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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
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
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
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
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
After decades of hiring illegal aliens and lobbying against any and all restrictions on immigration, Big Business is about to find out the real costs of the Open Borders it has subsidized. In California, the Washington Times reported last week, thousands of Mexicans who have worked for some of the state's and the nation's largest... Read More
Despite unveiling a plan for the mass amnesty of illegal aliens in January, President Bush is still not satisfied that America is the"welcoming society" he likes to claim it is. Nor is his counterpart, President Vicente Fox of Mexico, with whom Mr. Bush palavered last weekend at what used to be American soil in Texas.... 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
While President Bush was explaining why Americans must exportdemocracy to the rest of the planet last week, Mexico's President Vicente Fox was practicing his own version of democracy inside the United States. Virtually unreported in the national media, Mr. Fox's brazen lobbying of American elected leaders to advance his own agenda for amnesty of illegal... 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
While President Bush ponders amnesty for illegal Mexican immigrantsand yet another war against Iraq, the real war has already come here—from Mexico. The New York Times reported last week ["A Georgia Pipeline for Drugs and Immigrants," by Tim Golden, NYT, November 16, 2002"] that in areas where Mexican immigrants were supposed to bring the vaunted... Read More
Mexico's President Vicente Fox is unhappy that President Bush and the United States are spending so much time on such trivia as terrorism, war in the Middle East and the collapsing stock market and paying so little attention to the really important stuff, such as the amnesty Mr. Fox wants for the millions of illegal... Read More
One result of the Sept. 11 anniversary will probably be the resumptionof plans for the amnesty of millions of illegal Mexican aliens living in the United States. One result of Sept. 11 itself was that amnesty had to be put on thebackburner, so to speak, while the Bush administration pretended to do something serious about... Read More
If it's war you want, forget Afghanistan and the "Axis of Evil" invented by the president's speechwriters and take a look at our dear amigo to the south, Mexico. Last year, according to documented reports of the U.S. Border Patrol, Mexican troops and police officers crossed into United States territory at least 23 times. Since... Read More
Those Americans whose memory banks have not been totally erased by the horrors of Sept. 11 and its aftermath may recall that only a week before the terrorist attack, Mexico's President Vicente Fox wasgallivanting north to badger President Bush for an amnesty for illegal Mexican aliens in the United States and even an actual union... Read More
The biggest problem for the not-very-bustling metropolis of Casa Blanca, Mexico, is, according to a recent story in the New York Times, whether it is going to exist in the near future. "The question we always ask," says one of its dwindling and aging residents, "is, 'Will our community survive?' We are running out of... Read More
Antiquarians may recall that, long ago in April, two high Mexican government officials came to the United States and boasted of how much they were going to help us in controlling illegal immigration. Last week the help arrived in the shape of the Mexican government's plan to distribute some 200,000 survival kits to Mexicans who... Read More
You really have to tip your hat to Mexican President Vicente Fox, who seems determined to get the United States to change its immigration laws and take in even more Mexican immigrants than we do already. Ever since his election last summer, Mr. Fox has been pushing a scheme under which the two countries would... Read More
It probably ought to tell us something that the first foreign leader to visit President George W. Bush was Jean Chrétien of Canada and that the first foreign leader whom President Bush will visit is Vicente Fox of Mexico. What it should tell us is that globalization - the same process that brought us NAFTA,... Read More
Category Classics
Becker update V1.3.2
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.