Friday, November 27, 2009

#5 The Dodgers a.k.a. Los Doyers

Aside from being Raider fans, Chicanos are hard core Dodger fans. When Chicanos commit to a team, they do so 100%. Chicanos love to cheer, be loud, aggressive, obnoxious, and occasionally can get so caught up in the game, they may cry. Certain Chicanos like to especially partake in the games by gathering in the cheapest seats at Dodger stadium, the outfield Pavilion. It’s a place where real fans love and hate their team. These Chicanos won’t pay for expensive seats because “chale, that’s beer money,” because they are hard working blue collar fans with families who simply can’t afford $40 tickets, or because they are "keeping it real" while they get their A.A. from ELAC or their M.A. in Chicano Studies from CSUN. But, it is here, that you will find true blue Dodger fans. Nothing but brown people in the stands. You might find an occasionally lost white person in the mix that wonders how they ended up with those tickets. Cholo Chicanos can also be found in the nosebleed sections of Dodger stadiums, where most white people won’t venture.

Loving the Dodgers is not a simple thing to do within Chicano culture. For educated Chicanos, loving the Dodgers can also mean forgetting to hate the controversy of Chavez Ravine, the displacement of the many Chicano / Mexican-American families that were forcefully removed in one of the biggest schemes in Los Angeles history in order to build Dodger stadium and finally, embracing the American game of baseball. For the sports minded Chicano, loving the Dodgers includes recognizing that the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988; a sad, but tragic truth. Either way, both sets of Chicanos can agree that Dodger dogs and Coronas go hand in hand, Fernando Valenzuela was in fact one the greatest players of all time and that the San Francisco Giants, are in fact, evil.

If you find yourself attending a Doyers game and encounter either group of Chicanos, here are some things you should know:

  1. Don’t ask what “Los Doyers” means, you’ll just feel retarded.
  2. Jaime Jarrin is a legend in Dodger history and can give Vince Scully a run for his money on any day.
  3. Quickly google who Jaime Jarrin is on your iPhone.
  4. Fernando Valenzuela was in fact, the greatest Dodgers pitcher of all time.
  5. Manny Ramirez is a bad ass Latino player, but let’s not talk about the fact he is also black.
  6. Don’t try to sneak in beer to your cheap seats at Pavilion because security checks everything.
  7. You can however, take your own homemade ham or bologna sandwiches, or burritos wrapped in aluminum.
  8. Don’t ever bring up Chavez Ravine because you will just ruin it for everyone.
  9. If you attend a game, and are NOT a Dodgers fan and are crazy enough to wear the OTHER team’s jersey, make sure you sit with other white people, AND you change your shirt on the way to your car.
  10. Don’t blame all fan idiocy on Mexicans, because then you really will need an escort to your vehicle.

Orale! Now that you know the rules, have fun and enjoy this great American past time!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

#4 Pretending to Hate Thanksgiving

Want to scare white people? Or people who love turkey? Learn this phrase: “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

While it is true that the line between the Mexican border and the United States was once invisible, as explained by the narration of Edward James Olmos in “Mi Familia,” Chicanos love to claim ownership of a borderless land and therefore hate traditions celebrated by the border creators, like Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving you see, is a time in which Chicanos can be angry at “the white man” for the cruelty of the Pilgrims against the Indians --- errrr, I mean, Native Americans. And by Native Americans I mean people of color. And by people of color I mean brown people. And by brown people, I mean Mexicans. And by Mexicans, I really mean, pre-Spanish colonization and genocide. Therefore, I really mean to say indigenous people of this land. And by indigenous people of this land, I really mean Native Americans in the context that all people in the Americas are Native. Do you see where I am going with this?

Thanksgiving therefore becomes Thankstaking. A popular term used by Chicanos that employs irony to a situation addressing genocide, colonization, marginalization, oppression, and complete disregard for a people by the white man. Let's not even begin to discuss concepts of illegal immigration and *cough*cough* the Mayflower.

When shopping for your pumpkin pie and you come across a Chicano who is begrudgingly buying a pie for the “company pot-luck” say “Pssshh, I’d rather buy this cheap-ass $3 pie than those freaking sell-outs that go to Marie Callender’s with their pre-orders. Thankstaking baby. Thankstaking. Orale. Freaking Republicans.”

It really doesn’t even have to make sense. As long as the Chicano knows that you are hip to the evils of the white man.

