Best of Behind the Approval Matrix
The Approval Matrix: Week of October 1, 2007
Why do Mexicans use their car horns as a doorbell? Do Mexican children get tamales at Christmas so that they have something to unwrap? The chances are that you will know the answers to some of these questions if you live in the United States and read the wickedly funny "Ask a Mexican!" column .
The brainchild of a Mexican-American reporter, Gustavo Arellano, and his editor at the OC Weekly in Orange County, southern California, the column started out as a prank in 2004. Since then it has become a sleeper hit read by more than a million people from California to New York each week.
The questions -- some addressing Mexicans as "greasers" and "beaners" -- pull no punches, and are met with equally arch slapdowns meant to sneak in an unexpected cultural rapprochement with humor, Arellano said. Through his blunt discussion of stereotypes, he hopes to defend Mexicans and their identity in the United States. (Reuters)