In the surest sign that the entire universe is hopelessly out of whack, the tortilla in Mexico, the staple of the indigenous Mexican diet for untold centuries, is in crisis. Read the depressing details, courtesy of unchecked globalization, in this front-page Washington Post story. As maize farmers in Mexico give up by the village-load and head north for low-wage jobs in the U.S., Mexico is being forced to import corn. Yes, corn. A mega-march decrying this sad state of affairs is planned for today in the Mexican capital, with the once unbeatable Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the self-proclaimed "legitimate president of Mexico," relegated to the sidelines. AMLO still has his late-night TV show, I guess. Meanwhile, President Felipe Calderon is facing pressure to actually do something about this mess, which in his case would mean standing up to the business interests that handed him his office. The rising demand for ethanol is a factor, of course, as ethanol, an alternative to oil, is made from corn. So naturally, corn prices are now soaring. But something about all this strikes me as a bad omen. Isn't corn, in some versions of seeing the world, sacred? The littlest things tend to spark major upheavals, and since Mexico trends toward revolt every 100 years or so -- 1810, 1910, anyone? -- this neighbor of the United States appears to be due for a major shake-up any year now. The tortilla -- the straw that breaks the burro's back?
* Then again, it could just be another big D.F. marcha, which urban-weary chilangos have come to regard as a common commuter nuisance after AMLO's autumn plantones. But go ahead and read the minute-by-minute updates on today's march at El Universal. (AP photo above of men lining up for fresh tortillas somewhere in the urban ocean of the capital.)