Ask a Mexican!
Dear Mexican, Why do Mexican soccer fans chant "Osama! Osama!" when their side plays the United States? You don't hear American soccer fans yell "¡La migra!" --White Boy Dash
You think hurling bin Laden's name is tasteless? How about the Daily Mail columnist who, on the day England faced West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, wrote, "West Germany may beat us at our national sport today, but that would be only fair. We beat them twice at theirs"? Or the hooligans who greeted Jewish fans during a Lazio-AS Roma Italian league match with a banner that read, "Auschwitz is your town, the ovens are your houses"? This is soccer we're talking about, not Wimbledon. Offensive jeers are part of the game, and anyone who can't take the heat should leave la cocina. Jingoism is the main reason fútbol is the world's most popular sport: Countries and regions can spill their aggression toward each other out on the pitch and in the stands instead of the battlefield. That's why Mexicans love to trash the United States when the two countries play. Ustedes exploit us, humiliate us, dominate us in every socioeconomic category, even beat us in soccer--the United States has triumphed over Mexico in six of their last nine matches, including a 2-0 shellacking in the second round of the 2002 World Cup. So instead of wielding knives, our best revenge is the clever insult, the well-timed "Chinga tu madre" ("Go fuck your mother") whistle, the beer poured upon Landon Donovan as he triumphantly exits the stadium. All the great soccer-playing nations draw rabidly nationalistic fans, and the United States will remain a third-rate country until Americans cry "Tacos!" next time Mexico's squad invades el Norte.
Why is it that we Mexicans get teary-eyed and emotional when "Volver, Volver" is played on the radio, in concerts or at weddings? --Chente Chunti
If you want to render a Mexican helpless, play this tune of lost love, which translates as "Return, Return" and is sung by ranchera icon Vicente "Chente" Fernández, the guy you see on posters in your local music store's Spanish-language section: gold-embroidered charro outfit, ivory white teeth and mustache as thick as a folded wallet. "Volver, Volver" is all about the treacle, with a chintzy organ intro, plodding guitar chords, pussy lyrics ("This passionate love/Is all disturbed to return") and Fernández whimpering throughout...until the chorus, when he roars, "Y volver, volver, vooooooooolveeeeeeeeer" ("And return, return, reeeeeeeeetuuuuuuuuurn"). Psychologists have observed that overcompensation on one part of the psyche leads to unconscious manifestations of the other in a concept known as reaction formation, and "Volver, Volver" allows Chente--Mexico's ultimate symbol of mexicanidad--to reveal machismo's deep, dark secret: Mexican men, for all their bravado, are more emotive than Oprah. With "Volver, Volver," Fernández made bawling the ultimate proof of huevos--you're not a real man if you can't cry--and so Mexican men drunkenly howl along in unison in honor of the hombre whenever the song plays.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org. And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we'll make one up for you!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.