Aztlán

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Update: For those of you that know Swedish Eva Zetterman has placed on the web a little bit on art and media related to chicanos: Att skapa ett vi – gatukonst i Kalifornien

She has also done it in English, so there is no need to panic: Signs of Identity Processes – Street Art in California Eva Zetterman. And get aload of the title of the pdf file: haina_6_zetterman.pdf

First published: December 31, 2006 @ 21:36

Finally. I found this paper I knew was cooking because I spoke several times to the researcher myself. I managed to ask her once, right smack in the middle of her research if it was possible to see her work but that proved be a no-no and ever since then I have been out of touch from the lovely gal. Either way here is an excerpt of her work and if it interests you one can download the frigging thang here.

Author: Jonsson, Carla
Title: Code-switching in Chicano Theater: Power, Identity and Style in Three Plays by Cherríe Moraga

Keywords: code-switching, Chicano theater, Chicano, Chicano discourse, power, identity, language ideology, third space, style, hybridity, code-mixing

The thesis examines local and global functions of code-switching and code-mixing in Chicano theater, i.e. in writing intended for performance. The data of this study consists of three published plays by Chicana playwright Cherríe Moraga.

Another proyect on the go is by an old professor of mine at Stockholm University, she herself is mexican and has lived many years in Aztlán.

‘Food and Identity in Late Twentieth-Century Chicano Literature’

Even though the importance of food in the individual and collective identity of a group of people already has been studied in detail by the social sciences, literary criticism has paid little attention to the presence of food and drink in literature in general, and, much less, in Mexican and Chicano literature. Still, the presence of these everyday elements in literature in not arbitrary, it is an important part of the literary work; by the use of factors related to food (such as the preparation of dishes, the ingredients used, and the very act of eating), the texts attempt to help the reader understand the association with the Chicano identity discourse.

Mexican identity shows itself in various ways in a great deal of Chicano literature. The Aztlan myth is a fundamental element that both Mexicans and Chicanos have in common. Both groups can be considered as one, since the search for the Aztlan of the Aztecs has been and still is an important factor for all descendants of Mexicans. Aztlan, a mythological place that occupies an important part of the collective consciousness of all Mexicans (including Chicanos) cannot be placed geographically. Thus, what is ‘Mexican’ cannot be defined as something that only exists south of the border, but something that all descendants of Mexicans have.

Sounds rather interesting to me and I can wait to get my hands on this one. I never really gave much thought to food issues in Aztlán so this paper ought to wake ones appetite quite exquisitely.

Lastly, I want to mention a few other goodies. Firstly, Chicano culture is making headlines overhere and in proper Aztlán too!

Gregory Rodriguez: Swedish Mexican Food, Straight From the U.S. Sweden indulges in American culture by going on a taco binge.

You see, here — as in other parts of Europe — Mexican food was not brought over by Mexicans at all. Rather, it was introduced by American TV shows and movies. That explains why there’s a “Gringo Special” on the menu at the Taco Bar, a Swedish fast-food chain, and why nearly all the Mexican products in the grocery stores — “Taco Sauce,” “Taco Spice Mix” and “Guacamole Dip” — are labeled in English.

Beleive it or not a swedish blog got mentioned in the article so it made the rounds quite nicely.

Lastly, this blog is linked in a wiki paper! No kidding joe

Absolut Vodka pays homage to Aztlán, although not without ruffling some white feathers, off course. And then they say tin hat folk are nuts.

Absolut Aztlan

This morning I am drawn to a particular memory that I cherish very much. It is its poignancy that made it last in my neurons. The event in question took place last year, 2007, during the month of July. I was off in Tijuana on a vacation that I had long awaited to take. During that period of my life I was very much on the lookout for beers, a particular interest of mine which I enjoy very much and whenever there is a chance to try out something new I eagerly seek it out. During a little stint in San Diego I went with my aunt and uncle of Chula Vista to an old part of San Diego called Old Town. This particular haunt eeks out a living by caving in to tourists who wish to remember the Old San Diego when it used to be Mexican although most of the trinkets sold there have as much to do with Old México as waterpipes have to do with Eskimos. Now, one would think that its o.k to draw attention to the fact that México lost territories to the US during the 1848 war which it is off course true but the fact that one cannot bring about the fact to gringos that Old Town was once Mexican is not so palpable. It just makes it all too real for gringos for the mere fact that those usually asking tend to be Mexican themselves.

