Cesar Rubio

What a shame...

Posts tagged daycare

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This shit’s bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Platano
In June of 2009, there was a terrible tragedy here in Hermosillo. A fire broke out in a warehouse was next to a daycare center, and 49 children were killed. There is nothing good to say about that horrible day. I guess it could’ve been worse, because there were over 100 kids there, and a lot of people risked their lives to save as many as they could, going so far as to driving their cars into the walls of the place to break it down and get more kids out. It was the worst catastrophe this city has ever seen. 

Despair turned to anger as those responsible weren’t held accountable. The warehouse that burned down was owned by the government, and the daycare center itself was guilty of some palm-greasing to skate by some regulations in order to operate (for example, not enough fire exits), so people expected some degree of accountability. As corrupt as Mexico is, those responsible for a tragedy of this magnitude where 49 innocent children lost their lives wouldn’t walk away unscathed, would they? Well, it turns out they did. So far, the only people who have been arrested for this horrific event are people whose only mistake was doing their job - low level types who had nothing to do with the bribes and payoffs that led to this daycare center operating when it should’ve been shut down a long time ago. 

Even though this happened more than 2 years ago, it is still an extremely sensitive subject here in town. We are all angry and sad that something like that happened here, and that the government covered it up as only they can here in Mexico. The assholes who are truly responsible for this are nowhere to be found, people know who they are, but they’re free to go on about their lives with complete impunity. I hope their dreams are haunted though. I’m sure none of them wanted this to happen of course, but they are responsible and should be held accountable for being fucking greedy. 

Ok. 

A few days ago, I was looking on my Facebook feed and saw that a friend had posted a video of a mexican comedian doing his act with the title: “FUCK YOU PLATANITO YOU CAN’T JOKE ABOUT THAT, GO TO HELL, ARRGH” (or something like that). 

"Platanito" means "little banana" and is a character created by a Mexican actor who tells filthy jokes on stage in a clown costume. (When I first saw this guy on TV I immediately thought of Yukko the Clown and briefly pondered if Yukko could sue him, but then realized that I was thinking of Yukko the Clown for some fucking reason and immediately stopped thinking about Yukko the fucking Clown.) This guy is known for telling dirty jokes, and he hosts a very popular talk show (don’t ask*) on our version of MTV where all he does is hang around chicks in thongs and tell dirty jokes, occasionally having a guest on to interview. So the dude is known for being dirty and out of control. 

Platanito

Pictured: Dirty clown.

When I clicked on the aforementioned video, it was a clip of one of Platanito’s live shows. It wasn’t from his TV show, and it looks like maybe 2 or 3 hundred people were in the audience. He’s rambling on his rapid-fire type of way, and he throws in that Michael Jackson died because he was anxious to get to heaven since a daycare center had burned down in Hermosillo. He went on to say that where the daycare center had been replaced by a new joint called “Kentucky Fried Children,” and that was it. The whole clip lasted less than a minute. 

But what a shitstorm it caused. 

My initial reaction was anger. There are lines that you shouldn’t cross, Platanito! Fuck you! How dare you joke about this horrific event?! I immediately shared the video on my Facebook Timeline with the caption: “Asshole” and watched as it made the rounds. The twitterverse (fuck that word) exploded with anti-Platanito hashtags, and it seemed everybody from Sonora and Mexico was enraged. Images were made where Platanito’s head was put in the crossfires of a rifle, with the caption: “Platanito, Sonora welcomes you” and I’m sure a lot of similar stuff was created as well. People were posting all kind of crazy shit on Facebook, threatening everything from boycotts to protests to kicking the dude’s ass to killing him. Of course, all of this was on Facebook and Twitter, so take it for what it’s worth. 

Honestly, I was shocked by my own visceral reaction. I was very angry. I was fucking incensed. The day that fire broke out, I was on my way out of town (it was a Friday) so I didn’t know the extent of what happened until much later. Then I started to hear the horror stories and the hero stories and the pictures that came out of this were awful and heart-wrenching. These children died a horrible death, completely undeserved, and caused by assholes who cut corners to make some extra money. A feeling of helplessness came over me as I thought of those poor children and their families and all the suffering they were going through. 

