¡Ask a Mexican! Pretension Headache 

Wednesday, Mar 7 2007

What’s the deal with stupid upscale Mexican restaurants? Here in South Florida, they’re popping up like corn smut. And pretty soon, the yuppies down here are going to get the idea that it’s a sign of class to have your guacamole made to order at your table by some grinning hourly employee! I know there’s supposed to be an upper-crust Mexico City foodie scene that these restaurants all claim to be “inspired by.” But come on! After you pay $15 for a fancy-ass margarita and then watch a waiter mash up your avocados, you’re still going to end up eating the same old enchiladas or chicken mole. Trust a bunch of gabacho moneygrubbers to turn honest peasant food into the Next Big Thing. What’s with the bourgie pretense?

—Former PhoenicianDear Half-Wab: Why are you sore? Did someone mistake you for a waiter? Besides, what’s wrong with Mexican food being the Next Big Thing? You’re fine with our cuisine being treated like Mexicans? It’s about time Mexican regional specialties like mole, poc chuc and aguachile received serious culinary treatment from the nation’s restaurateurs. Sure, it’s a bit grating to see American chefs like Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless make millions by appropriating centuries-old recipes, but they also expose Mexican cuisine to an audience much larger than your neighborhood taqueria. So let gabachos have their overpriced agave nectar and añejo tequila — eventually, they’ll patronize the real pinche deal. And then we get to rip them off.

Dear Mexican: I have a major crush on a worker with the Mexican Consulate aquí en Tucson. But I fear that, like two star-crossed lovers, we’re destined for doom. I’m a gabacha yaktivist and against governments in general. He represents the PAN or PRD or PRI or whatever Mexican political party happens to have more influence at the moment. That’s why I don’t think he’d ever give me the time of day. How can I find my way into his inherently corrupt heart?—La Chula

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Dear Cutie Gabacha: Don’t worry about it if you’re hot — a chica caliente could hang with the Minutemen, and Mexican men would still pile on her like she’s a contractor at Home Depot. But you have a shot even if you’re a few braces short of Ugly Betty. Guys and gals looking for some Mex sex: Get involved with Latino organizations working to legalize the aliens among us. There are precious few gabachos in the movimiento, and I’m sure many Mexican activists are more than willing to exchange ass play in the name of amnesty — even the fellas.

I recently discovered your column through the wonders of technology. I want to congratulate you and ask for a favor. PLEASE don’t use the stereotype of the overweight dirty revolutionary to represent your column; it diminishes your work. If you don’t agree with me, at least ask your readers what they think of the drawing. —El Profe de YumaDear Profe: Don’t hurt my feelings — that’s a drawing of my papi, give or take a couple of pounds, whiskers and brown tones. Besides, I publish that portrait for a purpose. Yes, he’s an ugly stereotype, but that happy wab is the Mexican that’s been in the mind of gabachos for over 150 years. Images like him have assumed an extraordinary, undeserved power to offend. By publishing the bandito archetype again and again, this Mexican hopes to lessen its sting and turn it into what it really is — a portrait of my father, no more, no less. But I’ll take you up on the challenge, Profe. Awright, readers: What do ustedes think of this column’s logo? Does it make you laugh? Cry? Am I a genius for printing it? Vendido? I’ll publish the best responses in an upcoming column. And, more importantly: What should I name him?

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net. Questions will be edited for clarity, cabrones. And include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we’ll make one up for you! For a longer version of the column, go to www.laweekly.com.

Reach the writer at garellano@ocweekly.com

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