Culture

This Coronavirus-Themed Lotería Is The Perfect Kind Of Humor I Needed Right Now And It’s Even Available To Buy

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Pandemic. Social-distancing. This is all the news we hear these days and as important as it is to stay up to date on what’s happening with the virus and how to stay safe and healthy, forgive me if I don’t want a tiny break from all the seriousness.

So, you can imagine my delight when I was scrolling my Twitter feed and saw tweet after tweet about a Coronavirus-themed lotería. La lotería is a tradition soooo many of us grew up playing so it’s interesting to see it get a 2020 interpretation.

Could this be real? What could the cards for el mano or la botella look like in this Covid-19 reality we’re currently living in? I had to find out.

So I sat down with an artist who’s created his own Coronavirus-themed lotería set to find out more about his inspiration.

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

Artist Rafael Gonzales Jr. (on Instagram as @PINCHE_RAF_ART) has created a series of incredibly unique lotería cards that can really thank the current Coronavirus pandemic for their existence: from face masks and hand sanitizer to toilet paper roll, these cards are emblematic of the times we’re living in.

The modern take on the traditional game is called ‘Pandemia Lotería’ and each card (he’s made 31 so far) features a name and image inspired by our new normal of social-distancing, self-isolation, extreme hand-washing, and even the stimulus checks.

What message were you hoping to send about the Coronavirus and our current climate by creating these new cards?

“You know originally this was a very selfish endeavor. I needed a creative outlet for the new experiences we are all going through. It became a project that helped me to connect to others through humor and a childhood game.  Now, I think my message has become one of bringing a lightness to the heaviness of the pandemic. It is a serious global problem, but laughing at our shared experiences is what being human is all about.”

Have you created new interpretations of all 54 cards – or if not, do you plan to create all 54?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“I have about 31 cards completed and 2 additional specialty cards that won’t be in the game I am putting out soon. My plan for the project is to get as many cards in an art print as possible. I have been a little sidetracked creatively with some of the business side of launching an e-commerce [site] for the game. It has been a whirlwind, but people have responded really well to the cards and my goal from the onset of all this was to try and paint the situation in a light form. To sort of change the heaviness of the news cycle and remind people that better days are coming and those better days often include a game of lotería.”

Are there specific reasons you chose these images to illustrate these titles or what’s your thinking behind them?

Credit: PINCHE_RAF_ART / Instagram

“Visually la Chalupa seems so sincere and serene. I feel it is one of the more complex original illustrations of lotería, so I thought it would be a humorous twist to associate her with fake news and the dolphins in the canals of Venice that were virally shared. The quaran15 was a simple, self-deprecating joke that ran through my head after my wife started to bake more. From banana bread to cookies, I knew I was putting on weight and gonna be built like a barril after all this. I used to see my grandmother’s use Armour manteca all the time to make tortillas and so the coloring became a play on that.”

Are you taking any suggestions? I know people who would love to see Susana Distancia and Los Amuletos (thanks, AMLO!)

“I’ve received a ton of suggestions and I think it has been great. I think part of the reason the cards have been popular is because they are relatable. I sometimes sit with a suggestion and see if it is something I can put my own twist on, while also staying true to my own vision for the project. Some ideas I don’t think I can do justice to or put in the right context so that is why I haven’t taken them on.”

Will it be possible to purchase these loteria cards? Or if it’s already possible, can you point our readers in the right direction?

“The game itself will be printed in a few weeks. Preorders went on April 23 and people can reserve theirs here and other merch like t-shirts can be found on my online store.”

And Rafael isn’t the only one getting in on the game – even Mexico City has its own Coronavirus-themed lotería game.

Credit: @dondeir / Twitter

Like so many other cities around the world, Mexico City is still under a strict stay-at-home order to help flatten the curve. With so many people stuck at home, what’s better than playing a game of an old favorite but with a relevant twist? And as the game’s creators point out – while being reminded of the measures we should all be taking to combat this pandemic.

The Coronavirus Lotería is available as a download to use as a background, you can share it on social media, or you can even play remotely with friends.

And last December, Google commemorated the game with its very own Google Doodle.

