Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stop Draggin' My Heart Strings Around

A few days ago, an inspector in Villahermosa, Tabasco, saw a kid on the street selling candy and cigarettes - the latter of which are illegal for minors to buy or sell in Mexico.  Because this inspector was also a raging douche, he combined his civic duty with a generous helping of douchiness, first by stealing the kid's cigarettes, and then by making him dump all his candy on the street.  The kid, because he was frightened and humiliated and, not for nothing, on the verge of losing a day's income or more, sobbed throughout. And, because it's 2013, someone filmed it all and put it on YouTube.

Not surprisingly, people's heart strings were tugged.

A 10-year-old Indian street vendor whose humiliation by a city inspector tugged on the heart strings of Mexicans after a video of it appeared on social media was showered Friday with attention and the offer of a scholarship...

The video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times over the last few days, and on Friday the governmental National Human Rights Commission announced it would investigate the case. The city announced on Wednesday that it has fired the inspector.

Tabasco state Gov. Arturo Nunez announced Thursday his administration would give Manuel and his family "a scholarship, as well as all medical and psychological help for the boy."...

The Tabasco state prosecutors' office said Friday it had detained another municipal employee who participated in the incident and is investigating both workers on suspicion of abuse of authority and theft.

This is being held up as some great victory for social media, and we're certainly happy to see a douchebag official joining the ranks of the unemployed.  And all the goodies being rained down on the kid by Mexican officialdom - what progress!  Pat yourselves on the back, everybody!  Especially you, Governor Nuñez.  You must have been shocked - shocked! - to learn there was douchebaggery amongst the rank and file.

It's weird to us, though, that no one seemed in the slightest bit concerned that a 10-year-old boy was working full time selling cigarettes out on the street.  The outrage is only that someone interrupted him (and, of course, acted like a douche while doing so). We've tried to make the point here periodically that child labor is not something an advanced society should tolerate - which we've illustrated with the real-life examples of the perro's namesake street urchin, who can often be found playing accordion for money outside the seat of Querétaro's state government; and his younger sister, who we've dubbed First Lady Sandra Calzada's namesake street urchinette.  They're just two of the 4,700 children under the age of 12 who work in the city.

Here's a picture we took of the boy a few weeks ago, as he played accordion outside the Governor's window.

A couple of state cops are hanging out, talking to him.  But because they didn't smash his accordion, heart strings were not tugged.  In fact, it wasn't adversarial at all - they were just chatting to him.  "Little kid, sitting on the street by himself, playing music for money outside the Governor's office while his younger sister runs around selling candy and cigarettes - hey, no big deal.  Hell, there's thousands of kids like that around here!"

The inspector in Tabasco was a douche, and he deserved to lose his job. But there are many, many douches in positions of power in Mexico. Some of them are even being praised for taking swift action against the inspector, so that heart strings need not be tugged anymore.


La Cubanófila said...

Sí con sí is all I have to say.

Just a Canuck said...

SPOT ON commentary.

Brick said...

Mr. Hall. I think you should make 'Douche-bag of the Week' a regular feature.

As you point out the real tragedy once you get past the, 'ah, isn't he/she cute' is that there are thousands of little kids around the country working for a living at age 5.
Keep up the good fight.

Burro Hall said...

If I didn't think I'd win it 35 weeks a year, I'd consider it.