Back in 2019, and just in time for Día de Muertos (or what Americans dare call “Mexican Halloween”) Mattel came up with a signature Barbie Día de Muertos which – according to a very long press release – featured a “long, embroidered dress decorated with flowers and butterflies [and] a crown with the iconic monarch butterflies and the cempasúchitl flower to honor, in every way, the symbols and offerings of this emblematic Mexican tradition.”
Today, as if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t brought so many calamities to the world, she is back, and she’s not alone: Mattel’s Second Edition Barbie Día de Muertos comes with a catrina-faced Ken Doll Día de Muertos, featuring a “charro look” and a “calavera sugar skull bolero tie and sombrero with a golden band.”
Nope, I’m not making this up. Today, Monday, September 19, 2022, at around 1:07 pm local time, Mexico City residents were shaken (not stirred) by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, that killed at least one and damaged a lot of buildings across several states.
I first learned about it not on Twitter, but on the family WhatsApp that was going nuts with voicemail notifications from my brother and sister sounding really really scared. The first message, from my brother, came through at 2:08 pm/EST and it simply said “Está temblando,” two words any born and raised Mexican knows all too well.
Then came my sister with a 7-second message saying it was really fucking bad and then I sort of panicked.
I had been in transit but as soon as I got home I called to make sure they were OK. Thankfully, everyone was unscathed. Scared shit still, but unharmed.
Barely 7 or 8 minutes later, the memes started pouring in. It was – once again – my people’s way of dealing with calamities, from highlighting the HUGE coincidence of the September 19 date to celebrating the inevitability of our demise.
I’m just gonna post a few examples below to give you an idea of what’s going on today post-sismo, but feel free to follow this blogger’s Twitter feed to keep up in real time.
It’s only been, like, a day, but brands are already jumping on the Hispanic Heritage Month action. Take Mattel’s most annoying toy, Barbie, who is celebrating by befriending a Latino dude named Rafa who teaches her to –what else? – how to salsa.
This clip is barely a minute, but it has everything I’ve come to expect from these kind of “homages,” namely salsa, abuelas, Tito Puente, Yolanda Rivera and the island of Puerto Rico, where Barbie & Rafa remind us they can travel to without carrying a passport!
Hold on to your sombreros: The 2022 Hispanic Hellish Month is just getting started!
Remember that nonsensical trend of putting “eñes” where they don’t belong just to make something look –and sound– more authentically “Latino?”
Well, it looks like salsa makers and Hispanic journalists organizations are not alone in this thing. The latest to jump on the nonsensical “eñe wagon” (or should I say “wagoñ?”) is the National Football League, which has added an “eñe” to give its logo an “unmistakable Latin flavor.”
Ay, dios mío!
I get it. As we “celebrate” the dreaded Hispanic Heritage Month, corporations, politicians and NGOs want to sound all cute and Latin in order to properly pander to my people, but how about learning first to put the “eñe” where it DOES belong? Like in “jalapeño?” for example?
However, of all the things out there making us, Latinos, feel right at home here in the U.S., the Hispanic lettuce (found this weekend at a Harlem bodega) takes the cake. Besides, how much do you think this bodega owner spent on targeted media?
Doña Ángela, the adorable abuelita behind the super successful YouTube channel De mi rancho a tu cocina, continues to reign on the video channel, where she has amassed (pun intended) over 4 million subscribers –and counting.
Doña Ángela is not TV famous, and her kitchen does not boast any Michelin stars, and that’s because she’s the real enchilada, cooking all kinds of delicious stuff from her humble kitchen in Michoacán. Watch her make everything, from juicy carnitas to cheese-stuffed chayotes (yum!)
But the best part of the whole thing (at least for this blogger) is that Doña Ángela continues to get way more pageviews than other folks pretending to cook online, including Martha Stewart (and her molcajete cat) and Gordon Ramsay, who once said dulce de leche tastes like shit (yup he did.)
Jorge Molina, the artist himself, confirmed on Twitter that he created the original cover as a homage to González Camarena, but distanced himself from the tamal-themed one that it ended up being promoted.
Yeah, it’s going to be a long, long Hispanic Heritage Month…
I really didn’t want to do it, but then I thought about it and, well, what the heck? In my latest column for Hispanic Executive Magazine I went down the “x” rabbit hole and tried to “Hisplain” the so-called controversy around “Latinx.”
In a nutshell:
I must tell you I do not use “Latinx” in my daily life or my writing, nor do I identify myself as such. (Truth be told, I’m totally fine being called whatever—as long as you don’t call me before 8:00 a.m.)
But you can also click here to read the whole thing…
It will never not be funny to me that beans and corn have come to become synonyms with Mexican food. No matter how varied and wonderful our cuisine actually is. Here is the latest specimen found at my local Konzum in Zagreb.
So, here I was, strolling through the capital of Croatia, taking in the sights and sounds of this gorgeous city, when I bumped into “Taquitos Bandidos,” a small joint in Downtown Zagreb luring visitors with the promise of “Street Food.”
Of course I didn’t come all the way here to eat make-believe Mexican food, but I was intrigued and walked in to see the menu, which was brought to me by a family of flautas dressed like “bandidos,” complete with mustachios and sombreros, with one of them even waving a gun.
The menu features your regular taquitos, quesadillas and “spicy dips,” but of course, being from someone totally clueless about what Mexican food is all about, it includes chilli con carne and… chicken salad wraps.
The only good thing I found here was that they actuallly sell Jarritos, which of course cost as much as a bottle of Corona and way more than what they believe is tequila.
As for the food, well if it looks like this … so don’t blame me if I go in there soon to ask them to DELETE THEIR MENU.