A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

domingo, junho 30, 2002

Here's a pleasant response to my recent Jewish Journal article on how Jews can sell Israel to Latinos...

As Jews in Los Angeles have been warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks targeting them it is astounding that you would suggest we have to "sell" ourselves to "Progressive Latnos"! If Latina girls are calling themselves Palestinians i.e. terrorists then there is only one good reason: they're fools. And, if the Mexican community has one reason for supporting us Jews in our time of crisis it is because we provide most of the jobs, legal counseling and medical care that draws them across the border! I say fuck you!

My response...

With all due respect, your comments are unwarranted (especially regarding Mexicans; please remember that my article dealt with Latinos, not specifically Mexicans). I'm sure we both agree that there is much disinformation being spread about the reality of the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. However, Palestinian student organizations have done an amazing (in the literal sense) job of getting their view across while Hillel rests mostly on its sense of having the higher moral ground. While this is correct, it's also insular and explains why there's so many progressive Latinos supporting the Palestinian cause and not as many even bothering to know what Jews are doing. It's not stupidity; it's knowing more about one side because the other side doesn't engage in information battles. Thank you for your response.

I expect more letters to come shortly...
I have no idea what I'm doing with anything.

sábado, junho 29, 2002

I'm really not sure what to do of my boredom anymore.

sexta-feira, junho 28, 2002

A whole lot of things to report...where to begin?


All my days are at the Weekly offices. I commit myself to writing the equivalent of a CD review a day--250 words. While that might not seem like a lot, keep in mind this is a minimum. I usually publish at least 1,000 words a week and sometimes a hell of a lot more.

After work yesterday, I went to Lee's Sandwiches to treat AH to lunch as appreciation for her well-written article. She's a recently-graduated high schooler who has the right ideas about how crazy this modern world is. Good time had by all. That is my new editorial policy; I will take anyone who writes for OC Latino out for lunch. God knows I know great places.

After that, came home and worked on my article on the game Counterstrike. Details to come next week...

Around 10, I went to JC Fandango's for their quarterly Skandangolandia. But before that, I received an email from someone I thought I would never hear from again: ! (I'm still debating whether I should refer to her by the exclamation. I think I will.). Needless to say, conflicting emotions went into overdrive on my part; who knows about the other.

But I had a concert to attend, so I met up with the fabulous Gonzalez sisters G and A. They have an even younger one but I forget my name. G in particular always introduces me to musicians or people in the REE industry and last night was no different.

I heard a great jump-blues band from Texas, Los Skarnales. I bought the CD but from the little that I heard, it didn't capture their great live act at all. Then again, maybe I need to take a second hear because I was swimming in Cuba Libres


Got my ass handed to me by my editor. That's a good thing. Got my ass handed to me by Poland while I was Argentina in FIFA 2002. That wasn't.


Who the hell knows? All I know in my life is my motto (I should copywrite it, being the intellectual capitalist that I am):

Never a dull moment.
I have a lot of things to report, but readers will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meanwhile, this observation:

I apologize for my ingratitude, God, but I am hurt that you have never granted for me the most important thing in my life. Why not? I have been good with a relatively moral life. But You don't hear my prayers or rather, refuse to listen to them. Such is the glory of You. But don't be angry that I'm angry with You.

quinta-feira, junho 27, 2002

God can be mean. But what can one do?

quarta-feira, junho 26, 2002

I got my heart broken today.

I came back to tie Spain in the second round in FIFA 2002 (I was Sweden) but they came back to win with a golden goal. Why must the Spaniards always win?

Did nothing much at all. Finished a story but still waiting on it. We will see how it goes tomorrow.

One thing I have been doing is being a good editor for OC Latino...I think.

terça-feira, junho 25, 2002

I went to the gym today for the first time in almost a year. I've always had a membership to Bally's but I never use it much because I always have more interesting things to do. Sculpting my body has never much appealed to me nor keeping my weight down. I've always been a skinny guy with a bit of a stomach but nothing so drastic as to call for a diet (besides, I would rather get obese than diet; no one will prohibit me from food!).

They have done a lot of remodeling to the place, namely knocking down walls to make it more of a meat market than it tends to be. If you watch television, you'll remember that Bally's has those near-pornographic commericals aimed directly at women essentially stating that your reason for living is to please a man. These commercials come with many erect nipples--as if women are getting sexual release from jumping up and down.

I usually go at 6 in the morning and therefore am accustomed to seeing old Korean men and Latinos. I went tonight around 8PM and was astonished to see so many young people. I wasn't astonished to see four guys gang up on a girl and the girl loving the attention. Some things never change: mainly my disgust at the singles scene.

The only thing I usually do at the gym is walk and go to the sauna. I have no self-discipline in terms of sticking to a workout routine. I do believe this is the only thing on Earth where I have little self-discipline. I'll take that.
I'm not much of a survey taker, but in researching a story last night, I visited my friend's website and was inspired to fill out what she had filled out. Hence, a completely pointless survey. But hey: maybe you'll find out something new about me...

[[10 Bands You've Seen Live ]]
1. Aterciopelados
2. Tijuana No!
3. Enanitos Verdes
4. Molotov
5. Bersuit Vergarabat
6. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
7. Los Amigos Invisibles
8. Julieta Venegas
9. Zurdok
10. El Vez

[[09 Things You're Looking Forward To]]
1. getting a staff position somewhere, anywhere!
2. paying off my car
3. buying a house
4. going to that Romanian restaurant that no one seems to know about
5. finishing my master's
6. overcoming my shyness
7. getting sued by someone
8. meeting a person that truly appreciates
9. learning to write

[[08 Things You Wear Daily]]
1. shirt
2. white T-shirt under shirt (once in a while, said T-shirt is a white wife beater)
3. watch
4. glasses
5. Converse
6. pen (it's either in my mouth, on my earlobe, or in my hand...it's a virtual shirt)
7. socks
8. pants

[[07 Things That Annoy You]]
1. idiots
2. ingrates
3. spoiled people
4. anti-immigrant activists
5. hyper-leftists
6. ignoramuses
7. people who care too much about appearance (whether their own or of others)

[[06 Things You Touch Every Day]]
1. my car's steering wheel
2. a pen
3. a keyboard
4. my hair
5. a newspaper
6. my wallet

[[05 Things You Do Every Day]]
1. read
2. write
3. shower
4. argue
5. brood

[[04 People You'd Want to Spend More Time or Hang out With]]
1. my boys (they constitute an entity)
2. Angie
3. my grandmother
4. my secret

[[03 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over]]
1. Apocalypse Now
2. Casablanca
3. Duck Soup

[[02 Of Your Favorite Songs At This Moment]]
1. Frank Sinatra-Night and Day
2. Johan Sebastian Bach-Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, 3rd Movement

[[01 Person You Could Spend the Rest of Your Life With]]
1. I wish I knew

segunda-feira, junho 24, 2002

Stories, stories, stories: my life is full of them. Then again, aren't all lives filled with stories? Mine are fun--I'd even wager to say funner than most.

domingo, junho 23, 2002

Há um ano que eu tive uma ilusão...

My back has been killing me from sitting too much. At least when I was going to school, I walked a bit. At the Weekly, the only walking I do is to read the paper.

But the pool is filled so I think it's time to work on my lung capacity once again. Our back and front yard is turning so beautiful, helped in large part by generous financial support from sons like me.

I might buy a house. How crazy is that?

sábado, junho 22, 2002

Here are some more letters: some verbatim, others told from memory since I accidentally deleted them. The first is from a man who still cannot get over my PNS article on why many immigrants will not root for the United States in soccer...

Now that Mexico has LOST to the U.S. in World Cup Soccer, why don't you do another guest column for the SF Chronicle justifying (in your mind) the actions of all of the immigrants who yelled and cursed at various places in the United States while the U.S. national anthem was played prior to the game. Or, cannot even you justify a totally tasteless & classless act such as that?

Like I said before, the game (and that is ALL it was) is over, Mexico and half the drug-producing South American countries are still third-world, lousy places to be with corrupt governments, and, still, no one is trying to enter those countries illegally. Nothing has changed except the number of illegals entering this country! U.S. 2, Mexico 0! ...now, on to the World Series!

My response...

Why would I justify the action of boorish sports fans? But you see—bless your racist heart—you attribute this lack of class to the fans’ ethnicity. When Piston fans earlier this year booed the Canadian national anthem when the team played the Toronto Raptors, did critics blame their nationality for their insolence? No. Everyone—except you, it seems—knows that sports does weird things to people and is much more than mere athletes.

BTW, are you up in arms about German immigrants rooting for Germany against the States? Of course not; they’re not Mexicans.

Now here's a genuine piece of fan mail. It is in this week's Babasónicos. It was well-written and researched; erudite yet accessible; poetic, intellectual and earthy—and graciously free of bitchy, overly colloquial, self-aggrandizing bad writing. Hey, what’s this guy doing at the Weekly?

Which one of you freaks has assumed a pseudonym and try to give me a good reputation?

The following is my recollection of an e-mail that AG sent me yesterday. This is her reaction to seeing my website for the first time (I'm assuming, more specifically my blog)...

My god! It's bitter, sarcastic, funny, and sweet--just like you.

Thus is me...

Today was a wasted day. Did my research for my upcoming article, went to eat with EV, who told me he broke up with his girlfriend. He's all right, but now we have another thing in common. Never got a call back from PM to see if we were going to see the Barrera-Morales fight. Didn't see it after all, but I'm glad Barrera won, even if he is a pinche chilango.

