Archive for the 'HUMOR' Category

#OWS Pic of the Week: Sorry For the Inconvenience…

October 20, 2011

Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out US Assholes

July 7, 2009

I predict that this video from our friends at the Onion will go viral. Chistosisimo!!! (Those of you who don’t speak Spanish can go to the Onion site to view the version with subtitles (they didn’t provide this version or I couldn’t figure out how to post it -or I’d have posted it)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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RL Debates Blind (Literally) Immigrant Nativist Woman on BBC World… Really.

March 19, 2009

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Just back from covering what may be (for personal and objective reasons) the most astonishingly transcendental political battle he may ever cover, yours truly returned to the “reality” of U.S. politics just in time to battle a different kind of adversary on the global airwaves of the BBC’s World Have Your Say show: a blind nativist immigrant woman who lives in Virginia. Really. I didn’t know who I’d be debating until we were on the air. But when I found out, I knew my appearance was doomed from the moment Hala, a blind Lebanese immigrant living in Virginia, uttered, “I’m blind and I learned English. Why can’t they (undocumented immigrants.)?” For those of you waiting to see if they’ll queue me up to get Gladiator on paraplegic octogenerian Nazis, deaf mute baby Latino skinheads and any other adversaries, another portion of the show will be broadcast at 2:30 EST

Who needs the sublime experience of overcoming 130 years of oligarchy and military dictatorship in El Salvador and other barbarian outposts when such foes and epic battles await us here in the center of “civilization?”

The Saints Have Spoken: San Martin de Obama Will Win By a Divine Landslide

October 21, 2008

This just in from the Great Beyond: Barack Obama has been hiding secretly in the heart and soul of Latino, African and Afro-Latino América all along. This most recent Good News bodes badly for the purveyors of the media’s urban legend about Latino’s near-genetic predisposition not to vote for a black person ; Speaking of our spiritual and genetic DNA, the Good News also reminds us that Latinos, millions of whom have more than a few drops of black blood, have black skin, dance to African-infused music, eat African foods, etc. have, after all, only been praying to black saints for centuries. In my childhood house, San Martin and San Judas were, from earliest times, there protecting us in almost every room of the house – and now they’re protecting the house of our planet from destruction.

Look, yee unbelievers, look with your own faithless eyes, for it is so

Though it may provide but another weak weapon to the army of fear and hate that is the McCain-Palin progrom, this breaking news from on high also portends bad things for those who look into the Big Blue Eyes of Jesus before bashing immigrants, black people, gays & lesbianas, Latinas and a host of other infidels. In the minds of the Saints and Gods that guide us, the hateful among us have already been defeated. Unfortunately for that other rotting temple of false and falling idols, el Partido Democrata, the divine winds will also smash the statue of that other False God, San Obama de Corporate America, whose other manifestation sometimes takes the form of ex-Clinton Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin. You need only believe. For it is written in the book of Eleggua; You can hear it in the coming thunder of Shango; It is done. Aché to my good friend Carlos Cordova for giving us the Good News from the Gods.

Move Over Tina Fey & SNL: It’s La Pequeña Sarah Palin!

October 19, 2008

Seems that Barack Obama’s not the only U.S.political figure to move the global imagination or tickle the foreign funny bone. Check out how Sarah Palin and Tina Fey have met their match in the race to realize the comic potential of our political process. Ladies, gentlemen and all you freaks and sinners booted out of Sarah Palin’s Pentecostal church, Of América is honored to introduce you to Chile’s proud contribution to the fast-growing and exciting field of Palintology: La Pequeña Sarah Palin!

Malkin Fingers True and Ultimate Foes Behind Our Economic Woes: Mexicans

September 26, 2008

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As right wing columnists like the ever-slimy MIchelle Malkin ooze out even more merde & desperation in their efforts to explain the root our economic crisis, my friends at the Sanctuary (specifically Sylvia at http://problemchylde.wordpress.com/) provide an alternative.

And, if their response doesn;t suffice (or even if it does), do check out this other explanation put together by our friends at the Onion News Network:

Alaska Sounds like Aztlan — Palin Leading the Secessionist Reconquista?