For extra brown beret points, ask where the anti-mall will be setting up for the upcoming holidays, because even though you agree Christmas was created to sell Coke-Cola by the likes of Mad Men, you want to buy your god-daughter some parrot feather earrings and support local artists.

#3 Morrissey

Maybe Chicanos were EMO before EMO was trendy. But there is something to the lyrics of Morrissey that gets Chicanos all riled up. And by riled up, I really mean Emo’d out.

If you really want to understand Chicano culture, learn the lyrics to this popular Morrissey song, visit an 80’s club, and wave your body around feeling the music. Don’t forget to close your eyes.

I am the son, I am the heir,
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar,
I am the son and heir,
Of nothing in particular,

You shut your mouth
how can you say,
I go about things the wrong way,
I am human and I need to be loved,
just like everybody else does.

If someone asks you why you love Morrissey, say that “he is bad ass, because he loves Mexicans, he said so at a concert in Mexico.” Furthermore, Morrissey, has been vetted by another Chicano favorite, Ask A Mexican’s Gustavo Arellano who claims that:

His trembling falsetto brings to mind the rich, sad voice of Pedro Infante, while his effeminate stage presence makes him a UK version of Juan Gabriel. As in ranchera, Morrissey's lyrics rely on ambiguity, powerful imagery and metaphors. Thematically, the idealization of a simpler life and a rejection of all things bourgeois come from a populist impulse common to ranchera.

While that sounds mighty theoretical and philosophical, Chicanos have deep seeded melancholy feelings of belonging that derive from various sources, being disconnected to either the U.S. or Mexico, living in a space of in-between, not sure of where they belong, etc., much like the lyrics of many of Morrissey’s songs that deal with identity crisis’ and girlfriends in a comma.

Iconically, Morrissey also looks like a bad ass greaser; a genre that has situated Chicanos to an embraced working class, flannel shirt, dark denim jean wearing, pompadour sporting identity.

Next time you download a CD to your iPod, make sure that you differentiate Morrissey from The Smiths, because that is a whole different music complexity that will surely loose you any brown beret points if you dare get them confused. Whatever you do, don’t bring up objectification, class or the difference in Mexicans from Mexico and Mexicans from the U.S. (Los Angeles in particular) and say that Morrissey likes Mexicans because they have great hair, are terribly nice, and have nice skin, all of which combined, are great… per Morrissey.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

#2 La Virgen

It’s a love like no other. Shrines and tattoos have been built and inked to the beauty, wisdom and relentless love to La Virgen Maria de Guadalupe. The love for La Virgen is not to be confused with a numb devotion to the Catholic Church. In fact, for Chicanos or Chicanas or Xicanas with an “X”, depending on the level of indigenous intellect, La Virgen, is really a reincarnation of the Aztec goddess, Tonatzin (toe-nat-zeen) also known in Mesoamerican cultures as Coatlicue (ko-yat-tli-koo), and Cihuacoatl, (sea-gua-ko-yat), the mother of all creation in pre-conquered America.
During the Catholic invasion, err…conversions, the worship of the mother goddess, who gave birth to Huitzilipotchtli (weet-zee-lee-potch-lee), the god of the sun and war, (aka Jesus!) is seen by intellect circles within Chicano culture as the true image seen by Cuauhtlatoatzin, (Koo-ah-ooh-tla-toe-at-zeen), a mere indigenous peasant, aka, Juan Diego. When the Goddess performed the miracle of pasting her image and roses on Juan Diegos’ tilma (robe), the church claimed the image to be that of the Virgen Mary, not of Tonatzin, the indigenous earth mother. The shrine of Tonatzin was destroyed, and in its place, a church in the honor of the La Virgen was built, known today as the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe, the largest church in Mexico in her honor.

Prayer and vigilance to the earth mother Tonatzin remained under the guise of La Virgen, who is depicted, if you look closely, as a small brown woman with brown eyes, and black hair, the shawl she is covered in, also depicts the solar system. The stars are not random, as the Aztec culture of Mexico was highly advanced in Astrology.

The devotion/adoration/pop culture fanatics that are aimed at La Virgen by Chicanos are not devotions to the Catholic Church, as this would attract the wrong kind of Chicano, but an understanding of a robbed culture and an indigenous past. La Virgen, is an iconic imagine of acculturation, colonization, genocide, divide and conquer and the expansion of Catholicism under false pretenses. Although there are religious Chicanos, most that have attended East LA College or CSUN have gotten a fair share of anti-Catholic doctrine.

