¡Ask A Mexican! for May 21, 2009
One man's take on his culture's stereotypes
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Dear Gabachos: It depends what your definition of “pirate” is. If you’re looking for a famous swashbuckler from the days of Blackbeard, tough tamales: historians never bothered to glorify the numerous buccaneers who ransacked Spanish galleons laden with the gold and silver of Mexican mines off the Mexican coast. The most famous Mexican pirate was Fermin Mundaca, who operated a contraband empire from the island of Islas Mujeres off the coast of Quintana Roo during the mid-1800s – but Mundaca was a Spanish native. Why look back in the past, though, when so many Mexican pirates exist in the present? Piratería is as Mexican an industry as tortilla-making and immigrant-smuggling: the International Federation of Phonographic Industry, an international organization that fights music piracy worldwide, estimates Mexicans make more than $220 million off of illegal CDs, most sold at the nearest swap meet, bodega or taco truck near you. And before you start insinuating that such a startlingly large amount is indicative of the Mexican culture’s tendency to steal, what would you call file-sharing?Do Mexicans get annoyed that whenever a Hollywood movie calls for a Mexican character actor, Cheech Marin gets the job? This is great for Cheech, but must be bad for Mexican actors struggling to land a good part in Hollywood. Danny Trejo gets the badass roles, Antonio Banderas gets the leading man roles, and character roles go to Cheech. With the blooming careers of truly great Mexican directors Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, don’t you think Hollywood should give some other Mexicans a chance in the limelight? Cheech is already rich – let someone else have a slice of the pie! Celluloid Culero
Dear Gabacho: No argument from me, except Tommy Chong and Antonio Banderas ain’t Mexican!