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 BlogviewFred Reed Archive

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A mixed bag. This morning we sallied forth to stock up on the essentials of life in time of plague, such as throat sanitizer--Wild Turkey serves well. In the liquor store, employees wore face masks. At Walmart there was a hand-sanitizer squirter that all had to use before entering, and the PA system exhorted us... Read More
The View from the Malecón
Lake Chapala at sunrise. It never looks the same twice. Though it is late in the season and should be chill, we do not seem to be having winter this year. The golondrinas, swallows, seem confused and have not migrated as early as they usually do. This year they sat in their thousands, three inches... Read More
Another Entry in the Tourney of Damn Fool Ideas
I suppose that by now everyone has heard of Trump’s offer to send the American military to “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” which he asserts can be done “quickly and effectively. “ Trump phrased this as an offer to help, not a threat to invade,... Read More
A Dispassionate Sociology
For seventeen years Violeta and I lived in town or in Guadalajara and had nothing to do with gated communities. We regarded these as custodial institutions for people who didn’t want to be in Mexico but liked the weather and cheap gardeners. For strange reasons irrelevant here, a year or so ago we moved to... Read More
On a sunny day Violeta and I will inhabit our faithful CRV and wander about, without being excessively directed toward anywhere in particular, along the south shore of Lake Chapala, maybe striking off randomly in search of interesting pueblos. Warm wind. Ranchera music. There are roads good and bad fraught with minor adventures and curiosities.... Read More
Violeta on the Face The Nation set at CBS DC. Is nothing sacred?
Not Up There with Marco Polo, But the Best We Can Do
Today, nothing shocking. You won’t need your fibrillator. Some not-too-coherent thoughts from south of the border: In Guadalajara near the US Consulate there is the Estación de Lulio, an open walled restaurant, cafe and wine bar sort of place with unencrypted Wifi. Early on I could never remember the name and so began calling it... Read More
Being as I am a self-appointed explicator of things Latin to Americans curious about what lies to the south, and has come north, I occasionally and in a scattershot and prejudiced manner try to offer a picture of life below the border. There is more to the place than narcos and MS-13. If I lived... Read More
Some Stuff Worth Knowing
For Americans concerned about Mexico and Mexicans, and what sort of wights they be, a little history may help. We seem to know almost nothing about a bordering nation of 130 million. It is not what most of us think it is. It is certainly not what the Loon Right would have us believe. For... Read More
A Study of Northern Inattention
In America two narratives about Mexico dominate. The first, chiefly emanating from anti-immigrant ideologues who usually have never been here, holds that Mexicans have low IQs and cannot function at other than a primitive level. Breitbart News and something called Vdare are chief among these. They don’t quite expect to find all Mexicans either robbing... Read More
A Preliminary to Going into Hiding
To understand many Mexican attitudes toward the United States and immigration, you have to go back to the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, of which most Americans have never heard. The United States attacked Mexico in a war of territorial acquisition, occupied Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona, and drove south to conquer Mexico City. It... Read More
With Trump it is difficult to tell bluster and carney-barker showmanship from serious consideration or actual intention. While clearly a threat, the remark may have been intended only to intimidate, and the ascription of cowardice to the Mexican army only ill-bred. Trump’s military record leaves no doubt as to his own courage. Given his administration’s... Read More
I bow (in case you were wondering) to no one in my loathing for the Clintons, the Establishment, the Beltway Insulates, political correctness, BLM, radical feminists, the controlled media, Obama, Wall Street, neocons, Social-Justice Look-at-Mes, and the New York Oligarchs. After the election, I figured, having no choice anyway, to see what Trump actually did.... Read More
Somewhere in Michoacán. A beer, the ocean, and nobody else in sight. ViFoto
I get a fair amount of mail wanting to know about expatriation to Mexico, whether it is a good idea, what it is like, and how to do it. I have consequently flung together the following to satisfy this curiosity. I hope it serves. Mexico is a friendly, courteous, flavorful country. It appeals to the... Read More
I’m going to break something. Or maybe kick the dog. Sometimes it seems to me that I am the only gringo on this whole sorry planet who does not think Mexicans are scum–filthy, perverted, and witless. They are not, dammit. If you want to criticize Mexico, stick to facts, such as that it is corrupt... Read More
Vi and I had been talking of taking a couple of weeks to cruise Mexico and in particular Baja California, but hadn’t, for all the reasons and tribulations that afflict humanity. Finally we just hopped into the CRV and went. Wing it, figure it out when we got there, wherever “there” was. Reason, planning, and... Read More
