Tradiciones

Remember the Estrellas del Bicentenario series of short videos that Televisa produced? Well, they are back at it again, with a series called Tradiciones. Here’s the Veracruz episode. There’s more to be found on YouTube if you look around. British TV has also been celebrating Mexico. Although not everyone has seen the funny side. Humour doesn’t always cross borders successfully!

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42 comments

    1. Yes, comments were downright rude – there’s humour, taking the piss and then there’s being an obnoxious wanker – Top gear comes in the 3rd option…

      1. Oh Top Gear is most definitely all three of those in equal doses! It’s not to everyone’s taste, and they get plenty of letters for the Complaints Bin (I mean, department!) but likewise, they get plenty of viewers too and quite a few awards.

  1. yeah you would – you fall into category number 3 obviously… lol haha lol sod off to your hole… I thought finding another brit in Mexico would be interesting, I was wrong…

    1. Oh Ani, are you trying to prove your point by example?! If you can’t be polite and join in with at least a modicum of respect, do please go elsewhere for your kicks.

      Different strokes for different folks, as they say. If the humour is not to your taste, then just switch over.

  2. Ok good, I was trying to get my point across, it’s not nice when someone offends you is it.

    I hope you get my drift… And your blog is quite interesting, so I couldn’t understand why you would go against the people you’ve been living with for 6 or so years for idiots like Jeremy Clarkson and Co.

    All the best with your blog.

    1. I’m most certainly not ‘going against’ anyone. There’s really no national side to take here. It’s just a joke. Some people will find it funny, some people won’t. Just like any joke. There is a big difference between being downright derogatory and poking a bit of harmless fun. I do appreciate though that there is a lot of context that Most Mexicans will miss, unless they’ve followed the show for a while. None of it is serious. Mexicans aren’t really true to their stereotype anyway, of course – no nationality is genuinely true to the stereotype.

      Mexican sensitivity has come up on this here blog a few times – and there’s no doubt Mexicans can get easily riled by what they perceive as anything critical when said by a foreigner. They say worse about themselves, of course.

      1. There’s a difference between a joke and xenofobic comments.. Or what do you think of Jeremy’s comment on his blog about bombing all Mexico.. and he was not joking!!..

        I guess you would find funny if we promote on a tv show that all British are drugaddicts, and really STUPID for still paying taxes to royalty!!

        1. You think he was REALLY advocating bombing all Mexico?? Really? I sincerely doubt it.

          I think the programme you’re thinking of was a film called Trainspotting. And the US has many shows that mock the British stereotype. And we can usually see the joke. We don’t take it seriously.

      2. Hmmm…Don’t know if agree with your point Gary. It was painful and embarrassing. Hopefully they will come to their senses and at least apologize appropriately…

        1. Like I said, not everyone will appreciate every joke, and Top Gear jokes tend to be more controversial that others. But I would defend their right to make these jokes.

      3. Ok, we’re almost on the same page… I’ll leave you to reflect… a blog is a responsability, just like a newspaper or TV channel and if you want people to keep reading it, so clarification is necessary, especially when talking about these topics… although we disagree on what is “harmless fun” … Saludos.

        1. A little controversy on my blog never hurts! – this post will probably get more views and comments than any of my more responsible posts over the last few months!

          But anyway…saludos.

        2. And I agree with Eleni and Opatije – at least some people know what is NOT “harmless fun”… and direct attacks on countries ambassadors are not acceptable anywhere…

        3. No one has died or been mentally scarred by anything Top Gear have ever said. It is harmless.

          But you do bring up a valid point. When does a joke cease to harmless fun? Cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed seems to provoke sections of the Islamic community to violence. That’s not harmless fun. What do you do when different cultural sensibilities clash though? It’s tough.

    1. I’ve read it, and he is, most definitely, without any doubt whatsoever, joking. He is not really advocating the bombing of Mexico. He’s taken a topic of the day and given his opinion, expressed with bucket loads of satire, sarcasm, humour and irony. But he isn’t seriously suggesting Mexico be bombed. Nor is he really suggesting that Sarah Palin burns Polar Bears in her central heating system. Nor is he really suggesting that we go out shooting bankers to boost morale. Some might actually like that last idea, though I have a few banker type friends, so I’ll draw my line short of that course of action.

