As a son of 98% homogeneously Latino East Los Angeles, I knew then, as I know now, that ‘only in America,’ is it possible to prosper through such audaciously transmogrifying reinvention. “Kiss me I’m not Mexican or Irish.”
And so years later, a successful Mexican restaurant chain founded by Irish-Americans celebrates its 65-year “Mexican food tradition.” And why not? After all, “Kiss me I’m not Mexican or Irish” and you can franchise the Irish Pub Concept by Guinness even without having to be Irish. Also see “A PINT OF PLAIN” – NYPOST.com. And since turnabout is fair play, there’s room for Mexican Irish fare at places like Jose Malones Mexican Irish Restaurant, Jose’ McIntyre’s and Garcia Brogan’s Cantina, Pub & Restaurant. Corned beef, cabbage and frijoles, anyone?
Mexican sushi chefs are standard fare at so-called “authentic” sushi establishments. See, for instance, “Non-Japanese Sushi Chefs – All the Rage.” And in New York, among so-called “GREAT KOSHER RESTAURANTS,“ sushi is among the delights that can be prepared under rabbinical supervision. And does it really matter whether the sushi chef is Japanese or even Jewish? After all, guitar-strumming and singing Matthew from New Hampshire can become Mateo from Boyle Heights when he is “El Gringo Mariachi” a.k.a. Matthew Stoneman – “How a gringo found his mariachi groove.”
Are these politically-incorrect observations? Hardly. I’d think those should have gone out about the same time as a ‘Gringo Mex’ place called “Guadalaharry’s” closed. Like just about most everything else, sometimes even the impolitic ought to be displaceable. Historical reinvention. There’s a well-established tradition of poseurs dating back even before the offensive blackface minstrelsy of an Al Jolson or of a Swedish actor named Warner Oland as Chinese Detective Charlie Chan. Of course, those were born of necessity since the era’s discriminatory practices prevented racial and ethnic minorities from playing themselves. And it was in Elizabethan times where English laws prohibited women from acting on stage and men and boys played the female roles in Elizabethan Theatre.
But unlike the innocently innocuous pseudo-ethnic restaurants and pubs, there are the harmful fakester professionals. Want to be a professional without having to work for it? Today, you can be who you want to be or you can fake it till you make it or get caught. Simply get a degree online, manufacture your own credentials and add a whole lot of nerve and you can fake just about any profession, that is, until the police justifiably come looking for you. Edward Birts did it in Houston, as the “Fake Psychiatrist Bills Medicaid and Medicare for Fake Claims” or in Cook County, Illinois, “Fake Lawyer Tahir Malik Tried Over 60 Cases, With No Law Degree” or there was the “NJ doc charged with employing fake physicians, cheating Medicaid“ or those “Detectives posing as fake attorneys foil Monroe Co. guilty plea.” Don’t tell me this isn’t the land of opportunity as I wash down my kosher jalapeño sushi roll with my bollilo barley sandwich.