Played more FIFA World Cup, this time with England. Spain whipped me twice. Now imagined if that had happened in Elizabethian times?
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this past year at UCLA was doing the Daily Bruin's crossword puzzles. I especially liked to do them before my Theories of Ethnicity class because it prepared me for the rigors of going up against people both older than me and doctoring in the Sociology field under which the class was offered.

It was rigorous. I come from a film background, so dropping names like Milton Gordon, Fredrich Barthes, and Beyond the Melting Pot was considerably difficult when I had never heard of these people in the first place. But leave it to my always-curious mind, my unstoppable will to succeed and (despite what others may assert) my embracement of learning new things to give me an A- in the class.

Going to go out in the field to do research for some upcoming stories. Should be fun--and filling. Hopefully, Barrera-Morales will be part of the nightlife equation, although based on my current situation, it probably will not.So I'll just play FIFA and get whipped by my Portuguese ancestors.

sexta-feira, junho 21, 2002

Finished a CD review for the Weekly. Met with AAS and ER to discuss OC Latino. PSS, of course is in DC becoming more libertarian, while NGF had a last-minute trip to Sacramento. Yeah, right.

Our discussion was pretty intense today, as most discussions with me tend to be. But all for the better, as we are slowly starting this journal into something grand. Maybe people will actually read it, too.

quinta-feira, junho 20, 2002

I am constantly amazed by the Internet. Its power in housing information for the entire world to see is so incredible it's a bit scary. For some reason, I'm reminded of the Futurama episode where the evil corporate witch (she really was in the show! not just my observation!) Mom wants to dominate the world as her birthday present and activates the world's electronics to follow her every whim. End result: a tiny birthday card starts spouting Marxist rhetoric that's so revolutionary Lenin would be shamed into buying a Laguna Beach house with its own private cove.

I'm reminded of the power of the Internet in an incident today. As happens from time to time, I typed my name into Yahoo!'s search engine to see where my name is being spoken. I discovered that my Simpson's piece is in some TV discussion website. Then I came across this interesting blog...

I am not really sure what to make of Gustavo Arellano. Sometimes his articles are dead on target. Other times he reflects the political orthodoxy of Anglo hatred so common in our ethnic studies departments.

Arellano seems to have a knack for presenting "immigrant perspective" while at the same time claiming he doesn't represent immigrants or Mexicans. This is disingenuous, at best. Make no mistake, he has designated himself a cultural spokesperson without having any real connection to the immigrant community. Yes, Arellano may be of the Marxist class of the aggrieved minority.

I wrote this letter (my note: the one criticizing my banh mi/torta piece) because I get tired of Anglo-bashing in the media. Of course, Arellano calls my letter "hate mail," when in fact the only hate being spouted came from very own his keystrokes.

This is revisionism much like the current debate over slavery reparations. No one is outraged that slavery still exists in Africa to this very day. Everyone wants money, and the race card is used for economic gain. Likewise, Arellano never mentions in his own articles the brutality of the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec savages because it would defeat his purpose of portraying Anglos as persons to be hated. If these historical facts were acknowledged (even in a food review) then it might change public sentiment towards the influx of those who have no regard for the laws of this country. We wouldn't want that, because we have an axe to grind, and the omission of facts serves our political agenda.

Another Matt Groening moment: remember when Homer and the kids found that Japanese detergent box in the Springfield dump with the likeness of Homer and Homer started freaking out wondering who in Japan was documenting my life? I didn't feel this way; if anything, I got a kick knowing that some guy up in Berkeley was reading my articles (any person for that matter). But I didn't like the fact he was wrong about many of his claims about me, especially since it seemed he was a student of my work (I have students!) so I fired off the following response...

Let me begin my email by stating how flattered I am that a complete stranger from Berkeley is taking the time to comment on my articles. That this stranger also reads my web blog disturbs.

The fact that you don’t know what to make of me is confirmation that my career is on the right track. I’ve received letters from Chicano haters calling me a Chicano radical. I’ve received letters from Chicano radicals calling me a Chicano hater. I’ve been told to go back to Mexico and been called an “American” as a slur. It is so simple for me to be pigeonholed as an “ethnic” writer simply because of my surname or the fact that I do not shy away from my background. But try as people may, I will not conform to people’s preconception of me simply because I am firstly an individual. My work shows this.

I have not designated myself as a “cultural spokesperson” of any community. Yes, I bring an immigrant perspective to my stories but only because that is my reality. Contrary to your assertion, I do have a “real connection” to the immigrant community, namely the fact that I was raised in one and still belong to it. It follows, then, that I reflect my upbringing in my writing as any individual would theirs. But I do not represent anything or anyone. Ultimately, I represent only myself. If people see me as such (as you seem to), good for them. If not, good for them.

I still take issue with your continued attack of my bánh mì/torta article (I should have referred to it in my blog as “attack”, not “hate”, I acknowledge, but I used “hate” in the context of a disagreement with my work, not the actual letter itself). I was not “Anglo-bashing” in the piece: did you conveniently forget that I also threw in a dig at my own Spanish ancestors and classified the French as subjugators? In fact, if you read the entirety of my articles, I always bash Spanish and American imperialism, not “Anglos” (of course, if you equate “American” with “Anglo”, we have a great topic to argue!). This is not “the political orthodoxy of Anglo hatred so common in our ethnic studies departments”: it’s my opposition to imperialism of any kind. Call it what it is, not what you want it to be.

You also seem to be mistaken in your definition of “revisionism.” I did not change history in my articles; the Spanish and English conquest of the Americas is well documented. As is the Toltec/Aztec/Mayan. Once again, before you make broad statements like “Arellano never mentions in his own articles the brutality of the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec savages,” do your research. Let me direct you to here and here (my note: links to pieces where I mention some indigenous bloodletting). When it is applicable, I will say it. The Aztecs have about as relevant a part in a story about the French imperialistic culinary ties between Vietnam and Mexico as the Montagards do.

One final note: if you are going to put a link to my name when mentioning me in your blog, put it to my real website: www.geocities.com/ronmaydon Thank you once again for taking the time to read my articles. Read more of them and be more confused as to what I stand for.

God, my shameless self-promotion disgusts even myself.

Petty Bourgeois (his handle, not my christening of him) wrote back admitting that he was wrong and apologed. I am not posting his response at his request but the olive branch has been offered and accepted on both parts and some intellectual Olympics are about to begin, which are always fun.

God bless the Internet, but time to watch some football. Contrary to my Latin American roots, I shall root for the English since Michael Owen is on my FIFA team and the Brazilians humiliated me when I was Paraguay.

More fun. This letter's a bit weird...

I have a passing interest in soccer although I do enjoy the international level competition of the World Cup and the Olympics.

I recently read your essay in the San Francisco Chronicle and am intrigued by your theory of soccer as ethnic/cultural payback. As an American of German extraction, I may follow your lead and cheer for the German team to defeat the United States. It would be like payback for 1918 and 1945 and the seizure of Germany's ancient territories by other nationalities as well as for German immigrants who were absorbed into this country.

But then again, I think I just might stick with our American team because if we can get by the Germans, we may have the opportunity to defeat the British in the next round. Now that would really be payback for them burning Washington in 1814!

I'll close with a quote from the great French-Canadian-born, American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac:

"I’m pro-American and the radical political involvements seem to tend elsewhere . . . The country gave my Canadian family a good break, more or less, and we see no reason to demean said country."

My response...

Thank you for your comments. While your sarcasm is well taken, I do believe it is misplaced. My article deals with immigrants themselves, not descendents of immigrants such as you. Immigrants would have more cause to remember past grievances (whether the grievances are justifiable is besides the point) since they’re recent to this country, so it follows that they might very well remember the past the way that you demonstrated. But this historical memory dissipates as a group assimilates into the United States, and past grudges fade away. This is the United States.

BTW, the Kerouac quote is great? Where did he say it?

quarta-feira, junho 19, 2002

Some eats...

Met up at Felix's with JT, the pompous asshole of my life. I told him at the end of our lunch that we had spent about 80% of our time debating about nationalism and its various manifestations despite the fact that we hadn't talked to each other in nearly a year. I said that this was the mark of true friendship. He agreed. He also agreed that we suffer from "The Curse of the Nice Guy." Almost sounds like a pulp novel, though the reality of it is closer to Gothic horror.

Was treated to a delicious cinammon bagel by my jefe WS. I pounded out another article today and he ruthlessly edited it but loved it. Will be published next week. I'm starting to enjoy having a routine schedule, even though I wish I exerted my self physically in ways other than leaning back in my chair.

Went to have Korean food with JR, who also gave me a wedding invitation to her own commemoration of the ancient ritual. The food was strange, to say the least, and not too tasty. But I'll have it again. Afterwards, we went to Starbucks and she treated me to a chai tea and a cinammon bun. I am still stuffed. Filled each other in on the ongoings of the past year. She's fun and recuperated herself, which is nearly impossible with me.

Afterwards came home and got my ass handed to me in soccer by seemingly half the Spanish Premier Division. Deleted my season in disgust, then started playing MLS. Was being worked 3-0. World class is hard. But if I want to succeed, I must endure my baptism by fire.

terça-feira, junho 18, 2002

I remember a critic of mine in the past once saying I had a "forked tongue," meaning that I was unreliable in helping out my "community." My reply to him was that what he called serpentine, I called a diversity of opinion. In other words, I call them how I see it.