      Guys, I’m currently in the minority here, but I’ll still argue my point. I personally found the clip humorous, although I’m certainly not saying that anyone else is obliged to feel the same about it. I also feel that the context will be (understandably) lost on Mexicans and others – this piece is written with a format in mind and a local target audience.

      And it’s clear even some Brits won’t find it all that funny. But really – it isn’t supposed to be taken seriously! They’re just playing with a stereotype, nothing more. They’re not trying to convince anyone that Mexicans really are lazy, flatulent or nailed to cacti any more than Clarkson was really trying to have Mexico bombed. It’s stupid, but it’s meant to be.

      And I can see why some people would see it as offensive, by the by. I’ve been trying to explain, however, why it is perhaps not as offensive as it might seem at first glance. Anyway, if this really got your goat, just be glad you aren’t French.

      But it’s up to the individual whether to take offence to it or not. You can always watch something else.

      Gee…..it’s just as well they don’t make In Sickness and In Health anymore!!

      1. Ok, I don’t want to argue your point, because I’m not trying to convince you either. I’ll just point out that this program is watched worldwide even in Mexico, so how can you say it’s targeted to a local audience?

        If you’ve been living in Mexico for that long, you should know that we laugh about anything, death, politics, our won misery, etc. etc. and I tried to watch this video again out of the box but still find it really offensive, but even if you were right that and that is a simple harmless joke, most people won’t take it that way and it can create more prejudice and intolerance, both ways!!

        Saludos!

        1. You’re right, it is seen all over the world. It’s one of the most watched non news shows on the planet. But it’s not made for a global audience. It’s not written with the international TV watching community in mind. It’s made for a post-watershed slot (after 9pm – adult time!) on BBC2 in the UK. That it finds its way overseas is incidental.

          And I know, Mexicans in general have an excellent sense of humour, and almost anything (with the exception of virgins!) is game. But I also know just how sensitive Mexicans can be when the joke is made by a foreigner.

          I accept you are offended, but I just wanted to try and explain why it has been taken the wrong way. It’s perhaps impossible to explain what the right way is. I guess stereotypes are different, and used differently in different countries. I do enjoy examining them though.

          I’m off to work in a moment. Perhaps I’ll be greeted by my students with a bucket of vomit thrown over me, a few ‘chingars’ and a flea bitten poncho!!! Montezumas Revenge, 21st century style….!

  3. After watching the British presenter of golden globe awards, I now understand their sense of humor. It’s all about offending people… but we’re suppose to laugh because they’re joking.

    1. Ricky Gervais. He was brilliant. I laughed my socks off! Robert Downey Jr didn’t. Nor did some others. Robert De Niro and plenty of others laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes. What does this tell you? It tells you that Gervais is hilarious and offensive. Depends a lot on how you want to take it. Different people have different senses of humour.

  4. Frankly, given what the Brits did with a once-proud auto industry, I think Mexico is having the last laugh here.

    Mention British cars in the USA, and people roll their eyes and start talking about emergency roadside assistance.

    As a former owner of a Triumph TR7 and Rover TC 2000 (both fun when they worked), I know.

    And I personally think Top Gear did cross the line. It wasn’t particularly funny, even if you understand the cultural context. Imagine the outrage in London if they had made similar comments about an Indian car.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where seldom is seen a British car any more. Sadly.

    1. Oh, the poor British car industry. A tragic story, although I’m not entirely certain how that links to this story! But they have coveredthe Brit auto industry before. More than once. Indian jokes? They’ve done that. No major reaction. When Jeremy Clarkson introduced Jesus, I think 2 people complained. Three more complained about a Muslim reference in the same show. Later in that episode they burnt a caravan to cinders. More than 3,000 enraged Caravan Club members jammed the BBC complaint hotlines. Weird.

      I don’t think Top Gear ever gets real popular outrage going in the UK. It is what it is. Some people don’t like it, but they watch something different. P hated Jeremy Clarkson for his arrogance before, so I probably won’t show her this clip. He is arrogant. But that’s also another part of the humour. Sometimes we laugh with him. At times, though, we laugh at him. And he’d be ok with that.

  5. I went to my class. No one threw vomit at me, or cursed me for my Britishness. As usual I was mocked a little for some of my very British pronunciations. :)

    But I gave this topic some thought. And I’m gonna stick to my guns, and defend the show some more! I do have some thoughts to add.