Enough. I shall go deep into the Okefenokee Swamp, dwell in a hut of clay and wattles made, and live on crocodile meat and watermelons. The modern world is too much for me. I have just read ¡Adios, America! by Ann Coulter, and discovered that Mexico, my current home, is a suppurating moral sore where... Read More
A Surfeit of Bile
Permit me a searing insight (the only kind this column has.) Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, are and will be a large part of America. The Fat Lady has sung. It might therefore be a good idea to know something about them, what they are and are not, and what they may do. Oddly, I encounter little... Read More
Gray Matter in a Brown Package
Latinos are now seventeen percent of the population, and the president is doing everything he can to increase that proportion. Will they assimiliate successfully? There are many reasons for suspecting that they will not, and others for suspecting that they will. A crucial sub-question is whether they are as intelligent as whites. Many quietly think... Read More
Musings of a Southward Bent
For many, Mexico remains a land of Pedro sleeping away his days leaning against an adobe hut, sombrero pulled low over his face, with a burro drowsing nearby. Apparently this is actually belived. An American woman of immoderate idiocy once asked me by email whether Mexico had paved roads.Such folk seem to have in mind,... Read More
Richard Thornton /
The Crowdedest Fifty People Known to Man
I belong to a list-serve of exceedingly bright people (I am not one of them) to include Ivy profs, who believe that IQ largely determines human destiny. This is in part I suspect because IQ is something they have, but it is possible that I am being snide in this. They regard as canonical the... Read More
Penetrating Commentary on American Social Policy
Don Felipe Gonzalez entered this curious world in 1927 in Sagrada Familia, a poor section of Guadalajara. It was not a good year to be poor in Mexico, seventeen years after the demise of the Porfiriata and a year into the Cristero war. His father was brutal, below animalic, and beat the family. Food was... Read More
Understanding Priorities
It was getting late in Ajijic when Vi and I headed for the Camaleon. The narrow streets were empty and somber. Gringos do not go out as much as they once did now that the narco wars have reached the town. Light and music poured from the door. For some reason I thought of what... Read More
Maybe, Anyway
“A lot can happen in a decade,” said Fred with his characteristic and astonishing insight. When I arrived in Mexico going on ten years ago, it was a mildly sleepy upper-Third World country, whatever that means—corrupt but not dangerous, not rich but hardly poor, barely middle-class overall and climbing, the mañana thing seldom noticeable, and... Read More
One Man's Angle on Mexico
You need to know about Braco the Bar Dog. You may not think you need to know about him. Ha! This column shares the spirit of federal authoritarianism burgeoning up north. We will tell you what you need to know. (You may address me as “Mommy, sir.”) Anyway, Braco. On the north shore of Lake... Read More
Nah. No market for it.
I have been reflecting on the curious ideas of Mexico common in the US, the routine factual inaccuracy, and the clotted hatred existing among nativists represented by such as Fox News. Some of it is the natural intolerance of a naïve Anglo population that has historically hated blacks, Amerindians (the only good one being a... Read More
Quick and Dirty
Mexico, as seen from the north shore of Lake Chapala.. This ain't literature, but may be interesting. I get a fair amount of mail asking what Mexico is really like, some of it worried about the drug wars. The wars exist, though so far with little effect on the expats here. I don't downplay the... Read More
Why We Ought to Think, but Won't
Things change. They change. I arrived in Mexico some seven years ago amid dire warnings from all and sundry that I would instantly die of foul disease, tramplling by burros, and splashing sanguinary crime. All of this I regarded as nonsense, because it was. The State Department issued travel warnings and similar alarums, but State... Read More
Yet Again
Mexico, if left alone, would be a reasonably successful and stable country of the upper Third World. It isn’t Haiti, isn’t Bangla Desh, isn’t a dying patient with multiple tubes in every orifice. If not strong-armed into chaos, it would be all right. But the United States won’t leave it alone. Washington is pushing it... Read More
Who Could Have Thought It?
I have a confession to make to my readers. I have been lying about Mexico. Yes. I am a poor sinner and meant no harm, but the devil got into me, and I have done wrong. I have said that Mexico was a pleasant country of agreeable people, and harmless. I have said that children... Read More
Notes From an Unknown Planet
I read with horror that Hillary Clinton, posing as the Secretary of State, has been in Mexico talking with Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, about “the problem of drugs.” Horror is the reasonable response whenever an American official is allowed to pass beyond the beltway. Or stay within it. They never know what they are doing.... Read More
Brain Rot, Aphasia, and God Knows What. Maybe Brain Worm.