I'm writing a couple of articles that (if published due to the mercurial nature of my jefe) will probably make people question my intentions and where my true sympathies lie. I like that, that people cannot pigeonhole me as a writer or a person. Though my sympathies are obviously with the Left, there are many aspects of of that I'm ready to criticize. I'll criticize what's needed, no matter how seemingly trivial it is.

Did nothing except write and play soccer on the computer. Tomorrow should be interesting, as I see two people I haven't spent time with in ages: JT (the pompous asshole from Missoura) and JR. We'll see if both relationships can be rehabilitated since I have the peculiar habit of making sure relationships I don't want to succed comply with my desires. I want both of them to be good and I know they both do also. I can't say the same for other on-hold relationships in my life. What a shame.

segunda-feira, junho 17, 2002

I have no clue what to look forward to this summer. Things really haven't changed for me in regards to writing except that I'll be paid more--which will go directly into the bank for something some day. I might go to New York for the Latin Alternative Music Conference but flying cross-country to a city that's in the crosshairs of terrorists does not sit well with me. Then again, I am almost positive that if another major terrorist attack is to hit the United States, it's going to happen in Los Angeles.

Besides that, I have nothing to look foward to. This is not to say that I'll have nothing to do--I always make sure that I have articles to pitch and write so my output will probably increase. But in terms of keeping this boy satisfied, nothing for the foreseeable future.
The United States beat Mexico 2-0 last night in the Cup and I am happy. I hope that a victory by the Americans over the nationality most of them despise (not the players but the populace; at least here in the States) will get more people to like soccer. Meanwhile, Mexico buckled under the pressure and played horribly. It's not underachieving (since the squad wasn't supposed to advance this far); it's called no character.

Did nothing yesterday except write. That suits me fine.

domingo, junho 16, 2002

Will the fun never end? Here are some more responses to my PNS soccer piece. The first is a response to aresponse...

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I was suffering from a bad case of myopia. I would like to ask you, once more, to please define "sociopolitical anxiety", it almost sounds like an acute dermatitis. What is it? A theory? A conceptual framework? Let's hear it. So, white immigrants suffered when they first came to the US? You don't say. Please share with me something I don't already know. Unlike your beloved family, the names of my great-grand parents are set in marble on Ellis Island for all of eternity. You are familiar with Ellis Island and the treatment of white immigrants during the early part of the last century, aren't you? I believe you are a newcomer to the LA area because you short-sight second and third generation Hispanics (from Hispania of course). Anyways, as I drive around I often see these fine people driving their leased SUV's with that silly Mexican flag license plate. Or how about that "la migra" bumper sticker? No Way are these fine people first generation. Lastly, who elected you Hispanic spokesman of the month. You don't represent Latin America any more than I represent Europe. I fondly recall the Guatamalan I dated for four long years, he used to go out of his mind if anyone accused him of being Mexican, and I don't blame him.

Go Team USA (whoever they are).

ps. Did you catch any of the Stanly Cup. Of course you didn't, channel 52 didn't carry it.

My response...

Some thoughts...

I’ve been a Canadiens fan my entire life who took glee in haranguing my Bruins friends about Montreal’s continued dominance over Beantown. And I guarantee you I know more about the sport than you can ever hope to.

Does the fact that your family’s etched name in Ellis Island somehow make it better than those who are not? Tell that to a descendant of immigrants who came before the 1890’s, or all African-Americans, for that matter.

Concentrate on the immigrant framework I posited. Sure, some second- and third-generation descendant of immigrants keep ties to their homeland, but my article concentrated on the immigrants and no one else.

Get off your Mexico-bashing already; it’s getting tiresome considering that was one of eight countries I mentioned in my article.

The theory (not mine) of “sociopolitical anxiety” is based on the psychological concept of displacement and takes into account historical and political realities. Simply put, some people are extremely passionate about sports because they let other factors weigh in. Take Yankees-Red Sox rivalries. Or even the recent Sacramento-LA NBA series. Sacramento fans invested much more of their feelings into the series than LA fans due to a perceived inferiority complex.

Finally, no one elected me Hispanic spokesman of the month. If you see me as such, then you obviously don’t know anything
Uh, exactly what have Central American "immigrants" contributed to Los Estados Unidos?

Right. Not a damn thing except social pathologies.

And when the booing is over, soccer-loving immigrants -- relieved of any anti-American sentiments and proud that the motherland has won -- return to bettering this nation.

"Bettering this nation"? LOL ROLMAO The Mexican Mafia? Henry Cisneros? Selena? The lowrider? The Tex-Mex combo plate? Nasty spic bars? Christ, Jose, sober up before writing such bullshit next time.

My response...

Roger baby,

Nasty spic bars? Been having problems picking up Latinas?

Needless to say, you obviously don’t appreciate the cheap Latin American labor that makes your life indubitably cheaper. And remember: my article spoke about eight countries, not one region. So start throwing me the insults about Irish, Chinese, and Persians and we’ll call it even.

sábado, junho 15, 2002

Now let's write a bit...

Went to a concert last night at the Long Beach Infoshop. Was raided by the Long Beach Police Department. Read my article on it for the Weekly soon...

Went to hear Patrick Buchanan speak at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Read my article on it for the Weekly soon...

Mexico and the United States are playing in the World Cup tomorrow night. Read my article on it for OC Latino soon...

My neck is killing me (I was offered a massage by a woman at the Long Beach event but refused; we know what was going on), I'm hungry, but I'm loving life--even if I am bored out of my box. And lonely.
There are a lot of things to tell but almost no time to tell them. Is this a good or bad thing? Nevertheless, I am bored.

quinta-feira, junho 13, 2002

A long two days deserve a long blob, but I will try to be as succinct as possible since I'm tired and haven't slept for about 36 hours...

I went to the cousin M's house about 10PM yesterday with the intention of staying up all night and then watching the Italy-Mexico Cup game. JAM also joined me, D and PM in playing FIFA soccer. At first, I teamed up with PM but afterwards switched over to DM. Me and him were Mexico while JAM and PM were Chile. Mexico lost the best-of-three series 2 games to one because stupid DM did an auto-goal, making the final score of game 3 3-2. It was a great time, as we ragged on each other and Bill Walton.

At one point, we observed something so funny that I started crying. It was really sports nerd stuff so it doesn't warrant repetition (something doing with Paraguyan goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert). But I laughed so hard that tears stream. I couldn't even remember the last time I cried, much less cried because of joy. Earlier in the week, I had also laughed so hard I nearly choked. Things have been funny as of recent.

Mexico and Italy tied, 1-1, so afterwards I went home, read my papers, went to the Weekly, and came back. It's fun to write, but I'm really tired. So I'll leave you with some hate mail for me published in this week's issue of the Weekly...

Can’t the Weekly do a food review without historical revisionism? Gustavo Arellano ("Mmmmmm, Subjugation," June 7) states, "You have to hand it to the French. Unlike their genocidal English and rapist Spanish counterparts, the Frenchies’ most lasting contribution to their former colonies has been cuisine." While I will not dispute the gastronomic contribution of the French in their colonies, Arellano left out the convenient fact that the Aztecs, Mayans and Toltecs were quite effective and brutal at enslavement and "subjugation." Who do you think built all those pyramids and big stone heads, Mr. Arellano? Willing "indigenous" peoples? Shame on you.

Mike Smith

A Weekling pulled off toilet-scrubbing duty responds: Obviously, Arellano chose to contrast Spain and England’s brand of subjugation on its colonies with France’s because all share the same continent. While you could argue it would have been more comprehensive (and cumbersome) for Arellano to include subjugation inflicted by the Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs and everyone else on the planet since the dawn of man, how is their omission "historical revisionism"?

So much fun, yet so bored.

quarta-feira, junho 12, 2002

My forehead is peeling to the point where I look like a molten snake. This is what happens when you stay out in the sun for too long, are light-skinned, and wear no hat. I guess it was worth it, though: I had a great time being the third wheel to AAS and MS's bicycle in the Long Beach Chili Cook-Off.

Today was my first official day at the Weekly and I completed two articles. Nothing much is going to change except that I'll be hanging out at the office more and working on projects of my choice. Then again, isn't that what I've been doing for the past year or so. Somebody assign me something and quick!

WS said I have mastered the art of the essay but that I need to get my ass kicked to become a truly great journalist. While I plan to focus on essay-crafting as my forte, I agree. This summer will be painful for my ego, but remember the Nietchzean credo and remember my own: baptism of fire.

Later on tonight JAM and I will go to the house of the cousins M to see the Mexico-Italy game. I certainly hope they win but regardless, when everything's said and done, I would have stayed awake for 36 hours. Time to bring out the dementia...that is, if it already hasn't been brought out.

terça-feira, junho 11, 2002

I'm trying to get the archives from my blog back on-line, but I have trouble doing it due to my lack of computer knowledge. Maybe I should learn more.

Final final is today. An Argentine evening is awaiting me in Garden Grove. Besides that, I am unsure of everything.

segunda-feira, junho 10, 2002

I wish I had something exciting to report, something more captivating that the mere fact that today was yet another uneventful day. An article in the Times, some more articles written, many articles edited...and yet I'm bored out of my box. Perhaps my salvation will come in the form of libations--or perhaps not.
From La Opininion...

