December 11, 2012

Hispanic Invisibility: Somebody else notices it

It was sad to read about some Mexican singer lady who died in a plane crash. Flying around in private planes sounds glamorous, but it can be pretty terrifying. American musicians don't die in plane crashes as often as they used to, but the Third World plane crash rate is still pretty high.

But, then, it turned out as I read more that this Jenni Rivera wasn't Mexican, she was a 43-year-old Mexican American born in Long Beach and living not far from me, in Encino. Among her various marriages was one to a pitcher on the Dodgers.

And I had never ever heard of her.

A writer for the Washington Post notices the same thing:
Mainstream media’s ignorance of Jenni Rivera raises image of parallel Americas 
By Paul Farhi, Tuesday, December 11, 5:38 PM 
The Chicago Sun-Times declared Jenni Rivera “a heroine” and quoted an entertainment executive who lauded her “extraordinary gifts.” The New York Times compared her to Diana Ross and Tina Turner. Numerous media accounts labeled her a superstar. 
Chances are, this was news to you. Chances are, you’d never heard of Rivera until you learned that she died in a plane crash in Mexico on Sunday.

The American-born Rivera has sold at least 15 million records — more than many other successful and widely acclaimed singers in the United States. But she did not enjoy much attention from the English-language media. Although she was bilingual, Rivera sang only in Spanish. Her most ardent, record-buying fans reside primarily in the American Southwest and farther south, across Mexico. 
Rivera’s life and death suggest once again that it’s possible to live in parallel Americas, with the larger part only dimly aware of the enormous things happening in the other one. For all our instant connectivity, it’s possible for someone to be hugely famous and perfectly obscure — all at the same time. 
... The Washington Post had never mentioned Rivera’s name until Sunday, nor had the news divisions at ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC, according to Nexis. Rivera’s hometown newspapers in California — she grew up in Long Beach — weren’t much more attentive. The Los Angeles Times name-checked her in about a dozen short pieces over the years; the paper’s most prominent treatment of her was a story about her purchase of an Encino estate. ... 
This degree of cluelessness elicited an acid-laced comment on Monday from the Orange County Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano, who writes the paper’s amusing and often thoughtful “Ask a Mexican” column. Arellano upbraided the mainstream news media for “their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar [who] operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn’t bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans — and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them. 
“Now that she’s dead? Look everyone: we cover Mexicans!” 
Actually, Rivera was an American who racked up huge record sales in the United States, but point taken. Added Arellano: “For all the racket that the [mainstream media] has made about diversity over the past 15 years, they continue to fail — as if we ever expected them to succeed in the first place?”

For American elites, Mexicans and other Central Americans make an ideal new people to elect because they are so little competition for their own kids.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have noticed the parallel Americas too. I used to believe the myth that newspapers printed a Spanish edition to help the newcomers understand what was going on. Thus, I assumed the Spanish version of any big city paper would be exactly the same as the English version except for the language.

Check out some Spanish editions and see for yourself. They are completely different.

Here is the Arizona Republic in English and Spanish.

Here is the Miami Herald in English and Spanish.

I don't like how this going.

Anonymous said...

It's similar to the confused look you'll get from urban blue-staters when you tell them that both Garth Brooks and George Strait have sold more records than The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_music_artists_in_the_United_States

If that doesn't phase them, so them this list:

http://riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=top-artist-tallies

then ask them how many Alabama songs they've heard.

Chuck Ross said...

I recall being at the flea market with my dad in the 1990s in Texas. All of a sudden a bunch of market-goers were wearing t-shirts of a woman I'd never heard of - Selena. Apparently she was absolutely huge, but I didn't know it until after she was killed.

Anonymous said...

Parallel Americas would exist regardless of racial diversity.

50 years ago, when people got their news, entertainment, and culture from near-monopoly sources, it was easier for people to stay on the same page.

That is no longer the case. I think technology has been more influential in creating parallel Americas, than race. If it weren't for technology, all of the minorities would, at least, learn English.

Jefferson said...

I have never heard of the late Mexican singer Selena Perez, until Hollywood made a film about her and cast a Puerto Rican actress named Jennifer Lopez to play her.

Both Selena Perez and Jenni Rivera never appealed to Non Hispanic Americans because of their refusal to record any albums in English.

