Why is that Mexican kid kicking the back of my seat?

Week of August 3, 2006

Jay Hernandez

Dear Mexican: The last two movies I attended were rated R. Sitting around me were Mexican families with very young children. Why do Mexicans bring their eight-year-old kids to see a movie like Hostel? Do Mexican parents just not give a shit, or can they not afford a babysitter? Plus, the Mexicans let their kids kick my seat.

Confused Movie Go'er

Dear Gabacho: The only sin I see here is anyone forking over cash to watch Hostel, the 2005 horror turkey whose main claim to fame was casting handsome wab Jay Hernandez as a character with the retre-gabacho name Paxton. As for your question, the Mexican refers you to the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who famously quipped, "The words 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies." Nowhere is that nugget more applicable than with Mexicans. Mix gore, boobs, popcorn, and the occasional midget or gay guy, and you can occupy a Mexican for two hours. See, violence and Mexican cinema go together like refried and beans — it's been one prolonged shoot-out that started with the 1919 silent classic El Automovil Gris (The Grey Automobile, which dramatized the real-life exploits of Mexico City's murderous Grey Automobile Gang and included actual footage of their execution), continued through the urban dramas of the 1950s and various 1960s sci-fi/Aztec mummy/lucha libre superhero follies, and reached its zenith with narcopelículas (drug dramas) that Spanish-language television channels have broadcast without pause for the past three decades. The Mexican love for filmic blood isn't a pathological cultural trait, though: As any Hollywood executive will tell you, violence is a universal tongue that needs no subtitles. That's why Mexican parents take their kiddies to see such films — as the children become Americans and the parents remain stuck in remedial English classes, sometimes the only way to communicate is to speak the language of Charles Bronson. And the kid behind you? Just practicing his Death Wish moves so he can kick your ass.

Dear Mexican: Why do you people stink?

Zestfully White

Dear Gabacho: Same reason you don't: hard work.

Dear Mexican: Which comes first: the low-paying, so-called "jobs that Americans won't do," or the Mexicans who are willing to sleep three and four to a 10-by-12 room so that they can afford to work those jobs?

Vivo Contontos

Dear Gabacho: You're presenting us with a Rorschach test — our answers reveals our position regarding the Mexican Question and says more about us than the actual effects of Mexicans on the economy. Whether Mexican immigrants drive down wages, improve the economy, have no effect (or are part of a triple alliance with Islamofascists and the Chinese to take over the United States) is a topic so complicated that you can easily find an "expert" and "stats" to support any "position." The July 9 New York Times Magazine, for instance, featured battling economic professors who fought round after round until coming to no decision. This Mexican's take: Mexicans will continue to take the jobs Americans won't do until Big Business pays a living wage across the board or Americans are willing to pick strawberries at the minimum wage. Don't bet on the former; if Americans do the latter, they're either stupid or desperate. Or Mexican.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at [email protected]. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!

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