September 5, 2008

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New America Media, Commentary, Roberto Lovato, Posted: Sep 04, 2008

NEW YORK — Sarah Palin’s repetition (5 times) of the word “Alaska,” her home state, during her acceptance speech last night may actually have sounded to some Latinos like “Aztlan,” the mythical homeland of the Aztecs. If Lou Dobbs and other political prognosticators are right, Latinos’ interpretation of the Republican vice presidential nominee’s references to her home state were not simply the product of bad English-to-Spanish translation (Spanish language media’s payback for years of garbled, sometimes horrific, Spanish-to-English translations in mainstream media, perhaps?), but something else, something much more nefarious: the mainstreaming of secessionist sentiments.

Palin’s personal connections to the Alaska Independence Party (AIP), which has, since 1978 sought the Last Frontier states’ separation from these United States, have brought state secessionist sentiments onto the national political stage like no candidate since Alexander Stephens and his Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ did in the lead up to the civil war. Palin and her husband, Todd, the “First Dude,” may well have their greatest appeal among Latinos in the south-western United States if we are to believe Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchannan and many other conservative commentators and politicians who rail daily against what they believe is the upcoming conflict sparked by Latinos’ lust to reclaim their former land.

Just a week before Palin’s speech, for example, a videotape was released in which New York Congressional candidate Jack Davis decried how “in the latter part of this century or the next, Mexicans will be a majority in many of the states, and could therefore take control of the state government using the democratic process.” And, he added: “They could then secede from the United States, and then we might have another civil war.”

For almost a decade now, the careful research, in-depth investigations and the almost daily denunciations of the commentators have detailed a Southwestern Latino, especially “illegal” Mexican, plot to secede from the United States in what has become popularly known as the “reconquista,” or reconquest.

According to Malkin, “Aztlan is a long-held notion among Mexico’s intellectual elite and political class, which asserts that the American southwest rightly belongs to Mexico. Advocates believe the reclamation (or reconquista) of Aztlan will occur through sheer demographic force.” Like most of the commentators and pundits, Malkin has the uncanny ability to divine the workings of the Latino immigrant mind, without speaking Spanish. And after years of careful study of the Latino Fifth Column, Malkin and other Latino experts will surely be alarmed by how Palin’s speech shortened the distance from cold Alaska to sunny Aztlan.

Meanwhile, the major and minor Latino organizations and Latino leaders allegedly spearheading this invisible demographic empire, (all of whom are more careful and surreptitious than Palin and the First Dude about any statements or ties to secessionist groups), may be inspired to go public by the Palin’s links (ie; Todd was a card carrying AIP member in 1995 and 2002) to an organization with 13,681 registered members whose political platform calls for securing the “complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska.”

Sarah Palin’s mantra-like repetitions of the Aztlan-sounding “Alaska” may finally provide the conservative commentators their most definitive lead in their relentless hunt for the secessionist menace. The big difference is that the more dangerous secessionist movement will not be led by white people belonging openly to an actual political party whose candidates (including a former governor) and initiatives are included on state voting ballots, a secessionist party ignored by the media and lauded loudly by politicians like Palin for their “inspiring convention,” and encouraged by her to “keep up the good work.”

Instead, the imminent and potentially catastrophic urge to unmerge will be realized by poor, brown-skinned secessionistas, especially those “illegal” Latinos that syndicated multimedia stars like Glenn Back regularly tell us are silently, secretly waiting to come out of their closet of illegality by taking back the Southwest. “You’ve got people coming here that have no intention of being Americans. They say, you know, ‘Hey, this is our land. We deserve it back.'”

Though they have spared us the pain of focusing on the lesser, whiter of the secessionist threats, Dobbs, Malkin, Beck and their peers must be credited for their pre-emptive strikes against a threat that has yet to come out of its separatist cave — but which may finally do so in no small part thanks to the secessionist leanings of a candidate who promises to “put America first” when she starts working the White House.

Palin’s rapid and apparently non-vetted rise to political prominence may, however, also reveal contradictions in some of these same pundits who’ve denounced those carrying the “reconquista” gene.

Though he has for many years made regular statements and written many books and articles about how Latinos are bringing about “the complete Balkanization of America,” MSNBC commentator Pat Buchannan himself has ties to the secessionista-friendly GOP vice presidential candidate and her hombre. Just last week Buchanan confessed to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that Palin “was a brigadeer in 1996 as was her husband … They were at a fundraiser for me. She’s a terrific gal, she’s a rebel reformer.”

