øMi ciudad?

popquiz.JPG I was rather sceptical when I first read about the launch of a new lifestyle magazine targeting middle class Los Angeles and anyone else who will fork out $4. I expected it to be uppity and only relevant to the new generation of Chicana/o and Latina/o yuppies out of touch with their cultura.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.

Tu Ciudad (Spanish for “your city”) officially launched a few weeks ago. Being the slacker and procrastinator that I am, I didn’t get around to picking up a copy of the inaugural issue until last night.

I flipped through a few pages in the car as I continued my commute to my apartment. When I got home I immediately took the 20-question Pop Quiz on LA pop culture, history and politics, I didn’t do so well. According to their scoring level (different for Latinos and non-Latinos), I’m a “certified Hispanic!” Yuck. I hate being called Hispanic, and I have a few bones to pick with their wacky and irreverent quiz. What’s with all the trick questions? How am I supposed to know that if you speak Spanish to any valet in town, you’ll get your car before anyone else? I’m not middle-class enough to afford valet parking.

And they’re kidding about the start of the Zoot Suit Riots in 1943, right? I know more than I ever wanted to know about Zoot Suits, pachucos and the Sleepy Lagoon Case thanks to my undergraduate major in Chicana/o Studies. I may know the history well, but others might not and it would be nice if they included accurate answers with their joke answers.

Overall, I liked the magazine. The articles are funny and irreverent in some parts, while serious and thoughtful when the subject matter — such as Latinos in Iraq — calls for a more somber tone. The cover story was on the under representation of Latinos in film and television, an issue I find important but not one I really care about. I’m not too concerned about whether the people on television look like me. I care more about educational issues and whether or not politicians, teachers and administrators look like me or even understand the issues of people who look like me.

I don’t think Tu Ciudad is for everyone. It’s very clear in the letter from editor-in-chief Oscar Garza that the magazine’s target demographic is middle class Latinos who still retain a large part of their culture.

I guess that last part about culture is what I liked so much about Tu Ciudad. In many ways, I’m the kind of person Garza hopes will buy his magazine.

Will I subscribe? Por supuesto (for sure).

3 thoughts on “øMi ciudad?”

  1. This magazine will contribute to the diversity of the city that has the opportunity to nurture the inter-racial relationships. I always found cities, with different “cultures” living near eachother, very important and fascinating. These cities explore racial/cultural issues that are at the forefront of “globalization” and developing society.

    A cautionary note for readers of just about any for-profit publication: realize the motives behind their very existance; notice what kind of articles they write and for what purpose; more importantly.. become aware of what articles are they self-censoring or not even considering?

    Recognize that the main goal of these publications i, not to sell you the paper, but to sell advertizing space to companies. You are not their customer, their customer is the companies what want consumers. YOU are the magazine’s product!

    Once you realize this, you will quickly notice that magazines tend to cultivate consumerism that is minimaly skeptical of capitalism and their companies; heck, magazines are in integral part of a capitalist system, can you expect more from them but the push for more profit?

    Do you imagine a magazine having articles on how recycling your clothes can be cool and on how supporting local tailors and such can make for the best “shopping experience.”

    Can you imagine page 2 on a magazine having and article on the dangers of alcohol and why it has become close to the number one weapon of mass destruction and on page 3 a big alcohol ad? Will they write on how some cosmetic products contribute to asthma and have cosmetic ads?

    I’m saying: magazines profits are directly proportional to their consumerism “push”.

    Become aware on how you are being condition to think, and more importantly to FEEL, “their” way.


  2. When you say you don’t like being called “hispanic”, are their political or derogatory ramifications to it or is it just a personal thing?

  3. Bill,

    Hispanic isn’t a derogatory term, but in my circle it’s pretty close to an insult. If I get called a Hispanic by one of my friends, it’s like they’re calling me a sellout or someone who has assimilated and doesn’t care about her culture anymore. So, my own issues with the term are more personal.

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