Enrique Hubbard

Relax, He’s Only a Moron

It’s axiomatic that men don’t understand women. Nobody is surprised by this, nobody finds it strange, and I’ve never heard of anyone disputing it either. But if you’re anything like me – that is, male, and therefore oblivious to the obvious – you might be astonished to know that women find us just as incomprehensible. If you’re female, you’re likely thinking either something along the lines of  “Thank you, Christopher Columbus, what an amazing discovery” or “Wrong as usual, man, it’s not that we don’t understand you, it’s that we don’t really give a rat’s ass.”

But whatever your reaction, it doesn’t matter because one, it’s immaterial to the point, which I promise I’ll get to eventually, and two, this is my article and not yours. The point is, whether or not the idea of women being baffled by men is new to you, I think I’ve stumbled upon the basic underlying truth of the matter, which is that men and women don’t understand each other for the same reason in each case: Men are morons.

What’s that you say? You knew this already? Well, yeah, women have known this since the beginning of the species, when the menfolk would prefer to spend hours sitting around discussing the finer points of the mammoth hunters’ strategies and claiming to know a better way to do it than that idiot who everyone says is the best spear thrower since Crog The Mighty, that overrated bum, and wondering if those afternoons would be improved if someone were to invent something to drink with a bit more oomph than pond water. But it’s one thing to know men are morons, and another to realize that’s why you can’t understand them.

So, first the easy part. We don’t understand women because we are unable to grasp the simple fact that they’re able to think about things without being obvious about it, whereas we men tend to make a big production out of it, and pat ourselves on the back for having reached such a profound conclusion in such a complicated and roundabout way, using such beautifully complicated language. And therein lies the brilliance of my central assertion, sans obfuscation.

Women scoff at this, and in fact are scoffing at it right this instant, thinking they can’t believe it took me all this time just to prove that women have an advantage over us in the way they think; it’s impossible for them to understand why this is brilliant, and why the men reading this are nodding their heads in profound, satori-like illumination. We think women act on instinct, where we act on reason, but this is only because they think so fast even they’re seldom aware of it.

This is obvious everywhere you look, once you’ve grasped it. Think about it. One example is the oft-cited difference in meaning that a phrase like “nothing’s wrong” carries for men and women. You’re a guy, you ask your lady what’s wrong, why is she suddenly dangerously quiet, she answers “Nothing’s wrong” and, despite millenia of acquired instinct honed by surviving prehistoric predators’ best stratagems, we walk right into the trap. “Oh, well, that’s a relief,” we think, and go back to playing GTA V, screaming at the screen, blaring out bilingual profanity and gutter humor in 5.1  Surround Sound and assuming she’s getting as much of a kick out of watching us as we’re getting out of playing. It’s only later that we find out, with that sickening dawning horror we know all too well, that we’ve once more somehow confused “Nothing’s wrong” with “Something is very wrong, it’s YOUR fault, and I expect you to acknowledge it and make amends without my having to tell you a damn thing, otherwise I’ll be forced to exact massive restitution in a hundred unexpected ways for the rest of your life or until the next time you fuck up.” And this is in a healthy, committed, successful relationship. I’m not even referring to actual psycho girlfriends, and you all know it, too.

But turn it around. Your turn, ladies. You’re sitting there with your fella, happily talking about everything that has happened since the last time you saw each other six or seven hours ago, in a pleasant and harmonious exercise of constructing intimacy and strengthening bonds, and suddenly you realize that he hasn’t said anything longer than “is that right?” or “Damn, honey, that had to suck” in like an hour and a half. So you end your sentence, wait a bit, and watch him with that intense “everything hinges on what you do or say in the next few seconds” look, and realize, yes, he’s quiet. Too quiet. And then you ask him, “is something wrong?” He, of course, answers warily, “No, nothing’s wrong.” And because women use that exact phrase too, you assume it means the same thing as when you use it, so there’s only two ways it will end, either with you playing twenty questions in a futile attempt to determine just what the hell you did to piss him off and trying to make up for it, or with you deciding that whatever it is, his silent treatment is certainly unwarranted and therefore it is now YOU who has cause to be offended, and initiating an emotional counterstrike. You laugh, because it’s true.

The possibility that nothing is actually wrong never crosses women’s minds, does it? They give us far too much credit in assuming that we’re trying to untangle a complicated web of thoughts and emotions which are dizzyingly hard to put into words and are, therefore, quiet. Meanwhile, we’re patiently listening to you and doing our damned best to pay attention and give you what you need while thinking “I love you, honey, but if we don’t wrap this up soon I’m gonna take a huge hit on the GTA V stock market and have to wait hours until the stocks go up again or have to blitz a competitor’s company so I can unload as close to 50% profit as I can and finally buy that goddamned movie theater already”.

But we can’t say that. So we’re quiet, and you figure we’re thinking about that fucking hoebag slut who keeps liking our profile pics on Facebook, and start to consider a preemptive breakup to save your dignity. And this is not because women are insane, which a lot of people – even some women – seem to take as a given, but because men are morons.