Unfortunately for Buchannan and his conservative commentator peers, Palin may turn out to be more rebel than reformer as rural and big city Latinos in the Southwest start hearing calls to create the Aztlan Confederacy in her stump speeches about small town Alaska.

Whatever the outcome, we are fortunate to have political observers and politicians that are so committed to the cause of racial and political unity.

Neat New Net Show: “Meet the Bloggers”)

July 17, 2008

Meet the Bloggers

Robert Greenwald and the loco(a)s at Brave New Films-the folks who brought you Outfoxed, The Real McCain and other agit-flicks- are at it again. Their latest launch? Meet the Bloggers, an exciting, ambitious and live new online video show that seeks to expand the national political debate and discussion beyond the talking head set. As you can see from the title, bloggers -smart, courageous bloggers and thinkers (and yours truly, the not-so-courageous or smart bald writer)- will occupy a central place on the show, which will also feature a number of engaging and influential weekly guests, including Senator Harry Reid, Arianna Huffington, John Cuzak and many others. Beginning this Friday the 18th, the show will broadcast online every Friday and will focus on the kind of unconventional political opinion and analysis you come to the web for. The show will feature bloggers include The Huffington Post, Think Progress, Alternet, Jack & Jill Politics and Of América.

Check out the trailer and pilot below and tune in to what promises to be a brave new experiment in politics, media and the search for intelligent life.

Trailer

In Centrist Speeches Aimed at Latinos, Obama Neglects War While McCain Fumbles on Immigration

July 9, 2008

[McCain Crowd]

Candidates Obama and McCain are gearing up to do what the mainstream media is touting as a “mini-Latino voter tour” that includes speeches at the LULAC Convention today and speeches at the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) convention in San Diego next week.

For discussion’s sake, let’s do as the mainstream media does and forget that the voice of LULAC is but 1 very well-funded voice in a cacophony made up of more than 40 million Latino voices and thousands of Latino organizations in the U.S. And, in the name of being part of this often inane (as in anybody seen that political Chupacabra -the widely-reported Latino unwillingness to vote for a black candidate- lately?) conversation labeled “Latino politics”, let’s also ignore that lurking beneath that brown blob of a media construct called “Hispanics” in headlines and sound bites are inconvenient truths; Inconvenient truths like the fact that organizations like LULAC do not always speak for many, if not most, of us, when, for example, leaders like NCLR’s Janet Murguia or LULAC’s Ray Velarde gushed with support for disgraced former Attorney General and war criminal Alberto Gonzales.

OK. So, the “tour” of all 2 organizations began with a “festive” gathering at the LULAC convention in the Latino heartland of Washington DC, where LULAC president Oscar Moran designated McCain “nuestro amigo”. Joining Moran, Walmart, Shell Oil, Miller Beer and the usual host of corporations sponsoring these kinds of festivities were other, richer organizations whose very life depends increasingly on their ability to bring in Latino bodies: the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense (see full list of LULAC Convention sponsors below). And, for the record, while some individual staff and board members and some local chapters of LULAC strongly oppose the war, the leadership of neither LULAC nor that of most other major Latino organizations has taken a position on the war).

As if not wanting to offend some of the sponsors in the audience, Obama made no mention in his LULAC speech of what numerous polls tell us is the NUMERO UNO issue for Latinos by large margins: the Iraq war. Again, WAR, not immigration is the number 1 issue for the fastest growing group in the U.S. military.

For his part, McCain made mention not of the war, but of the Latino troops, and did so in a manner that sounded like another in the tsunami of multi-million dollar media ads brought to you by the Pentagon sponsors in the audience:

“When you visit Iraq and Afghanistan you will meet some of the thousands of Hispanic-Americans who serve there, and many of those who risk their lives to protect the rest of us do not yet possess the rights and privileges of full citizenship in the country they love so well. To love your country, as I discovered in Vietnam, is to love your countrymen. Those men and women are my brothers and sisters…”

Yeah. OK, hermano. Moving on, in his LULAC speech McCain fumbled around the ticklish issue of immigration according to this piece in the Dallas morning news.