Damn. The longer I live in Mexico, the more I realize that I know less about it than people who don’t. Apparently it is a far simpler country than the one I live in, being summed up by pat assertions, neat statistics, and confident descriptions often bearing little resemblance to anything I see. Curious: Almost... Read More
A Southern Approach
All night it rained in Jocotepec, my small town in Mexico. Rain isn’t unusual, but this was different. It was heavy. It didn’t stop. Come morning, my wife and I looked out the window and saw inches of brown water sluicing down the sloping street from the mountain. About nine o’clock that morning the speakers... Read More
The Failure of the International Press
I live on the shores of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico, roughly on the latitude of Mexico City but to the west. The region is fairly heavily populated with several towns along the northern shore—Chapala, Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, and Jocotepec. The lake is too contaminated for swimming, but is an attraction for... Read More
Jack-Leg Sociology
My stepdaughter Natalia, fifteen, graduated last week from Antonia Palomares school in Jocotepec, on the north shore of Lake Chapala, in Jalisco, Mexico, where I live. Inevitably the parents of the graduating class held a monster fiesta. Mexicans do that, at any provocation. I think it’s genetic. The hall they rented was just a very... Read More
Now We Are Fifteen
A girl only turns fifteen once, so we figured we would do it up right. We did, too. Violeta rushed around for two weeks negotiating for music and food and I invited everybody who needed to be invited and wrote lists of things everywhere and lost them, and Natalia, in the final throes of her... Read More
Thoughts of Minimal Coherency
For most gringos, Mexico is a place to retire. The Mexicans say, “The Americans come here to die.” Not exactly. It isn’t why they come, but it is what they do, there being eventually no choice. Everybody has to croak somewhere, so why not in the sunshine with little brown kids running back and forth... Read More
Thoughts, or Approximations Thereof, Little Organized
Mexicans of any schooling take the Day of the Dead more seriously than Americans do Halloween, but no more so, I suppose, than the Roman senate took Apollo. Yet death and the dead have more immediacy here than in a country which carefully ignores both. Mexicans have not persuaded themselves that there is no mystery... Read More
Not All Rumors Correct
I get a lot of email asking me, “What’s it really like in Mexico, Fred?” A book would be needed to give a good answer. Since people seem interested, I’ll take a few random shots at the topic. Don’t expect literature or organization.The quick answer is that it isn’t nearly as bad as many Americans... Read More
Shawn Talbot /
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Just now the furor over illegal immigration from Mexico is most wonderful a’boil, with much billingsgate and vituperation emanating from practically everywhere. Well and good. People should all afflict each other as vigorously as they can. I mean, why were we put on earth if not to be disagreeable? Howsomever, I’ve received email telling me... Read More
The Horror. The Horror.
Bobbling about on the web, like flotsam in some drear tidal pool, is a piece purporting to show that Mexico mistreats immigrants in all manner of ways offensive to the North American soul. Most curious. I am one of those immigrants, and still waiting to be mistreated. The specific charges: “In brief, the Mexican Constitution... Read More
Few Surprised
Things are grim hereabouts. We are now deep in the Mexican winter. It is hellishly cold. You almost need a long-sleeved shirt. Instead I wore my thick tee that said “Soy Un Autentico Hijo de la Chingada,” this constituting my formal wear. It’s like truth in packaging. Bodacious tropical flowers swarmed over Stu’s balcony, all... Read More
Maybe You Should Try The Real Thing
Repeatedly I hear that the misbehavior in New Orleans sprang from the exigencies of poverty. I would offer a countering view. Permit me to start with the family of Violeta, mi pareja in Mexico. I know them well. Listen, and judge. Her father was born poor 78 years ago. Poor in Mexico in the twenties... Read More
Enough Is Enough. Except For Gringos.
Regarding the clownish performance apparently ongoing in the US over Mexico’s issuance of the now-famous stamps of Memin Penguin, a negrito hero of the comic books of decades back, a few thoughts. Let’s see. How many of those throwing fits had ever heard of Memin Penguin before this week? How many of them have seen... Read More
Good Idea
OK, I’ll give it the old fifty-words-a-minute-and-forty-errors shot, ‘cause I got stuff to do this afternoon. I’ve written about some of this before, but since people keep asking, I’ll babble a bit.A lot of males think that Mexico and Thailand and so on are sexual candy stores. They talk dreamingly about LBFMs, Little Brown Fucking... Read More
Life Below The Rio Grand
Living in Mexico as I do, I often hear from North Americans that gringos move to Mexico chiefly for the women. Well, yes. The women are certainly an attraction. Indeed they are. The North American tendency however is to confuse women with sex. American men in the United States usually see Mexican women as LBFMs,... Read More
Reflections On The Virtue Of Lawlessness
Suppose that you were subject to, say, horrendous sinus infections or earaches. In America, by law you would have to get an appointment with a doctor, $75, thank you—when he had time, how about day after tomorrow, whereupon he would give you a prescription for amoxicillin, fifteen bucks and a trip to a pharmacy. If... Read More
A Partisan View Of Mexico
At six in the morning, for two weeks, the skyrockets have started, whoosh, fzzzzzt, blam! Kerblooey! by the hundreds. They're big suckers, like the ones we had as kids in America before the mommy state got them. It was hard to hear the kerblams, though, over the marching band, which also started at six, with... Read More
They Do It The Same Way We Do
Manzanillo, Mexico. Last week, wanting a different perspective on the street trades, I spent a day with the Red Cross ambulance service here, Manzanillo being a port city on the West Coast with a population of something over a hundred thousand. If nothing else, it made me appreciate the advantages of money My introduction to... Read More
Fred Reed
About Fred Reed

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers.

Personal Classics
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
It's Not A Job. It's An Adventure.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave