Dear Mexican: In my hometown of Playa Larga (Long Beach, Calif.), natives refer to a major avenida in our villa, Junipero Avenue (named for Father Junipero Serra, accused native genocider, a candidate for sainthood—but I digress) as Juan-a-pear-o. There is no "Juan" in Junipero, but that's how everyone in this town pronounces it. People who reside on the street, real-estate agents, residents, business owners—I even heard a former mayor pronounce it that way.
Why do white Americans (and even some Guatemalan Americans) bend over backward to pronounce Junipero as Juan-a-pear-o to sound like they know how to pronounce it like a Spanish-speaker, yet it is the most garbled malapropism of the word (and should be pronounced hoo-NEE-pear-o)?
Hombre Blanco de Playa Larga
Dear Gabacho From Long Beach: Gotta say that in my lifetime of living in Southern California, I've never heard nadie pronounce Junipero like you say people mispronounce it—the malapropism I hear is June-IH-pear-oh, a fascinating medley of the proper accent placement on the third-to-last syllable in Junípero's Spanish incarnation, and a rigid following of English grammatical structure. Thus is the wonderful world of the grammatical gabacho colonizing of the American Southwest, where Yankees decided to keep many of the original Spanish names of territories, cities and geographical landmarks, but Anglicize them—Tex-as instead of Teh-haas, Loss An-ju-less instead of Loce AHNG-heh-less, or A-ri-zone-ah instead of Hell-on-Earth. (OK, in fairness to the Sonoran dog, I am just talking about the parts of the state where Arpayaso and Brewer roam.)
Custodians of Cervantes, of course, cringe at gabacho mongrelization of Spanish-language place names, and that's a beautiful thing: Remember that one of the few cardinal rules of this columna is that language is fluid, and anyone who tries to box it in or gets their chonis in a bunch about it is as deluded as Rick Santorum.
Why is every overweight, tattooed, goateed, bead-wearing, late-model-Tahoe-driving, noneducated enchilada in Texas a University of Texas fan? Why not A&M or Tech? Or Baylor? (OK, that's obvious.)
And one more thing: Please stop becoming belligerently drunk and taking it personally when the team whose logo is on your Walmart 3XL T-shirt loses. You have no personal ties to the team, so quit throwing up gang signs and using profanity in an atmosphere that's meant to be fun. The drunk 19-year-old college kid means no harm when he screams, "Boomer!" So grow up, and get a life.
Frustrated Educated Okie
Dear Gabacho: "Enchilada" as a slur against Mexicans? The 1950s called—they want their ethnic insult back.
As for the fan question: It's the same reason no one outside of Oklahoma gives a shit about the Sooners. Subway alumni enjoy winners in football, and the Longhorns are the epitome of a winning program in the Lone Star State, while the Aggies, Red Raiders, UTEP Miners, Texas Christian University, the University of Houston and Texas' many other college football programs haven't exhibited such gridiron dominance over the years. The Soooners haven't dominated college football since the days of Barry Switzer—you really expect non-Okies to give a damn about a third-rate university that just played in something called the Insight Bowl?
By the way, your Baylor dig is lost on me. Because Baylor is a private university? USC (the Trojans USC, not the Gamecocks one) is private and has more than a few wab alumni. Typical Sooner solipsism—but what else can we expect from a university that named itself after invading illegals? Go Cowboys (both the Dallas and Oklahoma State variants)!