Dear Readers: You love us, you really love us! Mere moments after publishing my July 12 column (in which a couple of Know Nothings had their say on the failed Senate amnesty bill), ustedes bombarded the Mexican with letters expressing your disgust toward those pendejos. Space prohibits printing them all, so let's give the only word not to a gabacho or wab, but a limey.
Dear Mexican: Not really spicy enough for your column, but I just had to write after reading those revolting Septic (you'll have to look up Cockney rhyming slang for that one) responses you posted. I came to the U.S. in 1982 as an eighteen-year-old immigrant from England. Despite the generally common language of the "natives," my sense of Robinson Crusoe-ness was largely alleviated by the Mexicans I worked with and came to befriend. I watched the only football available on TV at the time on Telemundo; in an odd way, it made me feel at home, and I have maintained a mild soft spot for the Mexican league since then.
Sharing much in common, despite our language differences, has often struck me. I can think of few other nations that have such frequently shite-underachieving national football teams whose fans continue to adore them beyond all common sense than do the English and the Mexicans. We and they are self-deprecating, think that excessive drinking is an unapologetic prerequisite for a pleasant evening, and will have a punch-up and fall over laughing afterward. Thoughtful, argumentative, loyal and kind: I've always thought this. That's how I have come to know Mexicans.
Till England slaughters Mexico 5-0 in their next meeting, Mexican!
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Dear Mexican: Why is Sinaloa considered the dope capital of Mexico? Every time I tell someone where my family is from, they immediately say Sinaloa is the dope capital.
Dear Wab: Isn't it interesting how stereotypes persist long after they're no longer true (are you listening, New York Yankees)? Take the case of Sinaloa, a Pacific coastal state notorious for its narcocultura (drug culture). In Sinaloa, a shrine dedicated to Jesús Malverde — the unofficial saint of drug dealers — draws thousands of pilgrims each year, even though the Catholic Church considers his cult heresy. Here, too, is the birthplace of Chalino Sanchez, the singer who combined accordions with lyrics glorifying the drug trade to revolutionize the gangsta-rap-gone-polka genre called the narcocorrido. Sinaloa's plentiful poppy fields (some historians date them to the 1800s, when Chinese immigrants grew the flowers for their opium dens) spawned some of Mexico's most brutal kingpins — Alvaro Carrillo Fuentes, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and the Arellano Félix family are just the most infamous. Add a trigger-happy regional personality that's feared and respected across Mexico, and I'm surprised people don't run in holy fear from you. But Sinaloa's heyday has passed: Most of the state's capos got offed in the last decade, and the Gulf Coast cartels now command Mexico's headlines and drug routes. And, no, the Mexican won't crack jokes on this subject. He enjoys being alive, gracias very mucho.