Mexicans are increasingly taking to social media to post videos of bad civic behavior, led by two social media “heroes” who wield comedy and confrontation to expose lazy cops, litterers, threatening bodyguards and arrogant drivers.
Arturo Hernandez, who heads a band of volunteer YouTube celebrities known as the “Super Civicos,” uses humor to shame violators in Mexico’s sprawling capital, where street vendors and delivery vans block streets and cars drive in bicycle lanes with little fear of punishment.
He once stripped down and bathed in a pothole as big as a bathtub to highlight shoddy street repairs. Another time he traveled the subway dressed as a caveman to reflect the lack of manners.
Arne Aus den Ruthen, meanwhile, is a local official who confronts violators using the Periscope app to make live broadcasts as he tells people to pick up their trash or move their cars. He holds the title of “city manager” of the capital’s Miguel Hidalgo borough, a paid position inspired by U.S. city governments to have a gadfly to prod lazy authorities into doing their jobs.
While the two use different tactics, in a city as violent and chaotic as Mexico City it often ends in confrontation.