Hispanics are not a majority yet in the U.S, so for the time being you can not become a famous mainstream music artist in this majority Non Hispanic country if you do not record any English language songs.

Dutch reader said...

Does anyone remember Selena Quintanilla-PĂ©rez (a Mexican-American singer with superstar status among Chicanos and Mexicans)? She was murdered in 1995 at the age of 23, by the former president of her fan club. She was portrayed by Jennifer Lopez the movie 'Selena' (1997).

Dr Van Nostrand said...


This degree of cluelessness elicited an acid-laced comment on Monday from the Orange County Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano, who writes the paper’s amusing and often thoughtful “Ask a Mexican” column. Arellano upbraided the mainstream news media for “their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar [who] operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn’t bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans — and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them.
“Now that she’s dead? Look everyone: we cover Mexicans!”


How is exactly is this the gringo's fault? If the Mexicans refuse to assimilate and live not just physically but also psychologically in a self imposed ghetto ,why should Anglos go out of their way to engage in their corny and crass popular culture?
If this broad wanted to gain more exposure, she couldve tried singing in English since she was all "bilingual" and shit.
So please dont bitch and whine about the mainstream caring about dead Mexicanas when the Mexicanas themselves didnt even bother about the mainstream.

Thanks

DaveinHackensack said...

She had over 1 million followers on Twitter. And she's not the only invisible Hispanic superstar.

After I tweeted about Sabado Gigante last month, some lady from Univision followed me on Twitter and I followed her. The next day, she tweeted about some live concert Univision was broadcasting, mentioning the twitter handle of the lady singer. I've since forgotten that singer's name, but she had 3 or 4 million Twitter followers.

It's a different world.

Auntie Analogue said...

It's not just Rivera I'd never heard of. There are scores of Negro rappers and White pop acts, and even scores of television programs and films I've never heard of - because our nation and culture are gone beyond mere balkanization to atomizing at breathtaking speed.

Anonymous said...

If Mexicans want us to care about them then they need to speak English.

Anonymous said...

"But she did not enjoy much attention from the English-language media. Although she was bilingual, Rivera sang only in Spanish. "

She would have probably been a flop in the English speaking world and that loser image probably would have tarnished her rep in the niche Spanish genre. She managed to have success avoiding the mainstream and now they want acclaim from those whose scrutiny she dodged?

The pilot was 78, Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Mariah Carey is the biggest selling female of all time Shania Twain is the only woman to have two 10 million sellers yet neither can get the coverage that Madonna can.

Jenni Rivera was clearly also in the wrong genre.

rightsaidfred said...

Selena Gomez was floated pretty heavily as the next mega star to some traction, but not much compared to the hype. Shakira was/is big, but many industry insiders have not heard of her until recently. Not a lot of cross over appeal.

Anonymous said...

It seems that I constantly read about some rapper I never heard of getting shot or stabbed. Is this any different?

Anonymous said...

Well, this is true most of the elites don't pay attention much to Mexicans unless they use them. In fact Steve Chrum was talking about the big stats of Orange County, 5th graders behind and 33 without primary care giver. Chrum shows pictures of white kids well the kids now are hispanic about 49 versus about 31 for white kids. Most of these bad stats are bringing in Mexicans and Central Americans to do low skilled jobs but they have children more so than whites. Granted, there is a small white underclass that lives in motels but on average your hispanic kids contribute more to the bad stats.

Anonymous said...

Language barriers are remarkable things sometimes. It's often really funny to observe the two cultural ships pass one another in the night. Up here where French and English speaking Canada meet it happens all the time and I've even built a little game out of it. The CBC English and CBC French-language radio stations are right next to one another on the FM dial and if one sounds boring I'll flip to the other. Last Saturday the NPR-like English CBC was droning on in deadly earnest about the moral, ethical and cultural impact of two men being able to have a baby through the use of some fertility treatment. Meanwhile over on the French CBC they were chatting and joking about a new biography of Adrien Arcand, the leader of Canada's old fascist party. They were laughing about him like he was a roguish great-uncle and discussing where he fit on the Quebec family tree. While the English station was trying to finely tune same-sex in vitro fertilization, in another studio their French-speaking colleagues were chatting about which TV actress is the granddaughter of the old number two man in Arcand's fascist party.

