Mexican Rock Joke: Blason Populaire

A joke about Mexicans being musically inclined described verbatim by informant:

“My Puerto Rican mother used to say to me, if I were talking about talent or people singing or whatever she’d go, ‘Well, all you have to do is go to Mexico,’ and I’d say, ‘Well what do you mean, Mom?’ She goes, ‘Because in Mexico your turn over a rock, you turn over rock and some man, somebody comes up and they’re singing,’ and I used to be like ‘What do you mean?’ She goes ‘Everybody knows in Mexico everybody sings or plays the guitar or does something musical’ and I was like, ‘Really, Mom?’ and she looked at me like I was crazy she goes, ‘Well, yeah, everybody knows that!’

I think it’s funny because now that my mother has told me that it’s something that always stuck in my head. (laughs) And not for nothing when I turn on Univisión and if it’s like some Mexican thing I’m like ‘She’s right!’ there are 50 gazillion people that are Mexican and they can all, they’re all singing, everybody’s singing!! It’s like (laughs) I dunno, I dunno (laughs) It’s kind of interesting.”

This notion that all Mexicans sing or play an instrument is a piece of blason populaire though humorous, seems complimentary rather than derogatory. Turning over a rock in Mexico and someone coming up singing, from what I gather, is a joke that is likely influenced by stereotypes portrayed on Spanish-speaking television channels, as my informant suggests. Mexico is a big country, with a lot of people, many of whom probably are musical in some respect. Music is important to all cultures and Mexican music, both traditional and contemporary, has a large following. Of course this is encouraged by the country’s huge tourist industry, as well as it’s radio and television stations, which are also big in the United States. So, this “funny” observation of sorts is likely constructed and seems to be just that—an observation.