.

      • July 22, 2013 7:52 pm

        “Oh, stop it.”

        NOW, I am really offended. many generations ago, people would say “stop it’ ….. ;)

      • DEN permalink
        July 22, 2013 9:08 pm

        Speaking of “offended,” Todd, I was offended when I learned the grilled polenta was taken off the menu at TJ’s Cafe. It was my favorite dish there. Please put it back on the menu.

  20. Jon E permalink
    July 22, 2013 9:09 pm

    People will always find a reason to be offended if it suits them. That said, I would tend to agree that the Wandering Dago might want to consider a name change – not because it’s necessarily offensive, but because it may have cost them a lot of business. Sometimes a person has to compromise on their principles in order to make a living, although I wish it wasn’t always so. In spite of that, I don’t believe there’s any justice in the way this was handled by the NYRA. I am a commuter, a daytime-only denizen of the Capital District, but for reading about this issue, I will go out of my way to find these food trucks and support them..

  21. Tino Tavli permalink
    July 23, 2013 4:33 am

    I am not surprised at the inconsistency of this area’s hypocrites. I have witnessed entree specials like “white trash duck”, “dirty south surf and turf” and “sloppy seconds” to name a few. Matt references some of his burrito advertisements to marijuana usage and gives away a free burrito annually on 4/20. Bitch’s Kitchen doesn’t seem to have any outraged feminists, but that term can also be empowering as long as you are a woman referring to yourself. It’s a shame that some people are so uptight and also hurting a hard working businessman. A cute hook helps attract attention but I guess these are the risks. You just have to be lucky or choose wisely I guess.

  22. Awesomedude permalink
    July 24, 2013 9:19 am

    With the profussor on this one,

    Also want to give a shout out to all white American makes commenting that have found the strength to overcome the sting of ethnic and racial slurs. As a white American male myself I know how incredibly hard it is to find the mental fortitude to overcome and adopt such a brave mindset.

  23. DEN permalink
    August 28, 2013 8:20 am

    It is pertinent to note that the owners of the truck have filed a lawsuit. It is on first amendment/free speech grounds, and not based on a contract theory, at least according to the Times Union. I wonder whether there will be an argument over whether the racetrack is truly a “public forum” in the legal sense, which would be relevant to the degree of the first amendments protections that would apply. It will be interesting to see the answers to these and other first amendment issues if NYRA allows this to get to a decision.

  24. DEN permalink
    August 28, 2013 9:06 am

    *breach of* contract theory

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