There are more undocumented workers from Mexico in California than there are naturalized U.S. citizens from Mexico and legal Mexican residents - combined, according to a new report by the University of California's California-Mexico Health Initiative in La Opinion.

A quarter of California's population -- 8.5 million -- was born in Mexico. Of these, two million are naturalized U.S. citizens, 1.5 million are legal residents and 4.5 million are undocumented workers.

Ninety-one percent of California's 3.1 million farm workers are of Mexican origin. Agriculture is the state's single greatest source of wealth, generating $30 billion a year. Undocumented Mexican workers are also a major source of wealth for Mexico, having returned $8 billion in remittances last year.

Make what you want of this statistic. I personally will have my mouth agape for the next couple of days.
Today's final was relatively easy, although I hope that the instructor was expecting too much in terms of essay length. I stuck to two pages front-and-back, which hopefully will be enough.

Yes, I still care about school even though I'm not sure if I'm going to be sticking around there much longer. Thing is, I care deeply about anything I involve myself into. I'm not going to involve myself in something and then treat it as if it's not deserving of me. I have a reputation to maintain, not for others but for myself. If I become a flake, I wouldn't be able to live with myself--or rather, even less so.

domingo, junho 09, 2002

I'm supposed to be studying for some sort of finals, but I feel that I really cannot study anymore; either I know it or I don't. Judging by my almost-pristine post-secondary record, I usually do.

sexta-feira, junho 07, 2002

And they keep coming in...

"Why Immigrants don't cheer for the U.S. soccer team" appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 4th. Its thinly veiled anti-American sentiments irritated me. I say to you, and all the other cholos who dislike this country, "Go back to Mexico!"

My response...

I'll go back to Mexico as soon as you go back to your home country. You say, "My home country is America"? Guess what? Mine is too! Tell your cholo fantasies to someone who won't laugh in your face at its idiocy.
I've never heard of this theory; have you?

I read the article recently published with interest.

However, it has long been my understanding that what is called the
Mexican-American War was not a war between the United States and Mexico, but a war between the United States and France. France was the ruling power and in charge of the army,etc. Of course, we did not fight on European soil, but it was the government of France which fielded the losing army.

At best, it should have been French Mexico to match what people called British India. But it was not Mexico itself which lost the war. The nation we call Mexico did not exist then. Just as with independence from the British make that area simply India today, it would not be until
independence was achieved last century that Mexico should be called just that name.

I gather that many publicists, including you in the implications in your
article, do not take this view. What are the reasons?

My response...

Thank you for your response. To tell you the truth, I have never heard of such an explanation of the Mexican-American War in my years in academia. I know of the French occupation of Mexico between 1861-1865 which ended only because the American Civil War ended but I've never heard of such a French influence in Mexico beforehand. Can you direct me to some sources that state as such? I'm curious to see for myself what was the exact role of the French. I think my own ignorance to the matter answers your final question. Thank you once again and please send me some links or books that I should read.
Me, AAS, ER, and PSS had a discussion on the meaning of Latino with our Chapman professor PA. Brilliant man, one of the most brilliant I've ever met, probably because he's a firm believer in the Socratic method of making you answer your own questions. Afterwards, us OC Latino staff went to a Thai restaurant. I ordered a tom kah chicken soup, which was much too rich for my own tasting. I also ordered the green curry, which left me wired (I still am right now). Afterwards, we went to the Gypsy Den to hear an arrogant waiter refute our complaints that the Artists Village is bereft of Latinos. "80% of our clientele is Hispanic," the man said defensively. He's right if by saying "Hispanic", he meant "white" and by saying "80%", he meant "93%." Drank a cup of Merlot. Bottom line: I'm restless.

quinta-feira, junho 06, 2002

The fun don't stop...

the real reason why us immigrants don't cheer for the us team is because they love their country they were born in, but their country doesn't love them. that is the reason they fled to live in the greatest
country in the world u.s.a.

I had no response...I didn't even know what was his point. This one, on the other hand, is long...

I wanted to respond to your piece in the Chronicle from Tuesday in the hopes that, as a promising graduate student in LAS at UCLA, you don't continue to write the flimsy claptrap you somehow managed to convince the editors of our local paper here in the Bay Area to publish. This is lowest-common-denominator journalism of the queasiest kind: an attempt to be topical and target something "negative" that really isn't. I suppose for commuters or lazy readers this kind of article is mildly amuzing -- you know, the idea that there is this World Cup and that we aren't into all of the frenzy. But why play on the basest emotions and insinuate things that you know are wrong? Why set up assumptions that are clearly not well supported throughout your piece? As a piece of journalism it barely squeaks by; the standards and expectations are far lower than in academia. Clearly you know
you could not get away with this in a refereed academic journal.

I'll be brief because I am already spending too much time on this already: I don't want to give you the benefit of even thinking you have "provoked" me.

First, who on earth accepts the premise that "many nonimmigrant Americans" think that not supporting the US team is "tantamount to treason"? Not only is this ridiculous, but it is just plain wrong and you have no way of proving this. Moreover, thinking that silly Alexi Lalas (that fine Greek immigrant himself!) and Irish-Catholic Pat Buchanan all of a sudden represent everyone is laughable and deeply flawed. Why not say that, culturally speaking, we don't have a unifying soccer tradition and that we don't see ourselves wrapped patriotically in sports --and I mean that not even during the Olympics. Certainly not like in many other parts of the world, where work schedules, sessions of government, vacations, etc., are altered every four years so that a population is galvanized around an event. For whatever reason --we don't have that kind of attachment.

Also, why not state that we aren't socialized into soccer? We don't play that well. We are at least a generation behind in skill level. We probably will not recoup that in the future. And the term "soccer Mom" notwithstanding, the only viable element that upholds any kind of meager soccer tradition are young women --and you know the kind of pull they have in our society to influence people's attention and their pocketbooks!

It strikes me that your lazy argumentation is part of some attempt to get some kind of digs in at the US. You manipulate the reader into thinking there is something negative to be found in your piece, as if the US is missing out on something and that--horror of horrors-- our own new immigrants (legal or illegal) may be turning their backs on the country that keeps them here and where, to quote that champion of democracy Alexi Lalas, they "have all the benefits of living in the United States". Who would expect these immigrants to suddenly switch their allegiance just because they work in our fields, in our offices, attend our schools? What makes you think any sane person would
do that? Why wouldn't they continue to support their own country? And, more importantly, why should we think of that as "treason"?

The truth is, your manipulative and disgusting article is rife with
inaccuracies and barely-supported information in an attempt to be cool and topical. Why not assume us readers have half a brain and can see through your shady (and shoddy) words?

Good luck on your dissertation and I hope you don't turn in this kind of work to your advisers or in your seminars.

My response...

To address your first point, I stand by my assertion that many nonimmigrant Americans view those not supporting the States as tantamount to treason. I live in Los Angeles and I've observed many people use the game I referred to in my article 4 years later that as proof that Mexicans cannot possibly assimilate into the United States. Pat Buchanan said his speech in front of a couple hundred people at the Nixon Library and he has referred to the game time and time again for his anti-immigration rhetoric in various interviews, articles, and speeches. Perhaps you and I run in different crowds, but this idea has caught on amongst more people than you would believe and that I find disturbing. Saying such a statement is not playing into "base emotions": it is the reality I have observed in debates about immigration.

My article was about the unique passion that immigrants have for soccer; it had nothing to do with why Americans are not as passionate about the sport. Why would this be relevant to my article? If Americans were as soccer-crazy as other countries, immigrants would still want their mother countries to win--and still want the United States to lose. And I do not posit the immigrants as being somehow against the United States as a whole. If you read my article closely, you'll note that I note that the immigrants--after booing their hearts out--"return to bettering this nation." I'm not sure this is negative.

One final point (I'll quote from you):

"Who would expect these immigrants to suddenly switch their allegiance just because they work in our fields, in our offices, attend our schools? What makes you think any sane person would do that? Why wouldn't they continue to support their own country? And, more importantly, why should we think of that as "treason"?"

So many people do. I can direct you to the countless emails I have received stating that these immigrants should immediately drop all their allegiances and become "Americans like previous immigrants" (their words, not mine). And they do classify it as treason. I'm not sure what type of letters it has received in the Chronicle but judging by the quality of letters I have received (yours excluded), most will probably use my article as proof that today's immigrants should be deported.

I think that your major problem with my article is that you feel that I'm casting immigrants in a bad light. Though your comments are extremely critical of my article, I must also thank you for your comments as they are the first ones to have cared about the immigrants themselves and not wished them back to Mexico. Thank you again for your remarks.
Finals are around the corner, then the deluge.
My article on soccer for Pacifc News Service made the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. Look at what they have to say...

Hooray for Assimilation

The World Cup, which is apparently some sort of big soccer tournament, is now under way. Gustavo Arellano of the Pacific News Service writes that many immigrants root for their home countries' teams instead of America's--"a fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason." Actually, their lack of enthusiasm for the American team strikes us as evidence that they've thoroughly assimilated. After all, how many people who were born here even know there's an American soccer team, let alone cheer for it?

Freaking idiots. Tell that to all the American soccer fans who nearly had a heart attack after the U.S.'s 3-2 victory over Portugal yesterday--all 12 of them

quarta-feira, junho 05, 2002

These should be the final batch. The first one really has no particular point...

