Dear Mexican: Why Can't Cholos Just Chill?
Dear Mexican: I’ve been following a show called You’re the Worst since it started on FX last year. It features a character named Edgar Quintana, an awkward and troubled Iraq War vet who happens to be Mexican-American. I think this must be the only such character regularly featured in series television these days. My only issue with the character is that, though he is well handled, the actor who plays him is obviously from back east. Non-Mexican-American actors have been playing Mexican-American characters for decades. In this case, Desmin Borges has a Puerto Rican background, which I don’t consider a problem in and of itself. But I have a big problem if they talk like they are from New York or Chicago. The language of those of us out west, Latino and otherwise, is different, and we rarely see this acknowledged on television or in movies. Nonetheless, I love the show, and he is my favorite character. I want to know if you have an opinion about this character and his portrayal.
Dear Gabacho: You gotta get your Borges background right. He’s part Puerto Rican, born in Chicago, raised in Houston, lives in NYC and works on a show based in L.A. — as jumbled a cultural history as that of any Mexican. You’re the Worst is funny, and Borges’s character is great in that he’s just a guy — not a Mexican, not a Puerto Rican playing a Mexican, but a guy who happens to be Mexican. I can’t state how revolutionary that is in an industry that still writes Mexican men as little more than cholos and narcos. And while it’d be cool if a Chicano from City Terrace played Edgar Quintana and made him talk like a Chicano from City Terrace, it sure is better than Douglas Fairbanks playing Zorro — or, hell, Hillary Clinton pretending to be an abuela.
Dear Mexican: Why can’t second- and third-generation Mexicans just chill? Lately, there have been more cholos infiltrating the Colorado River, and although there’s plenty of room for them, they always get all stabby or start fights. I’ve been going there for years and love it, because everyone’s pretty much drunk and happy...except for the cholos. Could it be that the Indian in them gets crazy with hard liquor? Or is that just with American Indians?
Dear Pocha: Cholos fight because they’re cholos, just like bros fight at Lake Havasu because they’re bros. You can no more hate a cholo or bro for fighting than you can hate Donald Trump for being dumb: It’s who they are. The problem is when said cholos or bros or Trump fuck it up for everyone else. The solution? Place them all on a houseboat and let them sort it out. Someone greenlight that show!
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