Why Is “Why Is This Popular” Popular?

By Jed Herrmann

After three devoted years of service to this column, the very intelligent, funny, and handsome Steve Mullaney has unfortunately departed Guatemala. But not before paying me a handsome sum to begin this column with the previous sentence, which contains one exaggeration, two embellishments, and one outright lie.

But in any case, he did flee Guatemala and bequeath to me the “Why is This Popular” column, which he pioneered several years back. In his honor, I’ve decided to use my inaugural WITP column to discuss the reasons that his work in this space has garnered such wide critical acclaim in Xela literature circles. As evidence, in 2010 the Xela Foreign Journalists Association voted it column of the year.

Ok fine, that’s a lie too but it is a really good column and May 2010’s “WITP: Urination in Public” remains a classic. In any case on to the reasons why WITP is popular:

1. The rest of XelaWho’s articles are so inane that WITP is the magazine’s most popular column by default.

2. People like to have cultural phenomena explained to them, even if those explanations may not be 100% sociologist approved (sorry Professor Pete for not having you vet these columns).

3. Guatemala is a very confusing place and only the likes of Steve Mullaney can make sense of why things are the way they are- without succumbing to the common gringo desire to “improve” them (read: make them more like things in Gringolandia).

While the above are possible reasons for the popularity of this column, more entertaining explanations can be gathered from the archive. So using Steve’s own (admittedly unrelated) explanations, here are some other reasons for the popularity of WITP:

1. A secret plot from the sugar industry (from WITP: Nescafe, October 2011)

2. Marching bands are preserving a long-held tradition of really awful trumpet playing (from WITP: Military Marching Bands, August 2010)

3. The typewriting schools’ association is more powerful than rationality and the needs of students (from WITP: Typewriting Schools, September 2011)

4. It’s just some good old-fashioned people shooting each other (from WITP: Random Gunfire, December 2010)

5. Emergency dental floss (from WITP: Plastic 1 Quetzal Bills, April 2011)

Or it may be that this column isn’t that popular after all. Just kidding, Steve; market research shows that 91.5% of Xela residents rate this column as good or very good. Unrelatedly, Nescafe, marching bands, typewriting schools, random gunfire, and plastic 1 Quetzal bills are popular with 89.5% of Xela residents- the other 2 percent remain unaccounted for.

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