Monday, July 14, 2008

The Most Hated Gringo in the World Report - 3

Have you ever noticed that most Americans radically confuse the concepts of slander, libel, and defamation? When they read something, which in many cases is very true of themselves, they jump on the slander bandwagon and begin counting the dollars they think their lawyers are going to win in a lawsuit.

Last year, one of the Gringolandians in the State of Guanajuato wrote me an email asking why don't go and live in Iraq. You know the place. That's where writers who express a contrary view or a difference of opinion are relieved of their heads and have the video played all over the Internet.

My latest run-in with slander accusers has been with a prominent online article directory where I've had my articles banked since March 2005. They've begun censoring my articles based on their loosey-goosey claim that at least two articles, if not more, "might be" insulting to Mexicans.

Now, before we go on, let's get on the same page as to what is and what is not "slander" or "libel."

"In law, defamation (also called vilification, slander, and libel) is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressively stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. Slander refers to a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism." (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

For emphasis, I have highlighted in bold print the words, "false claim, false," and "groundless criticism."

These are, in my view, what my attorney means when she tells me "Truth is the answer to all claims of libel." Though you can get yourself taken to the cleaners legally for invasion of privacy, if you make claims, as I have in my over three hundred articles on Mexican and Gringolandian culture, that can be substantiated, then truth wins every time over someone claiming to have their Pink Panties all twisted in a knot over something I've written that the poor Gringolandian might take as harder to swallow than all those pills and booze they are reported to be fond of.

The editor at this extremely well known online article directory claims my articles are "risky" because they might offend Mexicans. Does this person think I am making all this stuff up?

I wrote this woman and told her I can most certainly name the Mexican people from shopkeepers to University Professors who have kindly sat me down and told me the things about the culture that I've reported in my writing.

I can introduce you to the shopkeeper who told us these Mexican women who shove you out of the way to get waited first at a counter are "Malcriadas." I can introduce you to the life-long and very rich Guanajuato woman who told us the further north you go in Mexico the better treatment of Gringos will be found. I can sit you down to supper with the Mexican University Professor who told us the Northern Mexican states have no lost love for those who live in the southern portion of Mexico.

How is this slander when my claims are not groundless?
Note it is Gringos, Americans with zero understanding of Mexican culture, who object to my writing as being slander or libel. And yet, not one of them has offered a shred of evidence that what I've written is "false claim, false," and/or "groundless criticism."

Why do Americans do this? If the many Gringolandians and how they think are indeed Microcosms of the larger American picture, then here's a possible answer:

What I've been writing about since 2005 with much alacrity is how life for the American expat in Mexico basically falls into two classifications. First, there are the Expats who actually live in the trenches. We live in Mexican neighborhoods and that's because we bothered to try to become bilingual. We actually go where Mexicans go, live where they live, eat where and how they eat, and we talk to Mexicans offering them the utmost respect by the fact we learned (are learning) their language and can learn the who, what, when, where, and how of Mexican life.

The second classification of Americans is the Fakepats. They will tell everyone they are expatriates when the truth is they only live in the Gringolandias (a gringo enclave-gated community) apart and separate from the life and culture of the country they've invaded. While everyone else on the planet understands that if you profess to want to know the local culture, it only makes sense for you to live in the local culture but this seems to go over the heads of the Gringolandians!

An excellent way of thinking about this bizarre and inexplicable thing called Gringolandia and her inhabitants is to think of a theatrical stage. (I actually got this analogy from someone else).

Theatrical stage performances show make-believe life. They have fake storefronts, homes, props, and backdrops to create the impression of a different and fake reality on the stage. Life that takes place on the stage is a fake and scripted mockery of reality. Its purpose is to entertain those watching. And yet, the actors in the play act as though what they are doing is very, very real. To hell with reality, they say, we are live on stage. What we are doing is real.

Offstage and outside the walls of the theater is where life is really taking place. This is where you find the true-life dramas taking place in the lives of those who do not live onstage and who follow the scripted fakery. It is beyond the four walls of the theater where you will discover a world you didn't know existed. It is beyond the walls where you discover a darker side of the culture you moved into because of your profession that you love Mexico.

Because you won't (can't) leave the theatrical stage where you are told what to say in the script, your profession of a love for the culture is vain and empty.

The ticket off the stage, stopping that scripted existence, will be the language-the portal to the culture.

The beginning step to earning the Mexicans' respect? Learn their language.

But, alas, "to hell with reality" is far too easy for most.

On that scripted stage of fakery and make-believe most will stay.


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