Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Tension at the Center | Go to Laff Hole. Tonight. Laff... »

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Send Mom Money

posted by on July 25 at 11:54 AM

What are we to make of this?
unknown-2.jpg The son is living it up in America. He’s handsome, has equally handsome men for lovers, probably works in the software sector, cooks complicated courses, drinks only top shelf spirits, and dwells in a large condo that holds a spectacular of view of the massive wealth of energy that has taken the shape of Seattle’s skyline.

Below is his humble mother. She is back India, back in her tradition, back in the hut, back in the kitchen. She bakes, breeds, knows not a lick of English, and wholly believes in gods that emerged with many arms from the prehistorical mists and marshes that once covered the earth.

What is this ad telling us this: The son’s American sins—his showy cosmopolitanism, his taste for decadent foods, music, sex—will be pardoned if he sends his poor humble, honest, loving, pious mother some of his soft-earned dollars. Money is the bridge of forgiveness between him (in the immoral future) and her (in the moral past).

RSS icon Comments


is this autobiographical?

Posted by kathy griffin | July 25, 2007 12:07 PM

The only thing I agreed with in that entire post was that the son is handsome.

Posted by duncan | July 25, 2007 12:07 PM

don't you mean, "amoral future?"

Posted by boxofbirds | July 25, 2007 12:15 PM

It's possible that you're reading into this a little. It's possible that not all that information is strictly contained in the poster itself.

Posted by Doug S | July 25, 2007 12:17 PM

FINALLY a Charles post I could comprehend and enjoy! Kudos!

Posted by sniggles | July 25, 2007 12:17 PM

No, immoral works better here - more derogatory. I think it's a cute post. And I totally recognize that sign... might be within a few blocks of me. Hm...

Posted by christopher | July 25, 2007 12:19 PM

Wow, everyone in India lives in a hut, bakes bread, doesn't speak English and believes in weird shit?

Posted by ? | July 25, 2007 12:19 PM

All that from a single Western Union ad?

Posted by Phenics | July 25, 2007 12:20 PM

Or it could be that the son immigrated here so he could support his family back home.

While I suppose that he's veering toward being too good looking to be straight, I doubt it was Western Union's intention for him to be gay.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 25, 2007 12:22 PM

The mom- as well as the son- looks to be well off and upper caste, she is probably in a city, most likely in Delhi and she is prolly Brahmin- from the looks of her lightness and the fact that they were able to afford a ticket for their son.

Iím assuming all of this since youíre assuming she is lower caste in a smoky hut cooking. I would say the chances of your post being real are tiny. She is too light skin and her son- the little one she holding on to appears to be wearing Americanized clothes, if I were to guess I would say they probably are able to get visas to the US and sometimes meet their son to speak about their Indo-Aryan roots. Yes the caste system is not as rigid as it once was,but it manifests itself through ads like this. Where all indians are light skin.

The ones that are in the huts and living a rural hell and following brutal Hindu laws are probably poor destitute lower castes who probably work for the woman in the picture. The woman in the picture probably has two servants from the countryside who belong to the Dalits caste or the so called untouchables who are still treated like less than garbage in India.

Charles- One can not begin to speak of India without considering the caste system and the value a lot of Indians place on dark and light, values and systems that still exists despite denials by the government and upper caste Indians who travel the west and prolly wind up on those ads.

Posted by SeMe | July 25, 2007 12:23 PM

seme, i'm impressed. you have the details down. but still, that is not the message of the poster. i was trying to read the images.

what is the poster saying?

Posted by charles | July 25, 2007 12:28 PM

So resurrection of a dead person and all the other crap in the bible isn't weird if it's your god or the mainstream religion of America, but this is Hinduism, so of course it's "weird shit."

By the way, if the dude's a successful software engineer, odds are that his mom does in fact speak English and lives in a flat as opposed to a hut. Because English is the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF INDIA. The major newspapers in India print in English. Government proceedings occur in ENGLISH. Most middle-class families send their kids to ENGLISH SPEAKING schools. My grandmother has less than a high school education, and yet her English is perfect.

I generally like your posts, Charles, but this one rankled me.

Posted by arduous | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM

i know dawg, but she is too light and looks too well fed to be rural in India.

Posted by SeMe | July 25, 2007 12:30 PM

No, no, no, no.

SeMe, Caste and class are not the same thing in modern India. There are four main castes: The priests, the kings, the merchants, and the farmers. And then the untouchables. The merchant class, being merchants, have historically done very well. You will see upper class people of all castes in India, and you will see poor people of all castes in India. Skin color has nothing to do with caste. That's a modern taste. The original Indians- the Dravidians are dark-skinned. South Indians tend to be more Dravidian, so they are darker skinned. The Aryans are the ones who immigrated later.

Vilages have mixes of higher and lower castes. So do cities. This woman could be of any caste.

