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Dear Mexican: Is pinche considered a “bad” word amongst Mexican-Americans? Or is it like güey? Where it’s generally alright?
Mandilón in Manhattan
Dear Pussy-Whipped Pocho: Don’t forget that among Mexican-Americans, #fucktrump is considered appropriate for children five and over. But among Mexican Mexicans, pinche (which technically means a short-order cook) is still mostly a synonym for “fucking” in its adverbial sense; I, for instance, would never use it in front of my mami lest I get the chancla. But, like el Norte, Mexican culture keeps coarsening, making pinche more acceptable than ever before. One of the first news stories the Mexican ever wrote was a 2001 piece about how a Mexican yaktivist took out a radio ad calling former California governor Gray Davis a pinche güerito—a “fucking little white man.” Tellingly, the AM station bleeped out pinche so it sounded like pin-bleep. Fast-forward to today, and that radio station—now on the FM dial—regularly plays the track “Pinche Borracho” (“Fucking Drunk) by female duo Dueto Las Azucenas (a swap-meet version of Las Jilguerillas) without bleeping out pinche. What a pinche vergüenza.
Why is it that every time I pull up next to a Mexican in traffic, they’re bumping one of two things; either some polka-sounding stuff or Tupac? I like Tupac but it seems like Mexicans are single-handedly keeping his music alive. Why do Mexicans love Pac so much?
Confused by Colored Folk
Dear Gabacho: Tupac Shakur forever endeared himself to Mexicans thanks to his 1996 jam, “To Live and Die in LA.” In this ode to the City of Angels, he sang, “Cause would it be L.A. without Mexicans?/Black love, brown pride and the sets again/Pete Wilson trying to see us all broke.” Wait, that wasn’t Pac; that was Makaveli, since Tupac is ALIVE. Besides, game recognize juego, and Mexicans see Tupac as the moreno version of Chalino Sanchez, the legendary narcocorrido singer who was also assassinated before his time, and whose ballads made gangsta rap seem as imposing as the Mills Brothers.
History has shown that given time, all immigrants to a new country, eventually assume the new language. That being said, it is also important for Americans to help the immigrants cross the language barrier. Because of this, I do not understand why there are not more Spanish-language programs on television, not just for the Spanish speaker, but for everyone. Spanish Sesame Street would be great. I have studied Spanish and Japanese in school, and it has helped me understand my surroundings better. What are Americans afraid of? We flock to Mexican Restaurants. It would also be nice to see other foreign language programs on the television from time to time.
Bring Back Esteban Colberto
Dear Gabacho: That’s a problem exacerbated by Hollywood, which would rather greenlight shows about gangs and narcos than anything remotely dealing with the modern-day Mexican American experience. And by the way, there is a Mexican version of Sesame Street (well, besides the actual Spanish-language version of the show, called Plaza Sésamo); it’s called Dora the Explorer. Donald Trump has already announced she’s the first Mexican to get deported, since Dora taught millennials that Mexicans are actual humans and not baby-making cockroaches—a first on network television.
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