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The ‘Godinez’ In Mexican Culture

The informant is from Mexico City, currently rotating at UT Medical Center.

The interview occurred at a family barbeque on a Sunday.

He and I discussed what he thinks about when he thinks of his home, which is originally Mexico City. He said that there is nothing quite like the sights and sounds of the urban squares of the densely populated capital. Jesús was a medical fellow in the city and spent most of his early career in the bustling city center.

“Those who are stuck in office jobs, frequently government employees, are called “godinez”, and they are white collar, lower middle class people who never make progress.”

Is there a connotation?

“Yes, it is not a good thing to be called one, but it comes from a name, so it in not totally a diss. We love to use words that have a double meaning, our humor is a frequent play on words, and that is called ‘albur’.

‘De Pelos’ means fantastic, and if you attend a family meal, usually held on Sundays after church or as the natural offering to watch the two soccer rivals play a ‘clásico'; an important match between the Chivas and América, you might be lucky enough to take an ‘Itacate’ home, leftovers packed for later enjoyment, and you might thank your host by saying ‘Te Rayaste, Guey,’ which means, you really outdid yourself, pal!

Here, the informant delves into some of the vernacular inventions of everyday informal speech. Godinez in particular is quite interesting because it is a not uncommon last name that has been given a bad connotation. The Godinez is a desk mule, a no questions wimpy clerk. The origins of the pejorative are unclear, but some ascribe it to a typified character in the series El Chavo Del Ocho. On one hand, the Godinez exemplifies a hard working individual who is doing his or her best to bring home a respectable salary, even if the job is monotonous. And yet, there is in any case a cultural criticism of those who take such jobs too seriously, as is made clear by this sneer. Albur as a whole are quite similar to our use of puns. Often enough, they involve some form of sexual undertone. Itacate translates to provisions, which is quite a clever use in that, beyond being called simply leftovers, with a future purpose left unclear, Itacate implies a level of endearment. Provisions imply a future use, a looking out for the person whom is gifted the Itacate. It is often the case that the whole day is spent cooking for large neighborhood gatherings, and a huge amount of food is cooked so much is left over. In many Latin American cultures the guest is invited to take home the best left overs, is provisioned for future meals.

 

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