For the record: Lalas and Buchanan were expressing their horror at the fact that Mexican fans threw bags of urine at the US soccer team, and similarly pelted American fans with food and waste. Americans can tolerate a lot, but these acts were appallingly uncivilized [not to mention disgusting].

It is true, however, that Americans can't grasp why this specific group of otherwise hard-working immigrants have chosen not to assimilate into a culture that produces the world's most vibrant economy and democracy. Asians [e.g. Vietnamese boat people] have certainly embraced our language, educational system, and business opportunities to catapault themselves up to a higher socio-economic plateau.

The joke by Leno was insensitive [though dog is still eaten in Korea], but ignores the fact that it's completely acceptable to lampoon and ridicule white Americans in a public forum. By the way, what's with labeling all whites "Anglos". Certainly La Raza realizes that Europe is a vast place where a Swede and and an Italian [not to mention Irish vs. English] are of different historical and cultural backgrounds?

Lastly, I disagree with the assumption that all South Americans are united against the US. I've found many Argentenian's and Chilean's to be bigger fans of the good ol' USA than say Mexico.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. I must respectfully disagree with you in regards to Lalas and Buchanan's anger towards Mexican soccer fans. Though the actual acts committed no doubt played a large part in their reactions, I am still of the opinion that Lalas and Buchanan were more angry that these were residents of the United States that were not cheering for the United States. Buchanan, in particular, has used this game time and time again as proof that the latest wave of Latin American immigrants are inassimilable in this country.

This said, the immigrants are assimilable and do want to assimilate, despite your observation to the contrary. We must keep in mind that these are recent immigrants with almost no education. Many of the Vietnamese people--while refugees--nevertheless were either professionals in their homeland or had education and so found assimilation easier--not to mention governmental programs that expedited the assimilation process. But assimilation is an unstoppable force in this country and all immigrants eventually succumb to it.

I do not understand your comment about ridiculing "white" people in the American public forum. As you give no examples, I can only state that stacked up against each other, the ridiculing of ethnics is far more prevalent that ridiculing "whites." And I also do not understand why you choose to concentrate on "La Raza" (which, btw, is a term that you should research before attempting to use it as a synonym for Latinos) for oversight over the meaning of "white." I'd wager that most "white" people don't even know the diversity that exists in that term. That's why they're "white."

I really can't argue with your final comment since I have seen that myself. But I will say that Latin American unity does play a big role when facing the United States, regardless of the situation. Thank you once again for your remarks.
Instead of symbolizing resistance to being absorbed into a culture whose government and populace don't always do the right thing you can do the real thing. Resist by departing (swimming?) back to Mexico. Why are you here? To save yourself from being sucked into the American dream and to save us from your sucking it for all it is worth you might just take off and attempt to better your motherland, or does its populace and government always do the right thing?

My response...

I'm here because I was born in the United States and my family has been in this country for nearly a century. Don't assume my motherland is Mexico just because of my surname. Speak against others, but don't speak against me since without you knowing me personally, any attacks against me make you seem as ignorant as your comments.
Yours was an intriguing article on the relationships immigrants have to their countries of origin and the USA via World Cup soccer.

I’ve thought a great deal about this recently, especially as an indicator of “assimilation.”

You may recall that during the 80s both Ireland and Italy had World Cup moments of greatness. Living in NYC at the time, I can assure you the mood was much like you describe it among Latinos. I also recall my grandmother waking at 5am every four years to watch Spain get trounced. And nobody spoke about assimilation then.

However, I’m confused by your determination of the root cause for Americans cheering against their real “home team.” Specifically, you say the anti-USA cheering “symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country whose populace and government do not always do the right thing -- especially against the immigrants and their home countries.” I don’t believe this logic bears out.

If someone leaves their country of origin to seek a better life here, why would they still be cheering for the country they prove – through their own actions – doesn’t treat them as well as this one? I think a more accurate characterization of a Mexican’s support for Mexico’s soccer team is a more nuanced combination of ethnic pride, homesickness and cultural unity.

They’re not cheering against the US, they’re cheering for Mexico.

My response...

Thank you for your remarks. In hindsight, I should have been a bit clearer in my article about why immigrants would root for their home team. However, I am still of the opinion that many immigrants also root against the United States. Though immigrants do come here to search for a better life, many times they don’t find it here or live in wretched conditions that make them resentful towards this country. They still have every intention of working towards a better life here but those doubts do exist. If they are a soccer fan, rooting against the States is a good vehicle to express their frustration.

We must also keep in mind the psychology of sports. Much like the Yankees, the United States is a juggernaut (though obviously not in soccer, their political power somehow spills over to the soccer squad). Most sports fans don’t like powerhouses so they will automatically root against the team. For example, I do not like Brazil’s soccer squad, not because of any particular hatred towards the country but because they’re so good! Whether that’s rational or not is another story, but there’s a reason why “fan” is a short term for “fanatic.” Thank you once again for your remarks.




My response...

Thank you for your comments. I loved those apples, thank you for asking.
And finally, the most positive email from a stranger I have ever received...

I live in San Francisco, Ca and I just finished reading an article you wrote in the "Open Forum" of the Examiner newspaper. Its title, Why immigrants don't cheer for the U.S. soccer team". As a matter of fact, this is the second article I have read from you in such newspaper.

As a Dear Abby writer would say: I have never written to a columnist. However, I was compelled to do so because I feel you express so well the nuances of being a latin american in this country. I also felt a certain kinship with you since my daughter Gabriela Santis is a student at the Latin American Studies graduate program at UCLA. I do know she approached you once, since I had commented on you and had sent her that first article.

I want to congratulate you and to request from you more articles about the feelings and ideas of the thousands of latin americans, male and female, who have made this country theirs and the dichotomy they experience in trying to be part ot this society and keeping that spot where our identity resides. Something as you so well express, it is not so mutually exclusive. A place that it doesn't matter how much some try to forget , some us have decided to keep forever latin.

Do you have a compilation of your articles somewhere? I would appreciate it very much if you let me know since I think it would be very interesting for my daughter to read and be aware of the ideas of her contemporaries.

My response...

Thank you for your very kind comments. It is nice to here them after the barrage of negative comments I have received since the publication of my article.

Yes, I have met your daughter and she mentioned to me that you had forwarded to her my César Chávez piece. I am glad that you think so highly of my work and am humbled to know that you want to read more of my articles. Indeed, I do have a compilation of my articles available online. You can find them at www.geocities.com/ronmaydon Editorials is just one of the many subjects I have written about; I am mainly a music writer. In addition, I maintain a list where I send updates whenever I have a new article published. I keep it for my friends, but if you would like to join it, please let me know and I would be more than happy to include you in it. Thank you once again for your encouragement and remarks.
I have to be a shameless self-promoter when it comes to my writings. For everything else, I am a diamond buried in a cave
Went back to P, V, and DM's house for their sister J's 21st birthday. She's getting married to her boyfriend next year. Good for her.

The funniest thing was said to me by PM's girlfriend P. She said that she thinks I'm a great guy but that when she first met me, she didn't like me because "your confidence can be mistaken for arrogance."

Every person who has ever liked me (platonically or romantically) at first did not like me (and some still don't for that matter). But once they get to know me, they realize I'm...something. How strange. What exactly is it about me that people cannot stand? PSS attributes it to something he labelled "Gustavian Arrogance Theory" which is essentially that I am so superior to everyone that I meet that I patronize them without even knowing that I'm being arrogant. He agreed with me when I said I'm not arrogant at all; he just says that I can come off as such.

Pues nimodo. God made me a certain way and gave me a certain outlook on life and I rather like it. And though it might seem that I'm deterministic, I also know that if I didn't like the way I was, I'd change aspects of it. Granted, there are some things that could use work, but I think I stand up rather well to other people. And I know I stand great in the eyes of God--and ultimately, that's all that matters.

I've received a couple more emails for my soccer article, but I haven't responded since I'm at UCLA. I need to write more often.

terça-feira, junho 04, 2002

This should be the last ones for the day. Let's start off with another instant classic...

What a bunch of crap. They do not cheer because they are Mexican-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc. 40-50 years ago people came to
America to be Americans, not "hyphens". Now, they come here to embrace our economic system and little else. No matter who wins or loses the World Cup, things will still be the same. Mexico (and half of the drug producing countries in South America) will still be backward, pathetic, third-word, crime-ridden countries who conveniently blame America for their own problems. If they were so great to begin with, why are all of the immigrants here?

Forget soccer. It is a game for kids who do not play baseball. Yes, we do have a culture here: Hot dogs, baseball, back-yard bar-b-ques, mom and apple pie!

PS/ good luck getting a job with a Latin American Studies major; better
switch to Business Admin.

My response...

And baseball is a game to park fat kids behind home plate and on first base.

I love your analysis of immigrants, especially your idealized version of "older" immigrants who supposedly lost all the vestiges of the mother country upon hitting the shores of this country. Assimilation is much more complicated than your simplistic version. Though you don't see it, the immigrants of today are just like the immigrants of yesteryear; I am living proof of that (my parents are immigrants).

And thank you for the best wishes regarding my career choice; I'm perfectly happy knowing that I will be teaching your grandkids one day.
Some nice words...

