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¿Habla Espanglish?

25 October 2014

Spanglish is not random. It is not simply a piecemeal cobbling-together, a collecting of scraps of random vocabulary into a raggedy orphan of a sentence. It has logic and rules, and more interestingly and importantly, it embodies a constantly shifting and intimate morphology of miscegenation. It is the mix of my husband’s innate Mexicanness and my innate Americanness, of my adaptive Mexicanness and his adaptive Americanness, in Spanish and English morphemes that come neatly together and apart like so many Legos into new and ever-changing constructions.

Sarah Mendedick on Spanglish, the language not of Cervantes*, nor of Shakespeare. Perhaps Spanglish is the language of “Mexican Americans too Mexican to be American and too American to be Mexican,” but it is a language of more and more American and Mexican familias:

At home, Jorge’s and my Spanglish has leveled the Scrabble playing field. For his güero, there’s my lonely. For my standard, there’s his deudas. The tiles intersect, English’s short consonant-stacked words overlapping with Spanish’s euphonious roly-poly vowels. Into and out of one and the other we slide, unconscious of how we have assigned parts of ourselves to one side or the other, to one idioma or the other. Unconscious of how each of us has become tangled up in both, until we are in Mexico and we miss beer and the woods, then back in Ohio and we miss corazón, calor humano, vida. Until the middle of a sentence, when I realize I cannot write the word “firework” when what shot into the southern sky was a cuete, loosed by a cuetero, an old man in an untucked white shirt who carries a passel of cuetes and stops to light them one by one, their sparks soaring up from between his cupped bare hands.

Living on the Hyphen, Oxford American.

* ¿Porque no?:

In un placete de La Mancha of which nombre no quiero remembrearme, vivía, not so long ago, uno de esos gentlemen who always tienen una lanza in the rack, una buckler antigua, a skinny caballo y un grayhound para el chase. A cazuela with más beef than mutón, carne choppeada para la dinner, un omelet pa’ los Sábados, lentil pa’ los Viernes, y algún pigeon como delicacy especial pa’ los Domingos, consumían tres cuarers de su income.

(Transladado al Spanglish por Ilán Stavans)

A silly, silly man

24 October 2014
Adrián Rubalcava Suárez apparently is into cos-play:  in his case, dressing up like a U.S. Marine, and prancing about looking ferocious.  Which I suppose is rather harmless, but Adrián Rubalcava Suárez — A PRI delagate for Cuijimalpa in the Federal District, doesn’t like it when the media publishes photographs of Adrián Rubalcava Suárez at play.
While this photo of Adrián Rubalcava Suárez pursuing his eccentric hobby is oneAdrián Rubalcava Suárez posted on his own facebook page,Adrián Rubalcava Suárez has … uh… issues with another photo… specifically this one …
cuajimalpawhich was published in Sin Embargo in connection with a story on Adrián Rubalcava Suárez and other supposedly “Green Party”  officials (the Greens and PRI are allied)  who enjoy hunting, and other not-so-green activities in their spare time… of which they seem to have plenty.
It seem Adrián Rubalcava Suárez doesn’t have the time to complain about the photo himself, but that

Adrián Rubalcava Suárez does have the time to send a lawyer (or a guy claiming to be a lawyer) to Sin Embaro to make threats and send demands that Sin Embargo take down publication of this photo:
and this one…

Sin Embaro speculates that Adrián Rubalcava Suárez, hoping to be the PRI candidate for Jefe de Gobierno (Federal District Governor) in the next election wants to keep his private life private.  But, then really, can Adrián Rubalcava Suárez honestly expect to be a candidate for public office, without photos like… oh…


English? Spanish? Spanglish?

22 October 2014

Via Stace Medellin (Dos Centavos), comes this political advertisement from Texas.  Where I grew up in western New York, it wasn’t unsusual for politicians to throw in a little Italian  into their advertising, but about the only Italian anyone uses regularly up there are a couple of Sicilian swear-words.  Meaning, I guess, that the Italians were assimilated into the mainstream, though a few traces of what was once a minority left its marks on the mainstream.

I wonder if the candidate is inching into “Spanglish” (which I believe is a true “creole” language… with its own literature to boot) or just … like politicans appealing to any minority community… proving she is one of them, while simultaneously assuring mainstream voters (i.e., English-speakers) that she is not an “ethnic” candidate.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  Her opponent apparently is also running ads in Spanish-language media… though weirdly enough, he’s running on an anti-immigrant platform.  If I were still a Texas voter (and some of you are), I’d vote for her, even if I’m not sure she’s speaking one, two, or three languages.



20 October 2014


I’m not sure if this is more an illustration of the generally more relaxed attitude towards physical contact among Latin Americans, or of the general nonchalence with which Mexicans let the law catch up with the reality of human relationships.

One that got away…

19 October 2014

The kind of book I’d want to have published.

Mercedes Olivara in the Dallas Morning News on Mexican novelist Carmen Boullosa‘s “Texas, The Great Theft” from Deep Vellum Press, which specializes in foreign works in translation:

It may be historical fiction, but many of the events in Carmen Boullosa’s latest book seem as if they just happened yesterday.

Texas, The Great Theft takes us back to 1859, in the years following the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, which ended the U.S.-Mexican War. Tensions were high as one culture displaced another. Bandits were commonplace, and so was legal chicanery.

Many Mexican landowners who had been given land grants centuries ago by the Spanish crown lost them in legal schemes or in English-speaking courts where Spanish documents were not recognized. This caused one landowner, Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, to fight back as best he could — with his own army.


(more at the Dallas Morning News)

Hasta la muerte

17 October 2014

Federal Police officer Esteban Morales Santizo disappeared 3 December 2009, in Lazaro Cárdenas, Michoacán.  His mother, Margarita, like family members of other disappeared people have never received any answers, or assistance, from the government, and have been protesting for years.

Margarita never did get an answer, but she wasn’t going to stop demanding one either.


(Reforma.  Photo by Óscar Mireles)

Oh, how hard it is to speak Spanish (Your Friday Night Video lament)

17 October 2014

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