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 READERS: The Mexican just got married to a chica caliente, and he's taken her on a honeymoon to the motherland so she can learn the proper art of tortilla-making. In the meanwhile, I offer this Best Of edition because I plan to do all of my work this week en la cama—ZING! And away we vamos . . .
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DEAR MEXICAN: The last two movies I attended were rated R. Sitting around me were Mexican families with very young children. Why do Mexicans bring their 8-year-old kids to see a movie like Hostel? Do Mexican parents just not give a shit, or can they not afford a baby-sitter? Plus, the Mexicans let their kids kick my seat.
DEAR GABACHO: The only sin I see here is anyone forking over cash to watch Hostel, the 2005 horror turkey whose main claim to fame was casting handsome wab Jay Hernandez as a character with the retro-gabacho name Paxton. As for your question, the Mexican refers you to the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who famously quipped, "The words 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies." Nowhere is that nugget more applicable than with Mexicans. Mix gore, boobs, popcorn and the occasional midget or gay guy, and you can occupy a Mexican for two hours. See, violence and Mexican cinema go together like refried and beans—it has been one prolonged shootout that started with the 1919 silent classic El Automovil Gris (The Grey Automobile, which dramatized the real-life exploits of Mexico City's murderous Grey Automobile Gang and included actual footage of their execution), continued through the urban dramas of the 1950s and various 1960s sci-fi/Aztec mummy/lucha libre superhero follies, and reached its zenith with narcopelículas (drug dramas) that Spanish-language television channels have broadcast without pause for the past three decades.
The Mexican love for filmic blood isn't a pathological cultural trait, though. As any Hollywood executive will tell you, violence is a universal tongue that needs no subtitles. That's why Mexican parents take their kiddies to see such films—as the children become Americans and the parents remain stuck in remedial English classes, sometimes the only way to communicate is to speak the language of Charles Bronson. And the kid behind you? Just practicing his Death Wish moves so he can kick your ass.
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DEAR MEXICAN: What's up with the elaborate, wrought-iron fences in the Mexican parts of town? It almost seems as though everyone is trying to outdo one another with these amazing displays of metallurgy. Is it just another way to try to protect the cars parked on the lawn and keep the livestock from wandering off, or is it a pathway to instant respect and envy among the neighbors?
WHrought Iron To Envy (WHITE) Guy
DEAR GABACHO: You can find the answer on the United States-Mexico border, WHITE: fences. Miles and miles of American-made fences. Triple-layered. Jagged. Deadly. That's our introduction to American society when we enter los Estados Unidos. All Mexicans want to assimilate, so fences are usually the first thing we erect once we buy a casa: pointy, menacing bars wrapped with organic barbed wire as though they're bougainvilleas or roses to keep the damn Mexicans at bay.