You’re probably sick to death of following our shitty rants on Facebook and Twitter, but hold your nose, be kind, and make your way to your Flipboard account — if you have one, or know what Flipboard is — and follow the Rictus “magazine” (feed): https://flipboard.com/@Rictus_co
The tags are all fucked up — for some reason half the articles are being tagged with “Cardi B” and “Santa Claus” — but we can’t edit those, apparently. Flipbook seems to randomly assign the tags.
But, yeah, sign up for the “magazine.”
NYT: Shady-ass Mexican government & journalists can’t stop, won’t stop extorting each other
On Christmas day the New York Times published an incredible article about the Mexican government and its, well, let’s call it “advertising budget,” because it’s still baby Jesus’ birth week, and “shameless extortion tactics” is not very navideño.
To nobody’s surprise, the famed publication discovered Mexico’s governing body has been spending billions of dollars to keep the media in check:
“President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration has spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year in government money on advertising, creating what many Mexican media owners, executives and journalists call a presidential branding juggernaut capable of suppressing investigative articles, directing front pages and intimidating newsrooms that challenge it.”
The details — and there’s a lot of them — are astounding. The gist is that, unlike the United States, there’s no money in newspaper advertising, and the government is very willing to take advantage of that.
Even esteemed publications, such as La Jornada, a lefty favorite, have sold out, and the situation can hardly be worse:
“Media outlets in Mexico can scarcely afford their own principles. Twenty years ago, the newspaper La Jornada was one of the most beloved in the nation, a critical voice and a must-read for intellectuals and activists who carried the tabloid around town, tucked under their arms.
But the years have not been kind to the paper. A few years ago, it was on the cusp of financial ruin. Then the government intervened, rescuing the publication with more than $1 million in official advertising and, critics say, claiming its editorial independence in the process.
‘Now they own them,’ Mr. Levario said. ‘The paper has been like a spokesman for the president.’”
But the most interesting revelation is that Mexican journalists have found a way to return the extorting favor.
Yes, we can be super crafty when it comes to beating the system, especially if the system has been beating on us forever. Check Diana Alvarez and her curious anecdote, for example:
“As the editor for recruiting at the newspaper Reforma, Diana Alvarez has grown accustomed to the flexible definition of journalism in Mexico. A few years back, she said, she interviewed one young woman from a large paper in Mexico City.
The woman, who had a master’s degree in journalism, said her job at the paper consisted of creating files of negative press clippings on governors across the country. Those files were turned over to the paper’s sales department, which then approached the governors to sell them ‘coverage plans’ to improve their public image, the young woman explained.
Mrs. Alvarez rattled off more examples. One applicant, an editing candidate, boasted that he knew how to work his relationships with politicians to score more advertising money. He called it ‘heating them up,’ which involved showing the target a critical story that his newspaper was planning to publish. Then, as he explained to Mrs. Alvarez, an advertising contract with his paper would help ‘put out the fire.'”
If you can’t beat them, join them, I guess?
NAFTA, will you grant us a sweet, fattening death already? At this point, it feels like the most dignified way to go.
Google’s Year in Search: What Spanish-speakers in the US were obsessed with during 2017
I love factual lists, graphs, and analytics because they tell the truth. Sometimes those truths can be uncomfortable because they reveal we play into certain stereotypes more than we realize, but they can also be highly illuminating.
Take Google’s data for the top US searches of 2017, which lists a curious Spanish section. No other languages are listed on the US section besides English and Spanish, which means the number of Spanish searches must be significant, though users can sift through the top queries of individual countries.
So what crucial topics, life-saving information, and informative queries are Spanish-speakers in the US are using their bandwidth on?
1) The dónde: Where’s Irma, my money, and Primer Impacto‘s Bárbara Bermudo?
Some of these searches, like the queries about the hurricanes, are unsurprising. Hurricanes were a big concern in 2017, especially because they ripped through the caribbean, and millions of Spanish-speakers live there. The bit about the IRS is really funny, though people’s obsession with the birthplace of boxers — Canelo and Golovkin — is curious.
#5, the absence of Bárbara Bermudo, is quite interesting. The boricua anchor was suspiciously fired at the beginning of 2017 from Primer Impacto, one of Univision’s highest-rated
news shows, and the internet was lit with theories about Univision’s true motives. Was Bárbara bad at her job? Did she get too old? Was she asking for too much money?
I sort of followed that story, but still don’t know.
2) The cómo: Soccer shit, how did Chalino Sánchez die, and how do I use these tiny butt beads?
So what’s up with soccer shit — I hate sports, not gonna get into that — hurricane stuff (obviously), the eclipse, and, uh, Chalino Sánchez, for some weird-ass reason.
Some of you youngsters or non-northern Mexicans might be asking: Who the fuck is Chalino Sánchez?! Well, he’s considered the godfather of the narcocorrido musical genre, and he was shot dead decades ago. I have no idea why people have been googling that info in 2017, but I’m assuming Univision, or maybe Telemundo, probably transmitted a biographical series, like the one about Juan Gabriel, but about Sánchez.
But my favorite search on this list is #10. Apparently US Spanish-speakers forgot how to pray using not just a rosary, but EL SANTO [holy] rosario. That’s all kinds of hilarious, but sad, because Yeezus wubs you.
I have no room to talk, of course, since my sacrilegious, blasphemous life is well-documented here on Rictus. But you can still be saved from eternal damnation, kids — just learn how to use that beaded artifact you mistook for a sex toy.
3) The qué: What is the Antikythera mechanism – like, seriously, what is that — DACA, and Easter
So these are our proudest and most embarrassing queries. On one pround hand, we have Spanish-speakers informing themselves about super importante subjects like DACA, the San Andreas Fault, and the Antikythera mechanism, a scientific marvel. This is all cool because it’s better than seeing a searches for a telenovela villain or Walter Mercado’s whereabouts (he makes awesome commercials now, see below).
The most embarrassing googleo, however, is #10, which circles back to #10 of the cómo list: “What is Easter?” Damn it, you fucking heretics. I try so hard to keep you in good standing with the Lord, but you don’t give a shit.
Just go hang out with that satanic baby from Argentina while you’re googling all this blasphemy.
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