Why Do Mexicans Love Ska?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why are Mexican Indians so poor?

DEAR MEXICAN: Lately, I've noticed a few bands, como Voodoo Glow Skulls, have embraced ska music both at home and in Mexico. I was curious what the appeal is for Mexicans? Also, if you had to turn people on to Mexican ska, what would be your top five recommendations?

Tommy Milagros

DEAR WAB: You just noticed Voodoo Glow Skulls? While cool, they're so 1990s. In fact, the ska tendencies in Mexico go back to the early days of ska itself—as with the Cuban mambo, danzón and cha-cha-cha, Jamaican music has always had a vibrant home in Mexico thanks to our shared Afro-Caribbean influences. As with all popular Mexican music forms, ska is endlessly danceable, upbeat even in its darkest moments, perpetually customizable and a DJ's dream—sonidero is really just cumbia mixed through a Studio One dub sound system. But Mexican ska's greatest contribution to the form is the mixing of punk attitude and political commentary à la 2 Tone ska, making it a genre that never gets tiresome. As for my top five Mexican ska groups: the late Tijuana No! are sorely missed, Maldita Vecindad still blast their chilango stew, and Los Angeles' own Viernes 13 are chingones with horns. I'll also give a shout-out to Inspector, although their ska is a bit too clean for my tastes. But the supreme masters are Panteón Rococo—their jittery, angry, anti-globalization "La Carencia" could be the anthem of the Occupy movement, if only those occupiers ever bothered to reach out to Mexicans.

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DEAR MEXICAN: I lived in San Diego for about three years but only got down to Tijuana once. The thing that struck me most was it seemed all the women who were begging were Indian (I'm not going to try any Spanish spelling, since I spoke español with a terrible New Zealand/Korean accent when I first arrived—don't ask). Why is this?

Linda En Fuego

DEAR CHINITA ON FIRE: Because the poverty rates of the indigenous in Mexico are atrocious. A 2010 study by Coneval (the acronym for Mexico's National Social Development Policy Evaluation Council—quick aside for gabachos: the Mexican government LOVES to assign acronyms to its agencies) found nearly 80 percent of Mexicans who spoke an indigenous language lived in poverty. Until the Mexican government improves the lives of its indigenous, it has about as much right to complain about the U.S.'s treatment of Mexicans as America has to complain about San Francisco Giants star Sergio Romo wearing an "I Just Look Illegal" T-shirt during his team's World Series victory parade—¡ERES CHINGÓN, GÜEY!!!

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DEAR MEXICAN: I work at the welfare office, and I've noticed that all my Mexican clients are much more organized than gabacho clients. They always bring all the necessary documentation and never whine about how much of a pain in the ass the system is. Is that because they're used to dealing with incredibly inept and inefficient bureaucracies that inevitably lose paperwork, files, etc. (at least they're not bribed in order to get state-funded assistance), or is there something else going on?

Goverment Cheesemonger

DEAR GABACHO: To paraphrase Grandpa Simpson, when asked if he was stalling for time or senile when insisting he was the Lindbergh baby, a poquito from column A, a little de columna B. Unlike Tea Party pendejos or welfare leeches, Mexicans—but especially viejitos—understand that trips to the DMV, Social Security or the welfare office aren't necessary evils, but rather moments of seriousness. You don't fuck around with the government unless you're jumping over the border or using your cousin's Social Security number. Besides, Mexicans know that government workers are the Mexicans of government—constantly shat upon, ridiculed by conservatives, and hardly paid enough for all the ridicule and bureaucracy they must endure. Gotta treat your brother from another madre with respect, you know?

 
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5 comments
I_have_black_muslim_immunity
I_have_black_muslim_immunity

If you can change the Constitution concerning the right to bear arms, you certainly can change the Constution towards not allowing Illegal Mexican Occupiers’ children born in the US automatically having citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment was written in a different time, under different circumstances. It was never meant to automatically give citizenship to any child born on US soil with non legal resident parents. This needs to be clarified immediately.

jeremy.cruise
jeremy.cruise

@govt chzmngr....  I find you to be very insightful as to the likelyhood of Mexis being ultra prepared when going to a govt agency.  Perhaps Don Gustavo has never tried to get a marriage licence or driver licence or any licence for that matter here in Mexico, but let me tell you that it is no small feat to be able to obtain whatever it is you are going for on a single visit.  The govt employees in MX are demigods and treat everyone no matter who you are as an above mentioned Indian unless ofcourse you are the nieto/primo/vesino/cunado/abuelo... of the gerente de la municipalidad.  So I would by all means say that yes, people from MX, tired of the runaround for not dotting the i with a different pen come well prepared indeed.   You know ofcourse it takes a long time to get from place to place with the public transportation in Cali, meaning another day lost if not done today.

skasucks
skasucks

Ska sucks. 

flaco1274
flaco1274

 @skasucks just because you don't like it doesn't mean it sucks it just means its not your cup of tea now saying that it sucks may be your honest opinion but no offence it makes you seem like a close minded fuck who has listened to about 4 ska songs 

Gris
Gris

After going to ska shows for years, it was finally Viernes 13 that got me in the pit. I got sooo excited seeing them in your list of favorites. I haven't seen them live in years and years...I might forget how old I've gotten and try to jump in a pit again :)

 

Having been a case-worker, and still within the social service field, I can tell you that it is amazing to see the different attitudes shown by the varying races/social groups towards paperwork and procedure. I am my parents' convenient case-worker at home and a visit to the Social Security office tomorrow ate up my whole evening preparing documents and reviewing each piece of mail--imagine having to convince someone that junk mail is JUNK. Having access to such varying perspectives helps alleviate some of the frustration, but not all haha There is a stern seriousness about government and legalities, and I'm glad to read that not only Mexican social service workers notice these things.

 
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