The border used to be a happy place, the US border with Mexico, that is. This was Geography 499 for most Americans, the Big Trip to that wild wacky “whole other country” that lay just south of a line dividing us from ourselves, for the most part. There are no shortage of ethnic ‘Mexicans’ within US borders, after all, and no shortage of ‘Caucasians’ on the other. Most people don’t realize that national borders are a relatively recent phenomenon. Ancient times—the turn of last century—had none, only spheres of influence, and taxes. History is all about ethnic mixing. The twentieth century is all about ethnic ‘cleansing’.
But the border used to be lively and weird (it was only south of there that things got ‘normal’). Teenagers could drink at eighteen years old. Boys could shop for switchblades and Clint Eastwood ponchos. Girls could shop for cheap perfume and velvet Elvises. Women could shop for kitsch and kitchenware. Men could shop for tequila and women’s pelvises. There was something for everyone. Best of all: it was cheap. (More …)