From ‘Quién’ magazine, March 2008, Mexico City
It was exactly ten years ago when, after losing my dream job and feeling a bit disoriented as to what to do next, I decided to start a blog.
It was originally called Mi casa es tu casa, but it quickly morphed into Mi blog es tu blog (¡Gracias, Carlitos!) and 10 years later (yes DIEZ) and despite the advent of Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, Facebook et al, it’s still alive and kicking.
Looking back at my very first post, it is clear I had no idea what I wanted to do with with this space, but I did know that documenting the silliness of what marketers and media “experts” call the U.S. Hispanic market could be a fun adventure, especially if it were to be done with a sense of humor.
And, boy, was I right!
From hundreds of ridiculous television commercials (like that Tostitos one using a sevillana to peddle salsa, or that of a 36o-degree action camera that will help you spot a mariachi sneaking through the U.S. border) to those ubiquitous ethnic Halloween costumes and Hispanic paraphernalia, I’m sure I’ve made some of you spit your morning coffee more than once.
And that is why it’s interesting that this blog’s most popular post ever (in terms of both clicks and reader comments), was one that was barely a paragraph long; didn’t really say much and was not really funny, funny: It was an image of an Absolut Vodka print advertisement I saw in a magazine at the Mexico City hospital where I was — hopelessly — watching my mother die of lung cancer. The image made me smile (something I had not been able to do for several weeks, after learning my mother’s Stage IV cancer was incurable) mostly because I was positive it would never run in a U.S. publication. It showed a colorful map depicting what the Americas might look like in an “Absolut” (i.e. perfect) world: The U.S.-Mexico border lies where it was before the Mexican-American War of 1848.
I ripped the page carefully, trying to not wake my mother and put it in my purse so I could write something about it later, in my blog, you know?
That plan was all but forgotten as my mom passed away on the morning of March 20, leaving me in a profound pain. (The story of how that apparently innocent ad crossed the Mexico border and made a ruckus in the U.S. was later published in Advertising Age, where I later became a regular blogger as well, and you can read it here.)
Anyhow, I mention all of this, because blogging has been a very important part of my life this past decade. It is true that I’m not exactly blogging every single day and that the new social media channels have made the very survival of bloggers really tough.
However, some of my writings here have taken me to very exciting places, including authoring my first book*, becoming a regular contributor to magazines, radio and TV shows and — of course — raising the ire of countless non-Mexicans who throughout the years have asked me — repeatedly — to go-back-to-where-I-came-from.
Ten years later, I plan to continue using this space to vent and muse about “Hispanic Stuff” (whatever that means.) But be warned: Given the current political climate, I might also use it to try to give a voice to many who might feel threatened, scared and unwelcome in these dark times. I might not be the voice of reason, nor the most influential blogger out there, but I can yell pretty loudly –and I know how to wield my Mexican
power charm when needed.
So here’s to another ten years of this, my blog, your blog…
* OK, OK, the only one.