By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR MEXICAN: What is it about Mexicans collecting old cars? I have three Mexican neighbors with middle-class incomes, but when their old car or truck wouldn't run anymore, they would buy a nearly new replacement, then let the old clunker sit in the driveway close to the house or garage—hood up, radiator on the ground, flat tires, etc.—for MONTHS!
Flying With My Ford
DEAR GABACHO: When my brother became of age, I lectured him on the facts of life. No, not sex, as that's for him to discover with cousins of his age watching Tube8 on a laptop (as opposed to my generation of cousins, who'd watch pornos on scratchy VHS tapes while our parents were gossiping during Carne Asada Sunday), but on what would make him a man: when he could afford a classic car. Just as our fathers and abuelitos in la patria weren't real men until they had a beautiful horse to call their own, modern-day Mexican males in the United States aren't real hombres until they have enough disposable income to afford a classic car, be it a bomb or boat. It shows you have money, you have taste, you know your way around an engine, and you have an investment you can sell in a second if you ever need bail money for some primo or other. We don't drive these often—you always need a dependable daily driver, as well—but a classic ranfla is so much better than the latest Lexus or BMW that every gabacho douche buys for his bit of conspicuous consumption. A la chingada con stocks: Nothing appreciates better than a '59 Chevy Impala convertible that stays in the garage 360 days of the year and is equipped with an air-raid siren, custom rims and a mural of an Aztec maiden on the trunk.
* * *
DEAR MEXICAN: What's so great about the USA? War, bad politicians, Social Security gone, stereotypes, drunk driving, gang wars, scary public schools, no respect for anybody who doesn't want to live the way they live. I know my family members risked their lives so I could be born here, but I hate it. The jobs aren't that great, and there's crime everywhere. How is that any different from the Mexico they left? Is the American dream over?
Pocho Ready to Go
DEAR POCHO: As I've written before, at this point, the United States basically is Mexico without Aztec pyramids thanks to Republicans. Horrible violence (14,043 murders in the U.S. in 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal, compared to the much-ballyhooed narco-murder rate of 15,273 in Mexico that same year), an ineffectual government, stuck-up fresas who insist there's such a thing as "authentic" Mexican food—we've become Mexico in its worst manifestations. But is the American dream done? Not even close, as long as we have Mexicans and other immigrants who flee bad lives and want to improve themselves in the country where it's historically been possible. That's becoming harder and harder, of course—net migration from Mexico to the United States has been nearly zero for the past couple of years because of the Great Recession—but the dream will live on as long as we have someone crossing the desert in the middle of July, as long as we have fake passports, and as long as people willingly stuff themselves into cars for the opportunity to hear gabacho bosses bitch about how horrible life is.