Made in Mexico? Over the years I have been observing how other cultures appropriate Mexican culture to capitalize on Mexican culture in proper Scandinavia. Everything from music, regalia & food is sold to an unsuspecting crowd unawares that the cultural vendors are not Mexicans themselves. I realized this a long time ago, let us say about ten years or so, because as a North American Mexican in Scandinavia my want of Mexican vittles & byproducts thereby overexceed my own good senses. As soon as I hear about a cultural event being flagged as Mexican be it by the Mexican Embassy or cultural associations, I run towards it ready to be embraced by it like a baby in the arms of its beloved mother. So I participate in these events yearning for a little of everything & some cultural communing with my own kin. Alas! Nada, sheer despair and utter confusion ensues.
I can honestly say that I’ve turned a blind eye to this global phenomena in sheer disbelief & aghast because I’ve now swallowed enough bitter disappointment to make me see that most Mexican events also include a host of cultural vendors who aren’t necessarily who they say they are or represent. Hope is the last thing to die. The cultural barters aren’t themselves Mexicans but pass off as such. I notice that these cultural capitalists vultures are not Mexican the moment one tries to connect. More often than not they are not from Mexico. It is rather embarrassing for both parties to rip the very fabric of illusion these cultural actors insist in portraying as if no one will notice the ugly sham. They persist in presenting to the onlooker a Mexican fantasy & coyly go on to pretend no one has seen the unseen.
It is akin accidentally opening the bathroom in a public space only to see it occupied. I want to say global village be damned but if imitation is the highest form of flattery & gives jobs to other cultures, well pride be damned. Although I draw the line at food, just saying. I was in Copenhagen not so long ago and I realized that Mexican food is not what it was a few years ago. The cultural brand is but a mere market product of a supply meeting a demand. Mexico is hot and I suffer its popularity. One wonders if Chinese citizens feel the same way. Or if Italians ever felt like I do now. How to deal with it, if the aforementioned cultures haven’t staved the flow of their brand being misused to appease a popular trend, then what is one to do. We all saw it years ago, Taco Bell gave us decades ago a taste already and we munched happily at it.
Some things to take in consideration however, are in order. Proceed with caution as you approach these capitalist vultures feeding off a cultural trend that apparently gives off good dividends. Approach with maximum care and innocence before jumping in wholeheartedly unto the said product at hand. Some critical thinking and journalistic thinking is in order here. Is it really Mexican? Ask questions. Is the cook Mexican? Ask where are they from in México. Some vendors are savvy, they know our country, so do not be fooled by their lingo. These people are selling a product to appease a foreign market, not your nationalistic desires.
Be ready to be disappointed. Meals might be presented as Mexican but are far from it. Even products *Made in México* are not safe from the claws of the markets. Fakes are sold as originals as elsewhere.