June 07, 2016

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc - LMMIAMI.COM

  • A friend and colleague of mine who founded and runs a fairly successful advertising agency, whose name I cannot reveal lest he hates me forever, recently told me, and I quote: “Most Latinos working in marketing and advertising on the client side are a bunch of malinches and groupies. They systematically turn their backs on us to throw themselves, and the brands they run, into the arms of multinational advertising conglomerates who charge them an arm and a leg for a culturally tin-eared, flat-footed, grossly overpriced, subpar service”.
  • With “us” he meant smaller, independent, Hispanic-owned and operated ad agencies not aligned with the WPPs and Omnicoms of this world.
  • “Groupies and malinches.”
  • What do you think about the accusation?
  • Don’t know what “malinche” stands for?
  • In México, a malinche or malinchista is someone who goes gaga over foreign stuff in detriment of his or her own culture.
  • For instance, someone who overpays for imported brands is a malinche.
  • An individual who is attracted to a foreigner simply because he or she has a sexy accent is a malinche too.
  • Which leads us to the etymology of the word.
  • According to popular myth, la Malinche was an Aztec princess who, at the turn of the 14th century in what today is México, fell in love with Hernán Cortés and became his unofficial better half.
  • In other words, his mistress.
  • She allegedly had a son with Cortés and was instrumental at helping the aforementioned conquistador plot and scheme his way to overthrow Moctezuma and defeat the Aztec empire.
  • Or so claims the popular legend.
  • Most historians’ accounts are fuzzy and tinged with personal opinion though.
  • We don´t even know her real name: Malinche is just a phonetic formulation that survived through the centuries.
  • Moreover, the most credible version is that she was not really a princess nor was she an ethnic Aztec.
  • She might have been a cunning courtier, a deft social climber, possibly a smart and beautiful woman who sensed a regime change and simply cast her lot with the new guard.
  • A femme fatale
  • Sort of like Kim Kardashian but in colonial México.
  • It certainly came in handy that she spoke several languages and could function as Hernán Cortés’ interpreter.
  • Kim Kardashian barely speaks English.
  • As usual in our sexist culture, her name became a synonym of betrayal, self-hate, inferiority complex, cowardice and/or servitude.
  • When Julius Caesar, the Roman politician, general and emperor, needed military help from king King Nicomedes of Bithynia, he allegedly resorted to seducing and getting in bed with him.
  • At the tender age of 19.
  • Yes, Julius Caesar, THE Julius Caesar, was prone to exchanging sexual favors with powerful men to forward his political career.
  • Before he romanced Cleopatra.
  • Possibly afterwards too.
  • Yet I never ever heard anyone say that he was a devious male prostitute.
  • A conniving rent boy.
  • Or a sexually fluid Latin lover, to put it mildly.
  • LOL
  • Ah, but la Malinche went down in history as a despicable traitor and fallen woman.
  • The rhyme between malinchismo and machismo is more than just coincidence.
  • Not only that, pretty much everything about the malinchismo epithet is based on a false logic.
  • There’s this sugar coated idyllic idea that the new world was some sort of pastoral haven populated by happy peoples living in prosperity and harmony.
  • A prosperity and harmony brought to an end the very moment those mean, greedy, syphilitic Europeans set foot this side of the pond.
  • LOL.
  • The big problem with the “natives good, Euros bad” logic is that tribes like the Aztecs had been maiming, raping, looting, enslaving and exploiting their neighbors for generations.
  • So did the Mayans and the Incas.
  • Bloody empires all of them.
  • The Spaniards simply bested them in the oh so ancient human art of empire building: looting and tyrannizing vulnerable civilizations who happen to be in the way.
  • As I pointed out above, la Malinche, allegedly, was not even an ethnic Aztec.
  • She might have belonged to a tribe that had been defeated and enslaved by the Aztecs.
  • If such was the case, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she had reasons to hate her people’s oppressors and take sides with them carpetbaggin’ gallegos.
  • Whatev.
  • Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.
  • Hey, all of us US Hispanics could be accused of malinchismo: after all we left our home countries in pursuit of the wealth, public safety and political stability of Gringolandia.
  • OK, OK.
  • I digress.
  • Going back to the initial premise of this column: do you agree that most Latinos working in marketing and advertising on the client side are a bunch of malinches and groupies who systematically ignore smaller, independent, Hispanic-owned and operated ad agencies not aligned with the WPPs and Omnicoms only to throw themselves, and the brands they run, into the arms of multinational advertising conglomerates who charge them an arm and a leg for a subpar service?
  • Let me know what you think.
  • Personally, on a visceral level, I tend to agree with my friend’s aggravation.
  • I hate it when I lose a piece of business to a WPP or Omnicom shop.
  • Clients know that their new agency’s CEO will show up for the first meeting or two.
  • As of the third meeting an intern will handle their account.
  • They know they are going to get half the service and pay twice the price yet they keep going back for more.
  • They don’t seem to care.
  • Malinchismo and Stockhlom Syndrome rolled into one.
  • Sour grapes.
  • I know, I know.
  • We are marketers and advertisers.
  • We are supposed to be masters at shaping perceptions to take advantage of the very human penchant to make hasty, shallow decisions based on misconception.
  • One should not complain when one is beaten at one’s own game.

 

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