Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Guanajuato, Mexico . Books, Critics, and MORE!

What Americans seem to want is a book that tells them what to do. Not what they want to know, but what to do. I am convinced of this. When I wrote the book, THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICO, what absolutely caught me off guard was the plethora of accusations by Americans that the book was for "the I hate America crowd." These people, did not "get it" at all.

I wrote about what Americans tend to do when they move to Mexico. Under the guise of "retirement" they move to Mexico and ended up hating it. What they did, and this was in the early days of the "South-of-the-Border Exodus to Mexico, was "change what they did not like by conforming it to their American tastes and images.

You see, the vast majority of Americans especially, do not move to Mexico to learn Spanish and absorb and assimilate into the culture. No! They do not! They move here to change culture and in some cases, as in San Miguel de Allende, they have totally changed the culture into something unrecognizable.

I wrote THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICO in an attempt to try and convince Americans not to move here unless they plan on becoming fluent in Spanish, live in the culture, and for all practical purposes, BE MEXICAN WHEN LIVING HERE.

That is not what Americans do.

To support my thesis, an attempt I already know is doomed to fail, I quote from two sources:

1) Sheila Croucher professor of political science at Miami University in Ohio and author, most recently, of Globalization and Belonging: The Politics of Identity in a Changing World, says is her article: THEY LOVE US HERE :

Here are some of this professor’s conclusions about the American gringo population in San Miguel de Allende:

· San Miguel de Allende attracts one of the largest foreign populations in Mexico.

· Most do not learn the local language and reside and socialize within an isolated cultural enclave. These immigrants practice their own cultural traditions and celebrate their national holidays. Grocery stores are stocked with locally unfamiliar products that hail from their homeland.

· American professionals largely work illegally in San Miguel and pay no taxes.

· They typically do not pay their servants the Social Security taxes required by law.

· The illegal businesses run by the American gringo community rips off the local San Miguel de Allende government in excess of more than four million pesos a year in unpaid taxes.

· Some Americans are actually illegal aliens and do not bother with proper documentation.

· Some are even involved in the Illegal Drug Trade and take drugs across the different Mexican state lines.

And...make careful note of this. I have written more than 100 articles mentioning and quoting from Professor Croucher liberally and never once...NOT EVEN ONCE...have the San Miguel de Allende Cultural Imperialist taken me to task over issues. Rather, universally and without exception, I receive the most vile hate mail from the most screwed up lunatics whose email content range from profane name calling to death threats. I might mention for the sake of argument that Guanajuato, where I live, has their share of loony bird Gringos that also have actually sent emails telling me that they want to kill me.

There's got to be at least one gringo in the Cultural Imperialist's Colonies who is not addicted to drugs and alcohol who can engage in a decently constructed argument.

Read Professor's Croucher's article for yourself.

2) Another source which I have used over and over again and to which the SMA Imperialists NEVER are able to make a response worth reading is Why We Left San Miguel de Allende, by Bill Davies/Karen Harding

"We came to San Miguel de Allende in order to experience Mexican culture and Mexican life. Instead, we found ourselves surrounded by the aspects of American culture and American life which we had always managed to avoid in the States, and which we went to Mexico to avoid. In the States, the self-centered, arrogant, entitled, consumerist people--the “Ugly Americans”-- are scattered and have little effect on us. In San Miguel, one can't ignore them--they're concentrated in a small area, twirling and meddling, always in one’s face, always acting so, um, American. Ironically, we saw more of the worst aspects of American behavior and values in SMA than we did in the States. As someone from another part of Mexico once remarked to us, “Oh, yes, San Miguel--that’s the place where the people iron their jeans.”

Read Bill Davies/Karen Harding's entire story here. It is impressive and also supports what I have been trying to do in my writing.

What most Americans tend to do when coming to Mexico is to engage in the practice Cultural Imperialism.

That is what THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN AMERICA is all about. That was my motive. And, amazingly my detractors think it is a book for THE I HATE AMERICA CROWD.

You see what I mean about American Gringos?

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