Why Do Mexicans Love "Crystal Blue Persuasion" So Much?

Dear Mexican: Is it just me, or has what to call our friends from south of the border become a partisan issue? While taking in both political conventions over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that Republicans invariably use the word “Hispanics” while Democrats are far more likely to say “Latino/a.” What gives? Is there some nefarious semantic plot afoot, such as when rightwing commentators dropped the “ic” from “Democratic?” Or is there a more innocent explanation? How do Hispanics and/or Latinos refer to themselves?--Ensuring my future in brown america

Dear Gabacho: Man, I can write a whole book on your pregunta—and I did! It’s called Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America—so let me be brief. While you over-generalized a bit—Latinos from the East Coast tend to call themselves “Hispanics” regardless of political affiliation, while Republican Latinos usually call themselves vendidos—you’re on to something. It’s not just a political ideology litmus test but also a gabacho one, and it boils down to is this: any gabacho who calls brownies “Hispanics” is usually clueless about them, while any gabacho who calls us “Latinos” is a fellow traveler of the Reconquista. Voila—there’s your explanation to why the GOP favors “Hispanic,” while Dems like “Latino”! A gross generalization, yes, but apply this rule to the gabachos, Democrats, and Republicans in your life, and I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

What is the relationship with the Chicano culture to the song “Crystal Blue Persuasion?” I've seen Tommy James and the Shondells perform it numerous times and never got goosebumps or teared up or anything. But Chicanos ALWAYS request that song, Why? What is the connection? Did Tommy James have a Chicana heina on the side and it's about her? Was it a 1970s drug, a bottle of wine (like Boone's Farm)? What? Dime, por favor!--Mc cuervo

Dear Readers: It’s rare I break my pseudonym rule, but I’m doing it for MC Cuervo, whose real name is Danny Valenzuela and co-hosts along with Ricky O the “Latino Soul Party” every Friday night on KUVO-FM 89.3 in Denver and worldwide on publicbroadcasting.net/kuvo. It’s an awesome show spinning the best oldies-but-goodies and new Latin Soul tracks—puro DESMADRE, so tune in! Anyhoo, I’m surprised that MC Cuervo doesn’t know his Chicano-soul history: while it’s true that hippy-dippy gabachos Tommy James and the Shondells recorded the first (and best) version of the best-seller in 1969, multiple soul groups with a Chicano fan base quickly covered it, as did Latin soul pioneer Joe Bataan. From there, it lived on in muchos oldies-but-goodies compilations, including Art Laboe’s Dedicated to You and Oldies but Goodies anthologies, in Thump Records’ Old School Love Songs album, and even that Barrio Oldies series with the pink covers that everyone’s cholo cousin had a pirated version of in the 1980s. It got a new lease on life in 1990, when A Lighter Shade of Brown incorporated it into its classic “On a Sunday Afternoon,” and just got major play on Breaking Bad. But the question remains—why do Chicanos love the song so much, and how did it transition into the pantheon of Chicano-favored oldies-but-goodies? It’s basically a Mexican song—the bongos and the acoustic guitar arpeggios come from Latin America, while the dreamy electric guitar and dramatic organ riffs sound like “96 Tears” (another Chicano classic) after a couple of bong hits and the horns and harmonies straight out of Eastlos. Perfect cruising music and perfect love song equals a canción that's more Mexican than Vicente Fernandez's mustache.

Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or ask him a video question at youtube.com/askamexicano!

 
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4 comments
sergman1
sergman1

I have noticed that white boys or gabacho's as you prefer to call them love the term spic, as in no spic english to refer to all  persons of spanish background.  I always assumed that it was for Puerto Ricans only.  The native born latinos.

RenoSepulveda
RenoSepulveda

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, we gabachos of all persuasions call Latinos Mexicans. Even if they come from El Salvador

andreco
andreco

According to the late Odón Betanzos, Director of the North American Branch of the Spanish Royal Academy of Language, the correct name for Hispanics/Latinos is Hispanic Americans.

camilosuarez5
camilosuarez5

Wow are you wrong! I couldnt tell you why one party chooses one word over the other, but as with most things , if Republicans are involved, theres something nefarious goin  on... As to what we call ourselves (Im Colombian), heres the key....the 2 words are very different, while not mutually exclusive...

Hispanic, comes from Hispania, or Spain, as in "coming from Spain" , so very simply, you are Hispanic, if you are descendent of the Spanish, which alot of us Latin Americans are...basically, Are you White? or Off-White? Then youre likely "Hispanic".

Hispanics are Latinos, while Latinos may not be Hispanic. As I already mentioned, Hispanics are of the Caucasoid variety, but Latinos come in all different colors In Latin America, theres 3 major groups the Caucasoids, the Negroids, and the Native peoples. Colombia for instance is very diverse, the coastal cities are very heavily Afro-Latino, being settled primarily during the slavery age, and they were the main port cities of the slave trade in South America. The interior of the country is alot "whiter" so to speak, and then you have the Native peoples of the Amazonian regions. These 2 groups are for obvious reasons not descendants of Spain, and therefore not "Hispanic".

 

Myself, I prefer the word Latino, so as not to give any credit to the horrors of the Conquista. But there are Latinos out there who feel proud of their Hispanic heritage, and even some others who feel being Hispanic makes them "better" than being Afro, or Native. Ive seen this quite often and its very sad, and even more so when placed in the context of the US, or "White America". To be fighting , racist, amongst ourselves, when we are the victims of that kind of ignorance here in the US, is absolutely ridiculous, and pathetic.

 
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