ASK A MEXICAN
Dear Readers: Before we move on to your spicy preguntas, a bit of housecleaning. Primeramente, gracias to all the Know Nothings who responded to my 100-wordessay challenge asking them to justify loving legal Mexicans but not the illegal ones; I will publish the best entries on the Mexican’s April Fools’ ediciÃ³n. On a more important note: pinche. Many of ustedes offered alternate meanings to this Mexican Spanish vulgarity beyond “cooking assistant” and “fucking in the adverbial sense.” From our Puerto Rican brothers: In Puerto Rico, pinche is simply the term used for a wooden clothespin. There is no negative connotation of the word on the island. From a gabacho married to a Colombian chica: When my in-laws were in recently, my cuÃ±ada saw us drinking margaritas from a margarita glass. “Eso es muy pinche,” she said, and our mouths dropped. But according to my mother-in-law, pinche in Colombia just means that one is putting on airs. Next is my pal Tigrillo, a proud Mexi grad of Princeton University, voicing something echoed by many other tejanos who wrote in: In south Texas, they use pinche to refer to people being tight with their money. Kind of weird, since so many folk in south Texas have roots in Monterrey, the supposed land of the codos. I think that meaning of pinche is Tex-Mex, and I have never heard it used similarly elsewhere. Something for the Spanish-speaking readers of this column. Oh, my god: the Reconquista has even hit ‘¡Ask a Mexican! Soy un nostÃ¡lgico ex-neoyorquino que ahora vive en Chilangolandia. Leyendo la respuesta que diste al uso de pinche, pienso que no puedes decir “’¡Pinche!” a secas, porque ademÃ¡s de adverbio es un adjetivo que necesita calificar a un nombre (adverbios se convierten en adjetivos, es mi punto). Tienes que decir, como le explicaste al gabacho: “’¡Pinche gringo culero!,” o “’¡Pinche gÃ¼ey!” como decimos mucho aquÃ en Mexico City. TambiÃ©n decimos mucho: “Eso estÃ¡ muy pinche,” para determinar la mala calidad o mal gusto de cualquier cosa. ‘¿Y quÃ© tal el superlativo pinchÃsimo? TambiÃ©n se debe incluir como adjetivo, ‘¿no?: “’¡Esa pelÃcula estuvo pinchÃsima!” es una gran palabra y por supuesto es muy buena traducciÃ³n para fucking. Me gusta particularmente: “Fucking bitch!” Pero no por misÃ³gino, sino porque suena tan bien como “’¡Pinche puta!” The final word goes to a gabacho living in Mexico: Actually, Mexican: here in Sinaloa, pinche is a pretty mild word, more like your (and mine for years) definition, “worthless.” Commonly used by la gente educada y religiosa, pinche just doesn’t have that connotation of “fucking” that it seems to have gained from you pinche wabs y Chicanos in the borderlands and in the US. One qualifier to the Mexicanized gabacho: He lives in Sinaloa, a Pacific coastal state notorious for its tough, vulgar residents. Need proof? This is where most of Mexico’s drugs lords originate — and now, I shut up.
Have you seen the Simpsons figurines from Kid Robot? The Bumblebee Man is the hardest to get, therefore the most valuable of the bunch. I’ve seen it on eBay going for $75 when they cost seven bucks in the store. You think Matt Groening did this on purpose ‘cause he really does love the Mexicans, or you think it was just a funny character and a funny coincidence? — SeÃ±ora Ding Dong
Dear Wabette: Of course Groening loves Mexicans, and not just because he freely admits that the legendary Mexican superhero El ChapulÃn Colorado (The Red Grasshopper) inspired Bumblebee Man. As I argue in an essay included in my ‘¡Ask a Mexican! compilation, “The Simpsons” is the most-Latino show ever to appear on English-language television, one so wabby it makes “The George Lopez Show” seem as gabacho as “Friends.” Want a full explanation? Buy my book, because I’m over my word count that the gabachos give me!
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/ocwab, find him on Facebook, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!
Get all your Mexican fun at myspace.com/ocwab, youtube.com/askamexicano,or send your questionsto email@example.com! Gustavo Arellano was born in Anaheim, Calif. to a tomato canner and an illegal immigrant. His critically acclaimed column “’¡Ask a Mexican!” has won the 2006 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for the best column in a large circulation weekly. For more information visit www.askamexican.net.