Gustavo Arellano to UC Riverside grads: ‘You are secular saints’

gusgradSaturday morning, I had the honor of giving the commencement speech at UC Riverside’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences for their Sociology, Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Psychology students (what a mouthful!).

Following are my prepared remarks, which I mostly hewed to. I did begin my speech with an explanation of what ustedes and y’all meant, and the pocos pero locos line was improvised and laughed at by about three people.

Anyhoo, enjoy!

Let’s start with an experiment, shall we?

I want all the psychology majors to stand up? Applaud them, por favor, for getting to this special day.

Mas…Gustavo Arellano to UC Riverside grads: ‘You are secular saints’

Ask A Mexican: Why do Mexicans hate yellow cheese so much? (video)

mexicheeseWhen POCHO’s Associate Naranjero, the esteemed Gustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano, watched the video of BuzzFeed feeding Taco Bell to actual Mexicans (photo), he knew he needed to set the record straight regarding the yellow cheese that tops lots of Mexican-American food. Because queso, k no? Yellow cheese, says Gus, has an honorable history — and pocho cred. Also, BuzzFeed, FYI: Burritos, white rice and flour tortillas ARE “Mexican food,” doh!

Gus wrote the book, you know. Literally. It’s called TACO USA (How Mexican Food Conquered America).  

And now, prepare your device and your mind will follow.

Why do Mexicans hate yellow cheese so much? (the video)

Mas…Ask A Mexican: Why do Mexicans hate yellow cheese so much? (video)

Ask A Mexican: Should Mexicans move to the South? (video)

It’s complicated, but Gustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano considers the future of Mexican-Americans in the South and suggests it’s the new, unconquered Aztlan ripe for the Reconquista Part II. After all, paisas and good ole’ boys are the same with the horses and the whiskey and the marrying their second cousins, right? (Gustavo’s art courtesy Memo Nerricio’s Tex[t]-Mex Gallery and Steve Alvarez’ Mexington.

Ask A Mexican: Here’s an idea – Learn to love hipsters (NSFW video)

In between the Mexican curse words, Gustavo Arellano has a modest proposal: Learn to love your local hipster and/or chipster. We’re still trying to figure out what and who ¡Asked A Mexican! That cartoon, though! [NSFW adult language.]


Are you a Chipster (Chicano + hipster)? There are Pocho Ocho ways to tell. You might be a Chipster if…

Mas…Ask A Mexican: Here’s an idea – Learn to love hipsters (NSFW video)

Ask A Mexican: Why should we care about Ferguson? (NSFW video)

gustavohandsGustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano recalls America’s history of police brutality against people of color in his latest video: Why Mexicans Should Care About Michael Brown and Ferguson. The author and editor (OC Weekly) reprises a 2007 toon from POCHO Jefe Lalo Alcaraz to prove his point. One additional pregunta, though: Is Gustavo’s hoodie fashion forward, rain gear or a political statement? [NSFW F-bomb.]

Mas…Ask A Mexican: Why should we care about Ferguson? (NSFW video)

Ask A Mexican: Why do Salvadorans and Mexicans hate so much? (video)

gussalvadorGustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano steps back into the video limelight to ponder the question: Why do Mexicans (and Mexican-Americans) and Salvadorans (and Salvadoran-Americans) hate each other so much? Is it because Salvadoran horchata is better than Mexican horchata? And the fact that pupusas kick gorditas’ culinary nalgas? Or are they just following an age-old American tradition of hatin’ on the newbies that goes back at least to Benjamin Franklin?

Mas…Ask A Mexican: Why do Salvadorans and Mexicans hate so much? (video)

Naranjas, Señor?! Oranges for sale! (video)

The naranjero works hard for his money, so hard for it, honey.

As much as this street-vending orange seller looks like POCHO amigo Gustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano, it’s not him.

Here’s Arellano at his weekend gig:

Mas…Naranjas, Señor?! Oranges for sale! (video)

Gustavo Arellano at ASU: The Glories of the Arizona Latino


POCHO amigo Gustavo Arellano (he's the ¡Ask A Mexican! guy and editor of the O.C. Weekly) delivered this keynote speech at Arizona State University's biannual Hispanic Convocation Wednesday. The photo (below) shows him at his day job.

Gracias, Arizona State, for asking me to be this year’s Hispanic Convocation keynote. I’m sure it’s a mercy offering to UCLA, after your Sun Devils demolished my Bruins this year in football. No hard feelings–hey, at least we both kicked the nalgas of USC this season, right?

When I announced that I was giving a speech here today, congratulations came from across the country. But also invading my inbox were the inevitable insults–not toward me, but toward the state of Arizona. “Don’t forget to take your papers!” was the most obvious dig. “Watch out for Sheriff Arpaio!” was another one–that one I took to heart, because he did have my former bosses at the New Times arrested a couple of years back. But the slams that I found especially egregious were those that insisted I shouldn’t bother coming to this so-called evil estado in the first place.