Missing in the brown sea of “Si se Puede”‘s and “amigo”‘s at the “spirited” event was nary a word describing other, more NO SE PUEDE concerns of Spanish (and English) speakers, issues like:

“prision” (the exponential growth of the Latino prison population)

“Pentagono” (the multi-billion dollar effort to trick Latino youth into joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and other armed forces)

“Muerte, detencion y migrantes” (Immigration issues like the thousands of dead in the desert, death, sexual and physical abuse in ICE detention centers, thousands of raids and other terror inflicted on immigrant children and adults)

“pobreza” (the unprecedented challenge of a country in which the wealthiest 1% has over $2 trillion more than the bottom 90%, according to the Nation magazine. In other words, the candidates won’t be asked in Espanol or en Ingles, “How come the wealthiest 1% have $19 trillion while the rest of us 300,000,000 only have a combined wealth totaling less than $17 trillion?”)

So, let’s “hope” that the larger, better-funded NCLR event brings us fewer “Si se puede”‘s and more of things like “substancia”, “realidad” and “transparencia”.

For more about this issue, check out this radio interview with Free Speech Radio Network.

LIST OF SPONSORS OF LULAC’S 2008 CONVENTION

Diamond Sponsors
Comcast Corporation General Motors Corporation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Presidential Sponsors
American Airlines
Bridgestone/Firestone
Ford Motor Company
LULAC Council #1
Miller Brewing Company
Shell Oil Company
Sprint Nextel Corporation
U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services

Judicial Sponsors
AARP AT&T
Dell El Zol
U.S. Army

Senatorial Sponsors
The Coca-Cola Company
ExxonMobil Corporation
Google Inc.
Harrah’s Entertainment
McDonald’s Corporation
Nissan North America, Inc.
PepsiCo, Inc.
Procter & Gamble Company
Southwest Airlines
Tyson Foods, Inc.
U.S. Department of Defense
Congressional Sponsors
Countrywide Financial Corp.
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Navy
Univision Communications
Western Union

Patriot Sponsors
Bank of America
Freddie Mac
Geico
NBC/Telemundo
The Nielsen Company
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Patron Sponsors
7-Eleven, Inc.
Americans For Secure
Retirement
ARAMARK
Billetel
Burger King Brands, Inc.
Continental Airlines, Inc.
Denny’s Restaurants
DISHLatino
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
International Union of
Bricklayers and Allied
Craftworkers
Merisant Worldwide Inc.
PhRMA
Sed de Saber
TracFone Wireless Inc.
U.S. Agency for International
Development
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency
Walt Disney Company
Wyndham International

Are You Listening, ABC? New Poll Identifies #1 Issue in ’08 Elections: Bu*#^hit

April 20, 2008

With many of us still reeling and wondering about ABC’s unprecedented and simply devastating display of dumbed down politics during last week’s Democratic debate, this hilarious video from last year says it better than anything , anyone else. Thanks to the Onion for peeling back the layers covering over the Truth about our political system.

More on DLC’s Racial Politics: “Insidious Innuendo” Video

March 19, 2008

This clip by Oilwellian provides a video complement to some of the things mentioned in my previous post:

Para Ganar Obama! (Or How to La Bamba to Victory!)

February 19, 2008

Though not an endorsement (I’m still working through whether these elections are some sort of grand political theater designed to makes us magically forget Bush broke the still-broken system), this music video from Mo Rocca is muy chistoso. Enjoy (and sorry for those of you who need translation – but get with it, homes!)

Vodpod videos no longer available. video source posted with vodpod

President Calderon’s Message of Unity Brings Together Minutemen and Mexican Opposition

February 15, 2008

This story in La Opinion is bizarre in a uniquely L.A. way.

It describes how, “for a moment” anti-immigrant Minutemen joined pro-immigrant Mexican opposition groups (as in opposed to Calderon and Minutemen they consider racist) to loudly protest the visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

According to the story written (translated por mi) by La Opinion’s Isaías Alvarado,

The Los Angeles visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon has, paradoxically, united groups traditionally antagonistic to each other.
As if in unison, protesters marching in front of the Omni Hotel shouted slogans like “¡Sin maíz, no hay país!” (“Without corn, there
is no country”) slogan of the sympathizers of the Party of the Democratic Revolution and ” ¡Pre-si-den-t Cal-de-rón go fix
.Mé-xi-co!” slogan of members of the Minuteman project. There were no violent incidents, including between people who engaged in previous disputes.”

