From The Publisher

June 13, 2016
BY: CARRIE DUNCAN

OK, precious readers, you know the drill: Go to the short story with two pictures showing the new downtown facades and then come back here. It’s on the front page for crying out loud, there is no excuse not to read that first. Welcome back.

We’re talking today about how the downtown Cabo merchants are working so hard to spiffy up their area. They’re doing a swell job, and it looks so much better.

But how far do we want to go with a new look? Do people come to Cabo for the clean, orderly ambiance of downtown Ferndale USA? Or do they come to see what is their perception of Mexico? Are we homogenizing our town too much?  Is Mexico, in an earnest attempt to please the tourists, sanitizing the colorful Mexican culture into something so bland our visitors might as well stay in San Diego?

Segue into a similar observation of mine. When I started coming to Mexico in the early 70s, the average car on the road was a jalopy with no tail lights, their homes were often hovels of cinder block. The women all wore dresses and the men felt that wearing shorts was unmanly.

Boy has that all changed. Mexico is much more prosperous for starters.  I get a news feed from City Hall every day, and it usually has half a dozen pictures of what’s going on in Los Cabos, always involving people. People of very different strata from street cleaners to school children to the Mayor and very often the Mayor’s wife are pictured in this feed. I am struck by how they all look like us! They dress just like us, and that only happened in the last half dozen years. Women are most often in pants now, men are in short pants these days, and the kids look just like Gringo kids in jeans and sneakers.

It’s a little alarming, the speed at which everyone in both countries have come to look the same. Maybe it’s just in Baja, which is so influenced by foreigners. I’m going to Las Mochis over on the mainland at the end of this week and I will report back.

A lot of people in the United States complain about the influence of Mexicans in the States. Are Mexicans likewise concerned about the influence foreigners have on their culture? A little. My Mexican friends do get a little pissy about their children getting caught up in our version of Halloween and Christmas. Understandable. Nobody wants their children to be of a different culture than themselves.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the merging of cultures. I don’t like everyone looking and acting alike. I celebrate diversity.

On the other hand, the more we’re alike, the less anyone is going to feel the animosity that often results when two cultures collide. The result of us all looking alike is similar to kids wearing uniforms to school: Everyone dressed the same cuts down on the feelings of dislike when we see that dreaded “other”. A person other than ourselves.

I’m not too worried that the American culture is going to over power the Mexican culture, though, because the Mexican culture is so strong, so proud, and so colorful. Maybe the differences are just appearance deep. I hope so.