Monday, December 17, 2012
"A La Machina!" -- Sh!t New Mexicans Say and Don't Say
I think I've mentioned in the past that New Mexico has a definite/distinct accent -- actually there are a number of them -- that's sort of a cross between Tejano/Texas and Rez Talk. I think I've also pointed out that New Mexican Spanish is not quite like the Spanish typically heard and spoken in California, to the point where it is sometimes more difficult for me to make out what someone speaking Spanish in New Mexico is saying. (On the other hand, so much of New Mexico Spanish is highly idiomatic, and anyone who wasn't brought up hearing it is going to have trouble...)
Anglos are just as likely to speak with the distinctive New Mexican cadence and accent as anyone else, and sometimes they'll even be fluent in Spanish. You hear Native languages quite a bit, too, on the radio especially. Navajo is widely heard and spoken; Pueblo languages (Tewa and Tiwa primarily, Hopi too) are also fairly common.
We live on the side of New Mexico that was long claimed by Texas, and there's a fairly strong Texas influence -- culturally and linguistically -- in this region. Some of our friends speak with what I think is a strong Texas accent, but they don't think so. They think they speak "regular New Mexican," or in a pinch, "regular American." My ear says, "No way."
(I've thought about why we were attracted to this area rather than, say, the Santa Fe area, and I might discuss that a bit another time.)
During 2012, a number of videos have been produced and put up on the YouTubes that hilariously display things Burqueños do and don't say. Burqueños, of course, are residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico's one Big City. What they say and don't say influences the rest of the state, though many areas outside Albuquerque maintain distinctive slang and speech patterns of their own. The two "Sh**t Burqueños Say" videos made by "Lynette of Albuquerque" -- Lauren Poole of the Blackout Theatre Company in Albuquerque -- have had quite a run, together accumulating more than a million hits. It hasn't been without controversy. Some people are offended that this Anglo actress ("who isn't even raza"), "full of white privilege," is making a name for herself by mocking and satirizing the way Hispanics speak, inspiring contempt and ridicule for the common people of New Mexico.
To this, she and many others respond, "BS, okay?" She points out, I think rightly, that people in New Mexico should be -- and many are -- proud of the way they speak and having fun with it is not even a crime. It helps everyone to feel even more pride. She also pointed out she's half raza, not Anglo, and was brought up speaking that way and has no problem with it. She's satirizing with a great deal of love and respect.
The result is hilarious, particularly if you grasp some of the subtler elements in the videos. For example, a number of the interior shots were made at the Frontier restaurant, an institution in Albuquerque as integral to the city as the University of New Mexico that sits across the street. It's almost impossible to imagine ABQ or Burque without the Frontier and its world famous (if you're from New Mexico) breakfast burritos and carne adovada.
The "Wanna Coke?" sequence is perhaps the most famous (and as many say, "true") of all the gags in the videos. In it, "Lynette" is shown at the refrigerator holding up one soft drink after another, none of them Coke, and the last one a Pepsi, asking her guest "Wanna Coke?" According to those in the know, "that's so true!" for in New Mexico, all soft drinks (and some say "even bottled water") are called "Coke," and if you ask for a Coke in a restaurant, the waiter/ess will ask "What kind of Coke? We have Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and Orange Crush."
On the other hand, there are a lot of things you won't hear in New Mexico, and in the video made by KOB radio's Carlos, Kiki and Danny, they run through the gamut, such as "New Mexico drivers are awesome!" And "I love the cops!" (APD is under scrutiny by the DOJ for any number of lapses, particularly the high number of officer involved shootings...)
Some of it goes by too fast or too quietly, but the upshot is still darned funny.
Aw heck, we're easily amused.