Daily Archives: December 8, 2008

Traffic stop + YouTube fame leads to “I’m afraid” website

Mexicans have been laughing about this video of a man pulled over by police in the Ciudad Juarez area who can’t stop saying he’s afraid. Over and over and over again.

Last year,  Juan Pablo Carrasco was stopped for speeding, and news crews happened to be there. The video shows him surrounded by Mexican officers who are trying to get him to take an alcohol test (which later determined he wasn’t sufficiently inebriated to merit a trip to jail). Before succumbing to the test, Carrasco responds with an endless stream of “tengo miedos,” which means “I am afraid” in English. Then it got posted on YouTube and attracted more than 6 million viewers.

The outburst appears to be a combination of emotions running high and an unfortunate fear of dishonest cops in Mexico. While I find the video oddly amusing, I would love to hear from  Mexicans as to why they think it’s so funny. I’ve been told that a man who admits he is afraid is considered “funny” in Mexico’s still-somewhat-macho society. Or maybe Mexicans see themselves in Carrasco’s shoes facing a lot of scary things these days  – drug violence and kidnapping – and laughing is one way of dealing with it.

Either way, Carrasco realizes he’s tapped into something. Since the incident, he’s started a Halloween-esque website called tengomiedo.com.mx that offers “Tengo Miedo”  t-shirts for sale. The site is billed as a space for people to share and let go of their own fears. He also has a blog, also called Tengo Miedo  (One commenter shares his fear of clowns. Another  shares their fear of being kidnapped).

“We want for people to express themselves and their fears since sometimes they don’t have a way to express this ,” he said in an interview with a Mexican news station after the incident.

YouTube video from JuarezTV

AddThis Social Bookmark Button