As virtually all of the Spanish-speaking world mourns the death of Juan Gabriel, a rare few have been left to process exactly why they never dug on Juanga’s style. Across Mexico and the rest of Latin America, few figures have been so universally loved as the flamboyant Divo de Juárez, so when the director of a Mexican public television channel named Nicolás Alvarado was hit with the news, he was left do to some serious soul-searching. Why could he never vibe with the music of a man considered a cultural icon? Why couldn’t he click with Juanga’s heart-wrenching chronicles of love lost?
It’s an understandable dilemma, and Alvarado was nice enough to share the twists and turns of his personal journey in a column he holds down for the newspaper Milenio. And what was his conclusion? That he can’t stand Juanga cause his style is too naco. Yeah, “naco” – that notorious Mexican expression of classist disdain that can be heard rolling freely off the tongues of fresas, juniors, and mirreyes from Tijuana down to la Riviera Maya. But don’t think that Alvarado wasn’t entirely aware of what he was saying. In fact, in that same column the writer, director, and cultural critic openly and unapologetically referred to himself as a classist.
But at least he doesn’t hate Juanga because he’s a “fag,” right? Yes you cringed, but this was actually part of Alvarado’s painfully tone-deaf confession, employing the Mexican term “joto” to clarify that it wasn’t Juanga’s non-normative sexuality that turned him off, but rather his tacky low-class vibe. And to put a bow on the whole sordid affair, Alvarado actually had the gall to say he was “conditioned by his circumstances,” and couldn’t help reacting like a snobby douchebag. Poor baby.
Understandably, given Alvarado’s position as director of TV UNAM – the National Autonomous University’s public television station – the floppy-faced thrift store intellectual has invoked the ire of, well, the public. In addition setting off a twitter firestorm, there is actually a change.org petition going around demanding he be fired immediately. As of the time of writing, the petition had amassed nearly 45,000 supporters, which is probably more than his channel’s primetime ratings.
Here’s some of what Mexican Twitter had to say.