By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
I heard that Mexicans at an Orange County, California, candy factory think they saw the Virgin Mary in a pile of melted chocolate. Why do Mexicans always see the Virgin Mary in the stupidest things?
It's not just Mexicans who find the Holy Mother in weird places--remember the Florida gabachawho insisted that the Virgin Mary was revealed to her on a grilled cheese sandwich, then sold it for $28,000? Skeptics dismiss that sandwich and the Chocolate Madonna--a 2-inch pillar of chocolate drippings discovered on August 13 by Mexican workers at Bodega Chocolates in Fountain Valley, California--as examples of pareidolia. That's the moment when you make something out of nothing--Rorschach ink blots, for instance, or catsthatlooklikehitler.com. But the widespread sneers that greeted the Chocolate Madonna also reveal Protestant America's continued dismissal of Catholic Mexico, an impulse as old as Elizabethan England and Imperial Spain. It allows gabachos to degrade Mexicans as superstitious pendejos unworthy of respect or amnesty primarily because our Catholicism allows for apparitions, and Mexicans keep seeing Jesus, Mary and the santos in chocolate, tortillas (por favorvisit the Shrine of the Holy Tortilla in Lake Arthur, New Mexico) and butcher-shop calendars. So go ahead and laugh, gabachoAmerica and non-believing wabs, but refry this: that the Divine mostly manifests itself to Mexicans is just a reiteration of the Nazarene's Sermon on the Mount and further proof we're the Chosen Juans.
A friend recently asked me how to say "motherfucker" in Spanish. I was stumped--the closest thing I could think of was "puta madre," which literally translates as "whore mother." Is there a Mexican phrase that means "motherfucker"?
Dear Vulgar Gabacho,
The closest Mexican Spanish equivalent to motherfucker is "Chinga tu madre" ("Go fuck your mother"), but that's not the same. Truth is, there are no proper calques for motherfucker in Mexican Spanish. (A "calque" is a phrase translated word-for-word from one language to another and not how you fix a leak.) But there are more than enough curses in Mexican Spanish using madre as their root. As a noun, madre can mean anything from "shit," as in "No vale madre" ("It isn't worth shit"), to "ass," in which "Te voy a partir la madre" translates into "I'm going to split for you the mother" but really means "I'm going to kick your fucking ass." Madre is also an adverb: "Te voy a dar un chingazo en la madre" translates to "I'm going to give you a fucking blow in the mother" but really means "I'm going to give you a fucking blow where it hurts the most." You can also tell cabrones, "Vete a la madre," which doesn't mean "Go to the mother" but rather "Go to hell." Add an "-ar" suffix to madre, and you have the verb madrear, which means "to fuck someone up." For example, if you tell your mom "Te voy a madrear," you're not telling her that you're going to mother her but are letting mami know that "I'm going to kick your fucking ass." Shame on you.
Perowait: There's more. A mutation of madrear, "madrazo" denotes "harmful blow." "Te voy a dar un madrazo" is "I'm going to give you a fucking punch." "Hijo/a de tu madre" means "Son/daughter of your mother," but it is a phrase used by parents to express disgust for their children; tell that to your mom, she'll reward your biological insight with a madrazo to the face. You can even turn the most benign form of mother, mamá, into a crude insult: Take off the accent, and you're left with mama, the present indicative form of mamar, which means "to suck." And when you say that, you ain't telling a baby how to get the milk out of the bottle.