Thursday, June 17, 2010

Department of Abject Bullying: Mexican Police vs. Mexican Piñatas

O, how short lived is my joy of Mexico's victory over France 2-0 today.
That, mes amis, felt really, really BON.

Alas, I open the NY Times and I find an article about piñata makers in trouble. Apparentely, Marvel Comics, in cohoots with the Mexican Federal Police, who could better use their time pursuing more serious crimes, is persecuting piñata vendors who use characters like Superman or other creatures that are copyrighted to death by huge American conglomerates. Supposedly, Marvel wants the piñata makers to pay rights and they consider piñatas piracy. Then it turns out, as I suspected because no one at Marvel could possibly be so dumb, that the raids are orchestrated by the self same police to extort money from piñata makers, probably the most innocent Mexican people in existence. Here's the kicker:
But the story line got a twist when it turned out that the raid might have been as questionable as the piñatas that were seized. The attorney general’s office said it had no record of Marvel’s calling for such an operation, which existing law required before a raid could be conducted, and the company insists it had nothing to do with it. Federal officials later said that it was Televisa, a Mexican television conglomerate, that filed the complaint that led to the raid.
Whatever the raid’s provenance, the lawyer assisting the vendors, Fidel López García, said that it appeared to have been aimed primarily at extorting money from the vendors and commandeering their wares, not an uncommon event in Mexico. Mr. López and the vendors say that, after seizing thousands of piñatas, the police and the officials not only began selling them on the street but offered to sell them back to the vendors.

1. As we like to say in Mexico, por eso estamos como estamos, "that's why we are where we are". Deep down in the gutter.
2. The way I understand piracy is: an item that has been copied to exactly resemble another item as to appear to be exactly that item, like a fake handbag, fake Rolex, a pirated DVD or a plastic tchotcke. But a piñata does not pretend to be the exact copy of Captain America. Good luck carrying your piñata Prada bag around. It's obviously hand made and meant to be beaten to a pulp and torn to shreds by candy-crazed children. It has a very short lifespan. No one would confuse a piñata for the real Spiderman. Whoever he is.
By this same token, I assume that the guy in Coyoacán who makes pancakes in the shape of celebrities, phalluses, Mickey Mouse and Spiderman (or your very own likeness), is also considered a criminal.
The piñata is Mexican folk art. The despicable assholes who came up with this one, terrorizing not only hardworking people but people who keep a wonderful Mexican tradition alive (albeit with shit Disney characters*), their balls should be made into a piñata, stuffed with crushed glass and hung upside down in the Zócalo. Who wants to be first at bat?
Don't we have plenty of corrupt politicians and drug murderers and evil police to go after?
* The only silver lining I see in all this is that perhaps we can go back to having our beautiful traditional piñatas in the shape of stars and non copyrighted characters, instead of stupid Buzz Lightyear.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:35 PM

    Amen to that. Before long we won'tbe able to print the words "Aunt Jemima' on the internet. Sounds a lot like the Natzi's. Yikes.