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Lords of the Dance

Forget those silly love songs -- Mexicans got rhythm.

Dear Mexican: Not long ago, I attended a Los Tigres del Norte concert at a small hall. The people attending were supposed to sit down and enjoy the music. Five minutes into it, these jumping beans started dancing in the aisle. Within minutes, half of them were going up and down the aisles, dancing to the music. It's not the first time I've seen Mexicans create improvised dance floors. Why do they love dancing so much?

Lambada Louie

Dear Gabacho: Anyone who needs to ask why people dance to Los Tigres del Norte -- the norteño supergroup that combines traditional polka beats with socially conscious lyrics to create something that's part Clash, part Lawrence Welk and puro mexicano -- has no soul or is a gabacho. How can you not sway to the metronomic bass, the lush accordion trills, the canned sound effects, member Hernan Hernandez's mexcelente Mexi-mullet? Mexican music is among the most danceable outside Brazil, because its practitioners understand that music is something that stirs humanity into the realm of ecstasy via nalga-shaking. Almost all of the genres that constitute Mexican popular music put the focus on rhythms rather than lyrics.

But for Mexicans, dancing is more than a mere physical act. Every hallmark moment in Mexican society is centered around dances, including dances held by hometown benefit associations to raise money for the rebuilding of towns in Mexico. Tellingly, Mexican society does not consider girls and boys to be women or men until they begin to dance -- and dancing is a great way for Mexican adolescents to grope each other in a parent-approved environment.

Dear Mexican: I detect a strong anti-American bias in the local Spanish-language media -- or is it my imagination?

Viva Lou Dobbs

Dear Gabacho: I forwarded your pregunta to Pilar Marrero, a nationally syndicated columnist and features editor for the Los Angeles-based La Opinión,the nation's largest Spanish-language daily.

GA: Why is the Spanish-language press anti-American?

PM:Many Americans don't even know Spanish-language press exists. I don't know for a fact that Americans, like you say, are afraid of the Spanish-language press. I think many Americans are misled by their leaders to fear foreigners and immigrants because it's human nature to fear that which is different. And the leaders use it to manipulate people for political reasons.

GA:Do you get e-mails from gabachos accusing you of being anti-American?

PM:No, I never get e-mail from "gabachos" calling me or [La Opinión] anti-American. "Gabachos," as you call them, rarely read La Opinión. I thought you knew that.

For the record, gabachos have distrusted America's foreign language media since immigrants used newspapers and radio to espouse radicalism. But don't worry: With the exception of La Opinión, today's Spanish-language media is just as devoid of news as its gabacho counterpart.

 
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