Hot Mexican Mess


Dear Mexican: Someone wrote you a while back wondering why Mexicans have made a mess of their beautiful country. You got all bent out of shape because he called Mexico a Third World country instead of a “bottom-tier” First World country. I think you missed the point of the argument. Mexico should be much better any way you look at it. The only explanation I can think of is Mexico has a defective culture and the Mexicans bring it with them wherever they go—not at first, mind you, when they are in the minority, but after they reach close to the majority. All you have to do to prove my point is look at New Mexico, the only state in the United States that is 50 percent Mexican. Look at the dropout rate, crime rate, political corruption rate, illegitimate birth rate, etc. This is all in spite of the fact that New Mexico receives more money per person back for the federal government than any other state; it is still near the bottom of all the states in per-capita income. No amount of money can correct a defective culture. Do the rest of us a favor and stop breeding. —Chief Afraid-to-Use-Name

Dear Gabacho: Hello—NAFTA? American capitalism demand for cheap Mexican labor, which stunts Mexican economic growth by depriving it of workers? And why the Land of Enchantment hate? Give me its Blake’s Lotaburgers, its Hatch Chile Festival, a smothered burrito Christmas-style, and the Santuario de Chimayó any day over whatever dump you call casa. You also forgot to mention that New Mexico suffers one of the highest DWI rates in los Estados Unidos—but what does any of this have to do with Mexican culture? Sure, New Mexico ranks 43rd in per-capita income, but that’s still much ahead of decidedly gabacho states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, and South Carolina. New Mexico places fifth-highest in terms of states getting federal pesos back—but ever figure it’s because of all those elderly gabachos and their Medicare and government facilities like the Los Alamos labs that suck up that cash? Poverty has nothing to do with ethnic culture—and if you think so, please point out for me the Mexicans in Let us Now Praise Famous Men. Oh, and New Mexico is 45 percent Latino—and a chingo of them come from families that arrived before Mexico. Black Legend that, pendejo.

Last year, I went to Chihuahua and noticed the Mexicans I was traveling with said gras—like a shortened version of gracias. Is this a common thing? Can I say it? —Currently Hot Unlike Loser Assholes

Dear CHULA: I’ve never heard of gras—sounds like a fronchi conspiracy to me—but the linguistic phenomenon behind it is as common to Mexican Spanish as tamales are for Navidad. Elision is the process by which speakers drop vowels, consonants, and even syllables over time to make pronouncing a word easier. It’s a natural evolution of language, but Mexican Spanish seems to favor it more than American English (which loves its contractions but has little love for elision). Of course you can elide, CHULA! Turn para into pa’, Santa Ana into SanTana, pues to pos, Vicente to Chente, papa to ’apa—and then go truly baroque by shortening vete a la chingada to ’ta la chinga’! Sure, the custodians of Cervantes will sneer, but they haven’t mattered since . . . well, ever.

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