This iconic image by Jorge Dan of Reuters came to epitomize in these weeks that famous instinct of Mexican ingenuity in the face of constant existential threats. It's a very funny photograh.
Specifically, the masked saint is San Judas Tadeo. As I've discussed before, many young people in Mexico City's poorest or most 'dangerous' barrios venerate San Judas as the patron of lost causes and lost souls.
Non-adherents disparagingly call them "reggaetoneros" or "tepiteños," making reference to the famous barrio bravo where San Judas's presence is strong. The prevailing assumption is that most of his devoted in Mexico are hoodlums and petty criminals. Others say San Judas is just a fad, a fashion trend.
This photo must have been taken on April 28, at the peak of the swine flu fear. Each 28th of each month, the San Judas tribe makes pilgrimage to the San Hipolite church in Centro. There by Hidalgo, they get their statues blessed, buy loads of San Judas jewelry and trinkets, and on the fringes, drink and take drugs.
Check out this portrait of a San Judas kid by Keith Dannemiller.
* In Centro, I am bombarded with San Judas signals every day. Seduced by the perception of his spiritual strength, I have been begun wearing him myself. But more on that later.