Charles, the point of this isn't that you are forgiven for your sins if you send money to your parents. That's irrelevant, because we Indians in general operate on a "don't ask, don't tell," policy anyway. You have underestimated the sense of familial obligation and duty in Indians. The ad is more along the lines of, "Wow! If I send my money Western Union, my mummy will be happy! And maybe next time my uncle comes to town, she'll pack some parathas that they'll sneak past customs!"

Posted by arduous | July 25, 2007 12:40 PM

He's sending child support. It's as clear as the dot on his head.

Posted by Jason Josephes | July 25, 2007 12:41 PM

Um... call me crazy, but I'd assume that's supposed to be his wife. Up towards Vancouver, a lot of people come here to work and send money to their family back home - why would that be his mother? With a kid exactly the right age to be his?

Posted by wench | July 25, 2007 12:43 PM

Maybe his mom has a serious gambling habit and he needs to float her a loan before they break her thumbs.

Posted by FL | July 25, 2007 12:44 PM

I'm not sure what you're going for here, chuck, but your post seems a little (a lot?) religiously/socially/racially/nationally biased and overly judgmental. What exactly is your point? That western union is racist? That all Indian men are gay white-collar high-class socialite software programmers living a-moral lives in america? I mean Really now, seems a bit contrived.

Posted by Kevin | July 25, 2007 12:47 PM

hey chuck, it is a friggin ad! you want to know what it says? it says, "you can wire money internationally with Western Union for as little as $10". ads are meant to be simple, not deep and layered--you are meant to get the "meaning" in an instant.

Posted by ddv | July 25, 2007 12:52 PM

The image is telling us that the son, the older one, is a professional somewhere in America, which means he makes money, to which he has money to send to his younger bro and ma, who are poor, because they're wearing Indian attire, and India is obviously poor, because it's India, and we know they're in India because they never wear that attire here in the states.

That's about as ignorant as I can pretend to be when responding to your retarded posts about imagery in marketing. So, Charles, wise one, the shirt he's wearing is the only thing I can think of that would cause you to 'think' that the ad is showing him as disregarding his culture in place of decadent foods, music, and sex. Or is it the slapped-on dipshit smile? I can't tell. I'm not even going to go into detail about how moronic your "if he sends his poor, humble, blablabla" freshmen brouhaha is. Ugh.

I love you, Charles!!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 25, 2007 12:59 PM

No no no.

That's his wife, not his mother. He's the one back in India, not her. She's an SDET at Microsoft and his son there goes to school in Bellvue.

He used to be a project manager at Adobe but he got swept up after 9/11 cause he kind of looked like an Arab and somebody said he was probably one of those Muslims or Hindus or Suni Shiites or whichever it was that attacked us. After 3 years at gitmo they let him go without charges and deported him back to India.

Since they broke his legs and crushed his larynx in detention and he can't work. He's hanging around a Western Union in Mumbai as we speak hoping his wife will shoot him a couple bucks so he can make it to the end of the month.

Rumor has it the son will grow up feeling bitter towards America.

Posted by elenchos | July 25, 2007 1:02 PM

What I really love about this post is how well Charles has captured how marketing professionals think. They think in stereotypes because it is easier to sell to a demographic than to an individual.

Posted by iheartbeer | July 25, 2007 1:03 PM

I think what the poster is saying is that for as little as $10 you can send money to any of your relatives in a middle eastern country that is not on the on the US government's OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) list. Duh!

Posted by monkey | July 25, 2007 1:09 PM

Oh my god, Charles, do shut the fuck up.

Posted by Judah | July 25, 2007 1:21 PM

That poster had 'Mudede post' written all over it. And Charles did not let us down. Stellar work, Charles.

Posted by Gomez | July 25, 2007 1:27 PM

this is actually the least annoying post he has had in a while.

Posted by aarons | July 25, 2007 1:28 PM

This ad makes me think of vegetarian mango wala and that so wrong?

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 25, 2007 1:30 PM

It really isn't what you say anymore, it's how you say it, right Charles?

I want to see David Duke play the same game you're playing just to see how it goes over.

Posted by I Guess, Dude | July 25, 2007 1:42 PM

stereotype much?

Posted by Pot | July 25, 2007 1:44 PM

If she has the means, mom should just open a PayPal account. But yeah, not really to much to contemplate here; immigrants with families back home come here to work - send most of their money home, and most of those from India I have met (I've worked for software companies) with the goal of one day returning home to live very confortably.

I do enjoy Charles dissections of otherwise innocuous fare, if, for nothing else, it keeps someone much worse from contemplating it aloud themselves.

Posted by Dougsf | July 25, 2007 1:44 PM

What does it mean it means the L-1 and H1-B visa programs are still insane and selling out America current and future jobs.