In light of this bilingually bi-national bizarre moment, let me say that I actually believe that, at some point (not yet), those of us defending immigrants ravaged by globalization must make at least some peace with those other victims of globalization, white racists. Yes, I do believe that we need to build a big, unprecedented tent that allows us all to burn down the bigger tent of the corporate interests that unite Calderon, Bush and most other heads of state. Of course, we have to find a way to delete the racism before that happens and that’s a lot of work.

Or are we supposed to support that other election-stealer, Calderon, because he’s Mexican?

Para Nada. Despite his flowery calls to defend Mexican and other immigrants, he, his devastating policies are what turns a Mexicana(o) into an “inmigrante”.

Beware of the nation-state and the false consciousness of nationalism.

No We Can’t: Tragifunny McCain Music Video by john.he.is

February 12, 2008

Why what straight talkin’ John McCain expresses makes this election year fun:

Of América Appears in Wall Street Journal

February 1, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Home Page

Despite (or perhaps because of) the economic meltdown, Of América’s stocks appear to be rising. At least that’s what our 2nd (count 2, segundo) appearance in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) , official voice of big capital, would indicate. This WSJ story about Latino bloggers and Super Tuesday mentions our esteemed site’s recent post about the double-talking bilingual antics of Mitt Romney and the now politically defunct Rotting Rudy Giuliani (Gracias a Nuestra Senora de la Justicia Social).

Given that we’re entering awards season, I’d like to take this opportunity thank the Academy and all of you who visit this barbarian haven for reading, commenting and passing the gas……….uhhh hot air…..I mean .. passing the word that makes such recognition possible.

Actually, mention in the WSJ would not have been possible without the increasingly irrefutable fact of Latino power in the life of América, a fact we try to mirror here. So see yourselves and smile:)

Gracias,

R

Beyond the Mama’s Chi-chi Theory: Latino Vote Lust Previews Growing National Sophistication

February 1, 2008

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It’s both scary and exciting to watch the media and political frenzy building around the Latino vote next Super Duper Tuesday and beyond. Scary because never have so many known so little about so large a population as Latinos. Yet, this hasn’t hastened the exponential growth of the cottage porn industry of Latino vote expertise being displayed in all its perverse glory this election year. It’s also exciting to watch the new Latino watchers because we as a society will only benefit from the growth in genuine information and knowledge mixed in with the dross of many news reports and campaign statements.

My favorite from among the numerous and stunningly simplistic explanations for why, for example, Latino voters appear to be heavily inclined towards Border Wall supporter and driver’s license flip-flopper, Hillary Clinton, actually comes from an elected official – a Latino elected official no less.

As the world watched and waited to see how Latinos would vote in Nevada last week, widely-quoted Nevada Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen used the global spotlight to unveil for the first time his Mama’s Chi-chi Theory of Latino Political Participation, and he did so in no less a venue than the New York Times, the nation’s newspaper of record:

“The Hispanic community is very family oriented, and we respect our mothers,” said Ruben Kihuen, an influential Democratic assemblyman from Las Vegas who supported Mrs. Clinton. “A lot of middle-aged women see her as a mother, a head of the household, and they can identify with this. Especially when they see her daughter, Chelsea, with her.”

Though not as pernicious as the now thoroughly discredited “anti-black-Latinos-are-the- rearguard-of-white-racism” theory of the Clinton vote, Kihuen’s Chi-chi theory does reflect the unprecedented -and often prurient- interest in Latino politics.

Despite being left out of the mainstream discussion of the Latino vote, many, more thoughtful Latinos in the blogosphere, alternative and other media and in the body politic generally have seized the political moment to offer insights that anticipate the eventual demise of the Mama’s Chi-chi Theory and other, less-absurd media constructs.

And the collective and relatively new interest of news organizations, pollsters, bloggers, politicos and other interested parties from across the political and geographic spectrum also previews the future sophistication about things Latino. Over the past several months, I have, for example, spoken with and become aware of numerous national and international (and not just Latin American) media outlets planning or actually doing more in-depth reporting on the U.S. Latino vote.

For all its frustrating simplicity, the coverage of and interest in the Latino electorate may well be remembered as one of the most important new developments of this year in media and politics.

We will, for the time being, have to suffer the flatulence and bad taste of the burrito logic informing Kihuen’s Chi-chi Theory. Still, some of the current attention and reporting found in some Spanish language and English language media and other outlets does give one cause for optimism about the new national conversation around Latino and U.S. politics.