Credit: Google

Last December, Google had an online version of the game that replaced some cards for modern talks. The El ApacheEl borrachoEl diablitoEl gorritoLa muerteEl negritoEl soldado, and El valiente cards were replaced with El ajolote (“the axolotl“), El buscador, La conchaEl eloteEl emojiEl gorroEl guacamole, and El xoloitzcuintle (or the Mexican hairless dog.)

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Neiman Marcus Is Charging White People Prices For “Traditional, Handmade” Tamales And The Internet Has Had Enough

Culture

Neiman Marcus Is Charging White People Prices For “Traditional, Handmade” Tamales And The Internet Has Had Enough

Paul Gobert / Getty Images

America’s fancification and appropriation of simple, traditional foods – especially “ethnic foods” – reached another milestone with the news that Dallas-based retailer Neiman Marcus is now selling gourmet tamales on its website at a pretty astounding price — six dozen for $92, plus $18 for shipping. That’s $110 for 72 tamales.

How have we made it this far without Neiman Marcus tamales? For years, we’ve been relying on handmade tamales from our tías and primas like peasants, unaware that luxury tamales were just a click and a payday away.

The luxury tamales made headlines in outlets ranging from the Dallas Morning News to GQMy San Antonio called it “an outright food foul,” taking this “usually affordable, traditional dish” and tacking on “an outrageous price tag.”

But is it really at all surprising that a luxury retailer is trying to make a buck off our people’s food and culture?

Neiman Marcus is the type of place where you can expect to see a Mexican-inspired jacket, such as this one, retailing for more than $300.

Given the propensity for corporations from around the world to try and capitalize off other people’s cultures, it really isn’t too surprising that Neiman Marcus would launch a line of luxury tamales.

Now the Dallas-based luxury retailer is once again offering up ‘luxury yet tradition’ with their ‘handmade’ tamales.

Although news of the tamales has once again shocked many of us, it isn’t exactly new. It was in 2016 when Neiman Marcus first started offering these highbrow tamales and even then it made headlines. And it’s easy to see why.

An order of six dozen Neiman Marcus tamales will set you back $92, plus shipping. Neiman Marcus tamales might look like regular tamales, but they’re actually very expensive and fancy. They are “handmade from a traditional recipe of fresh stone-ground corn, top-quality meats, lard, spices, and natural flavorings.” Can the food truck by your office honestly claim that its meats are top-quality? Or is your mama using luxury masa?! 

At six dozen (72 total if you’re too lazy to do the math), the $92 price tag isn’t totally off the mark, especially if they’re truly handmade. Anyone who has helped make tamales during the holidays knows that it’s not only time-consuming, it also takes a bit of practice. (And if you screw up too often, you’ll be roasted for it by your mom and tías).

They’re only available in beef, chicken and pork. Sorry, folks, no rajas. Unfortunately for Neiman Marcus customers, they’ll never experience what it’s like to unwrap a tamal, bite into it and realize it’s a random tamal de dulce that got mixed in with a different batch. 

But wait, there’s more! You can also order an “Enchilada Dinner” for $72.

Neiman Marcus didn’t stop with the tamales. Shoppers can also order flautas and enchiladas. In fact, for $72, plus $18 shipping, you get 12 enchiladas: six with beef and six with chicken.

Yup, Neiman Marcus is asking people to pay $90 for 12 enchiladas.

Just curious as to how many people are actually paying these white people prices to get their hands on traditional Mexican foods?

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Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

Things That Matter

Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

Pixabay

Updated: December 23, 2020

Just days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation that would send millions of Americans much-needed stimulus checks – even though they were only $600 – Donald Trump has thrown the entire plan into chaos.

Donald Trump threatens to veto historic spending bill.

Trump is holding a veto threat over recently passed, bipartisan legislation that was aimed at stimulating a suffering economy. Trump says that he wants lawmakers to boost the $600 direct payments to checks for $2,000 but his own party is basically united against increasing the size of checks.

Many point out that Trump is simply holding up the legislation, not for the stimulus checks, but because he objects to other parts of the law. Within the spending package, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle approved spending for arts and cultural programs as well as aide to developing countries across the world.

