Dear Mexican: Why are lowrider artists obsessed with surly clowns? I went to an exhibition of the art of Mister Cartoon in Venice Beach years ago, and the clowns in his art were downright disturbing. I’ve seen these nasty clowns on T-shirts and a bunch of other places, too.
What’s up with that? Did the whole culture have a nasty experience at the circus?
Cirque Du So Low
Dear Gabacho: I’m answering this pregunta not just because it’s a good one, but to teach the value of patience. Gentle readers: This question was sent on the first week of ¡Ask a Mexican!’s existence, which is now more than 10 years ago. I’m finalmente getting to it because it’s about pinche time, you know? So you, too, will get your question you sent hace seven years answered … eventually.
For this one, Cirque Du So Low, it’s muy simple: Mexicans like payasos, period. From Cepillín to Javier Solís’ legendary song “Payaso” to “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles to the classic cholo tattoo and mantra, “Smile Now, Cry Later” (itself a callback to the legendary oldies-but-goodie song of the same tame by Sunny and the Sunliners) to that assassin dressed as a clown who strolled into a narco’s party last year in Baja California, shot him dead and escaped, Mexicans are clown-crazy.
Gabachos might find them creepy, but we love these eternal tricksters, because they’re representations of our id, and a reflection of the importance we place on humor, no matter how dour our reality. I can also cite Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz’s essay on masks, and how clowns are a metaphor for Mexicans, but Paz hated pochos, so fuck him.
I read just the other day that demographers are predicting there will be more Mexicans than anybody else in California in 20 years, just from birth rate alone. Un tipo como tu tiene que tener some brujo in him, so use your skills, ese, and tell us what you see in the future. Will California be like Whittier? Or will it resemble Rosarito, with all the gabachos crowded into condos near the beach?
El Mero Panzón del IE
Dear Badass Big-Bellied Man of the Inland Empire: 20 años? Try last year, when Latinos surpassed gabachos to become the most-populous group in the Golden State. Given a 2011 demographic profile by the Pew Research Center determined that Mexicans make up 83 percent of California’s Latino community, paisas and pochos should outnumber everyone within the end of this decade.
So what does the future hold? You’re reading it: a child of Mexican immigrants who works a white-collar job and whose nieces and sobrinos will no doubt have names like Brittney and Brad. Sorry to break it to Know Nothings, but the Reconquista will be the most anticlimactic event since the release of Chinese Democracy.
In the newspaper today, there was a picture of a Mexican in Mexico grinning next to a sign that said, “Turista GO HOME!” Are Mexicans getting so rich off money siphoning through their illegal invaders that they no longer need the LEGAL stream of wealth from tourists? And if so, why can’t they spell-check their signs first? Would a sign campaign also help the illegals here get the message that THEY are unwelcome? Or should we just count ourselves lucky that the arrogant foreigners are using signs instead of rape or guns to make their point, in a nation with such a low literacy rate?
Walking Down the Beach the Other Day, I Started Wondering …
Dear Gabacho: The sign was spelled correctly; the tourist just happened to use Spanglish, a language created to piss off pendejos into flights of pendejismo. Gracias for dejando Spanglish do its trabajo!
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