Wyoming Arts Council

"Ask a Mexican" author in Jackson

Teton County Library and Planet Jackson Hole team up to present “¡Ask a Mexican! An Evening with Columnist Gustavo Arellano” from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8 in the library’s Ordway Auditorium. Arellano will read from his book “¡Ask a Mexican!” –- a collection of his columns published this year by Simon & Schuster –- and answer questions. The program is free and open to the public.

Arellano is an investigative journalist and food critic for the OC Weekly in Orange County, Calif. He started the irreverent “¡Ask a Mexican!” column in 2004 after an editor suggested the cultural Q&A as a one-time spoof. The column featured the question: “Dear Mexican, why do Mexicans call white people gringos?” Arellano responded with: “Dear Gabacho, Mexicans don’t call gringos gringos, only gringos call gringos gringos, and Mexicans call gringos gabachos.”

The column inspired an instantaneous reaction. Questions immediately flooded in, so Arellano kept responding. Arellano says the weekly column aims to shine a light on Mexican-American relations in a way that’s both entertaining and factual.

The column has inspired both adoration and hate mail –- nationally and at Planet Jackson Hole, which prints the column. Arellano explained why he thinks his prickly column generates such a polarized response in an in-depth interview with Planet Editor Rich Anderson published earlier this year. Read it at

“Since the beginning of this country, immigration has always been a sensitive subject, a divisive subject, so whenever you write about immigration, you will receive feedback from both sides,” Arellano told Anderson. While some readers consider Arellano’s approach flippant, others find it refreshing, Arellano says.

FMI: Oona Doherty, 733-2164 ext. 135 or www.TCLib.org.

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