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Means to the end

15 August 2011

After extensive travel and reading, I moved here on the first of September 2001.  Back in those dark ages on on-line communications I shared my excitement at being a resident, and not just a visitor, though emails.  One correspondent seemed to think things like my adventures with laundry, or my brief encounter with the King of Spain, or comments on the incongruously simultaneous arrival in Mexico City of Brittany Spears and Pope John-Paul II deserved more exposure and turned the emails into a “blog” in April, 2004.

I tried to keep my writing in a light vein, but as my understanding of Mexican culture broadened, and as I accepted the charming (or annoying) idiosyncrasies of Mexican life as normal, and I began seeing the Mexico of the Mexicans, I could not but be bothered by the distortions of the English-language media.

I had already written the early drafts of what became Gods, Gachupines and Gringos at this time.  Originally just an overview of Mexican history, I started rewriting it to reflect my new awareness of the need to correct cultural myopia about Mexico and the Mexicans.  At the same time, to counter my frustration with the misperceptions and misreading of Mexico in the international media, the Mex Files morphed from a “My Life in Fulanotitlan” type blog into something more serious, and more ambitious.  Much to my surprise, the Mex Files carved out a niche for itself as an authoritative voice on these concerns.

With authority comes responsibility.  Call it stubbornness, call it an obsession, or call it a vocation.   Even during a financially-induced Texas exile, I felt compelled to continue the too-often Quixotic task.   Even if I did not always have adequate means, I kept focused on the ends.  But when I started, there was very little available  outside of academia that had the same ends as I did… a situation that has changed, as others have gone through the same initial discoveries I did:

We feel frustrated with the singular focus on organized crime, corruption and migratory issues. We feel frustrated with the lack of context and meaning the (inter)national media offer us. We feel that, by reading the current reporting on this country, you might hear a lot about it, but learn very little.

“We” is the VOICE OF MEXICO, where I have taken on the job as Culture and Religion editor, starting the first of September… incidentally the tenth anniversary of my arrival at Benito Juarez airport, and the start of a new life here.  I will be posting once or twice weekly at VOICE OF MEXICO on many of the same concerns expressed in the Mex Files.

VOICE OF MEXICO shares the same ends as the Mex Files, but, with editors in Mexico City and Guatemala City, and outside funding, it has better means in financing, technology and human resources than one guy can muster. Writing books and article, and helping to bringing other, often overlooked, views and voices of Mexico to the public through my work with Editorial Mazatlán is where I have better means than many, and where I can more effectively work towards achieving the ends I have been seeking.

Although Mex Files will remain live for the near future, this is the last post.  I expect the break will be more traumatic for me, than for you, who are cordially invited to join us at the VOICE OF MEXICO where we hope through differing means to reach a common end… a true understanding of the many Mexicos.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 August 2011 7:47 am

    Wow, these are big news. Wonderful to hear about VOICE OF MEXICO, and while MexFiles post will be very much missed, your reasons for doing so are perfectly understandable. Thank you for all you have done to inform of the many Mexicos at MexFiles… and now on to the VOICE!

  2. Bear permalink
    15 August 2011 9:25 am

    Good luck with the new endeavor. I will follow your exploits as you always make my day. Onward

  3. 15 August 2011 10:46 am

    Okay Rich, I’ll see you over at VOICE OF MEXICO. Like my Ma always used to say…”Onward ever, backward NEVER!”

  4. 15 August 2011 12:19 pm

    Congrats on the new writing job.

  5. Mary O'Grady permalink
    16 August 2011 10:06 am

    Thank you for letting us all know where we we’ll be able to find your writing now.
    I’ll miss the MexFiles, but I sure hope a little more prosperity comes with this move for you.

  6. 16 August 2011 2:48 pm

    Gracias por todo, Richard
    I will continue reading you on voice of Mexico.

  7. jose garcia permalink
    16 August 2011 11:24 pm

    As always Richard, it has been very interesting reading your posts. I will keep up with your work at the Voice Of Mexico.

