Another year, another round of breathless Lake Chipotle coverage from Twin Cities media. The cheeky, wink-nudge nature of the story—a large puddle outside the Chipotle on Hennepin Avenue that has taken on a life of its own—seems to have endless appeal. Or does it? We enlisted our most likable staffer and our crankiest to help determine whether Lake Chipotle has jumped the shark.
Em Cassel: All right, fine, I’ll admit that I’m the normie here… I think Lake Chipotle is moderately amusing. Is it the most earth-shatteringly hilarious bit to exist? No, that would be the time we sent Racket correspondent Ian Ringgenberg to Winnipeg. But it’s similarly silly in a way that I thought—until today—we could all agree on. It’s nice, dumb fun!
Jay Boller: Well, it was nice, dumb fun. It started out innocent enough, and it would’ve taken a true Scrooge to shit on the initial memefication of Lake Chipotle. But the lake has morphed into something uglier, something symbolic of a total deficit of creativity and humor. And, not to sound like a Hunter Biden laptop truther, I blame the media. As far as I can tell, Lake Chipotle emerged from social media as a true grassroots gag. It was pure. It was good. But like 40% of the water in this state, it became polluted by industry. Cargill and Monsanto are innocent here; the culprit is the Click Industrial Complex that took a once-funny phenomenon and, via reporters who wouldn’t exactly be shoo-ins at the Harvard Lampoon, beat any sense of humor from this tired, dull topic that still winks at you as though you’re required to laugh at it. I hate it. Turn the fucking parking lot into a luxury apartment complex. Turn it into Pedal Pub worldwide HQ.
Cassel: Wow, making The Media into the boogeyman here, Boller? How very QAnon of you!!
Boller: OK, OK. I guess it’s classic chicken/egg. These stories aren’t getting pumped out because nobody is reading about the latest drain clearance awareness activist to paddleboard across Lake Chipotle. (That’s not a joke.)
Cassel: You’ve heard of “if it bleeds, it leads,” now get ready for “if it clogs, it blogs.”
Boller: HA, that’s great stuff. And perhaps the last genuinely funny take associated with Lake Chipotle. To come back to a previous point, I guess my main issue is the tone of humor surrounding the lake. It’s so I Can Has Cheezburger, Epic Bacon, internet circa 2010, like its very mention requires the most online people alive to nod along and say: Yes, THAT’S funny. So I guess I’m saying the media and its consumers are to blame. I sound like the guy screaming at the end of Network now… but at the same time, have never felt more strongly about my position.
Cassel: But but but! I think the fact that the lake has been covered by more than one TV news station, in addition to all these online news sources (including, now, us) is proof that it actually transcends the whole LOLcat thing. You gotta assume there’s some 65-year-old man out there in the suburbs thinking to himself, “Huh, get a load of that Lake Chipotle! Maybe Minneapolis isn’t a violent, war-torn hellscape after all! Carol, where are my keys, I gotta see this thing!” …or maybe not, but you have to admit that the lake becoming an honest-to-god tourist attraction has probably done more to bring folks to Uptown than anything else in the last half-decade.
Boller: Em, a Lake Boller is forming inside my chest… because you’re successfully melting my icy heart here. I didn’t anticipate this; we didn’t storyboard how this would play out. I’m questioning all of my life choices now. Framed the way you just framed it, I’m realizing the enemy is not good-natured gawkers and tweeters. It’s the Minneapolis-is-burning crowd, and they’re much more deserving of our contempt than someone who gets a little chuckle out of a big puddle. The more I type… the more monstrous I’m feeling about my past Lake Chipotle skepticism. Additionally, it seems like the brass at Chipotle are making plans to re-engineer the parking lot, meaning this could be the lake’s swan song. I… I… I’m sorry?
Cassel: Perhaps this debate is much like Lake Chipotle itself: swelling to the surface because of our damaged relationship with our fellow man, which… in this metaphor, is the drain, I guess? The overflowing, melting snow is… our feelings? I don’t know!! I simply like the lake, which I just learned ALSO supports unionizing Starbucks workers. Check and mate, we love the lake!!!
Boller: Buddy, let’s go get matching Lake Chipotle tats. On the company credit card. I’m ready.
Cassel: Um… I’m really busy this week. But hey, let’s hear from our readers—are you pro- or anti-Lake Chipotle these days?
Click here to make your voice heard. (Sorry, the poll embed feature is, frustratingly, not working on our website.) And feel free to sound off in the comments, as is your right as a paying Racket subscriber.