Mas…Gustavo Arellano at ASU: The Glories of the Arizona Latino

Visionary behind Doritos Locos Tacos dies at 41 (photos + video)

toddtacosTodd Mills, who came up with the idea for Doritos Locos Tacos, lost his battle with cancer on Thanksgiving. The Little Rock, Arkansas father of two was 41 (photo, above.)

USA Today reports:

Mills started the Facebook page “Taco Shells from Doritos Movement” in 2009, encouraging followers to “tell Frito-Lay that we demand nacho cheesy taco shells!”

On the page, Mills posted photoshopped images of well known figures including Albert Einstein with a cheesy taco shell in a thought bubble, Steve Jobs holding a Macbook with a cheesy taco shell on the screen and Chuck Norris doing a karate kick while holding a cheesy taco shell….

Mas…Visionary behind Doritos Locos Tacos dies at 41 (photos + video)

The Latin Grammys: America’s biggest anti-Mexican sham


latingrammys150Over a decade ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for what was called Pacific News Service but is now New American Media bemoaning how pathetic the Latin Grammys were due to their lack of Mexican music. “The definers of Latin culture,” I wrote then, “have decided that the most popular Latin music genre in the United States isn’t worthy of promotion because it might lead people to believe that Latinos are poor and culturally backward, not slick and ‘with it.'”

Mas…The Latin Grammys: America’s biggest anti-Mexican sham

It’s National Taco Day! Eat ’em if you got ’em

streettacosAccording to either the National Taco Industry Council, or some drunk person who also just made this up, today is National Taco Day in the United Estates.

And it says so, on to the online hub of this holiday,

In 2012, Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos! 
That’s 490,000 miles of tacos, which could take you to the moon and back or, if you prefer, could, at 775-million pounds, equal the weight of two Empire State Buildings.

Damn, that just makes me feel fat. Also on their site, they state oddly that:

Mas…It’s National Taco Day! Eat ’em if you got ’em

Gustavo Arellano: Summers, I turn on my inner George Clooney

Summers are when our amigo Gustavo ¡Ask A Mexican! Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly, turns on his inner George Clooney. In a grisly yearly ritual, Gustavo entrusts me, POCHO Jefe-in-Chief Lalo Alcaraz, with the opportunity to illustrate a comic relating some sad aspect of his tragic love life. He writes the comic script, but then lets me have his way with the last panel, and the results are guaranteed to entertain you and embarrass Gus!  The way he described it to me, it looks something like this…

Gustavo Arellano: This one goes out to all the community college grads

Author, editor and POCHO amigo Gustavo Arellano delivered this commencement speech yesterday to the graduates of Long Beach Community College:

Gustavo Arellano

Gracias for having me here, Vikings. I come from that evil land over yonder on the other side of the 405 — Orange County. Por favor don’t hold it against me, as I come to ustedes in peace and with a message about our shared background as products of California’s magnificent community college system.

I graduated in 1999 from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, just down the 405. My experience there was similar in many respects to yours. I had a full course load, took intersession, took as many summer school courses as possible, and did all of this while working full time, no financial aid, and helping to support my family. The classes were crowded, the parking horrific, the professors ranging from Einsteins to idiots.

Mas…Gustavo Arellano: This one goes out to all the community college grads

NPR Cinco de Mayo show taps Gustavo Arellano, La Santa Cecilia

Coming from the East Coast and all, the National Public Radio Alt.Latino peeps needed to come here to get the real California deal on Cinco de Mayo. They called on two local treasures:  Gustavo Arellano, editor of, and East Los rockers La Santa Cecilia:

This week we bring ourselves to that most bicultural of holidays — Cinco de Mayo. As we discuss in the show, there is a question about whether or not this is just another opportunity for happy hour specials or store-wide sales: “Get your new bed during our Mexican Mattresstravaganza!!!”

We invited writer Gustavo Arellano to help us shed some light on the issue. He has tackled this theme before in his syndicated column Ask A Mexican.

Here on the East Coast, the Cinco de Mayo experience is different from what it is in California. It feels much less connected to themes of cultural pride and more like an excuse to drink margaritas.

Mas…NPR Cinco de Mayo show taps Gustavo Arellano, La Santa Cecilia

Pocho Ocho reasons Gustavo Arellano should win a Pulitzer Prize

Arellano's book comes out next week

POCHO amigo Gustavo Arellano, the ¡Ask A Mexican! guy who writes columns and books and edits, has a new book coming out soon: Taco USA — How Mexican Food Conquered America.

Despite his adamant refusal to bribe us for coverage, we still want to present Pocho Ocho reasons he should win a pinche Pulitzer:

8. The use of the inverted exclamation point in ¡Ask A Mexican! has forced gabachos across America to learn special key combinations to send him hateful email.

7. Consistently employing “SantAna” when referring to the Orange County City of Santa Ana has moved Carlos Santana out of the old-age home and into a long-term gig at the House of Blues on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.

Mas…Pocho Ocho reasons Gustavo Arellano should win a Pulitzer Prize