This little nitch of business housed on historical property is even more bizarre to the eye because the warping of authenticity bellies a glowing shine of falsehood all over its facade. Need I also mention that for a historical site this joint is also a distortion of several pieces of history but by the time one comes to that conclusion one is engulfed by the silly old bliss that permeates the atmosphere and just permits us to let go and let be. Eitherway, the kin and I decided to check out a restaurant that sold Mexican food. Now, you must take into account that San Diego is very close to México, so close that if had we but decided to go back to México and eat Mexican food in México it would have taken us less than 10 minutes to do so. So México is like a spit away so to say. This also ties in with my little description of Old Town because being so close to México San Diego’s Old Town is a poor copy of its old self bearing in mind that one could be better at refurnishing Old Town with its former glory had one but only wished so. So there we are, in that restaurant and me being eager to try out something new by way of beers I decided to ask for the imported variety. I swear to god that when I heard the list of imported beers my insides just went into shock mode. I do not know if this state of being betrayed my exterior but I remember I remained silent, in shock at hearing the list, but silent.

The list of imported beers all bore names of the town next door, that is Tijuana, México. Now technically it is imported beer but for the love of christ how much can one deceive itself. And it is this sort of daily deceit gringos play on one another or at the very least make the local native swallow to separate them from the rest of the frey called México.

I don’t think many mexicans care much about the aid but rather care about were that aid will end up. Many mexicans in my generation have known for years about the crookedness in the upper echelons of our society so it is not surprising that we tend to resist any help from the US. This resistance tends to be misread by the media at large which still holds a sway on a narrative that belongs more to the better half of the latter 1800’s than the 2000’s.

We know, for example, that the leaders of our political elite will rather distribute the goods amongst themselves rather than see the needs of the nation. Those elites are like hungry beasts that require feeding to be appeased. The US happily provides the chow for them. In return, the US is content with exploiting a situation that benefits them although shortsightedly, ignore, at their own peril, the dangers it treads upon as if those dangers were more of a nuisance rather than a prevention plan in action. So the US pays a hefty sum of money for a return that consequently only creates more problems rather than offering a solution for the best buck.

Hence, pouring down money into mexico’s elite will only help the US gain incentives and create more resistance to US ideas in Mexico. While in the short run this would seem the ideal thing to do, history will repeat itself. Friedman’s Shock and Awe economics are coming to a halt and sooner or later the democratic system we all favor will have its day in Mexico. At this point in time, I suggest that the US await for more friendlier attitudes from the population in México for its help. As it is now, the US is going over the heads of the mexican population. Remember, Calderón is considered an illegitimate government, whether Americans like it or not and those are the rules of a democracy.

Hold tight to those purse strings Washington, the day when we really need you is yet to come. After all, it isn’t as if we don’t care for those territories we lost back in 1848.

Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in” Michael Corleone in The Godfather III.

According to Carlota Cardenas quoted by Alicia Gaspar de Alba in the book that reviews the CARA Exhibition named “Chicano Art” she says, that . [sic] to apply (the word chicana) [sic] to oneself is a political act.

Chicana Feliz a.k.a Zulma Aguiar.

I refuse, or resist in this case, to render my identity to to a political act. Being Xicano is beyond a political statement. Perhaps it is so for my brethen under that Damocles’s sword called USA. I, on the other hand, long ago moved to another post. Heck, said sword proved beyond me. I am beyond the Star and Spangle. If anything, I am beyond any political ideology. Long I discovered that I need not stress to be that which my land gave as a birth right. I am, to certain extents, beyond Xicano rethoric. I am beyond the recruiting offices of Aztlán and their zealous drive to impose the ideology of this or that. I am simply a desert Xicano which claims the Southwest as its birthplace, nothing more.

I am the first to stand on my own two feet. I shame not for my accent when I utter my tongue. I shame not for my past or ancestors. I shame not for that which I am.

I will not let ignorance dictate the course my forefathers, my foremothers, treaded upon. Words will not destroy me nor will they lay out the course of my destiny. I am beyond that and more.

This fight sort of reminds one of the one the Swedish-Finish folk stride for in Finland.

Swedish-finish

The Swedish text reads as follows:

The Finish can never take care of the Swedish language and the Swedish culture. Only we, the Swedish-Finish, can do that.

Backside of the Sagrario Metropolitano in Mexico City, DF.

