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: I think I might be Mexican, but there are some people who might disagree. As you are the source of all knowledge mexicano, I thought I might ask you. Here's the deal: My ancestors left the U.S. in 1847 knowingly and entered recognized territorio mexicano. The U.S. and Mexico were in the middle of a war. At the end of that war, the U.S. stole the land from Mexico. Pero eso no es mi culpa, pues. Sure, my parents never identified themselves as Mexicans, and most of my ancestors haven't either. But just because I am not mestizo doesn't mean I am any less Mexican, right? I mean, if you have to be mestizo, then there are doubts about how full-blooded mexicana Salma Hayek is—and everyone knows she is a mexicanaza. Not to mention all those güeros, gabachos and gringos who emigrated to Mexico in the past century, such as Trotsky's daughter. Aren't they Mexican? Cotorreo en casa con mijita, and I listen to El Tri, Los Tigres and Agustín Lara. I know the difference between jitomates and tomates. If you have to be born in Mexico, then well, maybe you, the Mexican, aren't Mexican either, right? Oh, and by the way, I do think we all can be americanos and estadounidenses (Estados Unindos Mexicanos, no?). Oh, and by the way, we eat guajolote for Thanksgiving, not pavo, so I'm not a Spaniard. Maybe I need to be twice as good of a Mexican to be Mexican. Gotta go plan that Doce de Diciembre fiesta.
Semilla de Cacao (White Outside, Brown Inside)
DEAR CACAO SEED GABACHA MEXICANA: As I've written before, some of the más chingones Mexicans I know are pure-blooded gabachos; some of the biggest Mexican frauds I've encountered are fresas from Jalisco. I've discovered we're far more accepting of gabachos who try to pass themselves off as Mexican than pochos who might proclaim their love for the patria yet don't speak perfect Spanish—that's why Morrissey, Charles Bronson, Benny Hill and even that pendejo Rick Bayless, for instance, are honorary Mexicans, while a Chicano four generations removed is derided as a phony. And now you know why Mexico can't get its pinche act together. . . .
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DEAR MEXICAN: When I set decorative-type items with rectangular bases—say, square vases or square Limoges boxes—on tables or cabinets, I place them so the straight lines of the box or vase are parallel with the straight lines of the table or cabinet. Sort of like when I put a stamp on a post card: I try to make the corner of the stamp match the corner of the post card. Now, I have had multiple Mexican maids over the years, and one curious thing to me is how most of them will take those vases and boxes and tissue dispensers and turn them askew, so the box or vase edge is at an angle to the table edge. It's as though they take horizontal Washington Monuments and tilt them into Leaning Towers of Pisa. It's happened enough that I know this is an aesthetic Mexican preference, not an accident. Is there a cultural reason for this Mexican "askew preference"? Or is it just an unexplainable quirk?
I Ask You About Askew
DEAR GABACHO: Same reason why we paint our houses garish colors, hang portraits of a bleeding Jesus in our living rooms and put bull stickers on our trucks: Askew is for those who know how to live. Straight lines are the domain of gabachos—and the only people pendejo enough to want to live like them are people who think Ted Cruz is this country's brown Messiah.