¡ASK A MEXICAN!
By GUSTAVO ARELLANO
Member of Uncle Chava’s Army
Dear Wab: You’re not going to get any apologias from me on this one. I’ve long maintained that the current squad for El Tri is overrated and full of themselves, that Chicharito isn’t the second coming of Hugo Sanchez or even Cuauhtemoc Blanco but just an overrated fresa, and that their since-deposed coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre was a disaster (quick aside: did ustedes see the mock poll asking people whether Chepo had harmed Mexico more than notorious narco lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán? God bless our gallows humor!). I do find it funny that the United States can only secure a fan base for its soccer squad’s games in podunk towns, that U.S. Soccer rarely stages matches anymore in major cities lest its fan base get overwhelmed by the opposing side’s followers, whether said opposing side is Mexico, Poland, or Iran. What are you so afraid of, cabrones? Let the U.S. play Mexico in the Los Angeles Coliseum—Mexico needs more humiliation, especially in Aztlán, to get its soccer act together and if that means not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990, then I’m for it. Oh, and you’re mistaken that El Tri is the best-treated organization in Mexico. That would be Televisa, Carlos Slim, and the PRI, which are pretty much one and the same cartel.
Oye mi amor: I’m not a big music listener, but why do rockeros HATE Maná and call them sellouts and clichéd? They fill arenas around the world, are humanitarians, and their music is reaching a new generation, while their beloved Molotov, Café Tacuba, etc., can’t sell out small venues. Is it because those fans themselves sold out and hang out in trendy cafes in Polanco, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and other hipster hangouts? Isn’t music supposed to be enjoyed? Not a hater, pero me vale madre cuando estoy clavado en un bar.
Latino-lite for life
Dear Wab: I answered the opposite of this question—a rockero who wondered why so many Mexicans love the soft-rock titans—so let me darle the question this week to Josh Kun, a professor at the University of Southern California, author of the excellent book Songs in the Key of Los Angeles, and a pioneer in covering rock en español back when it was good. “Part of enjoying music is hating the music you don’t enjoy, right?” the good profe writes. “For a rockero, hating Maná is not really a choice. It’s a pre-requisite. Maná are rockero kryptonite, the ultimate rockero foil. The sell-out scenario doesn’t really work with them because Maná never really had underground status. They’ve long been cologne-doused fresa favorites, inoffensive rock for upturned Polo collars, rock that didn’t shake any foundations or transform any genres or piss anyone off or get anyone arrested. So when they get all the Grammy nods for being rock reps, the tried-and-true chavos banda get their outsider values reaffirmed—it’s like vanilla winning the best chocolate prize, over and over again. Plus, they (still!) sound like The Outfield and who wants that as a soundtrack for desmadre?”
Good job, profe! I wish I could guarantee this is the last time we’ll discuss Maná in this columna, but that’s as likely as El Tri winning the World Cup—sigh…