Sunday, June 10, 2018


You ever try eating anything while it's hot, but you can't eat because it's too hot? So you continue to try taking a bite out of it but it's too hot, but you're hungry so you keep trying to bite said hot food? I'm looking at you microwaveable burritos. #NoMames

Did you know there was a campaign to boycott Gustavo Arellano? The guy that used to write Ask a Mexican for the O.C. Weekly. There's a book published on the column, and he has a couple of other books published too. He does a whole lot of other stuff. He's currently working for Well he's at by way of the boycott, he was supposed to work at Remezcla but was released after a hoopla raised over some tweets he made in the past, that were labeled homophobic, while some of his other tweets were labeled insulting because of the way he responded to a couple of Latinos that are Salvadoran.

There was even a tweet where he dropped the n-word. I read it, and I can understand how it was taken out of context.

Below is how he responded to complaints:

The person who posted the original screenshot of Arellano using the n-word got some slack for possibly triggering others and causing unnecessary trauma.

The tweet about the trauma is a whole other discussion of its own.

So anyway, some of the people that work at Remezcla did not care very much for Arellano and his offensive sense of humor and he was released, after the successful #BoycottGustavoArellano campaign. Dear Cesar Chavez, you taught us that boycotts do work.

So many things to unpack here.  

So the use of the n-word. I've struggled with this as an English student when I'd hear any American lit professor read from Huck Finn and say the word repeatedly in the context of the novel. I wondered what I would do if I was an American lit professor and I had the class read that novel. The struggle would be about the context of the word within the lit classroom where we don't always read things that make us comfortable. Fortunately, I've never been placed in that position. But I think we've evolved to the point, where trauma and microaggressions are part of regular discussions amongst progressive people, and therefore we must take society as a whole into consideration, and therefore it is probably never okay to read the word out loud in a lit classroom, or risk a backlash supported by everyone on social media. So even as a writer, Arellano should have probably taken that into consideration.

The owner of Broken Sword Publications wrote a good piece on the debacle ( A Case of Latinx Crabs and Gustavo Arellano ).

He makes some good points about Arellano, mainly that the guy can be a jerk. But he also defended Arellano's freedom of speech and did address how Latinxs are attacking each other which is no good for the cause. Since joining Twitter back in 2012 I've seen Arellano have back and forths with people. At least one of those exchanges I saw began with a comment that was taken out of context. Arellano was commenting about some riots that took place in Orange County after a young man was shot by police. He began tweeting about cleaning up the city. A person on Twitter assumed he meant that they should literally go out and pick up debris from the riots to clean up what happened which was part of what he meant. If the person that went off on Arellano would have scrolled through Arellano's timeline, he would have seen that Arellano wasn't just talking about literally cleaning up the city, but also politically. Arellano had written some pieces on some of the shitty politicians in Orange County. So, by cleaning up the city he also meant voting out some of the dirty politicos. 

Nonetheless, Arellano has had a tendency of defending himself by attacking people who attack him. Santino Rivera mentions an incident between him and Arellano. I saw it unfold on twitter too. Rivera was simply calling out other prominent Chicano creators who didn't uplift the work of others. One of these people was Lalo Alcaraz. Being good friends with Alcaraz, Arellano jumped into the fray to defend his friend, going so far as to tag Alcaraz to the conversation. So from there it became a shit storm of exchanges between the three of them, give or take one or two other people who had Rivera's back. 

I've seen both Alcaraz and Arellano get a lot of shit on social media, but also give it back just as well. They get shit from white people they piss off, but they also get just as much shit from their own raza who feel they are exploiting the culture or making of mockery of it through their content.

Arellano called someone I follow and respect on Twitter, a pendeja over her criticism of him. I thought that was harsh, these are the sort of things that leave a bad taste in the mouth of the other people on social media.

But here's the thing, I don't know what it is about creative types that makes them feel they need to respond to every shitty comment and attack. I've seen this in comicsgate. Creators are criticized for their writing or artwork, and then they attack the person. It's a fine line to tread. Because the creators begin to look bad, and not only do they alienate their customers/fans, that mob of critics then becomes a mob of trolls that get a joy out of trash talking creative professionals that they know will respond. Then those critics organize a campaign to get the creator fired from his/her job by @ing the company they work for. Comicsgate has been successful in getting at least one or two creators fired. 

I've seen Alcaraz and Arellano get criticism for Bordertown and Coco. What'd they do? They criticized their critics. Then their critics began trolling them. Everyone on social media who follows them can see how Alcaraz and Arellano treat your average Joe with an opinion. So I'm not really surprised that there was a boycott against Arellano. I am surprised that it cost him a job. 

I never really took an issue with Alcaraz and Arellano defending themselves, that's their right, but how much easier would it be to just ignore the critics and continue to create without having to later deal with a boycott of your work? To an outsider looking in, they might see how Arellano and Alcaraz respond, and think to themselves, "wow these guys are really arrogant, and don't care about their own people." It's great that they defend themselves, but personally, I think that just adds fuel to the fire.

Here's an isolated example. I had a friend who once told us he hated being called, "morro." That was his pet peeve. Guess what? In no less than five minutes a couple of the other guys kept calling him "morro" for the fuck of it, regardless of how pissed it made him. They called him morro the rest of the time they were in college. They did not give a flying chorizo that it annoyed him. Yeah, that's not criticizing his creative work, but that's what I see when I look at Alcaraz and Arellano. They defend themselves, and the more they talk shit to people who criticize them, the more those people seem to get a kick out of pissing them off and talking more shit to them.

Shit, they got Arellano fired! I didn't see Arellano do a whole lot of clapping back during the boycott, and that was surprising. I thought that was a great choice because any other trash talking he would have done would have been used against him. It's not to say that the people who wanted him fired didn't have valid points. They definitely had some ground to stand on. We live in a time where anyone can get fired for their stream of thought on social media. We have to be CONSIDERATE of EVERYONE. 

There's a younger generation of Chicanxs and Latinxs out there who are highly intelligent and are demanding some very important and substantial things. Even "Latinx" is something that Arellano mocked, which I'm guessing was another strike against him. Smh.

The whole thing was just really interesting for me because this was around the same time comicsgate was at its peak, hence the title of this post.

I will be honest, I still read Arellano's work. I like his style of writing. I read "Ask a Mexican" (the full-length book) while I was an English grad student. I thought the writer was funny as hell and smart. His work got me through many moments of relaxation on the toilet. I wanted to be like him when I grew up (even though I was already grown up). He was one of my inspirations at the time. I hadn't read anything like his book before. I wasn't offended, even after I read something that I personally disagreed with. I had even more respect for him after I read some of his columns on police brutality and the Orange County political scene. Then after following him on Twitter for a while, I lost respect for him. I still enjoy his writing, but I can't really say I feel the same way about him as a person. Not that he would care about my opinion one way or another. 

If you want to read more about the incident: Remezcla Drops Gustavo Arellano After Two Days

Or type #BoycottGustavoArellano in the Twitter search, and just follow the drama.

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