Real life in beautiful and ugly Guadalajara.
categories: political philosophy, rants, society

Therapeutic for nearly all small minded intellectuals is “cutting the gringo down to size”.  Be it here in Mexico or elsewhere.. even in the U.S., the contrived disgust over how little the gringos know about their neighbors and the rest of the world is all too common an encounter.  If you’re a sensitive gringo living abroad, this can be a difficult burden to bear.. and may leave you running for cover within the safe haven of the self critical gringo.  Sadly, should you decide upon this roly-poly type of maneuver, you won’t likely see that you’ve successfully brought the image of the stupid gringo full circle.  Self criticism in any situation, other than in front of a mirror, is not only uninspiring…  it’s simply ‘not chingón’. 

One of the most common fireballs that many Mexicans, among other latinos, like to lob at the gringo is the latter’s claim to the term ‘American’.  “The arrogance!!”  “We’re all Americans!”  “Why can’t the gringos wrap their heads around the fact that their country is not the center of the universe?”  But don’t let all the huffing and puffing get to you..  If they can so convincingly pretend that they care about it, you can at least fake a spiritless yawn while responding  “No mames, cabrón, are all of your passions in life as shortsighted as that one?”

That might be enough in itself, but some will persist.  And what can you do?  If you have to, spell it out for them. Explain how silly such a concern appears to be, next to bigger and far more important concerns, like the problem with those dunces who believe the new millennium began in 2000 instead of 2001 and the emotional stress they cause for the rest of us who know the real truth.   

The following is a small sample of other little sucker punches you could land on the soft groin area of whoever’s whiny intellect you’re up against.  It´s a little quiz of 10 or 12 some odd questions loosely calculated to work out in your favor.  But by all means, feel free to tear these marvelously witty points apart or trounce them with whatever smart-ass commentary occurs to you.  When you consider the caliber of the sort of argument we’re working with here, it´s quite clear that the prize is hardly worth anyone’s most gallant effort.

How to tell whether or not you believe the term “American” really applies to you.

If you were to go to India and speak to someone who said she had family in America, would you truly respond “Oh really?  Where exactly.. in Chile?..  Guatemala?? … Peru perhaps?”

If a forklift driver in Moscow with nothing more than a high school education reads that “only in America can a dockworker with nothing more than a high school education earn 50 grand a year and if he works hard enough start and run his own business…” , do you seriously believe he’s just as likely to pack his bags for Venezuela or Mexico as he is for the U.S.?

If you were to ask a gringo why he’s chosen to live in Mexico for however long, and he replied that he’s here to pursue the Mexican dream, would you not get upset? ..assuming that he’s poking fun at Mexicans? .. so pitifully sad and despondent as such an assumption would be (it’s happened to me on more than one occasion)…  What if he said he’s here to pursue the American dream?  Would you not consider him simply deranged??

When you hear the term “American Dream”.. or “America is the land of opportunity” do you just shake your head and say – “Those silly, sheltered and naive gringos..”?

When you think of the film, “An American Werewolf in London”, do you envision a mad crazed Mexican scaling the walls of Big Ben?

When chatting with friends and acquaintances and someone says “Americans are so stupid”.. do you get angry and defensive?… or do you join right in because obviously they’re not talking about you?

When James Brown sings “Living in America”, do you suppose he could likely be referring to the Andes.. or maybe Central America?  Does it bother you that he doesn’t mention Zacatecas or Jalisco?

When someone tells you they saw another someone burning the American flag… do you become very concerned and respond “Which one… the one with the leaf? ..but they’re so peaceful..”?

If your company placed you in charge of entertaining an important business client, and for some reason she expresses a craving for American food.. are you really going to take her out for tacos?  or menudo?  or the local Argentinean joint?

Americans settle back in their easy chairs each fall to watch Monday Night Football.  Note that no one there refers to it as Monday Night American Football.  Who then uses the term “American football”?  It sure as hell isn’t the gringos.  Just for the misguided pleasure of watching it dribble out of your mouth, explain to me why you call it “American” football.

If a country or several countries openly declare war on America and all Americans, do you think that Mexico, or any country in Central or South America is therefore in the crosshairs and should gear up to meet the threat?

Mexico is a sovereign state.  So is Ecuador.. and Brazil… and son on… When you read that the population of the United States of America is roughly 300 million.. do you think to yourself  “Gosh. and 100 million of them are in Mexico alone!  Go Mexico!!”?

Of course, we all recoil at the blind arrogance of gringos who think that America is the United States.. when clearly the U.S. is but one country among many throughout America.   Do you forgive the gringos then, when they don’t realize that there are indeed 32 states in Mexico, united within a federal government?  After all, among all the American countries, there’s just one United States… or do we just have no rightful claim to that one either?

Now the point here… is obviously not to show off any superior sharpness or brilliance you may possess over the average fearless, pestering attacker of gringos you might encounter.  Rather, it’s to show just how dull and dippity dumb the issue is in the first place.   It also serves as a fine alternative to the pathetic cowering that too often happens when confronted with accusations of being one the most arrogant fools on the planet, just ‘cause you’re American.   Don’t take it too seriously.  Just show that you’ve got a pair.  Here in Mexico, we have nothing close to a perfect country, but most Mexicans I know will leap to the defense of their nationality at virtually any affront placed in their way.  I’ve learned in my time here that there’s far more respect to go around for any gringo that knows to do the same.


June 20th, 2010

Love this post and all of your examples! They are right on. I’m still smiling…


June 20th, 2010

Thanks Julie!


