Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Nashville Scene asks a Mexican

The Nashville Scene has picked up the syndicated Orange County Weekly column called "Ask a Mexican".

Appearing at first to be a slur-filled exercise of ignorance, Ask a Mexican has earned support as biting, informed satire, according to this article in the Los Angeles Times.

"'Ask a Mexican' is historically and culturally accurate, in some cases painfully so, while pushing the edges of modern political correctness. Its logo depicts a stereotypical Mexican peon, complete with bushy mustache, large sombrero and a single shiny gold tooth.

"The column, published in 2004, was meant as a one-time spoof, but questions began pouring in."

"Why are there so many elaborate wrought-iron fences in the Mexican parts of town? What part of the word 'illegal' do Mexicans not understand? Why do Mexicans pronounce 'shower' as 'chower' but 'chicken' as 'shicken'?"

"'There isn't any politically correct bridge that you have to walk over; you're just right there,' Sasha Anawalt, director of arts journalism fellowship programs at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, said about Arellano's column. 'His writing kind of tackles you.'"

"At times, it can also sound like the work of a graduate student — which Arellano once was. His response to the 'shicken' question included references to native Indian languages and linguapalatal fricatives."

"But under it all, 'Ask a Mexican' is imbued with affection for Mexican immigrants, which may explain its appeal among Mexican Americans who might otherwise take offense."

The May 4 edition of the column in the Scene is here.

Update May 22: This story on WKRN reports on the feature's appearance in the Scene and one reader's disapproval.

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