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: Recently, a co-worker turned me on to a website that features videos of unspeakable atrocities the drug cartels are committing in Mexico, many of them graphically displaying murders and beheadings. I just recently saw one of a woman getting her head cut off with a knife! I wish I had never seen this, but it can't be unseen. Most Mexicans I have met are very nice, generous people. Mexico is also such a strong Catholic country, and the church preaches to be good and helpful to your fellow man. So, how can it be possible that these types of evil people really exist there? Is it because they still have the Aztec blood running in them? As we know from history, the Aztecs were notorious butchers and cannibals.
Puzzled By Narco Violence
DEAR GABACHA: As we also know from history, the English used to draw and quarter people, then place their body parts in different areas of the country—so what's your point? Do we blame the English for the atrocities that some American soldiers have committed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we blame them for Ed Gein? Or for the lynchings of African-Americans that gabachos committed through the mid-20th Century? Of course not—such talk of sanguinary determinism is as stupid as racists freaking out that a Mexican-American boy from San Antonio sang the National Anthem before an NBA Finals game dressed in a mariachi suit. (Would Know Nothings have freaked out if a gabacho in a kilt had done the same? Is the Mexican government now corruption-free?) Refry this: Drug cartels commit atrocious crimes because drug cartels are criminal enterprises—and last time I saw The Godfather, criminal enterprises try to strike fear in one another by being more brutal toward their enemies (and even innocents) than the other guys. But if you want me to play your game, why didn't you include the Spanish side of the mestizo equation in your pregunta? After all, they plundered their way through the Americas in ways that would make the Aztecs seem as peaceful as Quakers.
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DEAR MEXICAN: I've been playing pickup basketball at a gym in Alhambra near El Sereno. Some of the guys who play are covered head-to-toe in tattoos and have their heads shaved. Are they cholos or La Eme, or is this the current fashion? They seem like nice-enough guys, but they have tattoos all over their necks and heads. Do fellows get those outside of prison? If so, why do they do that?
Afraid to Call a Foul
DEAR GABACHO: What does it matter to you? All you should care about during a basketball game is kicking the other team's ass and humiliating whoever is guarding you. Why do the guys you play with have so many tattoos and shave their heads? Why don't you ask them? If they're willing to rub their sweaty bodies against you, I'm sure they're more than happy to explain why they look the way they do. But you probably won't because that'll ruin your hipster fantasy of being so down with la raza that you can post up on a Mexican Mafia member in the barrio without getting killed. Are they cholos? Maybe, but you didn't describe their tattoos, so I won't make any assumptions, as you do. For all you know, the opposing center who most likely schools your ass three times a week could be a Cal Tech cabrón.