"To paraphrase a paraphrase of Mark Twain, reports of my deportation have been greatly exaggerated," writes Gustavo Arellano in a blog entry. "I know I announced last Thursday that I was ending my ¡Ask a Mexican! column, but few people seemingly bothered to read the line where I stated my self-deportation was 'effective the feast day of St. Melito,' which happens to fall today. April Fools'!"

Continue Reading¡Ask a Mexican! As Extinct as Kudzu

"It's been a great run, cabrones, but all the hateful email, the attacks by PC pendejos and the fact that few of you have bothered to submit video questions to my YouTube channel wear on a guy," writes OC Weekly scribe Gustavo Arellano in this week's farewell column. The four-year-old award-winning column had also spawned a book, and caused many a stir in communities around the country when alt-weeklies began running it. Arellano, who is hosting the AltWeekly Awards luncheon at this year's AAN convention, says his work busting stereotypes and tweaking racial prejudices is largely done. "It's no longer necessary to explain Mexicans to Americans because Mexicans are Americans," he writes.

Continue Reading¡Ask a Mexican! Bids Adios

Much like when it started running Savage Love, Eugene Weekly's decision to run Gustavo Arellano's syndicated column has been greeted with some opposition: letters to the editor have called the OC Weekly staffer "racist," while leaders of the local Latino community have pressed the paper to drop the column. KEZI-TV hits the streets, finds folks "outraged" over ¡Ask a Mexican! and wonders "What's next: 'Ask an Asian'"? "It's even better than that," Arellano writes on the OC Weekly blog, "it's 'Ask a Korean!', and it's pinche brilliant."

Continue Reading¡Ask a Mexican! Causes a Stir in Eugene

As a newcomer to the state, new Anchorage Press publisher Bingo Barnes thought that a column modeled after Gustavo Arellano's syndicated "Ask a Mexican!," written by an Alaska Native writer, could work at the paper. Apparently, the former Boise Weekly owner and publisher was wrong. He posted the ad on Craigslist and then went on a week's vacation. "I anticipated some resistance to the idea, but I mainly expected to hear from candidates interested in writing such a column," Barnes writes. "Upon my return to the digital world, I was shocked to see what chaos I had unleashed." The Press no longer has any plans to run an "Ask an Eskimo" column.
MORE: Check out the local TV news reaction:

Continue ReadingProposed ‘Ask an Eskimo’ Column Causes a Stir in Alaska

The former executive editor of OC Weekly recalls the days when, helped along by a 2002 AAN Diversity Grant, the man who'd become "The Mexican" got his start at the Weekly. "'That kid is going to be more famous than any of us some day,'" Coker, who now edits Sacramento News & Review, remembers thinking. "What did surprise me was how quickly some day came." He says Arellano's transition to "national media spokesman on all-things-Latino" was partly a function of timing ("¡Ask a Mexican!" started getting more attention as the immigration debate heated up), but also of "a lot of shameless self promotion. Not only is Arellano the most shameless of the shameless self promoters I have ever known in this business, he also is the most self-aware of his own shamelessness, which I find kind of cute." Apparently, not everyone at OC Weekly agreed with Coker: he reports that there was plenty of jealousy of Arellano's fame -- and his six-figure book deal -- in the newsroom as well.

Continue ReadingMatt Coker: Gustavo Arellano’s Fame ‘Doesn’t Surprise Me a Lick’

In a letter to AAN News, ex-OC Weekly editor Will Swaim maintains that The Nation's "[Jon] Wiener did a fine job" conveying the paper's "loss ... of independence" under Village Voice Media, but claims that Wiener got at least one thing wrong. "[The article reports that] I told Jon Wiener that OC Weekly's film coverage was run out of Denver. I didn't say that," writes Swaim, now the publisher of Long Beach alt-weekly The District. MORE: In a letter to The Nation published on the OC Weekly blog, Gustavo Arellano says that "many of the overarching conclusions" reached by Wiener in the piece "are ludicrous."

Continue ReadingSwaim: Minor Clarification on The Nation’s LA Weekly Piece

Gustavo Arellano tells the New York Times that his dream is to host an hour-long radio program about The Simpsons. The Times also reports that OC Weekly writer's second book, which will be part memoir and part Orange County history, is forthcoming. (His first was a collection of ¡Ask a Mexican! columns.) For the two-book deal, he received an advance in "the mid-six figures," which he used to buy a decidedly un-Mexican automobile, a 1974 Cadillac convertible. "The Mexican thing would be to buy a humongous truck," he says.

Continue Reading¡Ask a Mexican! Author Talks Books, Mexicans

Total Call International's La Mejor Mexico long-distance phone card features a character whose face is clearly taken from the syndicated column's logo, created by artist Mark Dancey. "No one had asked me or Village Voice Media (the cabrones who own the copyright to the ¡Ask a Mexican! column and logo, as well as my second-born son) for permission to use the image," writes ¡Ask a Mexican! author Gustavo Arellano. A Total Call representative tells Arellano that a designer found the logo while looking for stock art through a Google search, and that the company will recall the 10,000 phone cards that haven't yet been sold.

Continue ReadingPhone Card Company Swipes ¡Ask a Mexican! Logo

"Latino journalists unfortunately fall quickly to the lure of the supposed glory of a daily byline," reasons OC Weekly reporter and ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano. He tells the Rocky Mountain Chronicle that many Latinos stay away from alt-weeklies' low pay and often controversial positions and opt for "the security of a daily." Even so, he says there are "very, very few Latino journalists in mainstream media." In the sprawling Q&A with Vanessa Martinez, Arellano also touches on his forthcoming ¡Ask a Mexican! book, right-wing talk radio, and getting kicked off MySpace.

Continue ReadingWhy Aren’t More Latinos Working at Alt-Weeklies?