So there you have it, ladies. Yes, you knew we were idiots, and yes, you know we’re quite capable of taking the obvious and writing a long and absurd article in order to “prove” that point. And it’s proven, isn’t it? But unless you act on it, knowledge is not knowledge, it’s just information, and I hope this article helps women to understand two things which are intimately related to each other and may be difficult to really accept as fact: first, that however hard it may be to believe, we are more stupid than even you think we are, so you have only yourselves to blame for any problems arising from assuming we have any sort of complicated hidden agenda; and second, we really really like GTA V, please don’t make a huge issue about it, relax, it’ll blow over soon. Or at least until we buy Arkham Origins, that is. What, they released it already?


Get Shorty

By Enrique Hubbard

Americans tend to view the Mexican drug lord situation in terms of rather simple, black-and-white heroes vs. villains problems which can usually be resolved in about 47 minutes if you Tivo out the commercial breaks. I’m not criticizing, the problems of other countries are damned hard to understand as it is, without entertainment media’s oversimplifications adding to the misunderstanding. Because of this, it might seem that the capture of Joaquín “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzmán is a good thing for Sinaloa, his home turf.

You see, and again I’m not criticizing, the usual image of a Mexican drug capo presented in the media is of a sadistic and dictatorial autocrat who holds sway over his local fiefdom by means of violence and intimidation, and the people thus indentured live in fear and secretly wish someone would come and rid them of the evil tyrant. Enter the heroic American police, who know exactly what to do to help our own incompetent (at the very least) and/or corrupt police, and teach us backwater hicks how the game is played in the bigs.

It’s cool, we Mexicans are guilty of the same thing, for the same reason; we’ll forgive you for thinking we all live in small villages ruled by thugs with a thin veneer of civilization, if you’ll forgive us for thinking y’all’s main family unit problems arise from a disapproval of who your teenage daughters have decided to date. It’s all about media portrayal, and it’s only very rarely close to the truth.

But coming back to the topic at hand, here’s a street-level view of the problem from right here where it all happens on a day-to-day basis. On saturday morning around 10:20 I was standing outside an old refurbished house in Guamuchil, Sinaloa, just about 50 miles from El Chapo’s home town, smoking a last cigarette before going inside to a social event which we travelled from Culiacán to attend and is otherwise irrelevant to this case, checking Facebook on my cell and thinking I should probably post something, when I saw a post that said the drug kingpin had been arrested. It’s certainly not the first time that news item has been posted, so I clicked the link to see what prompted it. I was understandably skeptical, since the prevailing wisdom is that El Chapo has a gentleman’s agreement with president Peña Nieto and is, basically, untouchable. Before the new window had even finished loading, my friend Ricardo came out of the old house and asked me if I had heard the news. Just like that, “the news”, and as I told him I was just then trying to check out the press coverage, we heard a newscast coming out of a nearby parked car’s radio. We went over and listened for a bit until it was clear that it wasn’t a hoax this time.

“Damn,” we said, and went inside because the event was starting. We quickly located my father, who was the main reason we were there, and as we took our seats my father leaned in and asked me if I’d heard. For the rest of the day that was “The News”, and even Whatsapp’s frustrating dormancy over the course of the day wasn’t close to being the top story. In fact, the main Whatsapp memes I got to see actually had El Chapo’s arrest as the main idea, and Whatsapp’s failure was treated either as a related event or, jokingly, as part of the reason El Chapo was caught unaware.

This is what that day was like over here, and that’s just the stuff from social networking sites. I’ll just assume you can imagine the sidewalk and water cooler discussions, all day. Of course it’s touted as a coup, a triumph, the arrest which will change the tides, bring peace and prosperity, and, most importantly, will make for excellent popularity ratings for the governments involved. I mean, this is El Chapo, the most wanted man since Bin Laden, man, you just know both presidents and chiefs of the involved police forces are walking around hunched over either from so many pats on the back or to hide their Viagra-like hard-ons, calling their wives and mistresses to warn them to be ready for the fuck of the millenium.

But what about reality, you ask. Or rather, I imagine you ask, because if you don’t I’m stuck here with nowhere to go like a comedian waiting for the crowd to ask the leading question which will segue into the punchline. So I’ll ask it for you and save us a lot of grief, it’s better that way. What about the underlying reality? Well, there’s a damned good question, and I’m glad you asked. What will it mean in terms of public safety and the war on crime?

And here’s where it gets knotty, because the truth of the matter is, we’re not the charming ignorant terrified little villagers we’re made out to be. Culiacán is a city of nearly a million inhabitants, and Jesús María (El Chapo’s home town and the core of his kingdom) is just about 40 miles away. We bitch about all the heroic “Corridos” (epic narratives set to folk music) which we have to endure from the huge subculture which embraces and admires drug lords’ exploits, we bitch about all the wannabes who scare the shit out of us because they all walk around with mean expressions and enormous automatic weapons they apparently buy at any supermarket and blast away at anyone they dislike. Yet we read about drug cartels in other parts of the country, the “Zetas” and “Templar Knights” and such, who take thuggery to the point where it’s actually impossible for the bulk of the population to avoid being squeezed for their meager paychecks and/or their womenfolk without being able to call on anyone for help. This is a fact, it happens in a great deal of the south of Mexico. You can’t run any kind of business without being scared into giving away your earnings and standing by while your wife and daughters are carried away to be raped for a couple of days.

