A Hunka-Hunka Burnin' Love

Why Mexicans worship the King.

Dear Mexican: What's the fascination that Mexicans have with Elvis?
Good Roceando Tonight

Dear Gabacho: Your question is spot-on, but it's taken a while for Elvis to achieve icon status among Mexicans. As recounted in Eric Zolov's Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture, the King largely sparked the roots of rock en español by inspiring groups like Los Locos del Ritmo and Los Teen Tops to pirate his style beat for beat, pompadour for pompadour, uh-huh-huh for uh-huh-huh. This love affair ended in 1957, when Mexican newspapers published — without proof — that Presley had said, "I'd rather kiss three black girls than a Mexican girl." Seeing an opportunity to crack down on a burgeoning youth movement, Mexico's civic fathers denounced Presley as a maricón and negrito-lover and organized Elvis memorabilia burnings. Mexicans being Mexicans, most followed instructions. Elvis wouldn't receive a fair shake from the country until the 1970s, when his visage became the backbone of the borderlands' black-velvet-painting industry. Wabs have mostly loved the King since, as they realized he was more Mexican than an eagle on a cactus. Consider his similarity to Mexicans: skinny as a youngster, obese by the end but still caliente; a hardworking country boy corrupted by the big city's excesses; a taste for big belts and shimmering suits; a propensity for unhealthy food and bedding underage girls. And have you heard his versions of the ranchera standards "Guadalajara" and "Allá en el Rancho Grande"? No gabacho can sing those songs that well — and I'm even including Charles Bronson.

Dear Gabacho: Why do white people go to tanning salons to get our skin shade if they hate us so much?
Prieto but Perplexed

Dear Dark Pero: I usually answer questions about Mexicans, not gabachos, but I'll make an exception for you porque it leads to a great anecdote. All the gabachos I asked said tanning makes them look good because it makes them darker. See how circular the logic of most gabachos is? But smart people know the reason: Gabachos lie under cancer-causing rays as a last-ditch effort to become Mexican. I frequently receive letters from gabachos wondering how they can receive benefits à la illegal Mexicans, drive without a license or auto insurance, have as many babies as Mexican families, get government documents translated into their language, and live a carefree mañana life. When I tell them they have to undergo exploitation, harassment and a couple of days of walking through the Arizona desert, those gabachos usually shut up. Nevertheless, the allure of a Mexican's ever-feliz attitude lingers in the gabacho id. And so these people tan: If they can't live like a Mexican, they might as well look like one and not suffer the consequences.

 
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