One poster responded:
My wife is from Mexico City, she knew the historical significance, but said that maybe they do something in Puebla but it isn't celebrated by anyone she has ever known in Mexico. As an American, I wouldn't say it is celebrated here either, just an excuse for people to get drunk. People have to know what something is to celebrate it, right? and Americans know nothing about Cinco de Mayo except "Mexico" "holiday" and "drinking". In other words... nothing about what it really is. What they are really celebrating is getting drunk in the name of Mexico.This seemed to be a common theme, a Mexican contempt for the over-the-top celebrations (and the ignorance that fueled them) of Cinco de Mayo north of the border. For some, the reasons are historical. One offered, by way of local knowledge, a "balanced" analysis of the history involved:
Puebla es (aún hoy día) una ciudad netamente conservadora. En la época de la intervención Francesa, la sociedad Poblana (y gran parte de la de la ciudad de México) estaba a favor de que un país tan avanzado como Francia tomara el poder en México y nos gobernara. Esto era visto como necesario por parte de quienes creían que no había otra manera de pacificar el país (que llevaba 50 años enfrascado en guerras civiles). Los liberales de esa época, consideraban que esta actitud era una actitud vendepatrias y a todos los que ansiaban un gobierno Francés, traidores a la patria. Nomás hay que recordar que, mientras que la alta sociedad Poblana era pro intervención, las clases bajas apoyaban al gobierno de Juárez y murieron en gran número defendiendo la ciudad (que finalmente cayó). Así que sería más justo decir que la Alta sociedad conservadora Poblana si puede ser acusada de traición, mientras que el Pueblo poblano tuvo una actitud heróica.Another was less equanimous:
Hay un refrán: "A perro, perico y poblano, nunca le des la mano."
Todos por acá recuerdan que durante la invasión estadounidense los poblanos recibieron con los brazos abiertos y hasta alimentaron a los gringos, tanto así que el desgraciado del general Scott armó con poblanos la "Mexican Spy Company", para usarlos de ayuda en la guerra (gracias a su ayuda, los gringos luego atraparon a los del Batallón de San Patricio, en la batalla de Churubusco).
Nunca olvidaremos, nunca perdonaremos.Yet another poster addressed the article directly, with a more mature criticism (that still stung a little bit) but a wistful, almost poetic, look at a severed population, and what s/he calls "the mythology of the expat":
Este artículo falla en desentrañar los aspectos más obscuros y profundos del aparentemente inocente "Cinco de Mayo". Es verdad que corresponde a una nostalgia por la patria abandonada de los ancestros, y que es la desconexión casi total con la cultura madre lo que lleva a los Mexicanos-Americanos a celebrar este día con el fervor del día de la Independencia. Sin embargo, esto es un análisis superficial de los móviles socio-psciológicos que crearon la fiesta en su manifestación actual.
La masa no se moviliza sola, sino que corresponde a empresas, sobre todo en EEUU, moldear y explotar la necesidad de mitología de los expatriados. No debería llamarse Cinco de Mayo, que como bien apuntan, no es celebrado en el interior de la República, y no significa nada históricamente, sino "Corona Day", porque finalmente fue un "día festivo" planeado por ellos, para su beneficio, y que al final del día solo representa "cultura light", donde celebrar consiste en tomar Corona y tequila, y creer que por hacerlo estás honrado, recordando, etc. a una cultura que se te escapó para siempre.Lastly, two short posts that were informative, to the point... and in English:
WE, born and raised in Mexico, know exactly what Cinco de Mayo is. The most that we would get close to celebrat[ing it], is holiday at school, meaning NO SCHOOL. I felt actually embarrassed when I moved to the US, and found out that even Mexican-American[s] celebrated in a bigger way May 5th, rather than September 16th [Mex. Declaration of Independence], and even angry, when nobody even acknowledged November 20th (Mexican Revolution). Most Mexican-Americans come from born-and-raised Mexican parents, and it's a shame that they have forgotten to teach their children about Mexican culture.And simply:
Ahem. Mexicans know about their own history. You are confusing Mexicans with Mexican Americans.But I reserve the place of honor for the response that actually fried my cookies. I might well deserve snark from Mexicans, who ostensibly know a thing or two more about Cinco de Mayo than I, but when a (non-Mexican) MA TESOL-holding ESL professor who cut his teeth teaching adults in Southern California (no shortage of Mexican-Americans there, last I checked), and who has now become an expat teaching English in the Middle East, wrote the following, not on my blog page, not in reddit.com (where people will write anything – one Mexican poster wrote, in response to my blog, “[¡]Señor escritor, usted es una verga parada!”), but on the page of a members-only professional ESL discussion board, the following:
"I think it's offensive that a country that dumps its worst criminals and low lifes [sic] feels entitled to tell America how to treat them. Why don't you ask Mexicans to celebrate holidays in El Salvador? Do you know what kind of response you'll get? Better yet, try teaching Mexicans in the slums of Long Beach or Compton. People like you are the reason America is losing sovereignty."