No Hablo Odio y Migracion (I Don’t Speak Hate and Migration): Romney, Giuliani Release Spanish Language TV Ads

January 22, 2008

As they prepare for what will surely be a highly contested primary in Florida, some Republican GOP candidates have produced and released Spanish language TV ads that should raise more than a few eyebrows and questions.

For example, how is it that the Mitt Romney whose English language ads are chock-full of immigration agents and tough talk against “illegal aliens” in this ad:

is the same Mitt Romney who approved this ad featuring his Spanish-speaking lauding his father as someone who shares the values held by Latinos:

Watching both ads makes one want to bilingually barf because the high dosage of hypocrisy contained in the ads far surpasses the tolerance levels suggested by the Surgeon General’s office.

And, for those of you adventurous types – the ones who like to flirt with deadly levels of toxicity and other dangers-, check out this Florida ad (think Cubano vote) by Rudolfo Giuliani, who invokes none other than the ever-cheery Gipper, Ronald Reagan, the genial President recently lauded by Barack Obama and who is responsible for more death, destruction and suffering in Latin America than any U.S. president in recent memory,

Missing from any of these bizarre commercials is any understanding that most Latinos watch television in both English and Spanish. This means that, unless the GOP-influencing, racist hate groups like FAIR are right about how Latinos are genetically predisposed to crime, illiteracy and parisitism, then these same Latino voters will likely see and hear the different messages coming out of the English and Spanish language sides of the candidate’s mouths.

Soy Roberto Lovato y yo apruebo este anuncio: Coman mucha mierda hipocritas, racistas hijos de su p……… (ad infinitum)

Carta a Santa Claus (Muy Chistoso!)

December 26, 2007

Check out this very funny Christmas video from Spain. Even though it’s in Spanish, you may get the gist of it from the funny footage even if you don’t habla Espanol. And make sure you view til the end – or you’ll miss out!

Thanks to my buddy Juan Cruz for sending!

Leno,Kimmel,Other Late-Night Jokesters–Anti-Latino Trendsetters in Liberal Hollywood

November 28, 2007

(From the Progressive Magazine – http://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+laughing+matter.-a0171139392)

No laughing matter

Anti-Latino humor has entered the mainstream.

Roberto Lovato

Late night funny man Conan O’Brien recently tickled his studio audience as he touched on immigration, a hot button topic heard with growing frequency on late night talk shows: “A man in Mexico weighing 1,200 pounds has lost almost half that weight and might enter the Guinness Book of World Records for most weight lost. The Mexican man lost the weight when the family inside him moved to America.” Then at the Emmys on September 16, O’Brien, who won an award, provided a clip of his writing team depicted as Latino day-laborers.

During a “New Rules” segment of his show broadcast in late August, liberal late nighter Bill Maher went to the well of immigrant humor: “New Rule: No more produce-scented shampoo: avocado, cucumber, watermelon. Gee, your hair smells like a migrant worker.”

Jay Leno, who has gone out of his way to tell people, “I’m not a conservative,” has also joined in. During a show in mid-September, he joked, “Well, police across the country now say they’re arresting more and more illegals who are prostitutes. But proponents say, ‘No, no. They’re just doing guys American hookers will not do.'”

And during a recent sketch making light of Latino criticisms of Ken Burns for his exclusion of the more than 500,000 Latino veterans in the filmmaker’s epic War documentary, Jimmy Kimmel deployed images of sombrero-wearing Speedy Gonzalez–a cartoon long considered racist by Chicano activists–yelling “Arriba. Arriba.” Kimmel’s shtick includes placing parking lot attendant Guillermo in compromising positions as when the heavily accented Latino immigrant participates in spelling bee contests with young champions. In another humiliating sketch, Kimmel begs him, “Please do not resort to violence.”

While the immigration debate in Congress ended months ago, the immigrant jokes haven’t. This is not so much because the late night hosts are at the tail end of a political trend, but because they are, in fact, at the front end of a major cultural trend: the mainstreaming of anti-immigrant sentiment.

Immigrant rights activists have concentrated much energy on challenging rightwing radio as well as blatantly racist, formerly fringe video games like “Border Patrol” in which players shoot immigrants for points. But little attention is paid to the more mainstream fare: Top-selling video games in which white good guys kill immigrant bad guys and black and Latino zombies; popular television shows like NBC’s The Office, in which immigrant characters are ridiculed for their accents, nationality, and other traits; movies like the supernatural thriller Constantine or last year’s comic hit Nacho Libre, in which immigrant characters embody evil and stupidity.

