Dear Readers: Gracias, gracias, gracias for ustedes who bought the Mexican’s
book last week (deportation for those who haven’t). I’ve done mucho
national press due to the interest — the list so far includes Talk of the
Nation, FOX News Live, Paula Zahn Now, The Tom Leykis Show, The Glen Beck Show
, BBC and Reuters, with more to come.
E-mails have invaded my in-box as a result, which means I lost the first question
I wanted to answer this week. A Seattle reader asked why Mexicans eat huitla-coche, a corn fungus that means, “raven’s shit” in Nahuatl and has
the even less appealing English name corn smut. The insinuation was that disgusting
Mexicans eat anything; this Mexican would’ve agreed and responded that wabs
also enjoy such “exotic” delicacies as dried crickets, cow guts and
ants engorged with honey — sabroso! I would’ve urged the gabacho
to try huitlacoche and relish its musky, sweet charm. I’d note the double
standard — how gabacho -approved fungi like mushrooms and truffles command
top dollar, while huitlacoche is dismissed, even ridiculed in the food world.
And then I would’ve ended by calling the Seattleite a pinche puto pendejo
baboso . Too bad that letter is lost to the ether, ¿qué no?
Dear Mexican: How hard can Spanish be to learn if Mexicans know it?
—Wondering In Teotihuacan
Dear Gabacho: Still hard enough that gabachos fail it in high school.
A couple of years ago, Major League Soccer named its new Houston franchise “1836.”
They supposedly had run the name by “Hispanic community leaders” and
gotten general approval that the name was okay. After the name came out, there
was a huge backlash from the media, university professors and politicians saying
the name was offensive. MLS since dropped the name. But my question is whether
the name is truly offensive to most Mexicans/Mexican-Americans, or whether it’s
mostly a bunch of hype. And if it is offensive, why, considering many (most?)
of the rebels fighting for independence in the Texas Revolution were Tejanos and
Mexicans wanting freedom and not just a bunch of land-grabbing Americans?
—Viva Los Colt .45s
Dear Gabacho: What is it with ustedes Houstonians naming your sports teams after
numbers, only to pussy out and change it after public protests? Anyway, yes: Many
Mexicans find the 1836 name offensive, because it signifies the ultimate destiny
for Mexicans in this country. You’re right to note that many Tejanos fought
to free the Lone Star Republic from the yoke of General Santa Anna; what you didn’t
mention is the case of Juan Seguín. This Tejano aristocrat fought alongside
Sam Houston and other heroes of the Texas Revolution, only to have those gabacho
Texans exile him to Mexico just six years later. As Seguín recounted in
his 1858 memoirs, “I embraced the cause of Texas at the report of the first
cannon which foretold her liberty; filled an honorable situation in the ranks
of the conquerors of San Jacinto, and was a member of the legislative body of
the Republic.” But the new Texans made Seguín feel like “a
foreigner in my native land,” forcing him to seek “shelter amongst
those against whom I fought; I separated from my country, parents, family, relatives
and friends, and what was more, from the institutions, on behalf which I had drawn
my sword, with an earnest wish to see Texas free and happy.” The Alamo was
a chance for gabachos and Mexicans to get along and form a new country —
and the gabachos instead treated the Tejanos as little more than Mexicans, setting
a standard for Americans that continues.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at email@example.com.
Questions will be edited for clarity, cabrones . And include a hilarious pseudonym,
por favor , or we’ll make one up for you!