Your opinion piece on soccer, which I read on the San Francisco
Chronicle, was accurately descriptive, and informative. I liked it! I am
myself a Mexican immigrant with the same feelings you observe and
describe. You have helped me to understand this matter. It is a fact that soccer goes far beyond the simple practice of such a popular sport. Let us just watch this coming Friday England vs Argentina
and we will see and read the reasons why this goes beyond the sport. I
am glad to see your insights.

One minor detail on the Mexican national team: Mexico is called El
Tricolor, or plainly El Tri. The whole team is El Tricolor, not the
plural form you wrote. That is, the team is El tricolor regardless of
the individual players who are part for the team. E.g.. Torrado play
with (or for) ElTri, but he is not a Tricolor. Then again, I am sending you this email to actually express my gratitude for such a great piece, particularly because the American media does not cover much of this game, (which is followed by a third of the whole planet population.)

My response...

Thank you for your kind comments. More importantly, thank you for pointing out my mistake in referring to the Mexican soccer team; I had no clue.
A weird one...

You are SO naive!

My response...

In this particular email, the person only wrote a subject heading...

Why not go be appreciative of your ethinc pride in the crappy country you left?

And so I wrote in kind only in the subject heading...

Maybe because the United States is the only country I have ever called home?
Here's a very nice one...

I enjoyed your article regarding the World Cup this morning, commendable job. I was surprised at the negative responses as a result of the Mexico-US match that you mentioned. I never viewed it as anti-American, but as folks remaining true to their heritage. Lalas was upset the US lost and was dumping on the crowd, sour grapes. Soccer is not as popular in the states as it is everywhere else, Emmit Smith would have his roster spot if it were. And as for Buchanan, well his comments boarder on open bigotry. There is little doubt that beating the US is a big deal. Because of the US’s power we have our noses in so many countries, and viewed as the bully, thusly every team comes in ready to knock them out. But I really do see it as routing for
your prospective country mainly, not against the US. The biggest fans I know are worried about Germany, France and Brazil…in the truest since of the Cup, routing against a team like the US who will not come out of their bracket seems trivial.

Thank you for the effort, sports and politics are usually mentioned in the US only during the Olympics.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. Very few people have responded with your insightful remarks; most have taken the route of reacting negatively to my article. I am glad to see that you have the perspective to understand why many of these immigrants might want to root against the United States in the first place. Thank you once again for your remarks.

Here's the final one. It was addressed to the Letters section of the San Francisco Chronicle, but the person CC'd it to me...

I am a new immigrant from China and an ardent soccer fan. But, I read G. Arellano's "Why Immigrants don't cheer for the .S. soccer team (6/4/02)"with disappointment and utter disbelief.

I will surely and squarely cheer for the U.S. team. There is no doubt in my mind that whoever U.S. team is up against, including China, my ultimate cheer will go to the U.S. team. For sure, if U.S. and China are competing against each other, I will watch with a bit more subdued enthusiasm for obvious reasons. But, if I were to be in a position to cast the deciding vote on the outcome of the game, no matter how painful it might be, my vote will go to the U.S. team. The reason is very clear albeit heavy for me. I chose to come to this country and chose to stay and am being given many opportunities that I would otherwise not have had and/or have, the only thing that I could give back for what I am given is to support and contribute to the betterment of the community that took me in and gave a home. This is not in any way a form of treason of the homeland where I was born and from. I continue to wish them well and believe they will continue to succeed. But, one's loyalty cannot be divided and should always be with his/her immediate community. It is a slight relief for me that U.S. and China are not in the same group, although Chinese men are not Chinese women soccer wise.

As a non-white and accented new immigrant, I understand and feel the frustration and anger felt at times by many fellow immigrants. I have had my own share of those feelings and do not believe they will stop reoccurring from time to time in my lifetime. America ain't perfect, for sure. There might be a "better" country somewhere in another continent as many, particularly those from that continent, like to claim. But, it is not good for me because it would not feel my pain or share my dream. Let's be honest with ourselves, Americans have the biggest heart and America is the best country there is on earth. It must be the best country for us. If it were not, we would not have stayed on. If it were not, it would not allow Mr. Arellano to say such outrageous things in the paper without consequence. So, I cannot even begin to fathom the concept of U.S not being our own country and our subsequently not cheering for the U.S. team. For those of us who chose to live here, U.S is our country. The U.S. team is our team.

Having said that, I believe that soccer is a pure form of entertainment. No more, no less. Sure, sports have been used sometimes as a conduit of achieving political interaction, and will continue to play such a role. But, it is capable of such a role precisely because of its non-political status and its entertaining effect. When we watch any sports, we should all cheer for the best sportsmanship, and the best skills demonstrated, not just on who wins the game. Soccer happens to be one of the sports forms that demonstrate the best sportsmanship in mankind. It always touches me when I see a player pulls up a downed competitor, and see a player kicks the balls out of play to allow an injured player of the opposite side to be cared for. Compare this with walking over and staring down a fallen player in the NBA!

Go, U.S. team. I will cheer for you! We will all cheer for you back home.

My response...

Thank you for your well-taken comments. However, I must disagree with you when you state that soccer is nothing more than entertainment. It is probably the most politicized sport on the planet, even more so than the Olympics. Wars have arisen because of it, as has peace between warring countries. And many countries take their aggression towards each other out in the field (as the Argentina-England matches have shown).

I do not believe that my article said "outrageous" things, as you claim. Far from it. In fact in the text of your letter, you agree with my basic premise (that some immigrants have reason to cheer against the United States) but then state that you feel that that is wrong. I do not have a problem with that. But how can you say I've said something unbelievable yet agree with it? I'm left confused. Thank you once again for your comments.
Wow. What a day. Probably more where that came from. I have never received so much feedback for one article. And you know the saddest part? No one that I know bothered to respond.
And more and more and more...

I have just read your Open Forum column in today's San Francisco Chronicle "Why immigrants don't cheer for the U.S. soccer team".

In your sixth paragraph you say "That is, by rooting for their home countries - or rooting against the United States - immigrants have an outlet to express both frustration with their new home and pride in their old country".

As an English ex pat I take great exception to this quote. I love America but will always support England first and foremost and not because I am frustrated with this country. Soccer is one of England's national sports, indeed we are practically raised on it, and just because I left the country does not mean that my support was left behind too. Despite America having a national soccer team, the country is generally well known around the world for not really supporting the game (as evidenced in part by the lack of coverage by American tv stations this year and all previous world cup years) and only became slightly interested when the country hosted the games back in 1998. Although the time difference is a big issue this year as far as tv coverage goes (a factor that has not deterred the Spanish tv stations from airing the games live thank God) most fans will rise early to watch their favorite teams play the game as it happens. The only way the American public as a whole will show interest in their team this year is if their team advances to the quarter-finals. It is well known that Americans only support winners in every field of competition and so their support will most probably be short lived for their team this year. However soccer fans around the world support their teams for lots of reasons and through the good times and the bad. If the American team needs support it should look to its own people for that, not immigrants. National pride should exist in their team even if they don't win but you won't get Americans cheering for "their boys" as they only support winners.

To suggest that any fan who supports another team other than America because of political reasons and frustration with this country is pure poppycock and just shows that you do not know what you are really talking about. Most countries around the world have always been passionate about soccer and the world cup and this will not change. Apart from any other reason, there is much skill in the game which is something that American football lacks.

Finally, it would have been nice if you had pointed out to your American and immigrant readers that at least four American players play for English soccer teams. Does this mean that those players are frustrated with their country and for political reasons are traitors too. I don't think so.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. If I didn’t explain the particular passion that the national team inspires in immigrants such as yourself in non-political terms, then that is my folly. That said, don’t you think that rooting against the American squad is a form of politics itself for some immigrants? As my examples showed, yes. I took a look at soccer through a sociopolitical perspective that sees sports teams as signifying much more than the mere sports they play. Soccer, especially, is a highly politicized sport (which I’m sure I don’t have to mention to you) which is ripe for the venting of frustration. And in this country, where not all immigrants are better off than others, some will view booing against the American squad as a method of letting off the steam. This was the crux of my article. Thank you once again for your comments.
Do you just make this stuff up? I mean, "a fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason."
Really? No, despite your effort to grab a reader with contoversy and conflict, most "nonimmigrant Americans" could not care less about the World Cup or who roots for what nation's team.

You see, for most of the world, the World Cup offers a moment's respite from their dismal living conditions and lack of economic progress.

In America, complain as some do, our economic success allows us to focus on our own lives instead of living through World Cup fantasies. I will, for instance, spend my leisure time for the next month as I do throughout the year, with my family.

I know it's hard to be focused on accuracy in a screaming media world, but you should try recording fact instead of hyperbole.

My response...

I notice in your email that you are from Indiana and as such are probably unaware of the rhetoric that has been going on in Los Angeles (where I live) where the Gold Cup game that I mentioned in my article is still brought up by non-soccer fans 4 years later as the ultimate proof that Mexicans can never assimilate into this nation. Perhaps you don’t see it as such, but many other Americans do—and despise those immigrants that do cheer for their countries. Thank you for your remarks.
Something nice for a change...

i like your columns!

today's column on soccer made me think of a korean immigrant friend
who's been visiting seoul and watching the games over there. he was
so elated over senegal's victory over france that i wrote him that it
shows that the davids of the world should always have hope against
the goliaths, and he responded:

Yes,!!^^ that's why and how I can live among numorous Golliaths.
But back to the attacks...

