Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mexican Memes

Mexicans have always been known for their sense of humor. Mexican culture is awash with jokes, puns, double entendres and what we call ingenio, which is something as funny as wit, but less dry. Yet I don't think anyone foresaw how much mileage Mexican humor was going to get out of new technologies like Photoshop, You Tube and social media, which are starting to make Mexico look like the capital of memes. 

About a week after 9/11, if not sooner, I get an urgent email from my friend Pancho, with the following subject: "They found Osama Bin Laden". I open it, my heart racing, and I see a picture of Osama sitting placidly in a gondola in Xochimilco, a place where Mexican families go to have Sunday picnics on the water. To this day, it's the best thing I ever saw.
Apparently, it's the gift that keeps on giving:

Same when they couldn't find Ghadaffi:

Looks like the taquero from hell to me, even though, true to his Middle Eastern roots, he is hiding behind a spit of shwarma.
Any time a Mexican public figure makes a gigantic blunder, Mexicans and their ingenio take over cyberspace. A meme was created when newsanchor Joaquín López Dóriga attempted to interview Sir Anthony Hopkins and asked him "Juay De Rito" (Why The Rite?).
More recently, the PRI's candidate for president, a pompadoured calamity called Enrique Peña Nieto, was taken to task for not being able to answer correctly what three books have most influenced him, as he made an appearance at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, the most important event of its kind in the Spanish-speaking world. You would think he'd brush up on his reading, given the nature of the event, but true to the caste of patronizing demagogues of his party, who are used to blathering from above and are completely unable to speak off the cuff, he was taken aback by the question and proceeded to pontificate without saying absolutely anything or remembering correctly the title of at least one book (not counting the Bible, which he said he had read parts of).
The barrage of tweets and doctored photos that invaded the net show no sign of abating.
His daughter then posted a tweet saying "a greeting to the bunch of fuckheads that are part of the prole (tariat) and who only criticize who they envy".
Now all of Mexico is claiming prolehood.
Gandhi, a chain of bookstores, famous for their clever ads, did not waste any time coming up with some funny print ads. Because their ads are easy to copy, Mexicans went to work on dozens of alternate versions:

There are pictures of Peña Nieto conferring with the actual Gandhi, with the Pope, and one of him as the swaddled baby of two of the most notoriously corrupt and sinister members of the PRI, ex-president Carlos Salinas and undying PRI fixture Elba Esther Gordillo.
Among the tweets:
"Let's read something by Martin Burger King #PeñaNietoBookstore"
"What is your favorite Benedetti? The pepperoni one, of course". #PeñaNietoBookstore"

"Three books that marked me for life: 1) Los Reebook, 2) La Notebook, y 3) El Facebook. #PeñaNietoBookstore"
 There are also many hashtags for the "prole" comment.

Apparently, at the PRI's behest, which is revolting business as usual, Twitter tried to censor the PeñaNietoBookstore# hashtag after it started trending with over 60,000 tweets. There was a huge outcry and they allowed it again. One thing these lamentable politicos do not appreciate is freedom of expression. They are used to despotism, but Mexico is changing. There is no more delicious schadenfreude than to see these corrupt bozos exposed by the citizenry for the frauds they are. It may not be funny to them, but it is seriously funny for us.
Social media can change things. Hopefully this idiot will not become the President of Mexico after this.


  1. Funny, I'm searching for "Being Mexican Meme" and this came up. I'm sure you've seen all the "what I actually do" memes on the web... I'm waiting for the "Being a Mexican in the US" Meme... I'm sure it'll be funny :)