This parish church, quite independent of the Cathedral, adjoins it on the east. Built to the design of Lorenzo Rodriguez and consecrated in 1768, the Sagrario Metropolitano is one of the finest examples of Mexican Churrigueresque.

fountain

Detail of Mexica

Friar

We have a very nice snippet of a side of Aztlán we seldom get to hear. Yes, there are countless of stories about how we came to be in Aztlán but very seldom is there any picture or specific location that pin points the odyssey. A fellow conciudadano of mine, Omar Pimienta, he of the Bookleggger collection has done it again, here he presents us with a new version of how things really are.

The old classic one from the Booklegger Manifesto:

The bookleggers manifesto:
Border scholars Javier Durán and Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta have theorized the notion of “educated” Mexicans residing in the United States, Mexicans who have emigrated to the United States as well as to U.S education during their formative years and who are referred to as “Wet Minds”. The natives of the Mexican northern border states, many of whom have been pushed abroad by centralist education, cross the border on a daily basis. Since this phenomenon of the “Commuter minds” first occurred, the US immigration officers have been on the lookout for books as incriminating evidence for the crime of getting educated.

Many imprudent prospective “Commuter Minds” get caught and their rights to cross the border are taken away.

Our job is, as Capone once stated, to supply a demand.

We are the bookleggers.

Octavio Castellanos
Omar Pimienta
Clavo: Juan Laguana

Been sort of following the fuss that a candid outburst by Jessica Alba has created.

I first read it here and then occasionally peek here for any further reactions to it. I don’t think Jessica Alba realizes how much rooted racism is there in her candid declaration that she ain’t no’mo Mexican. I don’t think that she even realizes the extent of ethnic depletion she’s been through. She fails to understand that a choice by her father, to repress anything Mexican because they are ‘Americans’ burst out into a third generation still untreated. She must of still suffered along the way ’cause of the color of her skin. She inevitably fails to understand that just because a snake sheds its skin it doesn’t necessarily cease to be a snake.

As if Mexicans weren’t Americans. As if American meant WASP English speaking only. She ought to listen to my concuidadano J. Carlos Frey instead. He says that on immigration we have been told about it the wrong way, in essence, he argues that we are not immigrants. Heck, I’ll buy that any old day.

Sorry Jessica, not even  Pilatus got away with trying to wash himself from the problem and I see that not even becoming invisible nor the shield shields you away from esa sangre nuestra.

And ps, it isn’t mexicans the ones churnig out loads of kids,  heck, I say we are lacking in the dept. The US has a population over three times the size of México and in the US it is the white people that are the majority, not mexicans. White people tend to be nuclear and hence seem like they are less, we mexicans just tend to prefer family bonds and ties so we tend to look big but in fact are fewer than gringo nuclear peeps.

With the English Only debate raging across the states of the US and a personal conclusion along the linguistic lines of learning a new language there is much to be said regards the topic at hand.

English Only is one of those distracting issues which political Republicans in the dual political establishment of Washington tend to chew at every now and then to draw attention away from the electorate. Nothing like a thorny and contentious issue to give beleaguered leaders a fresh breath of air. I personally don’t understand how in the world a language can save identity or strengthen it when language, and I speak from experience, is nothing more than a communications tool best manipulated by people who know languages and not by so-called nativists and monolinguals who are too lazy to even bother to research their language beyond the charms of the dialectal aspects that make up a given population. And I suppose that English Only proponents might find the English language the most natural language for the US but alas! by applying said thinking they are exacting a price on the Americas still fresh out from colonial rule. Forget the most natural languages of America, those spoken by natives of the land.

The most curious thing of the English Only gang is that they want to do their bidding in a democratic fashion by squashing all forms of attempt to communicate with the government in none other language than English hence creating a so unamerican institution such as a hierarchy between those who know and those who don’t know and their meddlesome middlemen otherwise known as translators. Which is ironic in some fashion because that would mean that the democratic principle of one man one vote would in effect exclude said votes inasmuch as voting in America is a federal institution who, if there will be such a mandate to implement, create a transloacracy peddling interpretations at the best price. I can now see the interests group market drooling that a new cadre of power peddlers are creating their own niche and the commissions they will exact to them for stomping on their grounds. This may sound dirty but it seems that those proposing their own agenda to fulfill their need of belonging at the expense of others are willing to throw the baby along with the water.

