!Ask a Mexican!

Illustration by Mark DanceyDear Mexican,
What's with the memorials on the back windows of Mexican cars?
Some days, driving through Santa Ana, I feel like I'm navigating a cemetery.

Muerte Man

Dear Gabacho,
Ruminating on the Mexican obsession with death is as hack as a reporter rolling with gangsters. Yes, Mexicans embrace death -- we laud it in song, codify it with holidays, and, si, plaster the names and dates of birth and death of our deceased beloveds on car windows, ornate back tattoos and even sweatshirts. "In Mexican homes across Aztlan, an altar is usually present," notes La Pocha, a SanTana artist who specializes in Day of the Dead lore. "In this modern age, spending more time in our cars than our homes, resourceful Mexicans have placed mini-mobile altares in their vehicles. Now you can honor your dead homies while cruisin' in your Chevy. That's progress!"

"Death is present in our fiestas, our games, our loves and our thoughts," wrote Octavio Paz in his 1950 classic The Labyrinth of Solitude. "To die and to kill are ideas that rarely leave us. We are seduced by death."

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But before you cite Paz -- along with Aztec human sacrifice, cockfighting, bullfighting and the front pages of Tijuana tabloids -- as proof of our inherent blood lust, Muerte Man, consider this: Isn't there something honorable about living in the presence of death, something valuable, even, in remembering our mortality? Why relegate death to cemeteries as gabacho Protestants do? Why forget those who passed before us? Again Paz: "The cult of life, if it is truly profound and total, is also the cult of death, because the two are inseparable. A civilization that denies death ends by denying life."

Visit La Pocha online atWWW.POCHARTE.COM.

Dear Mexican,
What the fucking fuck is up with you border bandit cholos and Old English fonts? They're ugly, just like everything about your culture and people.

Really Abhors California-Invading Stupid Tomateros (RACIST)

Dear Gabacho,
The popularity of Old English script is a prison phenomenon that transcends race -- just check out some of the tats on your Aryan Brotherhood members the next time they appear at the SanTana federal courthouse, or the signs at an Oakland Raiders booster club gathering. But what's up with the gabachos who appropriate gangster fashion for their designer labels? It's impossible to attend an indie-rock show nowadays without some pimply, unwashed gabacho sporting a "Jesus Is My Homeboy" T-shirt with lettering that seems lifted from the Gutenberg Bible. On the opposite side of the hipster spectrum, Corona del Mar princesses proudly tote L.A.M.B. bags from the Gwen Stefani (puro Anaheim, esa) collection. It's a kind of role reversal, and it's as old as mankind (check out the medieval upside-down celebration, charivari, in which whores dressed as priests and priests as . . . wait a sec: that's the Orange diocese circa 2003). Can it be long before we see Mexicans dressing up as la migra? Nah: we have better taste -- we dress like cholos.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at GARELLANO@OCWEEKLY.COM. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym,por favor, or we'll make one up for you!

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