Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

There are two Americas: a Taco Bell America and a Chipotle America

Chipotle, which only smart people like. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Chipotle, which only smart people like. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

We keep hearing that we live in information bubbles, our views reinforced by Facebook algorithms delivering fake news, our politicans pandering to us via artificially segmented red-state/blue-state maps, and our once-healing watercooler conversations about pop culture now supplanted by the likes of Netflix. Much of this is weird hand-wringing and technophobia, but there’s certainly validity to the notion that our tastes cluster together into discernible patterns, and also that someday we will be driven into a post-apocalyptic ruin by them.

Thus it is with not shock but a sigh of resignation that we report that your allegiance to either Taco Bell or Chipotle probably says statistically valid things about your pop cultural tastes: Namely, that people who like Chipotle also sort of have better taste. According to a bunch of cross-sectional data from the website Ranker, where users express preferences across a wide variety of media and cultural errata, Taco Bell fans flock toward mainstream popular culture. They love franchises like Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, and Batman, and when they do step outside of the comfort of a franchise, it is for a movie featuring a reliable name like Will Ferrell, Steven Spielberg, or Bruce Willis. Similarly, Taco Bell fans love down-the-middle alternative and classic rock, like Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, and Metallica.

Bespectacled, scarf-wearing Chipotle fans, on the other hand, are more into Mos Def, Tegan And Sara, and M.I.A. They only seek out franchises 29 percent of the time, as opposed to the 69 percent of Taco Bell fans. In addition to enjoying hormone-free meat and sporadic outbreaks of E. coli, Chipotle fans enjoy wry coming-of-age films like The Breakfast Club, Stand By Me, and Dead Poets Society. Whereas Taco Bell fans like King Of The Hill and The Simpsons, Chipotle fans enjoy the off-the-beaten-path pleasures of Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Louie. Chipotle fans also skew slightly older, thus explaining their highly developed sense of melancholic, world-weary humor. Life has battered them down, and they would like their burrito in a bowl, hold the Doritos, thank you very much.


When asked for more details on the methodology, a representative of Ranker said:

The piece cross references votes on all lists across Ranker. Each month over 30 million people cast their votes on thousands of polls providing a trove of self-reported preference data across 1.1mm interests. The data you see in the post is based on users who have voted on The Best Fast Food Brands, The Best Movies of All Time, The Most Rewatchable Movies, The Top Restaurant Chains in America, The Greatest Sitcoms in TV History, The Best TV Shows of the Last 20 Years, The Best Rock Bands of All Time, The Best Current Female Singers and The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers. In total, we’ve had 277,000 total voters on these lists (sum of voters on those lists) so that is roughly the sample size used to create the piece!

Interestingly, one of the strongest common denominators between Taco Bell fans and Chipotle fans is a shared love of South Park, which similarly crosses red-state/blue-state lines. Truly, America loves a good dick joke.

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