What Creativity? Where?

| Mon Jul. 10, 2006 5:59 PM EDT

Swatting down baseless stereotypes isn't my idea of a fun afternoon, but here's one of John Derbyshire's reasons why the United States should restrict immigration Mexico:

Our music, our movies, our literature, our entrepreneurship and inventiveness—we have been a Renaissance all by ourselves. Importing masses of foreigners, especially unskilled and unschooled foreigners, from deeply un-creative places like Mexico may end all that. Name one Mexican invention and one fine Mexican movie, tell me the outline plot of one Mexican novel or play, and hum me a Mexican pop song.
Okay… one handy Mexican invention was the color television. For movies, both Y Tu Mama Tambien and Amores Perros are considered "fine" by plenty of critics; on the literary front, Carlos Fuentes and Octavia Paz are no slouches. I haven't the faintest clue what Mexican pop songs sound like—I barely know what American pop songs sound like—but this guy appears to have won nine Grammys and sold 55 million records worldwide, so I imagine he's sung something hummable at one point or another. No one expects xenophobes to know much about culture abroad, granted, but this "deeply uncreative" business is weak even by the standards of the genre.