Posted by Jake of | July 25, 2007 1:46 PM


Posted by Ed | July 25, 2007 2:34 PM

i think charles is making another comment on the rural vs. urban front. seems pretty clear. he is, of course, making rather broad assumptions and many unfounded claims in using a simple ad to make his point; but, none the less, everyone seems to be missing said point. the point being that rural people world-wide, are backward thinking, primitive, and hindering civilization itself. like i said: a pretty broad brush to paint with.

Posted by douglas | July 25, 2007 2:37 PM

As time goes on the stranger becomes more and more bloated and irrelevant. It's dumb articles like this that dig so deep in to such ad to come up with liberal rhetoric. I am all for Gore (Hilary is going to screw us), but jesus I gotta file this under "Hippie bullshit"

Posted by Keven | July 25, 2007 2:39 PM

The poster is saying "Please give us your money." You will find a similar theme in most advertisements.

Posted by supergp | July 25, 2007 2:44 PM

@ 21

Funniest thing I have ever read in my young life. Brava. Brava!

Posted by a.m. | July 25, 2007 2:46 PM


i understand your desire to have a politically correct vision of modern india. i also said that the caste system is not as rigid as it once was. but:
Though inter-caste marriages are now relatively common in India, many Indians consider caste a major criterion for matrimonial choices. Almost all Indian matrimonial websites and matrimonial columns in Indian newspapers contain caste-based categories and it is common to see matrimonial advertisements openly stating the caste as a criterion of choice.[26].

"In rural areas and small towns, the caste system is still very rigid. The total elimination of caste system seems distant, if ever possible, due to caste politics."

Also, look at any newspaper in India in the social pages and you can see people's caste highlighted since higher castes still emphasize marrying withint their own.

I dont know, but all the rural indians I met were darker than me and poor as hell and most of the well off brahmins i met were lighter than the bottom of my feet as were all the starlets in bollywood movies, the beautiful women with the deep dark almond eyes and the full lips.

all the house servants were rural and as dark as me.

now i agree that the woman could be of any caste, thus i said to charles i was assuming, but she does not look like a poor rural light skin indian. sorry. im sure you are better informed than me, but... class and caste seem to be very related. Also, right wing Hindu extreme nationalist parties that advocate strict caste politics in india continue to be popular in rural areas.

though i admit that good changes continue to happen as for example the socialist bahujan party was able to get majority with support from upper castes. india is a country of contrasts just like Brazil- with huge populations living a cosmopolitan life with all the wealth and abundance and another living in squalor and extreme poverty.

Posted by SeMe | July 25, 2007 2:48 PM

OOOps this is a quote. My mistake.

"Though inter-caste marriages are now relatively common in India, many Indians consider caste a major criterion for matrimonial choices. Almost all Indian matrimonial websites and matrimonial columns in Indian newspapers contain caste-based categories and it is common to see matrimonial advertisements openly stating the caste as a criterion of choice.[26]."

Posted by SeMe | July 25, 2007 2:49 PM

Send money soon. STOP. Little Timmy needs a new bowl for his hair. STOP

Posted by conejo | July 25, 2007 3:08 PM

@11 Okay, so you're reading the poster, and what you're coming up with is based on your own preconceptions. Reading it based on my preconceptions, I see a middle class Indian living in America, doing well, and I see an upper class Indian mother living in India. I see her as wealthy, with servants, English speaking, and using the money from her son in America to fund new businesses in India. Because of the difference in age between one son and the other, I think that this is a kindly upper class woman, and the boy is the son of her servants.

My preconceptions around Indians are of the slum and the high tech centers, and both of them are centers of entrepeneurial genius, the latter places of production, the former places of recycling. I see India as a place where nothing goes to waste and everyone is working as hard as they possibly can to use every advantage.

You should read more about the place, Charles. You'll begin reading things in a new way.

Posted by Gitai | July 25, 2007 3:08 PM

He wasn't trying to be politically correct, that's just how it is here.
Also your point about villages, there's at least one (probably many) that have not only fair people but pretty damn muscular ones and yes, fat people too. Not lacking at all. They are also pretty much self-sufficient meaning that they grow more than enough for themselves to eat and sell the excess. The caste problem is real but is practically a non-issue in cities and least some of the villages, when it comes time for marriage however it is considered surprisingly often but still that's it.
So yeah village does not = poor.

Posted by arandomdude | July 25, 2007 3:09 PM

Does the ad say that he's sending her money? Maybe She is sending money to her son in college. He's a hard-working boy just trying to pay his rent and live honestly. Possibly studying Communications or Business. Or not. *grins and shrugs*

Posted by Leslie | July 25, 2007 4:47 PM

@22 Yes, exactly.

Posted by Gloria | July 25, 2007 5:05 PM

Right, because remember Stranger readers, the author is reminding us that poverty is equal to moral purity and cultural authenticity!

Does this sound stupid to anyone else?

Posted by Roger Williams | July 25, 2007 9:13 PM

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! lctihfkklpeeaj

Posted by tbssdzauaz | July 29, 2007 2:00 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).