Fawlty Towers, New Mexico


And the award for Best John Cleese Impression of the Day goes to…

Larry Whitten marched into this northern New Mexico town in late July on a mission: resurrect a failing hotel.

The tough-talking former Marine immediately laid down some new rules. Among them, he forbade the Hispanic workers at the run-down, Southwestern adobe-style hotel from speaking Spanish in his presence (he thought they’d be talking about him), and ordered some to Anglicize their names.

No more Martin (Mahr-TEEN). It was plain-old Martin. No more Marcos. Now it would be Mark.

And if you didn’t follow the new rules, you were fired.

“It has nothing to do with racism,” he says, echoing the Not Marryin’ Judge. “I’m not doing it for any reason other than for the satisfaction of my guests.”

Mr. Whitten’s research into his Taos project apparently didn’t include the locals, whom he calls “mountain people” and “potheads who escaped society.” “I came into this landmine of Anglos versus Spanish versus Mexicans versus Indians versus everybody up here,” he says. “I’m just doing what I’ve always done.”

And really, getting in the habit of speaking English is for their own good. Especially if they get stopped by police in Dallas.

Hotel owner tells Hispanic workers to change names [AP, via Think Progress]

Update: CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell gets Larry on the phone: “How do you treat the customers when they come in? Do you ask them also to change their names?”



whats wrong with “mountain people” and “potheads who escaped society.”

No more ‘Newt’. It was Nigel. No more ‘Mitt’. It was Alec. No more ‘Lindsay’. It was Sheila. No more…

@Benedick: No more “Ramón Estévez”. It was “Martin Sheen”.

“Larry”? Is that because “Lawrence” is too, uh, gay?

@nojo: And he embraced his Bartletness and is now studying theology in Ireland. LOL

I guess he saw “Full Metal Jacket”, too.

Oh, I think the even better story is about the RNC’s Facebook page featuring a picture of Barry eating a piece of chicken and the caption “Miscegenation is a Crime. Repeal Loving v. Virginia

I think that’s worthy of its own post, Stinque Overlords.

on the subject of travel, the Saudis have issued a travel advisory for their citizens traveling abroad. they include:

– Do not treat your children harshly or kiss them on the mouth in public places in order to avoid having legal action taken against you on grounds of mistreatment.

– Avoid talking with children or adolescents over the Internet, inviting them to your house alone, or being alone with them.

– If a domestic dispute reaches the security authorities, the one who caused it will be punished (imagine that)

“Yeah. I’m gonna need you to paint your skin white. That’d be great.”

. . . and Jesus (in Spanish)? Juan, Pablo, Pedro, Si’mon, Santiago, Felipe, Mateo, To’mas, Bartolomé, Marcos, Lucas, y Judas?

I LOL’d at this bit:

“What kind of fool or idiot or poor businessman would I be to orchestrate this whole crazy thing that’s costed me a lot of time, money and aggravation?” Whitten said.

Um, maybe the kind of backwoods redneck jarhead that doesn’t know how to conjugate ‘cost’ correctly? Either that, or the kind of idiot that works in Texas (with domestic employees) for two decades and never bothers to learn Spanish?

But seriously, WTF was he thinking with the names? Did he miss the fact that the street his hotel is on has a Spanish name? Or the mountains out back?

@al2o3cr: The type of fool who refers to Latino US citizens and immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and every other Central American country as “Spanish people.”

This brought out http://www.GayLatinoDating.com in the Not the MSNBC Ad for me.

When the members of that site decide on a place to rendezvous in meat-space, I hope they will keep Mr. Whitten’s Taos retreat in mind.

@SanFranLefty: My understanding is that was a “fan pic”, not something posted by RNC proper. And they removed it soon as it was (publicly) brought to their attention. I’m giving it a pass.

“I’m afraid it’s a bit tricky coz chef just opened the tin.”


“I’ve been working 24 years in Texas and we have a lot of Spanish people there.”

“people calling from all over America don’t know the Spanish accents or the Spanish culture or Spanish anything”

24 years in Texas and he thinks all those brown people are from Spain?

@al2o3cr: I wonder if he thinks Europe is the capital of England?

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: Yes, I wouldn’t mind getting to know his “Spanish culture”.

@Benedick: Serendipity: I was just watching the DVD this weekend, and while, alas, I can’t count myself as a fan, the reference proved handy.

@nojo: It shouldn’t take them five days from when they were told about it to take it down….

@Pedonator: @Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: How come I have an ad for AAA homeowners insurance? I want the hot papi ad!

@nojo: I worship every minute of it.

“You started it. You marched into Poland.”

@SanFranLefty: No, but they were getting a lot more flak about their new website, which might have diverted their attention.

I did see the piece this morning, and my first impulse was to run with it, but that’s setting an awfully low standard — equivalent to trolling for nasty comments that haven’t been moderated.

@nojo: They should be more careful about who they pal around with.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches:

you don’t think? it was an ad on A&E, i thought it was an SNL commercial.
when i realized they weren’t kidding i was horrified!

there goes the perennial of my xmas gift list.


I dunno. I mean, I guess they wouldn’t do that to a white president, so that makes it racist. It doesn’t seem to have been produced with a nasty intent, though. Do you have to be nasty or hate-based to be racist, or is it racism if you are simply ignorant?

I wouldn’t buy one because it is A)Silly and B) Possibly offensive. But do I condemn it? Not really.

I am nonplussed about the Obama Chia Head.

@Tommmcatt is hunkered down in the trenches: After seeing the amount of shit for sale in DC during the Inauguration, I am not sure what would even phase me anymore. Although I did do a double take the first time I saw the Chia Obama at a Walgreens in Chicago, before he was even sworn in.

@homofascist: Do you still have that *bee-you-teeful* sweatshirt with the sparkly Barry & Michelle face on it that you bought from the street vendor?

@SanFranLefty: Of course! How could I part with such a treasure?

Post updated: Hotel owner interviewed by CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell.

@redmanlaw: Mrs. RML is such the bomb. I hope she’s not freaked out by her followers on the Tubez who she’s never met.

@redmanlaw: It took a whole month for AP to pick it up? Fire the bureau chief!

I don’t know if it was a written rule, but when I was in the Navy, Filipino sailors were not supposed to speak Tagalog when they were around non-Tagalog speakers. Yep.

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