And I think that, more than anything, is the root of our anger. Mexicans are empathetic and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one whose heart wasn’t breaking for each and every one of those poor families. I know people who didn’t lose a loved one in the tragedy but who still cry every day for those poor kids, and who are even angrier than parents who were left childless after this. That empathy is one of the more awesome things about our culture and something I’m very proud of. 

But there’s also this. 

Mexicans are known to have a strong, black, sexist, and - what some might consider to be - racist sense of humor. I’m more in tune with the gringo sense of humor because of my upbringing, but I do understand and will laugh at inappropriate mexican jokes, no doubt about that. Mexican jokes mock other cultures, races, religions, homosexuality, anything that a lot of people around the world would consider highly offensive. Jokes target victims of natural disasters, like Haiti or Japan or the Indian Ocean tsunami or anything. And I admit that I laugh at a lot of those jokes. Shit, if it’s funny, I’ll laugh at anything. I know how to tell the difference when somebody’s joking because I’m an intelligent fucking adult. But this! Fuck this guy! Really! 

Amidst all the rage ON THE INTERNET, some people pointed out that there have been tons of jokes made about Haiti, or about Japan, or about places where a lot more people have senselessly been killed and that we don’t say shit about it and aren’t offended. Damn, they’re right. I’m sure people in Haiti or Japan are offended though, wouldn’t you agree? Although who knows with the Japanese, they’re fucking weird. But yeah, of course they would be offended. Of course people who’ve lost people in a horrific tragedy would be offended with jokes made at their expense. That’s a ridiculous argument to make. 

The anger grows exponentially because it happened in our own backyard. It grows even more when reality hits us again and we realize that the assholes responsible for this, who are all millionaires because of shitty daycares they own that they run for the government (the government pays for this, and they pay a whole lot), and who cut corners, bribing who knows who to save a buck.. those fuckers are living their lives as if nothing happened. Even though the blood of 49 innocent children is on their hands, they are still free. 

"Platanito" has since posted what appears to be a sincere video apology, going so far as to remove his wig and fake nose dramtically and speaking AS THE REAL PERSON, not the character. He goes through all the necessary steps, saying all the right things, mentioning that the network had nothing to do with this (A-HA), and of course mentioning all the wonderful things he does for childrens’ charities. Pandering, questionable motives ($), and unnecessary dramatic effects aside, the dude seemed genuinely sorry and ashamed for the joke, and it takes balls to own up in the face of such massive public disdain. In truth, I thought he would just give the finger to the whole thing and laugh it off, or not respond as quickly. Instead, he posted his apology the very next day, which is admirable (I guess). 

Whether this guy’s career is over or not makes no difference to me at all. I’ve never watched his show, and the few clips I’ve seen of his act have made me chuckle at best. I know a lot of people who are fans though, and the dude gets great ratings for his stuff, tours constantly, and has made a killing with this dirty clown act. More power to him. He found a way, which is something that a lot of us can hope of doing someday. 

We have a short-term memory here and I’m sure that in a few months “Platanito” and his stupid joke won’t be nothing but an afterthought. He probably won’t come back to town for a long time (that would take tremendous balls if he did), if at all, so we’ll stop caring about his schtick. 

Overall, I’m proud of the way people in my state reacted to this. Proud because the anger at this horrific tragedy still exists, even though it was misguided for a few crazy hours yesterday. Proud because that sense of unity and empathy we all felt that fateful day in 2009 is still there. Proud we still care about those 49 kids and we still have their backs. And as long as the fuckers responsible for this are still out there, I’m sure that unity and anger will persist. The sorrow for those lost children and the anger that the government covered up the whole thing and life just went on as if nothing had happened will continue to be in all of us as long as justice isn’t served. The sad part is that will probably never happen and that innocent people will spend many years in jail because of this, while the real criminals walk free. 

Watch out. Don’t fuck with our 49 lost children, because hell will be unleashed. 

Hey, did you hear that one about Haiti?

Filed under abc daycare facebook haiti hermosillo mexico platanito sonora tragedy twitterverse