June 20th, 2010

Yes, well, in the English language, too, what other adjective could you use to describe us? United Statesian? Sorry. Sounds dumb. Are you English? No, I’m a ‘citizen of the United States of America.’


June 20th, 2010

Well, let’s see what we could come up with… an interesting one I heard the other day was “Los puercos estadounidenses” … which in English comes out to “United Statesian Porks”… it’s got quite a stinger on it, don’t you think?

July 5th, 2010

Ta chingon tu website, and I only read the first page! The description of the definition of American. As a Canadian living in Mexico, I bring the complejos of both countries regarding our fat neighbor into the mix and the Americano thing always got to me. But I see it in a different light now. Gracias!

July 5th, 2010

[...] Read the rest here. [...]

July 5th, 2010

Hilarious… and oh so true. Perhaps “American” should just be accepted for what it is in the new language that we all speak, Spanglish. We all know what it means, even if it isn’t exactly accurate. That’s how language works…


July 6th, 2010

Hey Vil…
Thanks for the kind words.. I just got home tonight and checked your link, and I really appreciate it.. it made my day.
Take care!


July 9th, 2010

Well, I borned in Seoul, Korea , came to America & married American, can y tell me why mexicans call american to gringo, Mexico , canada, all of the world cannot live out American. I am so proud of to be an American. As all expat, are you hate own your country? How come? I love korea & I love America & I love Mexico but I do not like Mexico system, such cruptions, lie to American but we are such a generous people in the whole world. I am not agree with you. American works very hard & we are such a giving people. If we are in the hiati situation, who will help us. Nobody. Our baby boomers are working our ass off & paying 35% taxes to help food stamps, unempoyee, never working just keep having baby, all of my taxes support thoses people. I have been workin 30 yrs, & 10 more yrs but where is my social security. We are supporting every country


July 9th, 2010

No matter where you live dream, succeful, have a right parents ( can’t escape), born right country, not Uganda, life is all about choice & decision also adventures. All of our family & friends are happy to live Seoul, Korea , most korean woman don’t want to come live in USA. Most of my expat grings, they were very hard working women, most working entire at least 20 to 30 yrs. They moved to Mexico not mexico dreams. It started with all night mate remodeling house. Scumb back lie architect, I bet all of 50%, they are architect. No time manners, I hated late peoples not only not even call, nada. What kind of deal with that. But now I have been own house merida almost 8 yrs, still like a tourist bc I still have to work, it is my choice, financaiily I can retired, my husband retired 8 yrs ago. He wants me to sell all properity in Houston & pack & go. Sometimes men are very simple mind animal that is the reason they can not do multiple tasks like women. I do mot believe Mexican dream, I feel bad when I see bunch poor Mayan peoples. All Spanish killed them they are not share their power. If country wants to be strong they need to invest to eqality provide edcation to any children. They have a right to learn. So when I left my country we were poor but my reason was different. I want to explore the world like a Columbus, well he is Spanish. As just finish university worked for fancy Swiss company, parents tried to match making to find same level of family class of couse money is important. One day 1984, I announed them I am going to usa tomorrow & I will find my mate someday I will marry someone I have to fall in love. I came here with 2 suit cases with my savings & mom ‘ secret money. As you are multiple degrees but time is bad in USA now, but we had a great one. America gave me full of choices, I must have a good luck to follow me, got a federal govenment job & met my husband & back to school again got nursing degree, I never thought I will be a nurse & 3 houses Houston of course pay for it. Korean, we don’t believe mortgage. One our hacienda I merida of course pay for it. I am a half expat or not yet, but my husband, I love American. They are most generous peoples, helps other country. Japan, Korea are the most arrogant country bc I am one of those. America, they are not arrogant, European, they are very arrogant, I lived there 4 yrs so I know. American, we are the giving nation & we should be proud of being America . I love my country, Usa.

July 11th, 2010

Hey, Shayne!

I run into it all the time. All but once, I’ve been able to defuse the situation with a smile and a few examples such as those you point out Futbol vs Football is one of my favorites.
And the one time that didn’t work, I suggested that when he felt like getting back up, he go home and tell his friends he got his ass kicked by an “American”.

Salúd, from Baja California!


July 11th, 2010


Glad you dropped by.. as you point out, it’s ‘usually’ not that difficult.. but it still takes a while for the average recently graduated college type gringo to begin getting it… if they ever get it at all. Y’know the ones I’m talking about?

Does your wife know about this ‘one time’?


February 12th, 2011

I go with estadounidense, or I just say I am from the U.S. doesn’t bother me at all and I think the vast majority of people in the U.S. don’t even know that there are three countries in North America. But I understand your point, it is colloquial English here in the States and thus should be forgiven.
My problem is when some ignorant blind, asshole says the U.S. does not have any culture. That is an easy one because they are usually wearing Levis and in the background you can hear rock and roll. You may not like the culture in the U.S. but it is the culture of now, arguably the most influential`in the world. I enjoyed your post!


February 13th, 2011

Thanks Paul… yeah I’ve met some Mexicans here who have a little fun with the idea of American culture.. “What culture??” they’ll say with a chuckle. And it’s hardly worth getting upset over, you know.. just come slithering back with an equally absurd comment like “Well, I don’t see any Taco Bells.. or Wendy’s for that matter here in Mexico, so who are you to lecture me about culture??”
Kind of a fun topic..
Thanks agian, Paul!

February 17th, 2011

[...] those from Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America are all “Americans” too. (Some even dislike that the United States has co-opted this word for its citizens, but calling oneself a “United Statesian” is [...]

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