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making fun of Mexicans

February 4th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Top Gear team’s controversial comments about Mexico  may have been just as much making fun of the stereotype as of actual Mexicans;  although Richard Hammond’s “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat,” is close to the edge on that. 

Mexicans, like most nationalities, are more than happy to make jokes about themselves, just not very pleased when others do.  Their favourite one is that when God was creating the world and sharing out mineral wealth, natural resources, climate and other benefits equally among all the nations, when He came to Mexico,  He put all the chips on their table – prompting an attendant angel to ask Him why He was being so unfair.  God replied: ‘ Don’t worry, it will even out.  Just wait until you see the Mexicans.’ 

Far from being a mañana culture, the Mexicans actually have the reputation among other Latin Americans of being fast-talking, fast-moving and dynamic – if anything, a little too much so.  

Mexico City in particular is one of the fastest and biggest of North American conurbations – no place for sleeping in the shade and potentially daunting for visiting Europeans who try to keep to the slow lane.  I did actually take my driving test in Mexico, so can speak directly to Top Gear preconceptions! (Like everyone else I had to bribe the test examiner and then didn’t actually have to do any driving) – see Tequila Oil

So in answer to Richard Hammond, I would expect a Mexican car to be incredibly tough, versatile and have a fair amount of style…  which is why the car you will actually see most in Mexico City is the VW Beetle (there was a big factory in nearby Puebla which only ceased production of the ‘Mexican Vocho’ a few years ago).  Taxi-drivers have used them for years , although recent laws about having four-door cars for ease of use by passengers have opened the door to Japanese imports;  as readers of Tequila Oil will know, having enough doors for a taxi was a crucial concern when selling my own Oldsmobile …

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