Congrats to the Man Who Made ¡Ask a Mexican!
Months ago, while I was in New York for business, I asked my editor at Scribner if the rumor was true: Was the best damn publishing house on Earth really talking with Daniel Hernandez about bringing him into our familia? My jefe said sí, and I rejoiced.
Hernandez, for those of you who aren't familiar, is an award-winning 26-year-old chingón: a staff writer at LA Weekly, keeper of one of Southern California's more eclectic blogs, as apt to write about mustaches as he is deflating false saints. A good guy, talented as fuck--and the man who made my career.
In February 2006, Hernandez wrote a profile about me and ¡Ask a Mexican!. It would be his last piece for the Los Angeles Times before defecting to the LA Weekly. To be blunt, his Column One changed my life. Gracias to him, I received the two-book deal from Scribner, the Colbert Report appearance, the requests to emcee events. Whereas others wept and moaned about my good fortune, Hernandez was characteristically humble. "There was some attention thrown my way [because of my article on Gustavo], but I'd like to think I was just doing my job," Hernandez toldLAist in an interview last year. "My sole intent was to tell the world about a revolutionary journalistic voice causing desmadre right under our noses. Whatever happened after that was not my concern. But it was cool to watch, definitely."
Enough about me. Yesterday, Hernandez told me that the rumor is true: He's leaving LA Weekly not because of some New Times conspiracy but because Scribner has asked him to write a book about Mexico City based on his amazing cover story from last year. He'll spend a year in DF and write like a madman. It would've been visionary for LA Weekly to keep him as a staff writer down south, especially in light of the whole Aztlanification of the United States, but así es la vida. Congratulations, Daniel: Couldn't have happened to a more-deserving reporter. And while I'm sad you'll no longer work for my newspaper company, I'm ecstatic we'll still be professional broders at Scribner. Everyone else: read him daily at Intersections, and look out for Daniel's Mexico City book late next year or early 2009.
In the meanwhile, LA Weekly is looking for a staff writer to replace Hernandez. Good luck filling his zapatos, but please do: LA needs someone as verbose and hard-charging as Hernandez to tell its wild, wonderful tale.