    Way back early in 2003, I started investigating TEFL Teacher Training courses. I was open minded as to where I went. Barcelona? Maybe, but a bit expensive. Thailand? Been there, done that. I came across a course in Guadalajara, Mexico. Dead cheap it was! What’s in Mexico? I had no idea.

    I can tell you what I knew then about Mexico – a bit of brainstorming. Desert. Two world cups. A lot of poverty. Pollution. Crime. Tequila.Mexican bloke wearing colourful poncho, big sombrero sleeping in shade of cactus. Desert. Something about Aztecs or something or other ripping out beating hearts. Indiana Jones. Desert. Bean mush in tortillas. Wild West movies. Desert. John Wayne.

    Why would I know anything more? We can’t all know everything about everywhere, and Mexico quite frankly is not on the British radar. We have little in common historically or culturally. Besides football and pastes of course. And most Mexicans are under the mistaken impression that the Spanish brought football to Mexico, and few could tell you the difference between a paste and an empanada.

    So I understand where the jokes come from. They’re just playing with a stereotype. An ignorant stereotype? Sure. But it’s a fairly common form of ignorance in the UK, and perfectly understandable. In the same way Mexicans are mostly ignorant of the culture and history of Mali, for example.

    I’ve lived in Mexico for nearly six years now. I know full well that Mexicans aren’t a bunch of flatulent lay abouts. I know how good the food is – although any Mexican restaurant you’re likely to find in the UK isn’t probably going to make one rush to buy a plane ticket to DF. I know that there’s more to the country than desert. I know that Top Gear isn’t to be taken too much to heart.

    Derogatory? Xenophobic? If you want to use those words in their most literal context, then sure. But the English language is pretty expressive, and I think I’d reserve that sort of vocabulary for items on Fox News, where presenters express some pretty hate filled sentiment. Top Gear is about trashy jokes, not hate. If their humour doesn’t appeal I think ‘tasteless’ or ‘unpleasant’ are a better fit. Incidentally, I would disagree with Jeremy Clarkson on about every current issue affecting the UK/world. But I can still laugh at his jokes that poke fun at my beliefs. If he were a news reporter it would be a different matter.

    Almost all humour has a ‘victim’. The lines between prejudice and playfulness, between hate and affection, between jest and offence are sometimes blurry. I’d like to know how you’d ‘police’ humour. I suspect, nay – fear, we’d end up with a ‘I know it when I see it’ argument from a 21st century Justice Potter Stewart. And that’s not good enough.

    I don’t like those who offend simply because they want to offend. But you can’t outlaw offence full stop. Nor should anyone try to. Yet there’s too much political correctness in television today, particularly at the BBC, who’ll usually pull almost anything to prevent anyone getting in the slightest bit upset. Top Gear is perhaps the last bastion of non PC banter on the Beeb, and the one programme the powers that be in the corporation defend. And so they should.

    Not everyone will find it funny. But lighten up. As I keep saying, it’s not meant to be taken seriously. And besides, I’ve long thought that the best measure of someone’s sense of humour, is how they laugh when they’re at the receiving end of the joke.

  6. Wow! some feedback this time….:D

    Sorry Gary but this time I’m disagree with you this time,

    I like to think about myself as a thinking person that can difference humor from racisim and ignorance, a person who likes laugh of myself and my situation in the world; I’ve seen, heard and read many jokes about México before (from U.S. comedians mostly), always using the Mexican stereotypes and I had never felt offended…until now.

    This is not comedy at all. It was deeply bigoted racism poorly disguised as comedy. Ok, the words of a bunch of retarded arrogants is not the end of the world, but the offense remains, and the only lose is for me; I never will enjoy the English humor again as it was doing it before today, I’ve usually thought that the BBC was producing shows with certain quality standards, but today already know that isn’t like that. I make a mental exercise: national sensivities apart, I change the context, not Mexicans and no English involve in it but keep the words and is still racist, stupid and offensive.

    I don’t know how the things works in England, but I think is not funny (or correct) insult people just because you don’t like a car :(. Maybe the English must stay attached to the classic French and German jokes and stop messing with people that they don’t even know, that’s not cool at all, in any country (well, maybe in U.S.).

    Afectuosos saludos.

    1. Well, I don’t think I’m going to convince anyone who’s commented so far that there’s more to this than plain xenophobia. I would say though, that to judge the humour of an entire country and media corporation based on one segment of one episode of one show is a bit unfair!

