!Ask a Mexican! Web Especial

The great !Ask a Mexican! naming debate

In the March 8 ¡Ask a Mexican! column, readers were asked for their opinions on the column's logo/mascot, a clichéd cartoon of a revolutionary Mexican male, complete with mustache, sombrero and gold tooth. So, here is some of that feedback, in no particular order, sense or rhythm . . .

I've been around a long time, managed to laugh at Speedy Gonzalez, and José Jimenez, could have cared less about the Frito Bandito and couldn't understand the flap over the Taco Bell Chihuahua, even though [the organized protest against it] was led by my good friend Mario Obledo. I looked forward to I Love Lucy because Ricky Ricardo had an accent. I loved the Cisco Kid and Pancho, too. They were my childhood heroes. They looked and acted a little like me and my family, too. I grew up being called a Mexican as if it was a bad thing, a Chicano as if it was a good or bad thing, an Hispanic as if it was a condescending thing, a greaser as if it was a dirty thing, a beaner as if it was a smelly thing, a Mexican-American as if it was an inclusive thing, a spic as if it was a despicable thing, a wet-back as if I didn't belong. I was called: cabrón, guay, mijo, pendejo, Viejo, Chulo, Feo, Vendido, Indio, Don y Doctor by my Spanish-speaking friends. The stuff that bothered me? I got over it. I learned to chalk the insults up to ignorance and racism and not stoop to their level. Me, I don't need thought police telling me or anyone else what to think, how to respond to images, or what images I can use.

¿Sabes Qué? I don't care what picture you use. It cannot insult me or mi Raza. People are going to think what they choose to think of me and you—all of us—in accordance with their own frame of reference no matter what image you try to present. I am proud of the Mexican banditos like Pancho Villa, who have been similarly characterized. I loved those guys in The Treasure of Sierra Madre who told Bogie, "Badges!? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!?" You know what? You or I don't need no stinkin' badges either. Use whatever pinche cartoon you want, ese. Tell the intellectuals and the homeboys alike: be all you can be, not what someone else decides is more acceptable.

Viejo Chulo

* * *

Me gusta mucho el retrato de tu papá. Me pone risa y me da vergüenza los dos al mismo tiempo. Creo que tienes razón en usarlo. El Viejo atrae la atención de gente mientras tus palabras destruyan los estereotipos negativos. Sigue tu trabajo bueno, eres mi mexicano preferido, aunque todavía no eres guatemalteco. Creo que su nombre debería ser Paco.

* * *

A few of us here in Tucson are quite fond of the equestrian statue of the "overweight dirty revolutionary," given to us by the (usually) friendly gobierno of Mexico. It seems an appropriate counterweight to that statue on the other side given to the nation by the (usually) gabacho government of France. Still, calling the logo Pancho would be too trite. How about "papi huitlacoche" for his leer like a cob of maiz with a rotten kernel?

Ol' Pueblo Cocinero

* * *

Profe: I see your point but I also see Tavo's motivation for the logo. The question is, how high does Tavo want to take this column? If Tavo expects a respected or mainstream magazine/newspaper to pick it up with that logo, it's not going to happen. Personally, I don't want him to sell out. I like the fat, lazy, greedy, happy Mexican logo. I know it's not true. Every true Mexican knows it's not true. It's perfect example showing these gabachos that they took our land, they took our women but they will never take our humor. Viva la Raza!!!

I Love the Logo

* * *

Name the fucker Jesus. But being Mexican he'd require a full name; first, middle, father's family name and mother's family name. How about Jesus de Guadalupe Anacleta Sanchez? It would be very much in keeping with what I perceive as the spirit of your column, and best of all it would REALLY piss off a lot of gabacho evangelicals. Who knows? Maybe one of these days we'll see Jesus making an occasional appearance on the random tortilla, sandwich or oil-stained driveway.

* * *

I'm a longtime reader and have even appeared in the OC Weekly. Anyway, I think you should keep the picture since the questions are very playful much like the picture. Being a Mexican myself, I don't find it offensive. On the contrary, I like it. It sort of deceives first-time readers, how when they read the often times simple-minded question and then—BAM!—they are hit with your intelligent answers. . . . It's great.

* * *

I'm a gabacho pendejo living in Darkest Alaska. Not only that, but I'm a pale skinned, green-eyed, natural blonde of Irish and Scots-Irish descent. As this next weekend rolls up with my kinsmen and kinswomen celebrating St. Patrick's Day, I say there's a strange power that comes from embracing and celebrating silly stereotypes, whether it's wearing green plastic derbys and drinking Guinness Stout, or posting a picture of a bandito at the head of your advice column. I say keep the bandit, if for no other reason than to annoy the twits and the terminally earnest among us. If we can sell candied cereal with a leprechaun on the box as Lucky Charms, and it doesn't bother the English professors at community colleges around the nation as yet another egregious example of ethnic stereotyping, you can have your bandito.

Next Page »