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Las Vegas "Chinchilla"

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If Chinchilli Day doesn't make it onto the calendar as an official holiday, it won't be for lack of trying by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and ad agency R&R Partners. This past spring, a commercial showed a man wangling an extra day for a jaunt to Las Vegas by telling his boss that (as a matter of "cultural obligation") he had to spend a long weekend there celebrating Chinchilli Day, marking the occasion when a band of chinchillas did something violent and dramatic in a south-of-the-border pueblo town. Now, we find a different man using Chinchilli Day to extract a Monday off from a different boss -- and with a completely different explanation of what Chinchilli Day commemorates. If the first Chinchilli Day commercial was outlandish -- and believe me, it was -- the mere fact of presenting a variation on the Chinchilli Day theme (with the chinchillas this time making their mark in France, as a furrier version of the Three Muskteers) raises the campaign to an even higher plane of outlandishness. And that's a good thing. At a time when many people are feeling beaten down in the workplace, the notion of snowing an uncongenial boss with such a ridiculous story is quite appealing, over and above the fun of going to Las Vegas. The city implicitly positions itself as the ally of the working stiff in the battle against the powers that be. In this context, a trip to Las Vegas seems like a blow for freedom as well as a fun outing. --Mark Dolliver