So, if you see a Chicana walk by with a cool tote bag/skirt/shirt displaying La Virgen, say something along the lines of La Virgen being the new imagine of Chicana feminism, “I was really amazed by Gloria Anzaldua’s ‘Borderlands/La Frontera’, her unapologetic approach to the colonization of Mexico and the obvious exclusion of female deities in Catholic religion is nothing more than a continued patriarchic view on society”.

If you find yourself with Cholo Chicanos, with tattoos of La Virgen, know that it is a testament of the love for their mothers. You can say something like, “I really wish I had gotten a tattoo of La Virgen when I was locked up, she always reminds me of my jefita”. Jefita (Hegh-fee-ta) meaning “little boss”.

When amidst Chicano intellects who wear all black/indigenous clothing and heavy stone jewelry, reflect on the mystery of Tonatzin, acknowledge she stands on a crescent moon and that the rays behind her are really more serpent like. This will make the Chicanos respond with nods of approval as this awesome and educated observation is true as Tonatzin, is the reincarnation of Coatlicue, who is the Aztec Goddess of the moon and stars, and Cihuacoatl, is the Serpent Goddess, patron of women and childbirth.

If someone states these truths before you, do not fear, a you can quickly recover by adding that Tonatzin told Juan Diego to call her, Coatlaxopeuh (Koo-at-tla-sue-pay) which sounds like Guadalupe, yet more proof of the obvious mind colonization of the indigenous people of Mexico by the Catholic Church. You can also say that Juan Diego aka Cuauhtlatoatzin, means “He who talks like an eagle”, can be linked to the Mexican flag icon of an eagle holding a serpent in its beak, ie: holding Tonatzin in his beak.

Your vast knowledge in La Virgen will earn you lots of kudos from 1) Cholo Chicanos with La Virgen tattoos, 2) Xicana Feminist who see La Virgen as a post-modern symbol of independence and anti-patriarchy 3) Chicanos who consider themselves more indigenous than the people of Oaxaca because they shop at anti-malls.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

#1 Art Laboe

They cannot, and I repeat, cannot, get enough of their “Oldies but Goodies”, or their “Memories of El Monte”.
Art Laboe, a syndicated radio personality, gets to the core of Chicano culture with his dedication show where you can hear a plethora of Chicano callers from all over the United States call in and say things like “I’d like to dedicate ‘Angel Baby’ to my baby Angel who is locked up, baby, I love you” or “Yeah, I’d like to dedicate ‘These Arms of Mine’ to my hyna Rosie, hope you visit this weekend” or Art Laboe himself will send the dedications, “Little Puppet from Cypress sends his love to Babygirl, says he misses you and can’t wait to be home”.
Some less knowledgeable connoisseurs of Chicano culture would argue that Art Laboe is a Cholo genre of music, but you can refute this argument by acknowledging that while Cholos too, love Art Laboe, Cholos can also in fact be, Chicanos. If you want to be political about it, you can insert key phrases like “the prison industrial complex” and argue that while Chicanos are locked up at an alarming rate, it is Art Laboe that allows Chicano Cholos to express their tender side through the dedications in a world that often times oppress our Brown Community. Be sure to be inclusive of yourself.

You can further expand on your vast knowledge of Chicano culture by stating inarguable facts like, Chicanos love for cruising down Whittier Blvd while listening to Art Laboe’s “Killer Oldies”. If your friends still want more proof on your Chicano knowledge, you can talk to them about the era of artwork that accompanies the music of Art Laboe’s “Killer Oldies”, which for a large portion, depict Pachucos, a fashion style of the 1940’s, and Bomber cars with suicide doors. You can really blow your friends out of the water by lighting a cigarette and wondering out loud the social significance of how low riders became the replacement of the Bomber car and proclaiming the beauty of Old English Font. The fact that Art Laboe may be about 525 years old, is another reason why Chicanos love him, that foo’ just doesn’t die. He may in fact have been alive when “The Treaty of Hidalgo” was signed.

Art Loboe can be credited for the Chicano style of speaking in song verse, such as “smile now, cry later”, “I got two lovers and I love them both the same”, “Baby I’m for real” and “hey there lonely girl”.

When in doubt of what kind of music you should play when entertaining Chicanos at a dinner party, just put on an Art Laboe “Killer Oldies” CD, I recommend you get the box set. Guaranteed someone will say to you, “Orale! You have Art Laboe?!”
You would have earned major street cred points for your music knowledge and sensitivity towards the tenderness of those oldies but goodies.