The two CBC stations are like ships that pass in the night even though they get pay cheques from the same employer. It's always fun to witness because this huge cultural gap is almost never mentioned. I think the Anglos would find it rude to mention "how far Quebec society has to come" and the Francos likely couldn't care less what the boring "square heads" are getting up to.

Anonymous said...

Id like to 'Ask a Mexican' - why arent you living in Mexico pal?

Let's! said...

Elijah Wald interviewed Jenni Rivera in his 2002 book "Narcocorrido," and she gets a good laugh at the gringos' expense for, early in her career, getting her shows booked by nice SWPLs at "Hispanic culture"/educational events, and then busting out with songs extolling narcos and drug smuggling.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't ever heard of her either, and I grew up in a house where Tito Puente, Perez Prado and Vikki Carr were many of the records on the shelves. Not to mention Trini Lopez and Steve and Eydie (Edith Gormezano, a Sephardess who translated Spanish and Ladino at the UN if memory serves).

I hadn't ever heard of Selena until she was shot, either, come to think of it.

However, the 27 year old US born Mexican mestiza I work across from never heard of the above named people (besides Selena), nor had she ever heard of Desi Arnaz, nor Carlos Santana for that matter. She can't name three works of major literature by a Spanish or South American author either. (Gloria Estefan she knows-and can't stand, because she is Cuban.)

Yes, two parallel worlds indeed.

Anonymous said...

OT:

Economist covers decline in crime in big cities and doesn't even mention the abortion theory that you hate.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21567957-two-americas-biggest-cities-fewer-people-are-being-killed-there-will-be-less-blood?zid=312&ah=da4ed4425e74339883d473adf5773841

Davis said...

You should see the print version of the story. It almost takes up the entire Style section's front page.

Assimilation is bad in the long run so this is actually good news, Anglos.

Anonymous said...

This is the only the tip of the iceberg...

Harry Baldwin said...

GK Chesterton famously said, "Journalism largely consists in saying `Lord Jones Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive."

I feel the same way when the news announces the death of some mega-star rapper or Mexican singer.

Maguro said...

Yeah, and Rivera's personal life had some spectacularly disturbing elements that normally make great tabloid fodder...her ex-husband, a former MLB pitcher is shacked up with her daughter (his stepdaughter), Woody Allen style, fer chrissakes.

peterike said...

Gee, I wonder how many records have been sold in Mexico by Sufjan Stevens, say, or The Mountain Goats. I wonder if they have ever been mentioned on Mexican media?

Socially Extinct said...

The "melting pot" and "multiculturalism" and "the US/Mexican border" are all, to use Roissy's words, Pretty Lies.

Americans are fiercely reluctant to embrace any culture beyond our shores. And for all intents and purposes, Mexican culture, vibrant and consuming in itself, is "beyond our shores." Any native musical entrance to the American scene is purely gimmicky or alternative/fringe. K-Pop? Yeah, right. Even the popular Black forms of musical expression are purely American.

Anonymous said...

"The majority of babies in MS are black now, so the state will be majority black in a generation. The South as a whole is losing it's white majority. Georgia in particular was only 55% white at the last census, and that includes Jews and many Muslims, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat, as whites. Texas and Georgia will probably go blue by 2025."

Richard A. said...

Notice that the American elites who are pushing the "lets screw the STEMs legislation" typically have college degrees in non-STEM fields. Their kids seem to major in the non-STEM fields too. For American elites, these foreign STEMs will cause very little competition for their own kids.

Flavia said...

I'm "Hispanic" :::spit::: and I had never heard of this chick. I had also never heard of Selena.

This has nothing to do with the "Hispanic" community, it's Mexican culture.

I'll let ya'll in on a little secret. South Americans (especially white ones) detest and look down on Mexicans. Even white Mexicans. They are seen as the lowest of the low (save the islanders). Even though they import quite a bit of culture, they are still seen as indios and proles- probably because they import indio culture (corridas, narco stuff) in addition to novelas with Germanic Mexians. They're accent is only second to the islanders as most distateful.

I know South Americans that admit to really liking Mexican food, but not eating it because it is so unrefined. We pride ourselves in being a "knife and fork" cuisine.

So "Hispanics" didn't give a shit about this chick, Mexicans did.

flavia said...

@Anon

LOL Miami Herald. It is more poorly written than a high school rag. I don't think anyone actually reads it.

