January 13, 2009

In a case that highlights the need for all possible information before writing a news story, I found this brief (thanks Ellen!) about how a man in central California sold his 14 year-old daughter to some guy for 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat. At first read, it’s laughable, disgusting and simultaneously sad. The only reason the authorities found out about the deal was because the other man didn’t provide the beer and the father went to the authorities to get his daughter back. So at first glance, it looks like a pure case of ignorance like that time on Cops when the car gets flagged down by some barefoot crackhead who demands that the officer help get her $20 back from the woman yonder who took her money without giving her drugs (both women were immediately arrested–duh).

But then I searched deeper and found out that CNN actually made some fucking phone calls and the case is much more peculiar than some white trash guy fiending for booze. In fact, it doesn’t seem so bad when you realize that everyone involved in the transaction is from Oaxaca, Mexico where giving your daughter’s hand in marriage is totally worthy of “$16,000, 160 cases of beer, 100 cases of soda, 50 cases of Gatorade, two cases of wine, and six cases of meat.” It’s not an issue of neglect, but of cultural differences brought about by the influx of immigrants to the central part of our state.

Not that I think that our laws should be changed (or not upheld) in the name of cutural freedom, but there is definitely a gross misunderstanding when it comes to the customs and traditions of our neighbors. Where we think that the father in this case is sick or demented, he is just doing what every father from his town does with his uneducated 14 year-old daughter: taking a dowry and getting the fuck rid of her.

We’re probably the sick ones for torturing ourselves with candlelit dinners and text message breakups when we could’ve been halfway through our 25th case of Gatorade by Christmas, you know?


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