  8. Allen permalink
    18 August 2011 10:19 am

    What !?!? Que !?!?
    Say it isn’t so. You are doing a great job here, even though you may be starving, your input is essential.
    And this site is better.
    signed, a loyal, disgruntled Mazatleco.

  9. adriana escobar permalink
    19 August 2011 8:45 pm

    well I wish you well. I live now in Mazatlan
    I hope to read mora about you.

  10. David Adler permalink
    24 August 2011 8:10 am

    Pleeeeeeeze come back Richard.

  11. mark permalink
    25 August 2011 9:57 pm

    no la ch…mi richard.
    haz un documento de mex files pa que quede.
    y vamonos pa la voz de mexico..suerte.

  12. 27 August 2011 6:40 am

    Keep your day job! This one does not look very promising. Will miss your unedited posts.

  13. ... permalink
    28 August 2011 4:35 pm

    I gave the VoM the benefit of the doubt, but then I found there’s no ‘search by author’ feature. The few times I’ve been there I read a handful of articles by other writers. Some of them are pretty much right wing, and others are simply clueless. Not one of them, even those who have an admittedly readable style, have the depth of comprehension of Mexican life you’ve shown. You hunt the data and you engage it not with the patterns of your culture of origin, but with a direct enjoyment that enables you to re-understand it intellectually too. In doing so, as you well know, you became one of us, even if you’re still very much yourself.

    I don’t think the VoM realizes how much it has to learn from you. And I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I preferred reading you here.

  14. David Adler permalink
    5 September 2011 7:05 am

    I agree totally with the above comment.

  15. dan m. permalink
    9 September 2011 6:02 am

    Don’t put too much stock in your trauma-distribution model, Richard — as a Mexican who had to flee from the DF for political reasons in 2006, I’ve come to rely on your coverage of news, history, and memes from the interior. US media ignores Mexico, and mainstream Mexican media is largely unconcerned with the thoughts and actions of non-oligarchical interests, but this site did a good job of keeping its ear to the ground.

    Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever posted before, but I wanted to thank you for many years of thoughtful content. Mexifiles will be missed.

    If you’re ever in San Antonio and feel like meeting one of your audience members (who may also be an axe-murderer! Muah ha ha), I’d love to buy you a beer.

    Best of luck on your future endeavors.

  16. Calin permalink
    9 September 2011 4:10 pm


    I enjoy reading your blog! I wanted to alert you to a new documentary multimedia web site that might interest you and your readers, “Reframing Mexico.” What is your impression of Mexico City? A violent place? “Reframing Mexico” is the latest international multimedia storytelling project from Carolina Photojournalism and Multimedia. A team of UNC students and multimedia coaches collaborated with a team from Monterey Tec University to create an online documentary project that looks beyond the headlines. Once again, it was an amazing experience and the students’ work is superb
    Please consider sharing it with your readers.

    Pat Davison

  17. "Craig" permalink
    18 September 2011 10:22 pm

    Richard, I’m very fond of this website. While I wish you much success in the Voice of Mexico, I have to agree with the above post complaining about the search features and the… ahem… tone of some of the writing there.

    Your presence on “that other” website will be a marked improvement to their offerings.

    A request with perhaps a small chance of being answered: Please keep this website up. It is an invaluable repository of information with which anyone living in Mexico should become familiar. I very much enjoy ‘leafing through it’ and frequently find something of which I was totally unaware.

    Although I’ve only recently commented (and donated to the cause a few pesos), I’ve been reading here a long time. Why? Because I’ve never read a post of your with which I’ve disagreed and when it comes to expats talking about Mexico (or norte americanos in EEUU), I am a most disagreeable sort. You Get It Right in a way that — while I think along the same lines — I am unable to express in the same way.

    Mil gracias para Todo!

  18. Michele Canales permalink
    22 November 2011 12:29 pm


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