Opinion: One man’s take on his culture’s stereotypes
¡Ask a Mexican!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Dear Pendeja: Sotomayor not brown? Yeah, and George Lopez is as güero as Conan O’Brien. The Mexican beams with pride at the thought of Sotomayor on the Supreme Court, not just because she’ll be the first Latina/o to sit on the nation’s highest judicial branch but because she forces gabachos to remember the nation’s other problem brownies: Puerto Ricans, who weren’t good enough for independence like the Philippines or statehood like the Mexis of the southwest U.S. but have instead lived for over a century as vassals in their own homeland. Sure, it would’ve been chido if a Mexican replaced David Souter, but other Latinos deserve a spot, too, and President Obama, sadly, figured a moderate Puerto Rican is easier to stomach for gabachos at this point in the American experience.Having lived in San Antonio for decades, I’ve learned a smattering of street Spanish. That experience has caused me to cringe when I hear the word cojones used in American movies or television as a referent to testicles. In San Antonio, a person would use huevos in that context. Which is the correct Spanglish? –Big-Balled
Dear Gabacho: I’ve only heard gabachos use cojones, while Mexicans use huevos. Both words are linguistically correct, politically incorrect and both derive from Latin (cojones comes from the singular cojón, testicle, from the Latin coleo – sack – while huevo actually means egg and derives from ovum). So, the real question in your inquiry how gabachos came to use cojones more commonly instead of huevos as slang for balls. The answer is Ernest Hemingway, a man who introduced more misinterpreted-as-Mexican overused Spanish terms (mano a mano, macho and maricón, to name the most notorious examples) than any other writer after me. His otherwise-masterful Death in the Afternoon included a glossary defining cojones and remarked, “A valorous bullfighter is said to be plentifully equipped with these.”