Interesting article on soccer and immigrants. In it, you write:

"Few of these immigrants will be cheering for the United States -- a
fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason."

Apart from the necessarily vague "few" and "many" (just how few? just
how many?), IMHO you grossly overstate the reaction of us native-born
Americans to immigrants' cheering for their home countries. One
quotation from a frustrated U.S. soccer player and another from Pat
Buchanan hardly comprises a representative sample of mainstream American opinion. In truth, most of us don't give a rat's ass who wins the World Cup; and if the busboy in the local diner chooses to root for Mexico over the United States, we could care less. Tantamount to treason? Get real!

My response...

Thank you for your comments, although I do disagree with them. While I agree with you that most Americans are probably unaware that the Cup is being played, I'll wager that most would not be happy knowing that immigrants are cheering against the States. And judging by the slew of emails I have received that have spelled that out in much more profane terms, I'm certain. Thank you once again.

This one's an instant classic...

I just read your diatribe in the S.F. Chronicle which loves printing articles and commentaries relating to perceived ethnic injustice. As an alum of UCLA, you provide me with yet another reason not to donate to my alma mater.

What exactly was the point of your commentary besides America bashing. The last time I checked Mexico treats illegal immigrants far worse than does the United States and South Korea only recently emerged from dictatorship. Iran is an Islamic totalitarian society which views human rights with contempt and supports terrorism.

I realize that your actual major is in victimization, but please stop comparing the United States to some fantasy utopia propogated by your Marxist professors, and start comparing our nation to the rest of the world. We stack up pretty favorably to your poor victim-states of South Korea, Mexico, and Iran.

Grow up, get a job, and stop wasting my tax dollars.
Tax Payer,

Thank you for your own diatribe. I am happily employed, thank you very much, antagonizing people such as you who can only see the world through red, white, and blue-tinted eyeglasses. I am not the American-basher you make me out to be; indeed, I live up to the American spirit of having a healthy dose of skepticism to a country I love. But because I dare criticize it, I am immediately spat upon by the likes of you.

Go Bruins!

Consumer of Your Tax Dollars
¿Ya se está hacienda la situación media-loca, no?

It pains me to read your column about immigrants who choose to root against their adopted country in the World Cup games. It's not their allegiance to the homeland soccer team that concerns me. I quote from your column: "At its essence, rooting against the American soccer team symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country whose populace and government do not always do the right thing -- especially against the immigrants and their home countries." (Who determines whether what America does is the "right" thing?) My ancestors were also immigrants at one time, but they chose to assimilate and become a part of what we once learned was a "melting pot." I believe much of our country's challenge with immigration stems from the desire to "celebrate diversity" and resist absorption into the American culture. While it is wonderful to remember our roots and hold fast to family tradition and culture, what made America great were the immigrants who came before us and worked toward creating "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." The more hyphenated-American we become, the more divisive we become! So root for whichever soccer team you choose, but remember that "bettering America" takes a unified effort, not a stratified one.
(And you'll note that the United States Soccer team is a melting pot of its own!) Go USA!

My response

Thank you for your comments. When I wrote the part that you quoted from my article, I did not mean it as immigrant resistance towards assimilation. Assimilation is an unstoppable force in American history that turns everyone into part of the "melting pot." I meant it as a healthy dose of skepticism towards policies in this country that might make these immigrants angry, such as the status of their legality, foreign policy, and the economy. In saying this, I am not asserting my own opinions towards these issues; I am stating what I believe to be salient reasons to express some resistance towards blind acceptance of everything this country has to offer.

We must remember that a healthy democracy is built on this skepticism. And I am certain that these immigrants will turn out like every other immigrant that has migrated to these shores--Americans. Give them time and they will be. Thank you once again for your comments.
So what are you saying in today's letter to editor (open forum)? Are you saying Latinos are proud to live, work, stay, etc... But are so proud to root against Americans in every possible way given an opportunity. Some groups have been gone from the mother land so long that they aren't able to make the same connection. But this is the land where you can root against it and you probably won't disappear or die for it. So root root root.

My response

Not Latinos; immigrants (all immigrants, not just Latinos). The distinction is important to grasp the meaning of my article. And I agree with your assimilation analysis; let time pass and these immigrant rooters will become Americans themselves. Thank you for your remarks.

And two weird ones that I didn't respond to due to their brevity...

I don't think we're likely to get bent out of shape over soccer in this country anytime soon. Or start a war over it, for that matter.
Your assertion:

"Few of these immigrants will be cheering for the United States -- a fact that many nonimmigrant Americans see as tantamount to treason"

.... is a bunch of crap.

Most Americans don't even know there is a World Cup let alone that we have a national team. We just don't care about the sport - call it a cultural quirk - we have our own sports to follow. Immigrants and anybody else for that matter, are free to cheer for anybody they want. We don't care. So have beer, have some fun, lighten up.
I post them as they come. And they're a'comin like Peter North...
This is getting ridiculous...but I love it!

The main issue is assimilation and the majority of the Latin Americans that have come to the U.S. in the last 20 years (how many are illegal?) do not know how to become Americans. With the media, people may work here but get as much info from home so it is no real issue. I mean a Mexican from Oaxaca can call home, watch mexican news channels. It is the same as if I lived in Chicago and my parents here, no big deal.

For example, last week Memorial Day weekend and there is the Carnaval (Latin America event) in San Francisco with 125,000 people on Sunday. It is completely disrespectful to have this event when we, Americans, are honoring our fallen heroes who gave us our freedoms.
In retrospect they have given Latin America their freedom as well. I mean what did Mexico or the rest of latin America do in WWII? The WWII generation of the US saved the world.

It is up to academics like you to point this out, it is o.k. to become an American. Promote hispanics in the military, in politics or whatever. But when immigrants are rooting against the U.S. that sends a wrong message.

My response

Thank you for your comments. I must respectfully disagree with you when you say that most recent immigrants do not know how to become Americans. Although it's true that many immigrants nowadays rely heavily on ethnic media for their worldview, it is no different than the immigrant publications of yesteryear such as the Armenian Times, the Jewish Forward (back when it was written in Yiddish), or countless other papers. The ethnic press has traditionally been used by immigrant communities to keep vestiges of their homelands as they assimilate into this nation and I am confident that, with time, many of today's "inassimilable" immigrants will do the same.

In response to your question about what Mexico did during WWII...many things. The United States asked Mexico to send immigrants to work in the States as part of the "bracero" program. This allowed many Americans to enlist in the Armed Forces without the American economy suffering. And Mexican-Americans (many who were not considered "Americans" at the time but enlisted to prove their love to this country) were the most decorated ethnic group of WWII.

As my article stated, rooting against the US isn't inherently anti-American. These immigrants who cheer against the States will make this country better and ultimately will cheer for the States as they assimilate into this country. Thank you once again for your comments.
I am an American with Italian and Irish descent, and I can tell you that while I am not a huge soccer fan, I will be rooting for the US first and then Ireland and Italy second in the World Cup.

I am of the belief that you are an American first, that is what unites us and brings us together. We are a melting pot and it is important that we celebrate the American ideals and character which separate us
from the rest of the world. I think one can support its country of ancestry while not simultaneously bashing the US.

If the overall populace and government of the US is so offensive to the immigrants, than I more than encourage them to return to their countries of origin where their government and populace is providing a
promising way of life.

Surely you would not want to mention in your article that the US provides more monetary aid, medical supplies and other goodwill to Mexico and Latin countries than all other countries combined.

I support people coming to the US in a _legal_fashion and immersing themselves in our culture, learning our language, and learning the great and proud history of our country. I object to your article as another
piece of anti-american refuse and I am sick and tired of it.

God Bless the USA.

My response...

Please do not characterize my article as "anti-American refuse." You are living proof of the end result that these immigrants will no doubt meet and that my article suggests.

Many Americans will have affection for the teams of their ancestral lands but will root for the States first, that is correct. But my article concentrated on the immigrants themselves, not descendants of immigrants such as you and me. For recent immigrants with no ties (as of yet) to the States, it is logical for them to root for their home country.

As they assimilate into this nation, though, they will eventually become like you and me (i.e., American) and root for the home squad. This is a time-tested fact of the American experience. Legality, financial aid, and patriotism has nothing to do with this; time does. Thank you for your comments.
And now for some comments that don't need long responses other than thanks...

I'm a federal civil rights manager and I really enjoyed your article in open
forum. I believe that you hit the nail on the head. Soccer and other sports allow immigrants to vent, to momentarily step outside whatever reality they happen to find themselves and support their heritage against a new country and culture that has not always treated them well.

Thanks for helping all of us understand this new dynamic. Pat Buchanan, take a chill pill and get over it.

My response...

Thank you for your remarks. And your comment about Buchanan is appreciated!
Not all WASP Americans ignore soccer and I will be cheering for the U.S. team when they play Portugal!


My response

Of course not! Although it's unfortunate that we don't have more fans rooting for the US squad, I have found that American soccer fans are intensely passionate about their side. And that makes me extremely happy.

I need to work now. Too much fun for me today...and it's barely 1PM!
Some more comments from the last person who wrote...

Oh really, you'll have to identify for me those expats that are anti-Shah.

Your point in your article is that "many" in the Iranian community celebrated their soccer victory as sort of a payback or in your face to the US for our support of the Shah. What's your proof for this Gustavo?

My response?

