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robertogreco : holidays   8

Surviving Cinco de Mayo: one man's ambivalent guide to the Taco Bell of holidays | Fusion
"But then one day, I was explaining this position to a dude I knew. He was a little guy, spiky gelled hair, ducktail in the back, looked like a striker for a soccer team relegated to the second-tier league. And as I dismounted from my high horse, he turned to me and said, “You gotta chill. It’s fun. And everybody wants to hook up with a Mexican on Cinco de Mayo.”

This is not exactly airtight logic, but it cracked my self-seriousness: maybe to hate on Cinco de Mayo was more pedantry than politics.

I started to dig a little deeper. My friend Gustavo Arellano, the eponymous Mexican of OC Weekly’s Ask a Mexican column, reminds us that no less a figure than Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Octavio Paz (after whom I named my first born) had ensconced partying as a core component of the Mexican soul. “Something impedes us from being. And since we cannot or dare not confront our own selves, we resort to the fiesta,” Paz writes in his linked series of essays, Labyrinth of Solitude. “It fires us into the void; it is a drunken rapture that burns itself out, a pistol shot in the air, a skyrocket.”

Perhaps Mexicans in the United States, in many cases prevented from citizenship (i.e. full legal recognition of their selves), didn’t mind having a drunken rapture once a year, even if the occasion was as fabricated as Valentine’s Day. And if all the gringos joined in, too, so much the better.

Faced with these various questions, I decided to turn to my most trusted authority on Mexicanidad, my dad Salvador Madrigal, who was born in Mexico DF, and came to the states in his late teens (returning various times over the next couple decades, including for my early childhood). He is my own personal connection to the homeland, of course, and a close observer of both nations."



"Well, then, I was back to my central dilemma. What is a half-Mexican kid who grew up in the US to do about Cinco de Mayo? Burn my sombrero or wear it to happy hour?

“The best you can do is provide good craft beer and good Mexican food for your Cinco de Mayo party guests,” he offered. “They’ll think you are weird for not providing Corona and nachos but your soul will feel better.”

We may not be able to win the battle of Cinco de Mayo against the corporate beer and restaurant brands. We will not find improbable victory in the way that Mexican troops did in 1862 in Puebla.

But our war has already been won. Demographics are destiny. We’re gonna be 30 percent of this country in 45 years, says the US Census Bureau. And our real culture will exert an ever greater influence on mainstream America from border to border, no matter how many bros don ponchos and mustaches to get pissdrunk on Corona today."
2015  cincodemayo  alexismadrigal  mexico  holidays  ethnicity  joséalamillo  gustavoarellano  octaviopaz  us  history  corona  benitojuarez 
may 2015 by robertogreco
My Favorite Holiday — The Message — Medium
"So, sure, Buy Nothing Day is a made-up holiday, popularized by Adbusters and Wired, and even so I’m certain that I “celebrate” it in some sort of non-canon way. At the same time, when I come back to Vermont to my part time public school job and see the tiny menorah that is buried somewhere under the “holiday” tree in the school’s display, I appreciate having one day of celebration that I can be all in on. I campaigned for that menorah, and yet seeing it under the tree gives me a feeling of defeat.

I’ve commemorated Buy Nothing Day in some fashion or another for the past two decades — it’s only been an official thing since 1992 — in two basic ways.

1. I don’t spend any money at all. No matter what.
2. I spend part of the day outside. No matter what.

One of the initial impetuses for #2 was Bill McKibben’s first book The Age of Missing Information which he wrote in 1992. Bill McKibben is better known as the guy behind 350.org. He’s an earnest, sensible Vermonter concerned about climate change and other things that are ruining the world. This was back in the earlier days of cable television and the endless ruminating on what would actually be on those 500 channels we were promised.

In 1992 I was just out of college, living in Seattle, just learning about the Internet, didn’t have cable TV. McKibben found the US city that had the most cable channels, Fairfax Virginia, and recorded 24 hours of programming on all 93 channels. He watched these over a period of about six months, a thousand hours of television. Then he spent 24 hours in the Adirondacks, just thinking about things, and compared the experiences and wrote about them.
“What sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it’s dangerous (it’s almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it’s solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). it’s that five miles out in the woods you can’t buy anything.” ― Bill McKibben, The Age of Missing Information

