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The Friday videos soldier on…

22 June 2007

Posting military recruiting ads on youtube has been a fad lately. All military forces do pretty much the same thing, so there isn’t too much difference in what the recruiters are selling: a crappy job and the possibility of getting killed or maimed for life.
Mexico shouldn’t really need military recruiting ads… you hear the Himno Nacional at least once a day (I lived across from a school and would hear it sung every morning. Every TV and radio station plays it at midnight too)…I guess you just tune out the words, but if you’ve never thought about it, or your Spanish is rusty, you’re being recruited every day. It makes the Star-Spangled Banner sound like Kumbya by comparison:

If the Himno sounds a bit operatic, maybe it’s because it is opera. There’s something Mexican about a bloody grand dramatic overture — celebrating… doughnuts!

The Himno was from an opera about the 1838 Pastry War, when those other serious dessert-makers, the French, demanded payment for a doughnuts scarfed down by a bunch of teenaged cadets during a coup in Mexico City, at Monseuir Renaud’s pastry shop. Monsieur Renaud claimed the kids ate 800 pesos worth of doughnuts (which I once figured was something like 40,000 pesos today… and a giant chocolate-creme doughnut going for five pesos means… well, they were teenage boys after all.

Anyway, the French invaded …sort of. Santa Ana kept them bottled up in Tampico and let the heroic mosquitos finish snack on the French until they gave up and went home. I think the original opera probably lasted longer than the actual fighting in that particular war… but, it’s fun to sing along about how every mother’s son is a soldier for the homeland, but it’s more fun to sing and march to that tune than to go out in the field.

So, the Fuerzas Armadas needs to recruit. You can see why I don’t think their ads are very good…

It’s patriotic and all, but just doesn’t really get your feet moving or stir the soul the way the Himno does. Grand Opera and a tune you can march to (and the Mexican Army does march well), versus subtle references to Cuauhtemoc and the Boy Heroes. Patriotic and all, but who wants to end up tortured, and eventually hanged by Cortés; or, like the Boy heroes throwing youself off the parapet of Chapultepec Castle rather than surrender to the invading gringos.
… The UKRAINIAN army on the other hand, knows how to sell the uniform… The Mexicans have been singing about a war over food, when they forget what really motivates young guys…

Ok, I admit it…I was just looking for an excuse to run the Ukrainian ad…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. snowyco permalink
    22 June 2007 9:14 am

    The Ukranian video made my day. Thanks!
    In a country where decades of day-to-day living has been pretty tough, they’ve seemed to keep things in perspective: After the break-up of the FSU, when most Ukrainians were eating only one good meal a day, (Kiev’s streets were dominated by lots of very thin, pasty-grey skinned pedestrians), the Bessarabsky Market still had 1/3 of its sales as flowers and floral arrangements. It was not uncommon for secretaries to receive flowers from co-workers at least once a week. And isn’t the 4’th toast of every formal gathering something like: “to the beautiful women who enrich our lives”? slightly different perspective than typical US views…
    The only thing that seems out of place in the video is the (conspicuous?) absence of a black sooty cloud of diesel exhaust as the APC roars away.

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