Culture Code-X

South in the Head

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A tradition of weird “Avocados from Mexico” Super Bowl commercials

The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.

The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.

SOUTH IN THE HEAD” NORM: Going south of the US border is perceived as being similar to taking a mind-expanding journey within your head.

Trippy stop-motion dream sequence in the 2002 Frida Kahlo movie

SOUTH IN THE HEAD” FORMS: Mexico associated with far-out and freaky — super-vivid, super-strange — experiences and perceptions. There is a persistent myth in the US that mezcal can make you hallucinate (probably due to confusion with “mescaline”). Can be associated with Day of the Dead iconography, but imagery might also be “primal” or “tribal”

From a 2020 study of “Mexican-ness” codes — as perceived in US culture.

Tags: CODE-X, Mexico