Years ago, I was looking up flights to Mexico City from Chicago since that is where I fly out of to get into Mexico City.
Anyhow, my dad caught wind of me trying to purchase a flight using some Mexican airline and tried to persuade me into not flying with them.
In his words, “you can’t use that airline. It’s Mexican. They probably fly drinking tequila and are not well trained.”
Now take that for how you will!
A Mexican friend of mine named Angie though didn’t like the sound of that as we were walking down Reforma when I got back to Mexico City.
“hmmmm…..sounds….uhhh….hmmmmm…..that’s not nice to say” was how she put it.
And, to be fair, other folks sometimes think the same way about Latin American countries!
As I wrote here, I’ve literally met folks who have had the idea that certain common goods and services don’t exist in Latin America.
To summarize that article…
When I was in college, I remember some chick asking me how “we’ll stay in touch” while I began living in Latin America.
In her mind, she thought that Argentina didn’t have “the internet” or computers and so “how will we stay in touch?”
When I went to Colombia, someone was curious about if they had phones or phone service in that country.
For Mexico, I remember my grandma asking if “they have cars” in that country.
Among other things I could list.
Now, to be fair, this all sounds pretty fucking ridiculous.
Pilots who drink tequila on the job?
No internet in Argentina?
No phones in Colombia?
No cars in Mexico?
It does sound pretty fucking absurd!
Who would believe such a thing?!
Though, being honest, I think it comes from a lot of ignorance and also a mental barrier between understanding thyself and “the other.”
And, to be honest, I’ve been guilty of the same thing!
Watching Movies with Latinas
Now, to be fair, I don’t doubt that any Latin country lacks the basics of cars, internet, proper pilots and more.
Full confidence there!
But yeah….I’ve been guilty, you know?
Though I’d say my guilt on this topic has more to do with culture and material things.
Most commonly, I like to watch movies with Latinas.
Well, only ones that I have had sex with.
Once I’ve had sex with some random chick down here, I like to bring them into my comfort zone.
Part of that comfort zone is watching a movie in my apartment these days.
Especially as, in the last year, I’ve spent so much time watching movies and listening to music.
So, during those moments, I’d bring a gal over.
We’d lay in bed together and I’d have my Youtube account open in front of us.
Not being much of a Netflix guy, we’d always pick among whatever Youtube movies I have available.
And, being like most women, they just go along with whatever I suggest.
But usually I’d ask stuff like “so you prefer comedy? Action? What type of film?”
Based on my informal study of Mexican women, it sure seems like they mostly prefer comedy and romance!
Now, lacking in the romance department, that means we have to go with comedy.
Usually that means something like the Royal Tenenbaums, Bad Santa, American Psycho, etc.
Either way, we pick a movie and get watching.
In doing so, there is always a part of me that wonders “do they get it?”
Not because they aren’t laughing…
They always do!
But, being from another culture, you do wonder if “they get it.”
On one level, that can mean understanding the English if there are not Spanish subtitles.
When I was watching a movie named Goodfellas with a friend named Angie, it was that way.
It became clear that, despite her strong English skills, she didn’t get all of the slang.
Which is normal – don’t expect me either to understand all Spanish slang either.
Beyond that though, you do wonder other things….
Do they get it?
Meaning – at the very least – do they get the humor?
Do Mexicans, Colombians, Bolivians and whatever type of Latino…
Do they get American humor?
Afterall, I’m watching this movie with you….
I do wonder if they “get” all the aspects of American humor in some of the movies?
But, at the same time, I don’t like asking if “they get it” because I feel that can be seen as rude to them.
Especially as, in my experience, some Latinos can really take it up the ass when you somehow imply that their English isn’t good enough to understand something…
Though, in this case, it isn’t about the English (especially when subtitles are involved), but more that does American humor translate to the humor of some of these countries down here?
Not always I find.
Though, in general, I do think that enough of it does as, from my observations, I don’t think that the cultural differences are necessarily that huge.
However, it does depend on the country and her specific background obviously.
And, to be fair, it might not be her fault!
When I was watching Fight Club with subtitles one time, I did find that their translated subtitles into Spanish were not always very tight.
Sometimes, they did seem a bit “too literal” if you get what I mean?
Beyond all of that, there are obvious historical things that they might not get when watching a movie that invokes a bit of history from your own country.
Stuff you might need to explain.
The Final Point
Either way, I find my own cases of wondering if “they get it” might not be as extreme as the earlier examples brought up.
Though, to be fair, I can’t say I am above that either.
Before I traveled to Latin America, I don’t know if I ever doubted that any country down here had internet, cars or whatever else.
I don’t remember ever having the thought but I didn’t think about this region very much either.
So who knows what I would’ve thought.
However, I wasn’t surprised or shocked when I arrived here and saw common things like those things above.
So I guess not.
Either way, I guess there’s really two points here…
First, to reaffirm that some people (maybe a rare few or who knows) do doubt how common certain goods or items are down here.
Especially if their travel experience is minimal and if they carry certain beliefs.
Second, and more importantly, there is always that “us vs them” mentality.
It manifests itself in different ways.
Not always in a negative way though!
Not always in a way like “oh, I’m better than they are!”
Or an insecurity of “they must feel better than me!”
Though both thoughts can exist!
And do often among foreigners living down here.
However, mixed with the outsider effect, it isn’t hard and is quite natural to see yourself as different from locals down here.
In both positive, negative and neutral ways.
Sometimes though, to be fair, in ways that might seem absurd to the locals.
Still, it’s not always absurd.
When watching a movie with a local, it might be absurd to a degree.
Or it might be rational.
Depending on the concern you have.
For me, I don’t think it was always irrational to wonder “do the subtitles translate correctly? Does American humor translate properly? Do they get the historical references?”
Though, for some, to question if “American humor” translates properly might be seen offensive by some insecure locals who want to feel like they “get it” with everything from our homeland.
Regardless, that’s all I got to say.
Hopefully I drove the point home – felt like I drove it all over the place but these were the thoughts I had in the order I had them.
Leave any comments below in the comment section.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.