Reading the protest signs from last month’s Women’s March was inspirational, and occasionally entertaining. One sign in particular caught my attention: “Pendejo is Spanish for Stable Genius,” which went viral. It made me smile, and it got me thinking about the origins of the word.
Women have been rightfully calling out pendejos for a while now. One of my earlier memories was when my mother shouted this insult to a man, who almost hit us with his car. I prayed the man didn’t get out of his car to escalate the situation because I felt the insult was so severe. I was seven years old and scared, not of my mother, but for her. Thankfully the man kept driving, perhaps he was too embarrassed to stick around.
As for pendejo’s development, I found out it stems from the latin pertiniculus or pecten, which means “pubic hair.” How did pubic hair come to mean dumbass? I dug deeper into the internets because our favorite insult undoubtedly merits deep scholarly research. My typing lead me to a college paper on the subject.
It appears pendejo was used in 16th century Spain to refer to pubescent teens who thought of themselves as grown ups. A century later it also appeared to mean coward. It wasn’t until the 1917 publication of the Dictionary of the Spanish Language (Diccionario de la lengua española) where its definition in Latin America shifted to stupid, dumb:
“It (dictionary) references the etymology definition, then that of coward, and finally the one used in the Americas (Mexico, Colombia, Chile): dumb man, stupid.”
Thankfully the current administration can make use of all three historical definitions of pendejo: There’s the pubescent and immature time Trump tweeted insults about Mika Brzezinski, the various times he’s been called a coward — being a draft dodger and all — and, having been involved in various businesses only to bankrupt them, well that certainly makes him a classic, modern-day pendejo.
To the brave woman who held up her pendejo sign at the Women’s March, thank you. I dedicate this post to you.
Tizoc Schwartz co-wrote a short film on the word ‘Chingar’ and has written other stuff you’ve never heard of. He’s a carb enthusiast, and dislikes social media.
Oh, right. Old-school Mexicans humiliate their children by pretending they don’t exist.
I’ve been visiting my mother, and all of our immediate family, for the last week. They’re old-school, rural Mexicans. The kind who always offer food, even if they hate you.
I’m in my mid 30s now, and have been living on my own since I was 18, so at our gatherings I get a proper adult seat at the table. They listen to what I have to say, but it wasn’t always like that.
It’s not like that for my younger relatives, either. At family reunions, I see them out of the periphery of my eye. They’re trying to get a word in, but those older Mexicans won’t allow it. Why would they? What have those mocosos (snot-nosed kids) done to deserve anybody’s respect? Did they pay for their food? For the roof over their head? For their car, gas, clothes? No? Then they don’t exist.
Yes, they’re physically there, but unless they can prove their worth through monetary independence, they’re no one. If they try to make their voices heard, they’ll be silenced by a death stare, or an abrupt change in conversation.
If they persist, other humiliations will be flung at them, such as being asked to do something entirely meaningless, just like their opinion. “Vete a ver si ya puso la marrana” (go see if one of the pigs laid an egg) is a classic. My grandma had one of the most bizarre just-get-the-fuck-out-of-here phrases, which I’ve never heard elsewhere: “Vete a descular hormigas” (go chop the asses off ants).
I know these Mexicans sound like assholes, but they’re like that because they believe in resilience, not fragility. Giving encouragement to a mentally and physically healthy person seems redundant to them. Those people already have all they need to succeed, they’ll think.
To gain their respect, at the very least a person will need to become self-sufficient. That’s how you earn the right to sit with them. Either you’re with that, or you’re not there at all.
“Trump Dating” site doesn’t want the gays, but allows the “happily married” to join
You can even be mad at Trump Dating, a new website for lonely — or not so lonely, but just promiscuous — maganogamous people. It’s a perfect representation of their cherished administration, since it’s also homophobic — it only allows “straight” women or men to sign up — and, just like Trump, it’s all about adulterous relationships:
“When you kick off the process of starting a profile, you get two options for labeling yourself — ‘straight man’ or ‘straight woman.’
Yet according to Trump Dating’s rather strange drop-down menus, married people are welcome. For a relationship status, the site offers options like ‘have a significant other,’ ‘happily married,’ and ‘unhappily married.'”
And since no self-respecting republican-specific dating site should exist unless it takes an issue with race, Trump Dating allows their users to be super specific about their genealogy:
“The ethnicity options also seemed oddly specific. In addition to the typical categories, the site includes choices like ‘Scandinavian,’ ‘Polynesian,’ ‘Eastern European,’ ‘Western European,’ ‘Mediterranean,’ and ‘Eskimo,’ a term used to label the indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that is considered offensive and inaccurate.”
OMG, you guys. There better be a second menu where users can identify which of the five Aryan subtype races — Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic — they belong to. Otherwise the server room of this Trump Dating is gonna get tiki torched.
Culture3 weeks ago
Calm the f*ck down with your “Despacito” Grammy outrage. It’s not that serious.
Culture4 weeks ago
Dating a Latina from another country gives me the right amount of separation from my culture
Culture3 weeks ago
Just because I’m not dating a Mexican doesn’t mean you shouldn’t
Culture3 weeks ago
Adultery, greed and hypocrisy: The dark side of Chespirito