Is Mexico as violent as it's portrayed in the movies?
Dear Mexican: Why is there a jealous cousin driven by insecurity in every Mexican family?
Must Excuse Vulgar-Ass Lingual Expression
Dear MEVALE: Take your pick. It's because a) your dad unwittingly insulted his dad back in the rancho when they were boys, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; or b) your mom unwittingly insulted his mom back in the rancho when they were girls, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; or c) your tío or tía insulted his aunt or uncle back in the rancho when they were children, and your cousin was taught to hate you as a result; or d) you unwittingly insulted your cousin at some point in his life, and he's hated you ever since, even though ustedes grew up the best of friends. Point is, hardly any primo rivalries are based on anything concrete, but rather on a bunch of rancho gossip that rears its pathetic head at every funeral, when dozens of adults related by blood stand as far from each other as possible and teach their kids to do the same.
Dear Mexican: I am a Mexican who was raised in New Zealand, miles from the homeland. My father was a Mexican, and my mother is a New Zealander. Every time I hear there is a Mexican movie on TV or in a local film festival, I am excited to see it, as I am very curious and want to understand my culture better. After watching the movie, however, I am extremely depressed, as all the movies I have seen revolve around the same themes: poverty, greed, gang violence, violent rape, illegal immigration, rancid corruption, etc. Does Mexico not have any nice stories to tell? Are these themes the only core elements of the culture? I dream of returning to Mexico to live with my small family one day for a few years, but, wow, these movies really put me off.
All Blacks and All Browns
Ask a Mexican
Dear Mexi-Kiwi: The sexycomedia genre has obviously not arrived in the Land Down Under. But for all media-related preguntas, the Mexican turns to William Nericcio, English professor at San Diego State University, author of the scabrous Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America and the man behind the traveling desmadre show known as Mextasy. "I love these kinds of questions," says Nericcio. "Imagine a half-Russian, half-American living in Moscow lamenting that all he sees of Americans is Red Dawn, Dr. Strangelove and Rambo and getting real, real depressed that all he ever sees of himself is loutish, loudmouthed, meat-brained 'Merican Neanderthals. Anyone, of any race, of any ethnicity, of any species (ask Flipper and the Taco Bell perrito) will think poorly of themselves if they look to Hollywood for existential sustenance. As I write in Tex[t]-Mex, show business is NOT into ethnography or cultural anthropology. You are as likely to see a great Mexican in a Hollywood blockbuster as you are a Tea Party-produced YouTube video touting immigration reform. That said, there is a good short list of films by Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu online and at your local video shop that should restore your faith in Mexicans on film. Oh, and Salma Hayek: Her semiotic figurations will restore anything!"
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