Original Story Published: December 18, 2020

So it looks like millions of Americans may end up getting that long overdue second stimulus check after all. So long as Congress doesn’t screw things up again.

As part of the latest round of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans, it looks a like a proposal for $600 direct payments is back on the table. However, $600 is literally half of the amount that was sent out to millions of Americans back in April and May.

A new stimulus package could include direct payments to millions of Americans.

Congressional leaders are considering a new deal to help stimulate the economy which has been battered by the Coronavirus pandemic. And although it appeared, as recently as last week, that a second stimulus check was off the table, that seems to have changed.

The new deal under consideration included new stimulus checks and enhanced federal unemployment benefits, according to reports by Politico. Even President Trump said in a TV interview over the weekend that he wants stimulus checks in the deal, saying he wants to “see checks—for more money than they’re talking about—going to people.”

Millions of workers aren’t getting any help from the largest emergency aid deal in US history.

The bill, known as the CARES Act, delivers direct payments to most taxpayers, vastly expands unemployment benefits, and makes testing for the virus free, among other provisions.

But although unauthorized immigrants are no more immune from the effects of the current crisis, the stimulus bill conspicuously leaves them out in the cold — potentially putting them at greater economic and health risk, and impeding public health efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

There are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the USA who are ineligible for emergency federal benefits or state unemployment insurance because they don’t have valid work authorization. 

That’s left an extra layer of anxiety for immigrants without legal status who have lost their jobs or seen work hours reduced amid the statewide shutdown of “nonessential” businesses. Many turned to local organizations for help to put food on the table and pay other expenses. 

Undocumented residents are already at greater risk of being affected by Covid-19 because of inadequate resources and access to health care.

The unauthorized worker population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to inadequate access to health care. Noncitizens are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to US citizens, which may dissuade them from seeking medical care if they contract the virus.

Compounding matters are the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies — including wide-scale immigration raids and a rule that can penalize green card applicants for using Medicaid — which have made noncitizens afraid to access care. These factors pose a problem for America’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 12,000 in the US as of April 7.

Where the government is failing, advocates and organizations are stepping up to help.

Some immigrant advocates lobby for the undocumented to be included by allowing payments to those who file taxes using individual tax identification numbers, which are often used by workers without legal immigration status. 

“They should include at least the individual taxpayers,” said Diana Mejia, founder of the Wind of the Spirit, an organization that helps immigrants in New Jersey’s Morris County.  “They are paying taxes,” she added in an interview with CNN.

Filers who use ITINs contribute about $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington think tank.

Aside from millions of undocumented migrants, millions of others are also being left out of the stimulus:

Credit: Department of Treasury

College Students and 17-Year-Olds: If someone else claims you as a dependent on their taxes, you won’t get your own check. Parents will get an extra $500 payment per child, but that’s only for kids under 17.

Most 17-year-olds, some young adults and many of the country’s roughly 20 million college students are claimed by their parents as dependents. They won’t get checks, and their parents won’t get an extra $500.

Disabled People: People who get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs are eligible for the payments — but not disabled adults who are claimed as dependents by their parents or other relatives on their taxes

Seniors Who Live With Family: Senior citizens who are on Social Security or make less than the income cap are eligible. But the “dependent” rule applies to them, too. Some seniors who live with their adult children or other relatives are claimed by them as dependents on their taxes. Those seniors won’t get checks.

Immigrants are eligible for some free testing.

Credit: Pixabay

Here’s one thing the bill does offer to unauthorized immigrants: free coronavirus testing at government-funded community health centers through a $1 billion federal program. But some community health centers have already reported shortages of tests.

There is also a larger, state-level testing program funded through Medicaid, but that’s only available to Medicaid-eligible immigrants — green card holders who have lived in the US for at least five years, immigrants who come to the US on humanitarian grounds such as asylum, members of the military and their families, and, in certain states, children and pregnant women with lawful immigration status. Those groups, however, make up only a small proportion of immigrants living in the US. 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it won’t consider use of free testing services when evaluating whether immigrants will likely end up relying on public benefits under the “public charge” rule, which went into effect in February

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