‘Kevin’ as a tool of assimilation

I’m the kind of guy who sits in a condo far away on Sunday afternoons and watches National Geographic reruns reinventing themselves on ON DEMAND TV. National Geographic makes some very interesting documentaries. National Geographic was a suitable follow up to Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover show in which he flew to Amsterdam but carefully reiterated (was forced to) that he did not inhale for the sake of prudish, stick-up-the-ass American network executives. They would not allow him to smoke pot or even allude to any possbility he did during broadcast. Yet, in some scenes, he looked damned stoned. A thing of beauty. I turned to my television partner and told her, “This country (United States) is a joke” to which she replied, “Well, it is illegal here.” Gawd. This brings to the fore any notion of globalism because we’ve reached the state of culture where international boundaries and laws are nothing but a morass of principles and attitudes and ultimately, nothing means a goddamned thing because people will ultimately do what they want. Why is it politicians play to the lowest common grandmotherly denominator of rigid Puritanism. Eventually the Scotch-drinking, pot-hating conservatives will die. Is this how long we will need to wait before pot is finally legalized? I would love it if we could make Newt illegal, first. Rid us of his scourge!

This is what I do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Anthony Bourdain’s adventures become tiring and besides, I’m getting very jealous of his wanderlust. Now’s the time for National Geographic’s documentaries.

So one of the National Geographic docs I dove into was their “Taboo” series about “prison love.” The dignified smut was basically about the prisoner’s world and their locally restricted access (or lack thereof) of sex. The film followed several prisoners who had earned conjugal visits from their cold-hearted killing savage lovers, thieves, and all manner of criminal no-gooders. It showcased a couple of prisoners who married after imprisonment and illuminated the dynamic of a free soul on the outside who would seriously entertain the thought of dating and marrying someone who would be locked up for years or even life. It was very interesting and brought up many questions about human psychology and the limits of prisoner’s freedoms. There was a segment later on that trailed a Hispanic couple from Orange County, California. The young mother had a 5-year-old daughter and she was at least 8 months pregnant with a son. She was deliberately thrilled in front of the camera to have a “full” complement of offspring even though the father of both was currently in county jail awaiting sentencing to state prison. She essentially was impregnated by a man who would be spending a few years behind bars in a far away dungeon while his children lived out another predictable fatherless void of morals hundreds of miles away in some barrio. It’s a tired script that is played over and over and over.

Nothing new here.

Anyways, at one point, they told us the prisoner/father’s name: Daryl.

I turned to my television partner. I cuss in real life as much as I do online.

I told her, “Daryl? There are no fucking Mexicans that call their kids Daryl!” We continued watching in silence while the baldy mustachioed “Daryl” continued to pontificate about how badly he wanted to be a good father figure, even from the Pen. Daryl. Whatever. Mexicans do not name their kids anything remotely Anglo, ever. Our resistance to assimilation as an ethnicity is especially apparent in how we name our children.

It is a peculiarly Mexican trait. Hispanics from Central America south are fond of naming their children stuff like “Nelson” or other Anglo derivations that only they and Asians would deliberately impose on their spawn. Mexicans though…they never butter up their child’s transition into mainstream American culture. Mexican’s continue with the Jose’s and Maria’s well into the 3rd generations. I’ve always been self-conscious about this. I mean, c’mon, Carlos is fine if your parents came here in 2005. But 1955? And you’re still named Carlos? This is America. Watch goddamned Beverly Hills 90210 if you need ideas. Rosa? This is America! Asians love to name their kids all kinds of shit with “K’s” … Derek, Karen, Kyle, Kelly, but they love Anglo, WASPy names in general. Mitchell, Lyle, Erik, and the list goes on. I’ve always felt the Asian naming convention was a little overboard. To the point of sycophancy. The Asians seem to want to fit in too much, the Mexicans, not enough. Today on the documentary, I saw this Mexican dude named Daryl and I thought what the hell?

Then it struck me.

I’m Mexican, ya see…I get the scintillating insider Mexican view. It’s really exciting. Yeah.

I told my television partner…the newer generation Mexicans have in fact begun to embrace American culture, but now, they name their children after sports stars. I’ve seen this a lot recently. “Daryl” is but one iteration for “Daryl Strawberry.” “Isiah” is another.

This crap happens all the time now. Old Mexican generations naming their children after established black athletes who inherited an Anglo naming structure from slave days. Mexicans are now naming their children after the names of slave owners. How precious is this?