I just had to respond in kind. Call it a pathological weakness.
"People like you are the reason America is losing sovereignty" ???? You and I, sir, are going to have a problem.
I taught Mexicans in the slums of the San Francisco Bay Area - Oakland, San Jose, East Palo Alto, Hayward... for 15 years. I know that of which I speak. "People like you," sir, to use your ignorant turn of phrase (did you even look at my profile to see my experience before you called me out for what I have and have not experienced in my professional career?) are the reason why "people like me" blog. If you are so concerned about America's sovereignty and the state of its national integrity, why don't you come back from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia [Note: poster has spent 2 of the last 3 years teaching English in S.A. and Kuwait] and be part of the solution, instead of hurling firebrands at the stonework from a distance?
Further, with regard to your opening salvo ("I think it's offensive that a country that dumps its worst criminals and low lifes [sic] feels entitled to tell America how to treat them..."), your ability to compound logical fallacies is truly staggering. "A country that dumps its worst criminals..." implies volition which is unfounded, is a grotesque straw man hyperbole of Mexico itself as a nation, and an utter non sequitur in that it is completely irrelevant to my thesis. In fact, if you actually read my blog (which I'm pretty sure you did not, since your retort is so completely off-topic and irrelevant) you would have read the part where I acknowledged, "the Mexico of the 20th and 21st centuries did/does not appear to have held up the glorious promise of its inspiring foundational period..." but why ruin a perfectly good rant with inconsequential irrelevancies like detail, precision, clarity, accuracy, and nuance?
Your follow-up ("Why don't you ask Mexicans to celebrate holidays in El Salvador?") is equally silly and irrelevant. First of all, Mexicans would not celebrate a holiday *in* El Salvador. Perhaps you meant to ask "Why don't you ask Mexicans to celebrate Salvadorean holidays?" Ahhh, now that's a relevant question, to which I have two answers: 1.) If the E.S. holidays are relevant/germane to the historical legacy of Mexico, then sure; 2.) Again, further proof that you did not actually read my post, you missed the part (right at the end, in a paragraph all by itself) that read "Is it appropriate to recognize a non-U.S. holiday in the U.S.? Does it set us down a slippery slope? I dunno, I’m just [asking]"
So you see, the very purpose of the blog was to stimulate discussion. You sir, are clearly not interested in discussion; you prefer the name-calling approach. That's fine, I have thick skin. I see that you have a few years of ESL experience, mostly with older learners, in California, so I won't accuse you of not knowing anything (despite evidence to the contrary) but I will merely say that my 15 years teaching English and Spanish and ESL in largely Chicano areas in California, plus my Spanish, English and ESL teaching at the college and university level, plus my experiences as an adviser for Latinos Unidos and MEChA, plus my work as a Department Chair in Spanish and ESL, plus my curriculum work in developing Spanish for Native Speakers programs, plus my research in the sociolinguistics of Hispanic speech communities, plus my extensive community outreach during my secondary teaching years, plus my MA TESOL and Linguistics degree, plus my three teaching credentials in English, ESL and Spanish, plus my postbac studies in Mexican and Latin American History, plus my social and professional relationships in the Chicano community, plus a couple of other things, all add up to something you should consider not dismissing so cavalierly, and in spectacularly embarrassing fashion, if I do say so myself.
Stay in the Middle East. I'm sure you won't have to deal with any Mexicans there; they are obviously anathema to you. Good luck in your career. I hope you are able to find a corner of the world for your intolerance to relax comfortably unchallenged.
How dare you.I’m actually (surprisingly) very conservative when it comes to immigration issues, certainly more conservative than most ESL professors, I’d wager. But I also don’t think that my initial post had anything to do with immigration reform, nor did it have anything to do with ceding anything to a Mexico that this fellow seems to think “dumps its worst criminals and low lifes [sic] [and] feels entitled to tell America how to treat them.” I simply pointed out that, at its roots, the Mexican Constitution of 1857 (the beginning of their first truly long-term stable period as an independent nation), and the Declaration of Independence share a lot more than most people would ever guess, and that the heroics of the Battle of Puebla should remind us of our own selves. We are so used to seeing difference in others (refer to my blog post on just this very issue); when we have an opportunity to see affinity, we should seize on it.
So did I overreact? (I do tend to do that.) Was my response too much? I dunno, I’m just A.S.K.ing…