Thursday, August 14, 2008


Pop culture has arrived in Guatemala. We have all heard of this phenomenon called Globalization in which we are all connected and goods produced in or by one country can be relevant and available in other countries around the world.

The problem here is Guatemala is that pop culture has arrived without the education to handle it. It used to be that people in other countries were just a little behind stylistically than us in the up-to-date fashion world. Don't worry, we are still using a lot of 80's and early 90's haircuts around here. With the increase of technology and of influence in the forms of foreign brands of clothing, people here have begun to adopt a lot of American styles. Kids run around with gold chains and big jeans and there are even some punk kids running around here in Cabrican.

Somewhere along the line there was a disconnect in which people began to use these pop culture symbols we love so much without really knowing what they represent. Last week I went to a store where the lady owning it wore a black and silver hat that said "HU$tLER" across the front. This morning I ran into a friend's mother who had earring with the playboy bunny on them. I am sure the store owner liked the shiny colors of the hat and maybe even recognized the dollar sign, but I doubt she knows what a hustler is. I am positive that the church-going mother of my friend thought the rabbits on the earrings were cute but had no idea what playboy is.

It is really funny to walk into the store and see the old lady wearing such a ridiculously not right for her hat, I know. It is also kind of sad because they really have no idea. We throw all of our culture into people's lives without giving them a chance to understand it.

Lesson: Next time you are going to donate your HU$TLER hat or your playboy earrings to a charitable organization where it will then be resold in countries like Guatemala, think twice and maybe attach a note explaining the symbolism.

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