Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Huevo

Mexico City's vernacular is extraordinarily rich, if often crude. Evolving slang produces expressions that baffle outsiders, such as "que pedo?", a substitution of "que paso?" that translates literally as "what fart?" Jousting through complex wordplays, called "albures", seek to embarrass, much like a knock-knock joke where the punchline involves sexually emasculating your companion.

The language used to talk politics is often laced with nuance, and more often brashly colorful. When describing the cancellation of operating concessions during an interview, Carlos Grados remarked that it was done by "producto de gallina" (hen's product). Then, chuckling, asked me, if I knew what "producto de gallina was," before exclaiming "A huevo!" Mexican politics have long been defined by contests of "huevos" ("balls"), but the games were often subtle. When discussing the benefits of being on the Executive Committee of the Alianza de Camioneros, Grados simply commented that, "well, there were advantages." Then, he winked.

(The background of my meeting with Carlos Grados:

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