By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Dear Mexican: Lately, I've noticed a few bands, como Voodoo Glow Skulls, have embraced ska music both at home and in Mexico. I was curious what the appeal is for Mexicans. Also, if you had to turn people to Mexican ska, what would be your top five recommendations? TOMMY MILAGROS
Dear Wab: The ska tendencies in Mexico go back to the early days of ska itself — Jamaican music has always had a vibrant home in Mexico. Like all popular Mexican music forms, ska is danceable, upbeat even in its darkest moments, customizable and a DJ's dream. Mexican ska's greatest contribution to the form is the mixing of punk attitude and political commentary a la 2 Tone ska. As for my top five: The late Tijuana No! is sorely missed, Maldita Vecindad still blasts their chilango stew and Los Angeles' own Viernes 13 are chingones with horns. I'll also give a shout-out to Inspector, although their ska is a bit too clean for my tastes. But the masters are Panteón Rococo .
I lived in San Diego for about three years but only got down to Tijuana once. The thing that struck me the most was that it seemed all the women who were begging were Indian. Why is this?
LINDA EN FUEGO
Dear Chinita on Fire: Because the poverty rates of the indigenous in Mexico are atrocious: A 2010 study by Mexico's National Social Development Policy Evaluation Council found nearly 80 percent of Mexicans who spoke an indigenous language lived in poverty.
I work at the welfare office, and I've noticed that all my Mexican clients are much more organized than gabacho clients. They always bring all the necessary documentation and never whine about how much of a pain in the ass the system is. Is that because they're used to dealing with incredibly inept and inefficient bureaucracies or is there something else going on? GOVERMENT CHEESEMONGER
Dear Gabacho: Unlike Tea Party pendejos or welfare leeches, Mexicans understand that trips to the DMV, Social Security or the welfare office aren't necessary evils but moments of seriousness — you don't fuck around with the government, unless you're jumping over the border or using your cousin's Social Security number. Besides, Mexicans know that government workers are the Mexicans of government — shat upon, ridiculed by conservatives and hardly paid enough for all they must endure.