Real life in beautiful and ugly Guadalajara.
categories: Spanish ed, culture, society

Mexico City has a Metro.  That’s it up there in the photo.  It’s orange.  A primary mode of endless public transit, it’s an extensive system of surface and underground railways that the glutted little village in the valley just can’t do without….  Guadalajara also proudly showcases a Metro..  though it’s difficult, I imagine even for the optimist, to consider it quite as imperative for the city’s development and survival.  It’s too bad, really.. because this city truly lacks adequate public transit….   

Now I’m going to warn you the reader, whoever you are.  If after reading the following you come away feeling that I, the writer, am attempting to paint Mexico as a degenerate society, entirely separated from rationality and common respect, it would do little good I suppose to try to reassure you otherwise.. or even less to suggest that you read it again more carefully (there’s little doubt that you´ll have done so the first time).   But that aside, if images of depraved violence and lewd femininity just aren’t your sippy cup of.. whatever you drink, perhaps it’s best you skip this post and wait for the next one…

Guadalajara’s Metro is a daily birdcage liner that appeals especially to the city’s sleazier propensities.. although I would dare say that even the most culturally mature cannot help being subtly fascinated by its triumphant brand of foulness.   And true as it may be that no value depreciates so quickly as shock value, Metro nonetheless seeks to astound, arouse and nauseate each and every morning. 

This is not one you want to be caught reading while waiting for a business appointment or job interview in the lobby of a company.. nor at the doctor’s or dentist’s office… certainly not waiting around in the emergency room.  Few women I know here will even admit they know what it is.. and maybe I can believe a couple of them.  But if there was anything one could describe as typical among Tapatia women, it would be their uncanny ability to feign innocence within the proximity of the slightest societal impurities.   These are the same typical Tapatias (thank heavens I know some atypical ones) who pretend to recoil at the mention of even the most innocent of smutty terms, like pussy.. or boobies, but then you go to their apartment and find stacks of Cosmopolitan and the like, all with special features on the 7 hottest methods for exhilarating her G-spot.  Nah… surely they wouldn’t know anything about the Metro…  At any rate, if a man claims he doesn’t know what it is… just run away. 

The truth,  by my own estimation, which a critical peer review has found to be infallible whenever I’m right on, is that Metro sells more non-subscription copies than all of the rest of the local newspapers combined… with exception perhaps to Record, a sports daily.  It’s found next to the other daily newspapers at any convenient store or pharmacy that sells them… also at most of the key high morning traffic intersections  (‘you seen the photo fronting this blog site?)  It’s virtually impossible not to have ever seen it.

Metro is not actually its own entity.  It’s a byproduct of the daily newspaper MURAL.  Compiled basically from the scraps off the editing room floor of its mother company, it’s really quite a clever profit driver.  In fact most of its stories and less graphic photos are carried right over from that newspaper, just with different, flashier headlines.  For example, a MURAL article may be titled something like “Two bodies found along the highway”, while the Metro might read “Leftovers, anyone?  Two overstuffed tamales found tossed about the side of the road.”  But it also adds in many other tender and delectable details not included in MURAL.  For example, there are three to four full pages dedicated exclusively to adult personals.   Also included are sometimes completely nude features on local strippers, models, and high dollar prostitutes.  There’s an advice column on the last page for people with anything from typically stupid problems to more disturbing personal issues you simply could not fathom with the naked mind.  In fact, let’s see how good your Spanish is, and try to read this letter below: 

I’d translate it for you, but I’d then have to drown my keyboard in Clorox and leave it untouched for the next three days.

So it generates profits, meaning that a hell of a lot of people (maybe 2-3% of the population) pick this thing up every day…  and why shouldn’t they (cough ‘we’ cough cough.. snort)?  It’s easily accessible, it’s cheap, it’s sensational, it’s got naked girls in it, not to mention phone numbers of other naked girls, it arouses a special innocence that sometimes provokes one to unconsciously blurt out “Wow.. sucks to be that poor bastard…”, and we suddenly realize that our day isn’t going so badly after all…  

When I was 11 or 12, I remember purchasing my very first subscription.. to anything – Weekly World News – a black and white supermarket check-out rag .  An obvious eye-catcher among the Bic razors, beef jerky and weekly soaps publications (talk about depraved society), it was a glorious and seemingly endless parade featuring the wildest circus stunts of any ordinary man’s imagination.  From a boy’s perspective, it was printed and laid out in a fashion that almost looked ridiculously true, and thus was dangerously corrosive to the psyche of any young human, should he have ever been prone to forget that fire is hot or that gravity is true.  And yet, it was precisely this utter disdain for the child’s intellect that gave it its innocent charm.  You knew that not even the baloney was the real stuff.. but if it was delicious, what did it matter.. it was good for a cheap laugh…

Well, the Metro is not for 12 year-old kids by any means, although any teen or tinier tot could purchase it.. For one, its content, repulsive as you may find it, is real everyday sleaze and ugliness, and nothing to laugh about.  But I think for the adult it none the less brings back in a way that savory phony baloney flavor that hooked our attention as juveniles… and with a couple of fat, melted slices of yellow extra cheesy journalism slathered on, it’s sometimes difficult to resist the temptation.




September 16th, 2010

Great post, bud, even if you DO make us wait too long between.

Every city has one such rag, I suppose, to cater to folks’ more prurient desires. I recall there was a similar one (or more) in Mexico City when I lived there. Never had the urge to pick one up, though, as the headlines were usually as ridiculous as anything the most depraved National Enquirer editor could come up with.

Still, as a 14 year old boy, I can imagine they might hold more treasure than the average National Geographic or Victoria’s Secret catalog.

Journalism has all but ceased to exist, as we knew it in our youth. Now it’s all about scandal (real or imagined), sex (again, real or imagined) or corruption (rarely imagined). The old editorial adage, “If it bleeds, it leads” is perhaps the only thing that has survived.

Keep ‘em comin’!


September 16th, 2010

I think the one in DF is called the Gráfico, or somethin or other…
Today’s front page was headlined ¡CHARROS!.. a couple of guys hung naked from a highway bridge last night.. both with those big ass Viva Mexico hats placed on their heads…. picturesque if nothing else…
Thanks again, Doc, for your encouragement!

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