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Nuestra Palabra on the air

Two weeks ago, during the height of the TOP GEAR controversy, I had the pleasure of appearing on Houston’s NUESTRA PALABRA radio show, which is broadcast each Tuesday night at 7:30 pm EST on 90.1 FM, KPFT. To hosts Tony Diaz, Liana Lopez, and Bryan Parras, ¡GRACIAS MIL!

It was a fun and informative segment, and besides talking about TOP GEAR, I also gave shout outs to @LatinoRebels, @Raul_Ramos, @mikeroblescomic, and @wluera.

The following three files contain my appearance on the show:

Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3


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Estibalis Chavez

Maybe the TOP GEAR story IS getting a little out of control.

Reports out of Australia today described the plight of 19-year-old Estibalis Chávez, who has set up a tent in front of the British Embassy in Mexico City and has gone on a hunger strike with the hope of getting invited to the royal wedding. According to reports, Chávez, who is in the ninth of her hunger strike, also said that getting a royal wedding invitation would make up for the TOP GEAR episode on January 30, when co-host Richard Hammond called Mexicans “lazy,” “flatulent,” and “feckless.”

As the report states:

“I have been a fan of Lady Di since I was a little girl,” Miss Chávez told Agence France-Presse today.

“My mother was also a fan … I promised myself I would go to the next royal wedding.”

Miss Chavez said she had been asking for an invitation to the April 29 wedding of William and Kate Middleton in London, but the embassy had told her it was impossible.

“I intend to fight until the very end… there is no turning back.”

A photo of Chávez includes a sign she made in Spanish which reads:

I’m on a hunger strike. Will they let me die for just not giving me an invitation to the royal wedding?

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Hey, gotta give it up to TOP GEAR. I actually received a real letter from an Executive Producer today. No form letters from a PR company. Yup, I don’t agree with. Here it is:

Dear Mr Varela

Thank you for your feedback about Top Gear.

I can honestly say that it wasn’t our intention to offend Mexicans, much less create some sort of minor diplomatic crisis, but I stand by the inclusion of these comments in a show like Top Gear.

Perhaps understandably, a lot of the complaints we received were from Mexicans. That may be one of the downsides of being a successful British show hosted by three presenters with very British sensibilities but I don’t think many Top Gear fans in the UK or abroad would want us to change our presentation style.

Of course you’re perfectly entitled to disagree and I’m only too aware that many people do. I can only speak for myself and the presenters when I say we all thought the comments would be taken in the same spirit as those about the many other nations referenced in Top Gear.

I hope this explains our position on the matter but if you believe a serious and specific breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines has occurred here, and you wish to pursue this complaint further, you can contact the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, within 20 working days, and they will carry out an independent investigation.

You can write to them at the following address:

Editorial Complaints Unit
BBC
Room 5168
White City
201 Wood Lane
London
W12 7TS

Alternatively you can email the Unit at the address: ecu@bbc.co.uk, but please note that complaints submitted via email must include a postal address as ECU findings are sent by letter.  Whether or not you choose to pursue your complaint with the ECU please be assured your further concerns have been registered.

Yours sincerely

Andy Wilman
Executive Producer
BBC Top Gear

Kind regards

BBC Audience Services

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So, I guess the BBC is now coming after yours truly. When I posted my #FridayFlash piece, I inserted a video of the infamous TOP GEAR Mexican incident. Yup, they must have contacted Videopress, a service I pay for, which allows me to share video files on my blog. Well, looks like Videopress censored me.

I am sure that the BBC claimed “copyright issues” when they contacted Videopress. As an editorial director who respects the rights to intellectual property, I find this argument to be a bit weak. Here is my reason: in a global world where EVERYTHING is embeddable now, you CANNOT use social media to just benefit you. I am guessing that if this were a video that celebrated TOP GEAR’s accolades, you would have it all over the Internet. But the fact remains: YOU BROADCAST THIS VIDEO and IT IS NOW ON RECORD. What you are doing now is censorship under the guise of copyright. I make no money from this blog nor this video, so there is no commercial interest here. I am not a video pirate, just a personal part-time blogger who is interested in issues regarding US Latinos. I give voices to the voiceless. That is what social media is all about. The playing field has been flattened.

I would expect that you might come after me with a threatening letter from some law firm with 300 partners, and that might not be the best move on your part. I have great legal representation as well, some of the best in the country. What you need to understand is this: ONCE SOMETHING IS ON THE INTERNET, IT BECOMES DIGESTABLE. There is so much software out there that can help regular people like me to capture videos. Go after them. Then your problem is solved if you want it to be solved.

But guess what? I still have the video. Here it is. And this time I am allowing others to share it and embed it:

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Jeremy never thought a Mercedes DTM C-Class would cause aches in his groin. While he raced the car around the streets of London for his show’s O2 event, the engine’s vibrations shook his muscles so violently that three Jamaican assistants had to squeeze him out of the car.

“For fuck’s sake, be careful!” Jeremy shouted. “Do you know who I am?”

His limousine drove him back to his terrace house on Courtnell Street. Bloody hell, he thought, it feels like a elephant stepped on my chopper. Jeremy grabbed a bottle of scotch from the limousine’s wet bar and poured himself a glass, clean and neat. He took his Android from this jacket pocket and dialed his help.

“Get the steam ready. I will be home in 15 minutes. It better be as steamy as Nigeria when I get there.”

