Less than one year ago two white, gay entrepreneurial film writers, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, got a brainstorm.
They would write and direct a film titled Quinceañera to cash in on the Hispanic market for movies targeted at Latino audiences— and Hollywood's appetite for the politically congenial.
A fly on the wall might have overheard this fictionalized exchange between Glatzer and Westmoreland as they scratched out their Quinceañera concepts:
Glatzer: "I have an idea. Let's do a film about a Mexican family in transition. We'll set it in the multicultural Echo Park section of Los Angeles. To give it additional appeal for the diverse audience, we'll title it Quinceañera. We'll reference lots of traditional values. And for good measure, let's cast a couple of gay guys."
Glatzer and Westmoreland, whose film background includes directing pornographic features like The Hole and Toolbox, got lucky beyond their wildest dreams. [The XXX Factor, John Horn, Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2006]
First, Quinceañera did indeed win the top two 2006 Sundance Film Festival Awards in drama, the Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award.
Then Sony Pictures Classics picked up the movie for mass distribution. And recently Quinceañera, cited for "its enlightened view of living in a multicultural world" won the Humanitas Prize given to films that demonstrate "positive" values.
The Movie Establishment, in short, leapt at the chance to promote a piece of pro-immigration propaganda.
Sony's definition of "classic" is different than mine. Quinceañera, according to Glatzer and Westmorland, was "thought of in January, written in February, cast in March and shot in April."
And in most circles, "enlightened" is not a word to be used about a film that includes a pregnant but virgin 14-year-old. But we are, after all, in Hollywood.
The movie, enthusiastic reviewers tell us, celebrates the emergence of a young Mexican girl into womanhood. Her 15th birthday, la quinceañera, and the elaborate ceremonies including a Mass that surround it, symbolize Latin traditional values.
For a more intelligent and accurate analysis of the film, see Brenda Walker's VDARE.COM blog, Quinceañera Quackiness. And read Steve Sailer's forthcoming review in the September 12th edition of American Conservative.
When I first saw the movie trailers, it took me back to days of long ago when, living in Puerto Rico, my three sisters had quinceañeras. And as someone who observed the phenomenon up close, I have a perspective quite different than Glatzer and Westmoreland.
Before the writers get misty-eyed about the female passage from girl to woman, they should consider that a Quinceañera is nothing more than a party…often ostentatious, usually great fun but just a bash. One young Hispanic woman's opinion of quinceañeras is here.
For the birthday girl, her 15th is a cash cow. She'll get two new dresses, one for the Mass and one for the revelry and much pricier, upscale gifts than she got when she turned 14.
My clearest recollection of my sisters' quinceañeras— and all the others I attended as a guest—is not the Mass or the family gathering but the ungodly amount of alcohol that was consumed well into the wee hours.
Adults got plastered on Planters Punches. And when they were too blitzed to notice or care, the teenagers got smashed.
Passed out parents and crushing hangovers, while reality, is not the stuff of "enlightenment" or "values" in celebration of diversity movies.
If it is so trivial, why am I writing about Quinceañera? Made on the fly by a couple of guys who smelled a buck and an easy way to praise and fame, this silly movie will be gone from theaters by Labor Day.
The problem is that while Quinceañera is around, it establishes a forum for more immigration romanticizing. The movie gets good ink, some of the politically correct will think its cool to cancel Sweet Sixteen parties and replace them with quinceañeras.
In short, Quinceañera is just one more thing for us to cope with. We have to fight the immigration reform war on every level…against the White House, the ethnic identity lobby, the corporations, the churches and now the Saturday matinee.
Two years ago, I wrote about a dreadful, dopey, racist movie A Day Without A Mexican that its writers, agenda-driven Mexicans Sergio Arau and his wife Yareli Arizmendi, touted as a film that would awaken and enlighten America about immigrant contributions.
You've heard their tale before: without illegal alien labor, the country would collapse, etc., etc.
But, as I predicted, A Day Without A Mexican bombed. Domestically, the film grossed $4 million; worldwide, $10 million.
No one wants to see a stinker. And except for Sailer's American Conservative review, no critic pointed out the film's obvious flaws: "Latino audiences hoping to see a movie starring people like themselves will be stymied by the unavoidable problem that 'A Day Without a Mexican' is, as promised, frequently a movie without a Mexican."
The irony is that since the 2004 release of A Day Without A Mexican, Americans have seen the immigration light…but not in the way hoped for by Arau and Arizmendi.
Every major opinion poll solidly supports VDARE.COM's position that mass immigration— legal and illegal— must end.
VDARE.COM never gets tired of being right, of course, but we wish we didn't have extend the battle all the way from the White House to the theaters.
Some places should be out of bounds for immigration pandering.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.