The proliferation of anti-immigrant messages in pop culture moved UCLA linguist Otto Santa Ana to study what he calls an “explosion” of anti-immigrant representations in pop culture.

“There’ve always been racist, anti-Latino stereotypes in the media, but things are getting quite bad now,” says Santa Ana, who started documenting anti-immigrant language and imagery he found in California newspapers in 1993, the year that launched the political battles around that state’s Proposition 187, which sought to deny education and social services to the undocumented and their children.

Since then, says Santa Ana, anti-immigrant themes have become more intense.

In his efforts to document these trends, Santa Ana, author of Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public
Discourse
, and several of his students have gathered more than 100 YouTube clips that he says represent only a small portion of a growing number of “extraordinarily racist, anti-immigrant jokes and other content in sitcoms, film, standup comedy, and other mediums.” Santa Ana’s collection includes a wide spectrum of mainstream programming and movies.

“Some of the clips will make you laugh,” he says. “But once you see the stream of those clips, you stop laughing. You see ten, twenty, thirty, forty, and then you recognize that they’re actually laughing at you.”

In an episode on Fox’s popular Family Guy animated comedy, for example, a couple of bandanad, knife-wielding, Chicano-accented gangster cockroaches in a dirty motel threaten intruders by saying, “Hey, you’re on our turf, man,” and, “Hey, man, I gonna cut you up so bad, you gonna wish I no cut you up so bad.” One of the white characters responds, “I blame the schools.”

In a different episode, after Peter Griffin, the family guy, complains about another character, “He’s a bigger mooch than the Mexican Super-friends,” the scene moves to a tall, crowded building called the “Mexican Hall of Justice” that is packed with people. A white landlord walks up to Mexican Superman and says, “Hey, Mexican Superman, when you signed the lease, you said there were only going to be five of you here.”

Or take the Academy Award-winning hit Happy Feet. Santa Ana explains how the protagonist, Mumble, a blue-eyed emperor penguin, leads a group of bungling, Spanish-accented, smaller, weaker penguins known in the film as the Amigos. Mumble is exiled from his land and scapegoated by elders for allegedly causing a fish famine. Mumble then vows to find the “aliens” that, he says, are the true cause of the famine. Along the way, Mumble, says Santa Ana, has to “teach” what is right and wrong to the Amigos. “It’s striking to see these penguins speaking in Mexican accents, walking funny, and being subservient,” he says.

Santa Ana worries about the effects on his students, most of whom said at the beginning of the class that they enjoyed and even bought the Happy Feet DVD. He also worries about the effect of the $384 million blockbuster on children worldwide, many of whom will also play the Happy Feet game that is part of the gigantic and expansive world of video, a more interactive world that may portend the future of funny and not-so-funny depictions of immigrants.

Depictions of Latino immigrants do not all fall into the negative category, however. The Emmy award-winning Ugly Betty sitcom treats immigrant and immigration in a funny yet respectful manner. It’s no accident that the show is produced by immigrant Salma Hayek. A new video game, “ICED! I Can End Deportation,” developed by the New York-based nonprofit Breakthrough, turns players into undocumented immigrants as they flee from cruel border patrol agents. The same Spanish-language radio jocks who played definitive roles in last year’s immigrant mobilizations are continuing citizenship and voter registration campaigns. Comedians such as George Lopez draw attention to racial issues in much the same way African American comedians have done for decades. Columnists such as Gustavo Arellano, who writes the popular “Ask a Mexican,” similarly use judo-like methods to deflect and draw attention to an anti-immigrant streak that grows.

For his part, Santa Ana, who lives in Los Angeles, takes the long view: “In twenty or thirty years we will be absolutely astonished that people could consume these racist depictions.”

Roberto Lovato is a contributing associate editor with New America Media. He is also a frequent contributor to The Nation. His email is robvato@gmail.com.

Use the Force, Luke. Look what you’re up against.

November 1, 2007

No need to go to movies and cry at the fight against evil taking place on screen. There’s plenty to do outside the movie house as the dark Lord of Sith lies sequestered behind thick walls of the national security.