Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Great Moments in Big Government

With winter just about over here, we've been remiss in reporting that Mexico recently broke the world record for the Largest Cup of Hot Chocolate! At 2500 liters - roughly 600 gallons - it beat the old record of four (4!) gallons by such a wide margin, we're embarrassed even to name the city where the previous record was set.

We've long been fascinated with this country's obsession with setting world records. We believed it offered some sort of insight into the Mexican psyche: a desperate desire for the approval of others, and a longing to be the best at anything - and if you can't put men on the moon or successfully rescue trapped miners, at least you can say you got 13,000 people to do the "Thriller" dance simultaneously. Suck on that, Dubai!

But as it turns out, what we thought was a spontaneously-opened window on the Mexican soul is actually a centrally-planned exercise in national identity-building orchestrated by the Mexico City government since 2006.

Most of the events have been organized by the government of Mexico City, though others have been produced by the private sector...

Mexico City Tourism Secretary Alejandro Rojas Diaz Durán says that these activities aren't frivolous, but rather have allowed the capital "to change the face of Mexico. They've put Mexico City on the world stage."

This site has certainly done its part to help. The print edition of that article lists 13 Guinness records broken in the capital in the last four years, and we were amused to see we'd written about 11 of them. Somehow, we missed the World's Highest Revolving Restaurant, and the World's Longest Chain of Ice Skaters - this latter one being a particularly impressive achievement for a country devoid of ice. (Though we did have a few El Universal missed - World's Largest Fleur-de-Lis Made of Recycled Cans, anyone?) Still, the Secretary goes on to say that one of the goals of the program is to increase tourism - and since tourism to Mexico City has, in fact, increased, well...Mission Accomplished.

We'll call bullshit. For the last four years, a violent drug war has gone increasingly out of control here. Tourism has gone up, but no one would give the drug war credit for that. Similarly, we doubt many people have come to Mexico City because it's the home of the World's Largest Cheesecake.

Nevertheless, there are some big things - world-record-big things - on the horizon: the World's Largest Fashion Runway, Largest Number of People on Bicycles and Largest Gathering of Boy Scouts, just to name a few, so we may soon be proven wrong about the tourists. Book your hotels now, just in case.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

American officials will now defend the little killer http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/728709.html

Burro Hall said...

Well, we provide the cartels' money, their guns and in this case (allegedly) the assassin. Seems only right we should provide the lawyers. White Man's burden, Anonymous....

Dave said...

Right on with the previous comment.

The obsession with records does seem a bit much, and I can't say the reputation would entice me to visit a whole lot... my home town has gone for the largest fondue record and I barely peeked. On the other hand the kid I saw juggling on a tall unicycle wasn't too bad...

Not to whine, but why doesn't any of the excitement happen when I'm in town?? In D.F. 24 hours so far and nothing has happened yet. Even seems like they've washed up all the hot chocolate they must have spilled in Coyoacan. Bad timing, but the week is young.

Burro Hall said...

I actually happened to be in Mex City when the World's Largest Group of Naked People got together, so just sit tight and something big is bound to happen.

Swampscott holds the world record for Simultaneous Shofar-Blowing. Seriously.

Dave said...

I may have trouble sleeping tonight.

With all due respect to Swampscott and its illustrious musical residents, I think I'll take my chances in D.F. God help me, I think we're off to the Zocalo tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Americans provide for everything.....hahahaha

Anonymous said...

He is going to be in jail only 3 years after cutting off the head of 4 people right on YouTube. (maybe even more, but he said only 4). I hope when he is released in 3 years, he is in Arizona or somewhere else.