I initially wanted to make a long topic about east LA, with some deep in depth crap about my life and experiences in the barrio, which kept me procrastinating about a good topic. Then I remembered in Eastlos many things are done on a whim in a half assed fashion, oftentimes through the guidance of los tall boys, so I decided to write about this pic and the subject of goofy nicknames and gangster monikers.
I took this picture in Maywood yesterday near Santa Rosa de Lima church on Atlantic, and I cannot figure out if the male or female is plumpy or temper. Either way both names are funny to me, I can just think of some cholo voice saying “damn fool, plumpy is hard” (or fine if she’s a lady). Because it seems like giving yourself/receiving a nickname that is derogatory about your obesity in gangster/street culture is usually a male thing (re: chubs, grande, chunks, gordo, fats, big bad hippo), I would assume Plumpy is the guy. The graffiti was written in a very playful non structured manner (which is usually by girls), and the name plumpy can be an affectionate title for a thick woman like when I call my wife gorda; and temper can also mean some cholo who likes to snap. But then temper also sounds like a girl’s nickname (I know I’m being stereotypical) too, which got me confused. Maybe they’re lesbians, or maybe people need less ridiculous and androgenous nicknames in Maywood. I assumed because the graffiti was written with a streak marker (ahhh the 1990s, remember Operation X?) that the culprits have some history in street activity, as that weapon is the vandals’ tool of choice; but then this is also on a corner between a church and a catholic grade school in a pretty nice street, so maybe it was some kids without the proper grounding in name creation. What do you think?
And while we’re at it, has anyone else noticed how cholo nicknames have gotten much less creative the past few gangster generations? I totally get the focus on clean cut simplicity in cholo culture, which is a culture that runs 3 generations deep in my family and I have known intimately since childhood, but the reduction in creativity with names I cannot understand. Back in the day cholos copied cartoon characters , mobsters and other media names in an ironic twist of labeling or they took on names like chino or triste that had some significance to their personality or physique; but nowadays you see more and more boring names like cholo, miner, lil gee, gangster, loco, g, criminal, thug, or even just their straight out real name. That’s lame,and even taggers are doing it now too to show how it has become an epidemic. I attribute it to our culture getting lazier and lazier, kids dont even go down to the LA river to ride bikes and explore shit because the PS3 is a waddle across the couch, that is sad. I used to appreciate the intelligent inorporation of one’s real name in their moniker, such as ern dogg (ernesto) or frisky (francisco); but now with this prevalent laziness I need to see some proof that the name was earned or I will categorize you with that lazy ass fool named thug who still listens to DMX.