So we figure we could do worse. I mean, if you’re gonna be fucked anyway, you’d prefer the guy who at least leaves some cash on the table and tidies up a bit before leaving. This is a disgusting metaphor, and I apologize, but the fact remains, El Chapo is a big-picture kind of guy. He makes millions upon millions of dollars a week just from the import/export of drugs, and has no wish to squeeze the population for chump change, no matter how much it piles up. Furthermore, he doesn’t allow his people to do much of that sort of street-level shakedowns outside of normal shady businesses like strip clubs, brothels, and recording studios (yes, that was unoriginal but only because it’s true). For the most part, it’s possible to run an honest business without organized crime’s interference.

The point I’m making here, is that it’s all very well to attack a known successful drug lord and put him away, at least on paper, but the thing that has us a bit shaken is the possibility that this is the opportunity that those heartless shits down south have been waiting for. There’s all this untapped society here who has had it pretty good so far (if you discount little things such as constant gunfights erupting in the streets and systematic official corruption raised to the level of an olympic event), and they’ve been waiting a long time to get their hooks into us. You gotta wonder just how much of a positive this is, being a clear case of “the devil you know”… and if you think it’s a matter of how much a society trusts its leaders, you’re quite right. And we do trust our leaders, we depend very much on them to keep order and economic growth happening at a brisk pace. It’s just that the damned government keeps interfering, goddammit.


El Narcotráfico de Sinaloa y Mirándose en el Espejo

Por: Enrique Hubbard

Es muy fácil señalar con el dedo y decir, “Mira nomás, qué barbaridad. Vamos para atrás como los cangrejos.” Si has estado viendo, leyendo o escuchando la cobertura de la marcha en apoyo a Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán y pensando algo similar, tal vez sea conveniente recordar algunas realidades incómodas. Primero, la ignorancia en nuestro país es ubícua y no exclusiva de ninguna región en particular, hecho demostrado varias veces al año en diversas partes de la República. Baste recordar las manifestaciones de “profesores” en otros estados protestando desvergonzadamente la aplicación del examen de competencia docente, como ejemplo doble de la ignorancia que prevalece y también de una de sus causas.

No es mi intención invocar el argumento falaz que dice esencialmente “no estoy mal porque muchos otros están mal también”, tan propio de la gente de escasos recursos mentales, pero me parece conveniente señalar el hecho. No como justificante, sino como referente para dimensionar el asunto. Segundo, la realidad de nuestro estado y de nuestro país en general es que no hemos caído en crisis económicas peores porque tenemos inyecciones directas de dinero generado en el extranjero, de diversas fuentes. Las remesas que envían nuestros compatriotas migrantes son un ejemplo de ello, y en el caso de nuestro estado lo es el narcotráfico. No estoy diciendo que esté bien o que sea correcto, ni que tenga qué gustarnos la idea, pero debemos estar conscientes de ello. Mucho dinero del que proviene de bolsillos extranjeros para forrar las cuentas de nuestros narcotraficantes se queda en nuestro estado y forma una especie de colchón que evita que nuestra economía caiga demasiado.

“Pero yo no tengo nada qué ver con el crimen organizado”, dirán algunos. Sin embargo no hay empresario que se rehúse a recibir pagos por sus productos y servicios cuando este pago proviene de la familia de un delincuente. Y esas familias consumen, y consumen muy bien además, adquiriendo artículos de lujo que mantienen a varias empresas comerciales locales. Esas empresas operan con ganancias y ofrecen empleo. Incluso las empresas lavadoras de dinero generan empleo y prestaciones para muchos trabajadores, y el hecho de que no dependen del mercado real les permite seguir operando.

Repito, no pretendo defender la situación, pues sería preferible que nuestra economía operara de acuerdo con los principios económicos legales; pero para que eso sucediera las políticas económicas de nuestro país tendrían qué ser diferentes y nuestros dirigentes, otros. Y a propósito de nuestros dirigentes, mucho se dice de las formas en que se benefician del erario público, quitando recursos al pueblo que deberían ser aplicados en inversión a la infraestructura y actividades económicas generadoras de crecimiento. Sin el dinero proveniente del narcotráfico, tanto en forma de gestiones directas con los dirigentes políticos, como en inversiones directas de beneficencia local como alumbrado, pavimentación, y plazas públicas que realizan los capos más adinerados, quizás el progreso de nuestras zonas rurales sería mucho más lento.

¿Es buena la delincuencia organizada? No, por supuesto que no. ¿Da vergüenza que nuestro estado presente la imagen que presentó ayer ante la república y el mundo? Claro que sí. Pero si vives aquí y te estás quejando del hecho como si no tuvieras nada qué ver con el asunto, estás pecando de inocente en el mejor de los casos, y de hipócrita en el peor. Tal vez la única diferencia entre los manifestantes y quienes solo los observamos sea que ellos se atrevieron a expresarse de acuerdo con la realidad que viven.


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