Friday, February 04, 2011

Benny Hill vs Cantinflas

Whatever happened to our sense of humor?
Ah, "el orgullo nacional". Mexican national pride swells up like a panza de pulquero, the belly of a pulque drinker, whenever the soccer team makes the World Cup, a  lachrymose churro makes it to the Oscars, or a local beauty makes it to the semis in Miss Universo. Oh, but how deeply it smarts, what depths of feeling it suffers whenever someone makes fun of us. Never mind that Mexicans have absolutely no qualms, and in this we are certainly not alone in the world, when it comes to making fun of others. We do have a feisty sense of humor, usually applied to Blacks, Chinese (all Asian people), Jews, gays, aka as putos, nacos, politicians, etc. In fact, we are merciless with ourselves, given to calling our own national soccer team "The Little Green Mice", for instance, but God forbid someone else should make fun of us.
The rule of thumb still applies: we can joke about ourselves, whoever "we" are, but careful if the same joke is uttered by others. However, it is always advisable to consider the source. That is, if the Queen of England had said that Mexicans were lazy and flatulent and our food "refried sick", there would be a reason for the Mexican ambassador to demand an apology. However, if those pearls of wisdom come from a bunch of comedians in a show that is notorious for being outrageous, the Ambassador should know the difference and keep his mouth shut. Or were he not a classic Mexican bureaucrat bloated by pomposity, he could demand an ironic apology and say something outrageous in return, like "you hooligans wouldn't know good food if it bit you in your pasty ass; you eat cheap, greasy fish out of newspaper cones, your culinary claim to fame is kidney pie, for crying out loud, so at least our farts are gastronomically superior to yours", or something to that effect.
We should be good sports about it and get as good as we give. What is embarrassing is that our finely calibrated sense of irony, which works perfectly well stateside, is absent in the world arena. Which makes us look like total hicks.

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