Ask a Mexican

Ask a Mexican!

Dear Readers,

I received many kind, drunken words from ustedes regarding my November 16 column proclaiming Mexicans and Irish "brothers in depravity." Let's start with a wab:

Man, did you make me laugh with "leprecanos." I never had more fun on Cinco de Mayo than I did in 1974 in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, mick bar called the Plough and Stars. After that night, I was hooked on redheads and Jameson. I barely had to buy any drinks for myself that night. When a Plough and Stars regular said the word "Republican," it was preceded by "Irish" and followed by "Army." We were really focused on the idea of celebrating anything having to do with resistance to colonialism...OK, we were really focused on celebrating, but politics was a good excuse. If I had been quick enough to come up with "leprecanos," I could've drunk in that bar for free until I graduated from law school.

And end with a gabacho:

Actually, Don Arellano, the association between Hispanics and the Irish goes deeper. According to Ireland's mythology, two groups came to Ireland from Spain—the Fir-Bolg and the Milesians—and mingled with the natives to create the modern Irish race. In the late 1500s, Spain tried to send troops and supplies to Ireland in hopes of assisting their fellow Catholics against the ethnic cleansing being conducted by the English. Though the campaign was a disaster for the Spanish, many of their men remained behind, enchanted by those lovely Irish women. And don't forget that the people from the Spanish province of Galicia are of Celtic stock.

Gracias for the comments, guys, but historians long ago disproved that the Black Irish—the dark-haired sons and daughters of Eire—could attribute their locks to Spanish ancestors marooned after the failed Spanish Armada. That's an origin myth as preposterous as gabachos who claim their great-great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess, or Chicano yaktivists who claim pure Indian blood—or Spanish blood, for that matter.

Dear Mexican,

Why do McDonald's game pieces now come in English AND Spanish? I'm not sure if I'm more insulted as a Mexican, to be targeted as eating at McDonald's regularly enough to have the text translated for my people, or if I'm more irritated that something so innocuous and American as McDonald's products needs a second-language translation.

—Mexican Muchacha in Maui

Dear Wab,

Wow, I didn't know burros swam that far. Kidding aside, you're a pendeja. First off, there is nothing innocuous or American about McDonald's. The chain's longtime owner, Ray Kroc, was a ruthless master of business who infamously stated, "If my competitor were drowning I'd stick a hose in his mouth and turn on the water." And that's why you have no reason to take offense if McDonald's prints game pieces in Spanish. Chula: McDonald's would paint Grimace in blackface if it could earn them a couple more bucks. Even the current strife that McDonald's faces in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca—students firebombed a McDonald's there last month, the latest escalation of armed conflict between Oaxacans and the Mexican government that started after McDonald's unsuccessfully tried to open a new location in Oaxaca's historic capital four years ago—won't stop McDonald's from trying to woo Mexicans. But a warning, America: The Oaxacan chaos is now spreading beyond the state and across Mexico. If our southern neighbor does erupt in revolution, and millions more Mexicans swarm our cities, thank McDonald's.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano

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