      Also, have none of you ever, ever laughed at a joke that was a little bit….tasteless? I think the vast majority of us have. You would probably choose your audience carefully before retelling it though.

      Last point – David Lida wrote a piece on this today and makes a fair point regarding Mexican sensitivities.

      And still no one has commented on the actual video of this post!

  7. I never wrote you a comment before,this is my first :),ive been reading you about 3 months ago hi

    Man i get offended,its very offensive. and believe me i have a deeply black acid humour,and i laugh about everything

    Yeah the torilla,that we were “ponchos” and we sleep and lazy and we take the “siesta” ,yeap maybe those things can be funny

    but that thing about

    “imagine to woke up and remember being a mexican” isnt that shit rascist, i know how steryotypes works around the world but isnt that comment pure and absolutely xenophobia ?

    But what can we do,NOTHING¡¡¡¡ the life goes on…and yeah me and many more hope an apologize coming for those three in the next show or whatever…not from the BBC…and especially from that pinche pendejo puto i dont know his name,that guy with the suit,you know…

    in the next week no one is going to remember this

    Btw the video of the tradiciones its awesome,good luck

    1. “imagine to woke up and remember being a mexican”

      You know I’d watched the video a couple of times, and hadn’t noticed that comment. I had to watch it again……and yeah, despite all I’ve said up to this point, that one comment does step over the line. Maybe he’ll put it down to having taken a knock on the head….

      But yes, life goes on. It’ll all soon be forgotten. Probably. And the Tradiciones videos will, I’m sure, be around and remembered long after Top Gear ceases production.

      And welcome to my blog’s comment section!

  8. This video is good but I think it was a perfect excuse for you to bring out the topic of the day and maybe create a little controversy, so you got it. That’s how it works. Maybe you were trying to be humorous as well stating that UK was also celebrating Mexico or at least you should’ve been more specific that TOP gear was celebrating Mexico so that we wouldn’t think that is the entire country’s feeling. Perhaps most of this show success is based on this kind of jokes and if the Germans or the French are ok with them, we don’t necessarily have to.
    As communicator you have a big responsibility, it’s not like you’re saying tasteless jokes with your buds.

    1. I was of course being a little satirical when I said ‘celebrating’…!

      Top Gear gets plenty of complaints on a very regular basis, and I still have plenty of thoughts on the subject. Kim said that it had ‘crossed the line’. Where is ‘the line’ exactly? Should we keep well clear of it, and sanitise humour, reporting and media in general? No, not in my opinion. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out that line, and I think that if anyone follows that argument, then they have to accept that this will sometimes involve the line being crossed. I am speaking generally now, not necessarily about Top Gear. Although it should be said that Top Gear is the show in the UK where the ‘line’ is pushed more than any other show.

      I also still think Mexicans get too sensitive about humour sometimes when they are on the end of it. David Lida’s post is a good article to explore that idea.

        1. I don’t think, on face value anyway, that that comment reflects poorly on British humour. It looks very much like a fake account that they’re quoting (the “I AM NOT JAMES MAY” quote on the bio is one of several clues).

          In which case this reflects poorly on the journalism of Milenio. They need to up their investigative standards, perhaps.

          I do find it a little disappointing that so many Mexicans, in response to what they feel is a slur, have resorted to xenophobia and worse themselves. I guess this is natural though. Neither the UK nor Mexico have any monopoly on mindless idiocy.

          What ever happened to taking the moral high ground?

          If anyone is slightly interested to see what Mexican Facebookers think, or wants to engage in some ‘tastier’ exchanges than would be permitted on my blog, then Top Gear’s Facebook Page has plenty of lively discussions available…!

          http://www.facebook.com/topgear?v=app_2373072738

  9. The traditions video was very nice. I still want to know how they get that color effect, though.

    And as for the “line,” I think you identified it yourself in a subsequent post. “Imagine waking up and remembering you’re Mexican…”

    And the outraged 3,000 caravaners? Interesting. Only in Britain?

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we fly into a near apoplectic rage whenever anyone says, “Beantown.”

    LOL

    1. Yes, that wasn’t nice. One hopes it was a thoughtless line made up on the spur of the moment, and not scripted. I suspect the former. I still think there’s all too much of a fuss though.

      Caravaners are a strange breed. It takes an odd constitution to want to park a mobile box in a cold field full of cows and their pats. It’s a ‘holiday’ apparently.

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