Flags and Floozies

The normal blog post about Mexico and the media is a negative one. Drugs, beheadings, shoot outs – that sort of thing. But the country is also good for producing some bizarre stuff as well. The latest scandal*  involves South Park. A show which, it has to be said, is a bit edgy and likely to court controversy now and again. This time though, the offense is pretty innocuous. Certainly to us foreigners. The episode features President Felipe Calderon, just for a moment, at the end of the show. That’s not the problem though. The issue is with the cartoon rendition of the Mexican flag. It’s just hanging on the wall, with no obvious reason for offense to be taken.  But Mexico is incredibly protective of its flag. Any sort of reproduction is ‘frowned upon’.

More than frowned upon in fact – a hefty fine can be levied. A few years ago Australia’s version of Big Brother caused a right old diplomatic spat. And even broadcasting a cartoon show with a cartoon Mexican flag has the television companies worried where exactly they stand legally. Worried enough to pull the episode from the schedule. I’ve put the relevant clip in the video below. Truth be told, it’s not that funny. The South Park episode featuring Mexico’s Cesar Millan, aka the Dog Whisperer, was much, much funnier.

If you ask me the February edition of the Mexican issue of Playboy is much more scandalous. The descendants of two very famous revolutionaries, Calles and Carranza, both of whom went on to be Mexican presidents, have posed naked (or as naked as Playboy allows) for a special ‘Revolutionary’ edition. To be honest, neither are very pretty. I bought a copy to go in the Mexico Mementos box. And because sometimes these magazines become valuable after a few years. Not mega valuable, but worth the investment.  Señores Calles and Carranza, however, are turning in their graves even as I type. And the South Park rendition of the Mexican flag, I suspect, is not high on their list of concerns. Ironically, whilst picking up the magazine, I noticed a newspaper. With the Mexican flag painted on a hand. Obviously this newspaper and the South Park censoring television station have a different set of lawyers…

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  • I would have to look at a bigger picture, but i’ll take these two ladies over the typical over-tanned, white-bleached-haired, d cups titted girls that those magazines like to post.

  • “To be honest, neither are very pretty”

    Tut, tut. You’re hard to please, Gary! Personally I would invite either of those ladies for a ‘fiesta mexicana’ at my place.

  • Schoolchildren in Mexico must sing every Monday morning not just the national anthem, but also an ode to the national flag called “Toque de Bandera”. Regardless of whether your school is public or private, you must follow the script of the ceremony. Often inspectors from the SEP (the education ministry) would come to my school to see that we were paying due respect to the national flag!

    Oh! Wait. That’s not it. There was also an oath to the flag, called “Juramento de Bandera”. It says that you ought to give your life for the Nation (la Patria), which is obviously imbued in the flag.

    We had to follow this ritual every morning, from age 6 to 15. To me, it is not just anachronistic but also really embarrassing because I think nationalist indoctrination is mostly the practice of backward, insecure nations… like Mexico! In any case, for 99% of the children, the point is to learn by heart the lyrics of the songs, spit them out every morning, and never even try to understand what they mean.

    I mean, how could any schoolchild understand that he is supposed to sacrifice his life for a piece of cloth with green, white and red stripes and a drawing of an eagle?

    In case you want to read the lyrics of the songs: http://redescolar.ilce.edu.mx/redescolar/efemerides/febrero/conme24a.htm

    • They have the pledge in the US or so I understand. I must confess I am confused as to whether these ceremony type things have value or not. On one hand it does seem a bit backward and overly nationalistic. On the other hand, Mexico (and the US) seem to have defined their identities and people are proud (usually in a good way) of their nation and people.

      In the UK, we have no such ceremonies for kids. And a population that doesn’t seem to understand what ‘British’ means, if anything at all. And they seem to have little pride in their country, which they seem to associate more with politics than any ideology.

  • Didn’t really get offended by the South Park clip, but I can definitely see how others would. But come on…this is SOUTH PARK…don’t they offend every race/creed/sexual preference/country/species/celebrity/etc etc etc every single second of the show? At least, I think that’s what my nephew finds so hilarious about it. Not really my thing, but its incredibly popular and there’s always a scandal about the latest person/thing they’ve insulted.

    I do know the Mexican flag is a big no-no for many people (unless they’re putting it on fire or spitting on it…I don’t really get the big deal). Remember when Paulina Rubio did that cover wrapped only in the Mexican flag? Well I do, because that’s all they kept showing on the Spanish language gossip shows my mother loves to watch. I didn’t “get it”, but apparently it was a HUGE offense. I cringe a bit every time I see any kind of “scandal” involved with the flag, where I don’t see much of an issue myself.

    P.S-I like your reason for purchasing Playboy. It’s all really for the monetary possibilities that lay ahead, which will help you be financially stable…and look after your household and your wife….so technically…its for Paola 😉 right.

    • Now, now Nez! If you’re suggesting I bought that copy of Playboy for nefarious and lurid reasons, you’re wrong! To be honest, Playboy is really quite tame. Mags like FHM often have racier content.

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