Darfur Miller said...

This aircraft was a US registered aircraft. You might ask why so many airplanes owned and flown overseas are maintained on the US civil register via US shell companies often at considerable adverse tax costs.

Chicago said...

If she sang exclusively in Spanish then why would we be aware of her? She wasn't singing for us, the English speaking majority, but ignored us as if we weren't there. We don't know much about Greek, Polish, German or Armenian singers either but no one hints that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Same thing with Selena.

Peter the Shark said...

I have no problem with parallel Americas. Most Americans don't care about the music I like or the books I read, or even the TV shows I like (yes, I'm an Arrested Development fan). It's idiotic for a Mexican-American columnist to get all upset because newspapers that cater to white educated people ignored a musician that white educated people don't like. That same mass media ignores most subcultures that white educated people don't care about - NASCAR, country music, heavy metal,Tyler Perry, etc. etc. I don't get upset about it. How much press did Sandy Denny get before she died? Now there was a great singer.

Dan said...

In response to Anonymous @ 12:01, perhaps you've seen

Why “Multicultural Society” Is a Logical Impossibility (Kanazawa)

http://bigthink.com/e-pur-si-muove/why-multicultural-society-is-a-logical-impossibility

Gene Callahan said...

"I don't like how this going."

Too bad.

Ed said...

Wasn't this the norm BT (before television)? Before World War II, you had all sorts of regional and ethnic cultures within the United States that didn't mix much. The most obvious case was the entire network of businesses, colleges, and even sports leagues that served African Americans, but there were tons of somewhat similar instances for other groups, including of course non-English language newspapers.

First radio and then television, the draft, the interstate highway system, nationwide conglomerates and chains, and just the boost in prestige federal institutions gained from winning World War II and then the post-war boom were associated with a big push towards integration, homogenization, and conformity.

But this fades over time. What people think of "the American way of life", how things happened in the post-war years, was really not the norm for three quarters of American history.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone had heard of Mexican pop singer Selena until she was murdered either.

Joe Joe

ken venturi said...

How invisible can they be if George Lopez, who's not even funny, is invited to play in the AT&T ("Crosby") every year?

Anthony said...

Some part of this is that when they're not watching action movies, Mexicans like different cultural things than do Americans. Different stories, different music. White America pays attention to Black America because Black America is so profoundly influenced by White America that it offers an interesting (and often really funny) perspective on White America. Mexican America is not nearly so influenced by White America, and so Mexican entertainers don't have the same appeal to White (or Black) America, because they're not holding up a mirror to White society.

Anonymous said...

Why Mexicans love Morrisey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg7IhhHSP_Y

Anonymous said...

Most Americans--especially people in big cities--don't know what happens in Nashville.

Anonymous said...

"Here is the Arizona Republic in English and Spanish.
Here is the Miami Herald in English and Spanish."

English is the new Yiddish.

Anonymous said...

"For American elites, Mexicans and other Central Americans make an ideal new people to elect because they are so little competition for their own kids."

If so, why do they dislike white working class trash? Them dummies don't pose much threat to American elites either.

Anonymous said...

Are Asians smart Mexicans and Mexicans dumb Asians?

Lugash said...

I have noticed the parallel Americas too. I used to believe the myth that newspapers printed a Spanish edition to help the newcomers understand what was going on. Thus, I assumed the Spanish version of any big city paper would be exactly the same as the English version except for the language.

You should watch your local Spanish language TV station, if one is available to you. A lot of the commercials are redone in Spanish, using the same actors. It's strange, it didn't start happening until about 7-8 years ago IIRC. It seems to have shifted the American commercials away from using anyone with blond hair as well.

Thomas O. Meehan said...

It's also noticeable that for all the talk of the new American diversity made manifest by the presidential election, the cable news shows keep increasing the number of black faces without balancing them with Latino ones. CNN has so many black presenters, commentators etc. that you would think ours was a 50% black or better population.

Given the media talking point that the latino vote swung the election, you would think that they would be showcased more in the diversity triumphalist media. Perhaps they are not trusted enough to keep to the PC script.

Anonymous said...

Steve, there was a story in the NYTimes pretty much calling for standardized testing for college graduation...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/opinion/who-will-hold-colleges-accountable.html

which linked to this report on college athletes taking 2 week long online courses from obscure junior colleges in order to be eligible to play.

http://chronicle.com/article/Need-3-Quick-Credits-to-Play/135690/

x said...

the invisibility of mexican americans is especially apparent to me whenever i watch american t.v shows. demographically they mostly resemble america from 1975.