Proof? How about in the "many" Iranians that cheered here (as shown in my local LA media) during the 1998 Cup when Iran beat the States? In some of the expatriate Iranians that I know (and trust me, they despise the Shah AND the Ayatollah's with every fiber in their body) that consider the United States-supported coup of Mohammad Mossadegh to be the worst thing to have ever happened to their country and saw the Cup victory as the best way to "humiliate the arrogant Americans" (their words, not mine)? Do you want names? phone numbers? emails? Or should I have spoken to every Iranian in the States before forming an opinion based on my observations? Or maybe just you?
Some more commentary for my Pacific News Service story on why immigrants won't cheer for the American squad in the World Cup...

You forgot to mention the "other immigrants" the ones from Europe, Asia, etc. you are too young to see the real influence of immigrants, the Irish, the Germans, the French, the Italians, just to mention a few, regardless of how long they have been in the US, or if their parents or grandparents are the ones that immigrated to the US, THEY ALL CHEER for their old country teams. is not just the Latin American countries, but you failed to mention them in your article. You should re-write your article again. Just go to any Italian, Irish, French, German, bar-restaurant to see how they cheer their countries of origin teams, even the English you will see them cheering for England.

My response...

Thank you for your remarks. I must respectfully disagree with your overgeneralization that all descendants of immigrants cheer for the mother country. Although I agree with you that the national team of another country will have their share of non-immigrant fans here in the US, it is a tenuous following at best. Rooting for the soccer team of the old country becomes an expression of a person’s symbolic ethnicity that quickly dissipates when said country faces the American squad. My article chose to concentrate on the immigrants themselves, which (as you correctly observed) come from all over the world. The reason I chose to concentrate on Latin American, South Korean, and Iranian immigrants is because of the large communities that live here in Los Angeles (each of the immigrants’ communities I mentioned are the largest outside of their home countries) and their recent problems and/or encounters with the United States, which makes the sociopolitical aspect of my article more salient. Thank you once again for your remarks.
An analogy of your article is my own support for the Cincinnati Reds in baseball. I grew up there and have now lived on the west coast for many years, but when the Reds play the Giants there isn't any question of which team I root for. Old loyalties die hard too.

My response...

Thank you for your response. Amazingly enough, you are the only person to have mentioned your obvious-but-true analogy, a point that many have ignored in their shock at realizing that people living in this country might not be rooting for the United States. Though soccer is a sport laced with political and cultural implications, we must keep in mind that it is also a sport, and all of us sports fans are a little irrational for our teams (I myself am a Cubs fan, so I don't have to mention my own misguided loyalties!) Thank you once again for your response.
I'm a conservative, so your quotes from Lalas and Buchanan got my attention, and a nod of some agreement.

Then I read further, in fact finished the whole article.

And I must say you made me acquire some empathy that, for me, came from having been the underdog at times in competitive sports. Rooting against a team didn't mean I was rooting against the school they represented; so, I guess, rooting against a team doesn't mean rooting against a country. It just makes you feel good when some hot air is taken out of a big pompous balloon.

My response...

Thank you for your comments. It is true, as you noted; nobody likes a juggernaut, but that doesn't mean they hate the juggernaut. For example, many sports fans were relieved to see the Yankees lose the World Series but that didn't mean that they hated New York City; they just didn't like the Yankees' overwhelming success. Similarly, most immigrants are eternally grateful that they can live and work in the United States, even if it doesn't seem like it when they're booing the American squad. Since their home countries cannot possibly match up with the United States, they'll boo one of the few weak spots of this country. But only that, and especially because it is a sport. Thank you once again for your comments.
Send in the dissidents...

It was valiant of you to try to explain the apparent ingratitude of recent, primarily Latin (?) immigrants, toward their chosen country of residence. Perhaps, in turn, it will help you to understand the feelings of many native Americans (I prefer that term to non-immigrant, I was born here).

Your piece speaks volumes, but however you parse it, the difference in attitude comes down to this: most native Americans hold this country in their esteem and affection, your constituency apparently only appreciates the opportunities our country provides them.

Immigrants in the past have indeed made this country better, whether recent arrivals will continue to do so will depend on whether of not they can make the shift from appreciation to affection as many previous immigrants have done. The Soccer team might be a good place to start.

Unlike Mr. Buchanan, I am not concerned about America's future. "Latin American" countries persist in their backwardness; but as they begin to pull themselves out of the 19th century and develop opportunities for their natives to appreciate at home-- a more positive and equitable relationship will evolve.

Yes, I am aware that there are many Latin American immigrants who love this country dearly, but that was not your point, was it?

My response...

The point of my article was to mention that many immigrants (not just those from Latin America) will use soccer as a vehicle to express anxiety about the United States. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. If you study American immigrant history, you will realize that some distrust of the United States is a common theme of all immigrant groups. Compared to the manifestations of anti-American sentiments from other immigrant groups in the past, a soccer match is a harmless outlet. That said, it is integral to realize in understanding my article that I only address the viewpoint of immigrants, not the children of immigrants (such as myself) or their descendants.The problem arises if the immigrants do not make the next step (as you noted). But as immigrants stay here longer and their children assimilate, this distrust shifts into (as you noted) appreciation, then finally affection. Thank you for your comments.
This one's fun...

I have read your article in today's Chronicle on why immigrants don't cheer for the US soccer team and I must say while I understand your point, it inadvertently points out why many WASP Americans like myself are leery of foreigners who come here.

In previous years immigrants when to great lengths to leave the culture of the old country behind. They wanted to become Americans, and assimilate into American life. They dressed like Americans, learned the language and in some cases even changed their names to sound more American. They worked hard to build a better life here that wasn't possible where they came from. They bought homes, paid their taxes and sent their sons to fight and die to defend America in war. I seriously doubt they would have cheered for the old country's soccer team.

Today's immigrants despise America and come here simply because they see a chance to make a buck. They make a half hearted attempt to learn fluent English (especially South american types) burden our social welfare programs (public schools, health care, etc) and contribute the bare minimum in terms of taxes and contributions to society. Why can't they stay in the old country and create economic prosperity there? Simple! Too lazy. Easier to come here and sponge off the gringos. They
speak Spanish at home, stare sullenly at Americans who pass them by and have ruined most of Los Angeles. (I used to attend company seminars in the late 70's on 7th Street, we would walk to Wilshire Blvd for lunch. It was a beautiful place, but not now. Illegal immigrants, drugs, violence -a real shame).

So please, let's call a spade a spade. America is full and needs to post a "No Vacancy" sign in the window. These people who want to come here should stay home and work to build their country of origin into something to be proud of like we did here in America. I am sick and tired of people running down this wonderful nation and I for one will no longer tolerate. As the line went from the movie, "I'm mad a hell and I'm not going to take it anymore". And neither are many of my Countrymen.

Concerned American

My response...

Your analysis of immigration history would make me laugh if it wasn’t so blatantly ethnocentric and ignorant. Are you to tell me that the immigrants of yesterday magically cut off all ties to their home countries, changed their name from Rickenbaucher to Richards, and became happy Americans? Perhaps you haven’t read the countless memoirs of immigrants of yesteryear retelling in agonizing detail their struggles in adapting to this country and the shame they felt when encountering people like you who demanded immediate assimilation, no questions asked or empathy given.

And I love how you twist my article into a diatribe against Latin American immigrants. If you read my article (which you said you understood, but obviously did not read close enough), I mentioned ALL immigrants. Talk to an Irish immigrant and see where their loyalties stand in this Cup. Or a Vietnamese or Mexican immigrant, for that matter. I hate to break it to you, but their rooting against the United States will only be in soccer, since the immigrants of today are no different from those in the past in acclimating to this country. And as the child of recent immigrants myself, I am disgusted with your assertion that people like my parents are somehow ungrateful leeches of the state. They’ve done more to better this nation than your empty-headed bigotry masquerading as “concern” ever will.
One more...

Your own words inadvertently describe why many Americans find the attitudes you explain to be so objectionable. "At its essence, rooting against the American soccer team symbolizes resistance to being absorbed into a country whose populace and government do not always do the right thing-especially against the immigrants and their home countries." If immigrants don't want to be "absorbed" into this imperfect country, perhaps they ought not to come here to benefit from the opportunities it offers. Your further comment that they then "return to bettering the nation" is a nice try at spin, but you could have more accurately phrased it as "return to taking advantage of the opportunities that exist here without making a commitment to fully join the society and culture that makes those opportunities possible."

My response...

“Absorbed” in the context of my article means “blindly accepting American international dogma.” And “return to bettering the nation” means “going back to be ruthlessly exploited to allow citizens to enjoy the best living conditions on the planet yet still contributing because they want to be part of the grand American fabric.”
Just got another one...

-"with memories of the U.S. -backed Shah's brutal regime still fresh in their minds -"

The Iranian expatriate community living in the US is made up of Jews fleeing persecution and former military and government officials in the Shah's government. These people supported the Shah. Why do you think they are here?

I guess in your ethnic studies classes this kind of crap passes for scholarship. Before you pen your next anti-American piece why don't you do a little bit more research.

My response...

"...many in the Iranian expatriate community..."

Don't take my comments out of context. Granted, some Iranians are supporters of the Shah. But not all. That's why I said "many", not "all." This isn't ethnic studies pedagogy; it's called Logic and Critical Thinking 101.
OK. That's enough for now. Must start working on other articles to get people angry.