!Ask a Mexican!

Illustration by Mark DancyDear Mexican,

As apocho, I can relate to countless cultural things related to my rich Mexican culture. However, there is one thing I can't understand: why do Mexican women, including myvieja, need to spend innumerable hours in front of the idiot box watchingpinche telenovelas? Thosechingaderas are merely repeat versions of the same tired formula. Is there a way to put an end to them, including the possibility of nuking their mother source, the Mexican network Televisa?

El Pocho Encabronado

Dear Fucking Angry Pocho,

Unfortunately, the plague of the telenovela—the weepy Spanish-language soap operas that invariably place big-breasted women, machine guns and dwarves in sexy situations involving mistaken identity, marrying cousins, class conflict and death at childbirth—shows no sign of containment. Spanish-language telenovelas are now a worldwide phenomenon, with huge fan bases in Russia, Israel, Lithuania, the Philippines and even Japan. According to Time, Miami Dade College will offer a writing course in the telenovela genre later this year; more than 4,400 students from 26 countries applied for just 30 slots. But it's not just women who watch, Pocho Encabronado. A 1998 study, Los Medios y Mercados de Latinoamérica (The Mediums and Markets of Latin America ), revealed nearly 40 percent of Latin American men in the key 18-34 demographic watched telenovelas regularly, a figure not far from the 54 percent of women in the same category. There's no shame in watching: while our old ladies lose themselves in the fantastic plot lines of the typical telenovela—are you watching the one on KVEA-TV Channel 52 that involves Lebanese and the Mexican Revolution?—we can admire the prettiest petites Latin America offers. And the ladies aren't bad either.

Dear Mexican,

I have never been able to figure out how a Mexican working for minimum wage can afford multiple children, a brand-new gas-guzzling American truck, pay California rent AND still have money to spend on clothes and entertainment. What a crafty race! Can you share the secret?

Money-Challenged Gringo

Dear Gabacho,

Simple. Live five families to a house and charge them rent. Make your kids work at the expense of an education, then force them to hand over three-quarters of their paycheck. Create a hometown benefit association, then embezzle the hell out of its treasury. Work three minimum-paying jobs, and garden or clean houses on the side. Barter for all goods. Dump the kids on the grandparents. Sell the land in Mexico that belonged to your family for generations. And since everything is under the table, no taxes! With profit margins like this, it's amazing more Lido Isle folks haven't figured a way in.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at ga*******@oc******.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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