Anonymous said...

Its called "Two Solitudes", Mr Sailer. At least that's what we call it up here in Canada. Essentially the two different language communities in Canada, (Anglophone and Francophone) do not interact at all. Shows you what a powerful force language is in spinning people into or out of a wider cultural circle. I am an unilingual English speaker who has lived in Toronto all my life. A few years ago a major Canadian newspaper here published a story showing photos and names of famous French-Canadians who are all household names in Quebec. I had neevr heard of a single one of them. And I am fairly well read too. I imagine the situation is much the same in the English and Spanish speaking groups in the USA.

Average Joe said...

Although she was bilingual, Rivera sang only in Spanish

Maybe English-speaking Americans would not have ignored her if she hadn't ignored them.

dirk said...

Music is as important to culture as language. Mexican singers wouldn't be noticed by most Americans even if they sang in English; it's the style of the music that turns most Americans off.

It's interesting that Korean pop music has assimilated more with American pop music than Latino pop music has. Travel to South America and, with the exception of Brazil, you notice pretty quickly that rock-n-roll never made it down there.

Music may be a leading indicator of one culture's desire to assimilate with another. E.g., The Beatles never caught on in France but were big, via the black market, in Czechoslovakia.

ironrailsironweights said...

Nerd culture is another sort of culture that exists in parallel to the mainstream culture with relatively little overlap. Were it not for what I've read in the blogosphere I would never have known that things like D&D/WoW/Doctor Who/Magic the Gathering/adult comic books and much else are HUGE among certain segments of the population. Star Trek and Lord of the Rings are two rare examples of nerd icons that have made the transition into mainstream culture.

Peter

Anonymous said...

White elites wringing their hands over browns while pretending rural America is exactly how the LA/NYC cultural axis portrays them.

What hypocrisy?

Anonymous said...

I'll let ya'll in on a little secret. South Americans (especially white ones) detest and look down on Mexicans. Even white Mexicans. They are seen as the lowest of the low (save the islanders).

Another little secret is that Anglos don't tend to distinguish between all the different countries and castes down there. They're all the same to Anglos.

Anonymous said...

they are still seen as indios and proles- probably because they import indio culture (corridas, narco stuff)

Don't know what "corridas" are. But narco stuff seems to be a mestizo and "white Hispanic" thing, not an indio thing.

Anonymous said...

If I was living in Mexico and I wanted Mexicans to care about me or notice me I would speak and or sing (if I was a singer) in Spanish. If I did so in only English, why would I expect Mexicans to care about or notice me?

Anonymous said...

"Hispanic invisibility"...

More like Spanish language invisibility.

Shouting Thomas said...

Ever hear of Los Tigres Del Norte?

The Rolling Stones of narcocorrido.

An incredibly successful band that packs arenas in the U.S. and throughout Mexico.

Jefferson said...

[QUOTE]Music is as important to culture as language. Mexican singers wouldn't be noticed by most Americans even if they sang in English; it's the style of the music that turns most Americans off.[/QUOTE]

Mariachi and Tejano music sounds extremely corny to the ears of the vast majority of Non Hispanics. That is why it has very little appeal outside of the Hispanic community.

That is why Mariachi and Tejano music artists do not perform concerts in parts of the world where the Hispanic population is either very small or non existent. Because there is not a huge demand for that type of Mexican south of the border sombrero music in North Dakota, Israel, South Africa, England, Hong Kong, and Japan for example.

Anonymous said...

Taco Bell and Taco John's have been been popular for decades. Chipotle is more recent and is very popular. Also I believe the recent rise in popularity of "food trucks" started with the popularity of a taco or burrito dish food truck in southern Cal.

Anonymous said...

Peter The Shark - o/t, but if you liked Sandy Denny there's this Dutch band that keep the flame burning. Pretty damn good and I'm a Sandy addict.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfXQyOFoMDM



SF said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/12/jacob-roberts-oregon-mall-shooting_n_2287745.html#slide=1874398

The Portland shooter, sadly, appears to be Native American.

Rygee said...

