Memin Pinguin : The Wrong Message to Post

by Phil Costas

We learned today about the Mexican Post Office, and their unfortunate decision to release a series of stamps featuring Memin Pinguin, a popular comic book character first published in the 1940s. Memin is beloved in Mexico, much like Goofy or Elmer Fudd are in the US. Here's an example of his early days.

I can't make out a thing they're saying, but apparently the young lad is enjoying a plate of flapjacks. Or flapjack, since he only has one. But should we be enjoying the young lad? Many say no. Even White House press secretary Scott MClellan was moved to comment on it this morning.

"...[it is] an internal issue for Mexico and the postal authorities that issued the stamp. With that said, I would like to make a couple of points. Racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin. The Mexican government needs to take this into account. Images like these have no place in today's world."

Jesse Jackson called the stamps offensive, and I for once am inclined to agree with the highly opinionated Reverend. These stamps are offensive, but not because of the comical chimp boy or his equally simian mother. Earth to liberals: These are cartoons, not real life. Is Goofy an attack on Goofy people? Of course not, and they're not smart enough to understand it if it was. Is Elmer Fudd an affront to the millions of loyal members of the NRA? Well, yes, he is, but we try to remind ourselves that it's just a cartoon.

No, these stamps are offensive because of the sort of person that Memin chose to become after he was brought back in the 1980's - a boy who's moral compass was always stuck on south.

At first Mermin was content to simply outrage Christian White People, the very same group for which Howard Dean has shown such utter contempt.

What changed Mermin from a garden variety Denis the Menace character into a lost soul with no future? Some say it goes back to his domineering mother; that when friends found out about his sissification, something inside him of him was transformed forever.

The day soon came when his mother would torment him no longer. Was Memin guilty? Is there justice in Mexico? Ha. He was back on the street within a few days.

The alleyways provide their own diversions, and Mermin was soon accepted as a member of 'Los Buitres'. He was a particularly brutal fighter, preferring the heft of a rock to the power of his own fists. The gang made him their enforcer.

This was the job that Memin was born for, and he took to it like a fish to water. Before long, he was one of the wealthiest men in El Ciado.

His money couldn't buy him happiness, however. Memin's long time love, Becky Quiavo ran off with Perro Enojado, the driver for 'Los Buitres'. Shortly afterwards, the two were found bludgeoned to death outside of the oficina del policía. A simple twenty dollar bribe ensured that Memin would never see a day behind bars.

Memin's life became little more than an endless search for ever more decadent pleasures.

And we all know how that ends.

Thanks to Presidente Fox, we are now forced to see yet another glorification of the same 'Gangster culture', with it's drugs and hos, that has poisoned society to the point where you can't even go to the mall on a Sunday without being exposed to one of those jeeps with the big radios playing the loud rap music.

Surely there are greater Mexicans than this which the invading hordes can put on their postage stamps. Vicki Carr, anyone? I, Phil Costas, would never befoul my tongue by licking one of those things, but what about the tongues of others? What about the tongue of the pretty young devoted-Catholic seniorita who has no choice but to 'go there', her cheeks turning scarlet with shame? What will happen to her? How many Hail Marys resolve one from licking a Mermin?

It's way past time to seal those borders.

Phil Costas is the editor of 'Culture Watch Weekly'

© 2005, Mark Hoback