Now it’s pretty easy to fall into a lazy “Kids today…!” rant about the effects of technology on our lives and our culture. In my current life, I have more jobs that are online than offline, and even the offline ones are about teaching people to get online. I make jokes about becoming a raspberry farmer to get away from it all, but I could never hack the hours. Farmers get up early. McKibben’s not a snot about his observations, he just makes them and moves on. He later wrote a book, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, which was a project done with local churches to spend more money and time making sure everyone had their basic needs met and less money and effort on the shopping part of Christmas; creating genuine traditions that instilled a sense of well-being and fellowship, not feelings of urgency and competition."
jessamynwest  buynothingday  consumerism  holidays  2014  consumption  cv  glvo  christmas  blackfriday  traditions  billmckibben  environment  sustainability  well-being  money  time  fellowship  urgency  competition  technology  tv  television  life  living 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Three Days to Remember: The Other Side of Hong Kong | The Real Hong Kong News
"For the first three evenings of the Lunar New Year, the officers of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department get to enjoy a well-earned break from their duties—and the street hawkers of Hong Kong get down to business. From New Year’s Eve until the third day of the new year, various streets throughout the city are transformed into bustling, lively markets with hawkers selling everything from antiques to computers and DVDs and preparing a multitude of cooked snacks; but the festive atmosphere, the rich scents and the laughter in the air, are but a mayfly—dead after just a few short days.

The largest of these fleeting night markets congregates on Sham Shui Po’s Kweilin Street, and has become known as the Kweilin Night Market. This year, the annual phenomena sparked a wave of self-reflection in the local press and social media as to why the people of Hong Kong are denied these simple pleasures on every other day of the year, and what this says about our dwindling public space, our quality of life, and the indifference of our government.

Foraging amongst these markets, young people typically likened the atmosphere to what they’ve experienced on trips to Taiwan. To the post-80s and post-90s generations, these are the only night markets we know, and in our minds it is areas such as Taipei’s Shilin that represent the spiritual home of the night market. What many of us don’t appreciate, however, is that once upon a time Hong Kong, too, had a thriving culture of street trading.

Although one might say that we already have night markets of our own—the Ladies’ Market and Temple Street—these have long since ceased to be leisure grounds for locals, and instead have almost exclusively become points of consumption for tourists. Visitors still have their night markets, but the people of Hong Kong do not. As one InMediaHK article lamented, ‘Hongkongers are permitted to celebrate their collective memory only three days a year.’

Beginning in the 1970s, the government of Hong Kong gradually placed more and more restrictions on street trading, and issued progressively fewer hawkers’ licenses year on year. Ostensibly conducted in the interests of public hygiene and safety, the scuttling of Hong Kong’s night markets coincided with the clearing of valuable land being eyed by developers, cementing the now ironclad bond between big developers and government that so characterises the city we know today.

The privatisation and commercialisation of public space is a process all too familiar to Hong Kong residents, and it is an issue that affects our quality of life every day. From soaring property prices to the attack on our urban and country parks, the space ordinary people have to live in and enjoy is constantly under threat, besieged on all sides."
hongkong  pop-ups  holidays  markets  2014  ephemeral  regulation  anarchism  streettrading  privatization  commercialization  publicspace  capitalism  ephemerality 
february 2014 by robertogreco
For precocious kids: Santa Claus and wormholes | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times
"There are some things we still don’t know, but it is fairly clear that the mode of transport/time-travel they use is based on astrophysical oddities called wormholes. ... If one of Santa’s lieutenants wants to exit a home, he simply jumps through the wormhole mouth in the fireplace or the frame. A moment later he pops out of a window at his next destination. ...

The true beauty of Santa’s wormhole-based travel technique, though, is that it enables his lieutenants to recover the time they lose dropping off gifts in a given house. Each wormhole deposits a lieutenant in the next living room on his schedule a few hundredths or tenths of a second after he arrived in the previous one. As a result, at any moment, a given lieutenant may actually be working in thousands of different homes at once. ..."
santaclaus  wormholes  travel  timetravel  science  holidays  astrophysics 
december 2010 by robertogreco
What I Did Not Buy: A new approach to giving
"Think of all the things you have bought and then said, “I didn’t need that.”
unconsumption  consumerism  charity  simplicity  holidays 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Volví!
""I try to picture in my mind one of those big magazine advertisements from the forties, with the cursive lettering, where a smiling woman's face is telling me "Relax... You're on Argentime!" And immediately I feel better."
argentina  customs  holidays  christmas  buenosaires  time  society  maciejceglowski  maciejcegłowski 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Farecast Travel Insights, Airline News and Trends » Reviewing 2006 Christmas Airfares
"t’s time to get going and book your flights for the Holidays. I’ve talked about Thanksgiving in some recent posts. Today I’m going to review what we saw in the run up to Christmas 2006 and make some suggestions for Christmas 2007"
travel  holidays  airfare  flights  money 
september 2007 by robertogreco
The New Yorker : THE FINANCIAL PAGE: The Gift Right Out
"We might actually be happier—and we’d certainly be wealthier—if we exchanged small, well-considered gifts rather than haunting the malls."
economics  gifts  relationships  sociology  shopping  psychology  money  culture  business  holidays  wealth 
december 2006 by robertogreco

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