Oh the irony of having this conversation today, El Dia de la Virgen! Is no one aware that we are in the midst of one of the largest religious celebrations of the year? Parades, pilgrimages, and megamasses have been going on all over the country all week. 80,000 participated in the early festivities in East LA. Tonight 250,000 are expected at the Des Plaines, IL shrine. Catholic commentators have dubbed this annual celebration as the Superbowl of American Catholicism. It may surprise some to know that 40% of all Catholics in the US between 30 and 50 years old are Hispanic. In the 18-29 age group, over 50% are.

ted talks too much said...

Unlike the singer who, according to Arellano, has been so unjustly ignored by the crass, bigoted "gabachos" - the word Arellano always uses for white Americans in his "thoughtful" and "amusing" column - Arellano himself is probably largely unknown in the Hispanic community, since he mostly writes for self-hating white leftists and hipsters.

Gustavo Arellano = Gusano, "worm" in Spanish

Anonymous said...

Well Blacks grow a lot slower than hsipanics, in the south only a small group of black immirgants and blacks in the south are not that much youunger than whites, so how could the babies in MS or Georgia be a majority. Hispanics on the other hand are younger and even with immirgation slowly probably gain that way and in a state like Texas about 47 percent of the kids 12 and under and hispanic mainly Mexican. So I see Texas changing before MS and possibly Georgia. In the case of Georgia it depends if blacks relocated from other states.

Cornelius said...

How much of Hispanic invisibility is just American ignorance of other cultures? Maybe it's our large population size or something else unique to our culture, but Americans are very ignorant of other cultures compared to other Westerners. Maybe we think Hispanics are invisible because we just don't pay attention.

peterike said...

Well I wish to honor Ms. Rivera's passing with a musical tribute from a Canadian band, Wolf Parade. I give you, with feeling, their lyrics from "I'll Believe in Anything."

I said nobody knows you
and nobody gives a damn
I said nobody knows you
and nobody gives a damn either way
About your blood
your bones
your voice
and ghost
because nobody knows you
and nobody gives a damn either way


Thank you, and good night!

Strauss said...

Mexican here, i also didn't know who Jenny Rivera was, but aparently she was indeed popular because the media has given her much coverage the past days.

To Flavia claiming that "corridas and narco stuff" are indio, you are wrong, first it is not corridas but "corridos" and these are songs which narrate stories, not necessarily about narcos, but often. Narcos are predominantly from the north of the country, which is heavily white. Mestizos (which i am) predominate on the center and south of the country, and the amerindians live mostly in the south, this is also where many inmigrants to the US come from as they are the most impoverished sector.

And yes, we are somewhat looked down by some latin american countries, mostly because of our appearence and stereotypes (lazy, low iq) which often are true. Truth to be told, none of these countries is really great and we are economically doing even better than most of them, and with some exceptions (particularly Argentina) many countries have a large segment of the population of mixed race.

Anonymous said...

You notice how there are no Mexicans in any commercials, but they always have to have a black guy having beers and watching the game with the white guys? Not to mention the black guy with the white woman in commercials.

Anonymous said...

"Americans are fiercely reluctant to embrace any culture beyond our shores."

It has nothing to do with shores and almost everything to do with language. British, Australian, Irish, Anglo-Canadian music has been welcome in America for decades. Americans are not used to hearing people sing in other languages or to watching subtitled movies. I don't know if the rise of China will change that. Perhaps it will not. Most of the world's peoples are very used to listening to music in languages they do not understand, to watching subtitled and dubbed movies.

Auntie Analogue said...


My dear Peter the Shark:

Oh, yes, Sandy Denny was a huge talent - a fabulous singer and sophisticated, versatile musician. Thank you for giving her fitting mention, which proves that you cannot have succeeded completely at arresting your development.

top 40 said...

It's similar to the confused look you'll get from urban blue-staters when you tell them that both Garth Brooks and George Strait

Here's a free idea for a future Taki's column if Sailer wants it: how the hell did the Country & Western format *NOT* die in the 80s, as many urban sophisticates were predicting? The purists will quibble that today's "pop country" bears little resemblance to Loretta Lynn or George Jones, but that's the interesting part, i.e. how exactly did Nashville adapt and survive? (I think latching onto the 90s trend of faux-feminism was one tactic) A native from Southern California--such as myself--might not realize it's the premiere market for this current country-ish music, depending on which ZIP code he grew up in, sort of like how you can draw a surprised reaction by talking about the millions of registered Republicans within a half-hour drive from NYC

fan of whiskey chan said...

