Kids! What’s wrong with these kids today?
Instituto Cumbres probably isn’t all that different from any other high school, in that the graduating class dance is meant to be a memorable occasion for the student body, and — like most high schools — leaves planning and publicity up to the students’ own imagination. But, Instituto Cumbres is not just any high school: if not the most expensive and exclusive, then one of the priciest and snootiest prep schools in Mexico. And,the flagship school of the Legionaries of Christ.
The Legionnaires may not exactly preach the “prosperity gospel”, but since the days of their corrupt founder, Maciel Marciel, they have been preaching anti-liberation theology… a preference for the rich, and screw the poor. Which means, of course, that the all-male student body is not only from very rich families, but from conservative rich families who send their sons to be educated with a sense of entitlement.
All of which means, the Instituto Cumbres Senior Prom is not like any Senior Prom you or me ever went to… not likely. OK, maybe this being the 21st century, the publicity isn’t mimeographed sign-up sheets for the decorating or poster committee, and maybe senior proms now include slick video trailers. Not one shot with a 50,000 U.S. dollar camera, and featuring international models, bottles of champagne, tailored suits and boys inn engraved cufflinks.
Released 24 March, the reaction on the social media was swift… and brutal. The school’s administration released a brief statement, apologizing “for the content of the video which offended several people” and distancing itself from the student production. On-line petitions (a rather new phenomenon in Mexico) garnered tens of thousands of signatures within a few days, demanding the school add gender studies and ethics to the curriculum.
The video appalled not only feminists and environmentalists (the jaguar on a leash was the subject of both outrage and snark), but also Catholics … and even the financial press. Writing in El Financiero, Salvador Camarena asked “What kind of environment did these boys come from? What was their upbringing, and who their role models in the media, in politics, in business? ”
Although the latest crop of rich kids… the so-called “mirreys” … have been the subject of dozens of articles in the Mexico press, and even has come to the attention of the foreign media over the last year, in just over a minute and a half, the kids at Cumbre have done an excellent job of exposing a little-discussed problem with Mexican education — and, in a perverse way, show some hope for the future. If the scions of the elites are the “a generation that is complacent in excess privileges of the leisure class” (as Ricardo Raphael said in his 30 March El Universal column), then there is hope for change.
As the saying goes, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” These kids are not being taken seriously now, nor will they be in the future as managers or political leaders. As members of the “leisure class” they might be consumers of high end products (sold by the entrepreneurial classes) but one can expect a good deal of their assets likely to be transferred into the hands of their future ex-wives. And, with their apparent inability to grasp their irrelevance to the Mexican masses, unlikely to appeal on the popular imagination. Their days as anything other than fodder for the gossip magazines are numbered.
Agren, David: “The Brattiest Pack in Mexico”, McLeans, 3 April 2015
“Conapred usa imagen del video de Cumbres para combatir sexismo”, Excelsior, 2 April 2015
“Instituto Cumbres se disculpa por este video de generación ‘C15’″ Aristegui Noticias, 6 April 2015
“¿Por qué es tan molesta el video de los alumnos de Cumbres?” SinEmbargo, 6 April 2015, :