The London Friday traffic was unusually light for February. His team had just wrapped up Season 8 for the BBC and was beginning to test concepts for Season 9. When he was asked to host the show in 2002, Jeremy and the producers were desperate. The show’s ratings were miserable so they had quickly devised a plan to revive it: bring in two younger hosts and start poking fun of anything and anyone. So they did. Everyone was fair game, from stinky Italians, snobby Frenchman, boorish Germans and greedy, fat Americans. All of sudden, Jeremy was loved again. He knew early in the show’s second season that he was on to something when he couldn’t even watch the FA Cup Final at Millenium Stadium without being approached for an autograph every minute. Bugger off, he would say, can’t you see I would like to watch the bloody match? It’s fucking Chelsea and Arsenal.

350 million viewers and millions of pounds later, Jeremy and his lads were the new emperors of the BBC. The praise came from all over the world. Geeks from Mumbai had created apps that made him 30% for each download. A group of elderly Australians sent him homemade pies via overnight parcel, even though he would just have his assistant take the packages and crush them in the rubbish. And the communists, the crazy left Labour socialists who would campaign against him through their liberal snobbish publications? Jeremy would always snicker. They might have their shitty rags. He was a bloody columnist for The Sun.

“Mr. Clarkson, your steam bath is ready,” said Mrs. Lee, Jeremy’s house maid and general lady of all trades. She had already opened the doors of the limousine while Jeremy slid his body out of the back seat, grimacing in pain.

“Fuck, my bloody chopper! Just get me to the steam!”

Jeremy limped his way to his house, a four-bedroom home where he live for the few months he was in London and wasn’t traveling all over the world. This year, the producers suggested that he and the lads do shows in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand. As long as they get me a chinky whore for my troubles, Jeremy thought, I would travel to Mars on a bloody scooter.

With Mrs. Lee following behind him, Jeremy walked through the open door of his home and started to go up the stairs. Just then, his Android’s Rolling Stones Limited Exclusive Ring Tone sounded. Today’s tone was”Sympathy for the Devil.” Jeremy glanced at the caller ID. Fuck, it’s Smith. Smith never calls. What in hell does he want? Jeremy took a breath before clicking in.

“Johnny lad, how goes it?”

“Jerry, we are getting 200 complaints a minute right now. Most of them are still coming in from Mexico, but now we get the Yanks chiming in. It’s getting bad.”

“It’s great publicity, John. I mean, I think we can get 400 million viewers this year all because of those two minutes. Ha! And you said we couldn’t get any bigger before we fucking take over China next year.”

“The show’s not running in America, Jerry. I don’t need some looney greasers picketing on CNN and FOX. That is all we bloody need.”

“Who the fuck cares?”

“You need to write an apology, Jerry. Richard has already written his. And Coogan’s piece shitting all over you three is on the front page of The Guardian tonight.”

“Coogan is a wanker.”

“He’s also popular here, Jerry. This is no longer about some Mexicans, this thing is not going away. Write the apology. Publish it in your column this Sunday.”

“Fine, I will apologise.” Jeremy snickered.

“Fuck, Jerry, this is serious. Be sincere this time. They are all over you online. Every minute the great Jeremy Clarkson is called every slur in the Spanisn language. And I think they are starting to appear in Portuguese. Jerry, do you know how many Mexicans watch the show? 10 million. 10 million. And I am not even counting streaming in Latin America. Just apologise. And next time just mock the French. No one likes the fucking French.”

“Sure, John, I will offer my most sincerest apologies, my liege.”

“Do it.”

“Or what?”

“You know what the contract says.”

“How bloody dare you, John. Is that a threat? Who in hell saved the fucking BBC?”

“Write the apology, Superman. We’ll lunch on Sunday. Cheers.”

Jeremy headed back down the stairs, past his marble floors and chef’s kitchen, the countless TV awards from all over globe, his picture at last year’s World Cup with Beckham, Gerrard, and Rooney. He arrived at his study and powered up his laptop. An apology, he thought, they will get their apology.

Why doesn’t Mexico have an Olympic team? It’s because everyone there who can run, jump or swim is already across the border.

This piece is of course fictional in nature. And yes, I can take a joke, but you can decide for yourself by viewing the video below.


Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Check

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Ok, I know I am an Arsenal supporter, but when I heard that Manchester United and Mexican soccer star Javier Hernández (known to all fans as “Chicharito) had responded to the TOP GEAR Mexican fiasco in a very creative and original way, I had to share. Sorry, Cesc Fabregas, you know I would never write about United in this blog, but Chicharito’s response was right on the money. He earns major props.

In a new ad campaign that the soccer star arranged with Powerade, an image of a proud Chicharito is accompanied by the following text, translated here from the Spanish: “Yes, imagine waking up and discovering that you are Mexican. Less prejudice. More exercise.”

The soccer star was obviously making reference to the comments made by TOP GEAR host Richard Hammond and then repeated by host Jeremy Clarkson (video below). Recent articles in both the Mexican and English press reported that Chicharito was so upset with the comments that he wanted to use his star power to present an appropriate (and dare we say clever and classy?) response to the TOP GEAR Three Amigos.

 

Ok, Chicharito, you are cool in my book. But Arsenal is still coming after you and United for the Premiership title this year. GOOONERS!!!!

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Who says social media doesn’t work? Who thinks that if you generate content and not share it, that content will never become mainstream? Well, to all the social media doubters, here is a news flash: the video that Emmy-winning comedian Mike Robles produced exclusively for this blog was mentioned in the Scripps News Service’s report on the TOP GEAR social media fiasco.

The story, written by José de la Isla and titled BBC Broadcasters Insult Mexico, provides a very detailed summary of the recent controversy. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you can read this:

The U.S. Emmy-winning Latino comedian Mike Robles responded with effigies of English comedic icons Benny Hill and Mr. Bean supporting a better brand of humor.

How cool is that? Who said a CHORIZO AWARD couldn’t go mainstream? ¡VIVA MIKE! Where is my CHEEEEESE and my Latino HATER-ade? Here is an encore presentation of the video:

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