""Americans are fiercely reluctant to embrace any culture beyond our shores."

It has nothing to do with shores and almost everything to do with language. British, Australian, Irish, Anglo-Canadian music has been welcome in America for decades. Americans are not used to hearing people sing in other languages or to watching subtitled movies."

my 900GB of anime and *cough*hentai*cough* disagrees.

hossman said...

They won't be noticed until they are gone, taking the whole southwest with them. aye de mi....

Anonymous said...

The whole world is essentially adopting English as the de facto world language. But a particular group within the USA is going against the grain by using Spanish. Yet we are the ones who are ridiculed as provincial. Aren't the folks clinging to Spanish, and not joining the rest of us, the provincial ones?

PS, Here is nice writeup by a Japanese professor on why the world is learning English. Maybe our Hispanics should take a look.

flavia said...

@Strauss

I was referring to narcocorridos or corridas or whatever. Like that Sinaloa stuff....Grupo Cartel etc.

And yeah, I think all Latin American countries look down on each other. Nationalism is especially important when you know your country sucks.

I am a pale Caucasian and some fat Cuban chonga referred to me as an India because she heard me speak without that horrid Cuban accent. So I think the hatred is wide-spread. I laugh when I hear politicians talk about the "Hispanic community"....

Strangely enough I think people are MORE nationalistic when they move to the US.

Anonymous said...

20% of Mexicans are not fluent in Spanish and more than that are not literate in any language.

The Japanese spend many years in English classes in school but maybe two or three percent can carry on a conversation in English. I worked for a Japanese car shop in the late 70s and had to call Japan a few times to try to get some Japanese hot rod parts for our race car. It was impossible to do business by phone. They put me on a JAL flight out with a bank check for twenty thousand dollars in yen and I shipped piles of Weber Mikuni carbs, headers, cams and racer gimme's and swag back.

I'm into high end tube audio now and it's the same thing. See those output transformers and cartridges and RIAA hybri modules? You might as well fly over and pick them up because not one of the places in Musen-To-Jikken or Stereo Sound will talk to you in English on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Gustavo Arellano and Ruben Navarette are the two biggest La Raza racists in California (maybe the whole country.)

Doesn't surprise me a bit that the MSM would quote Arellano!

Londoner said...

Anonymous two days ago said: "You notice how there are no Mexicans in any commercials, but they always have to have a black guy having beers and watching the game with the white guys? Not to mention the black guy with the white woman in commercials."

This phenomenon has gone crazy over here in the past few years. Almost literally every television commercial now has to feature at least one black person, and if the number of people on screen exceeds ~3, the probability rises to 1. It is so blatant that it is almost funny. Even normally PC friends have begun remarking on it

Less interesting "minorities" (hang on, in this Globalised World in which we live in, how do Pakistanis get to be a minority when there are 200 million of them and only 45 million of us?) barely get a look in. The media is fascinated and obsessed by blacks.

Anonymous said...

Londoner said...

"The media is fascinated and obsessed by blacks".

This is AUSTER'S FIRST LAW OF MAJORITY-MINORITY RELATIONS IN LIBERAL SOCIETY.

"The worse any designated minority or alien group behaves in a liberal society, the bigger becomes the lies of Political Correctness in covering up for that group."

Blacks are easily the worst minority group, from the point of view of crime, violence, productivity, I.Q, social harmony, etc. Thus the media must work overtime to spin them into 'good guys'.

David said...

If you're going to sing in X language, don't expect to be a household name in Z country.

Isn't that logical? Just how many French pop singers are you crazy about if you're any nationality other than French?

France speaks French.
Mexico speaks Spanish (of a kind).
America speaks English.

I never heard of that other Mexican singer who got stabbed to death by her maid about 10 years ago, either.

David said...

>if the number of people on screen exceeds ~3, the probability rises to 1 [that at least one will be black].<

This is actually an official guideline among advertisers. Dammit, can't remember where I learned it; will check around and try to find the source. Meanwhile, look at any K-Mart, Walmart, or JC Penney circular and just count, if you want strong circumstantial evidence.

We are underwater in a media sea... and in it, ~12% = ~33.34%.