Then again these days it is not so much about democratic ideas but of extreme principles and dire consequences isn’t it? We must heed the cry of the leaders that decry the sky is falling. It has happened before and it will happen again, so there. Embolden the bilinguals of America to take a stand, they ought and we ought to raise our voice once and for all to this silly notion that America the Great only speaks English, caca de toro sayeth I.

*

Well, I finally realized the futility of it all. Learning a third language has cost me my dignity, my self esteem and countless hours of intense and embarrassing pain that still manages to kick in a pang or two as we speak. The excruciating pain I tell you. O-uch10.

To put it simply it has not been worth it. I suppose that I could of chosen a more lenient language variant other than the Swedish one but I ended up with this one due to family and unlike friends well one can’t choose that either. Please, allow me to expound.

What has made me to come to such a drastic decision, and some have said superfluous and ludicrous at some point during the past 2 weeks where I have ventilated said dangerous and precarious period in my life, well ten years of trying to master the Swedish language, that’s what, I have retorted randomly in minor tones as well as exaggerated ones and at times, I do confess, with a tad of irritation in my voice which has thrown some of my acquaintances off guard, no doubt partly due to some intoxicating spirits. And some impatience of mine to thwart off the masses appeal of learning a third language so positive in society. There has not been any positives in acquiring a new language as of far. At least not in the everyday if you will.

Learning Swedish has been a gateway to many treasures, yes, one cannot deny the fact of that yet on the other hand it has also been a constant source of irritation on one account. I am not sufficiently proficient at it to make my point come across. There, I said it, am not a good Swedish speaker. So learning a third language does bring its limitations along with it and that is that one must be ready to surrender the I of one’s constitution and let it be thrown to the hungry and savage beasts of ignorance to be had for brunch and leftovers. Either that or I am a jinxed motherfuck who has been lotted nothing but unkind and unfriendly sentients on this earth of ours all whilst I try to communicate with the so-called earthlings on this far fetched patch of mostly frozen dirt. Yes, I am reduced to nil every time my mouth opens to communicate in Swedish. This has been hard to endure because I have sacrificed personal development at the expense of trying to be understood, and I pray feverishly most of the times for it, halfways.

Swedish people will not meet you halfway when learning a new language. They will neither try to correct you nor they will try to finish your thoughts thereby creating a bridge for a common understanding. The pro’s an con’s of this attitude I have not weighted with earnest and I only mention it here because I have a grudge at it. I am most certain there is a positive in their attitude towards Swedish language learners yet I fail to grasp the purpose in it. This attitude as only left me rueful at best.

But the important thing here about my firm, unwavering adherence to the judgment upon my third language learning is that it limits me as a person in the everyday. Speaking Swedish means a certain death for me as a person because I cannot fully express myself. I can at most present a half cooked notion of my full potential and pray it is welcomed with open arms yet that seldom happens.

Ready made blogs seem to make it easier for a lot of bloggers. Gone are the days when the blog masses seemed to spend as much on the blog as they spent writing on their blog. I suppose there was a collective short circuit and many just couldn’t deal with the symbiosis of both being a sort of techi and a writer. I should know what am talking about. I still deal with strange blog phenomena.

*

Scheweden is receiving nice like sirocco winds of a sort. Ja! For this corner of the world anything above the freezing level is a hot summer day. So everything is falling in place like any other season, that is if we are not suddenly attacked by martians for being such the sneaky voyeurs always spying on them or a terrible dislocation of the earth’s poles sending day and night to different dimensions of sorts. Flowers bloomed, are blooming, the neighbor smiles more often and I fight the lawn and a pile of guilt about time pressure to finish a 7000 hour ago project today rattles menacingly by the second. Either way, I expect that the normal june rains will make their entrance any day now.

*

Have kept most to myself these days.

Ask a Mexican in Svd

Click on image to enlarge.

I could scarcely believe my lying eyes when I landed on the article. ¡Ask a Mexican! By Gustavo Arellano in the Swedish press. I have known of this column since the blogsphere presented it to me some two odd years ago. I had reservations at first but somehow I still keep on reading it as many chances I get to read it. It’s funny, what can I say.

Mexicans in the Swedish press tend to be quite either the exotic beings with a rich cultural past or the more gringo traditional take on the mexican, a burden like a pest.

When Swedes speak of mexicans in the US its more like two birds of a feather flocking togehter, the Swedes, the US. Like Swedes saying we understand your dilemma. From a law perspective off course. The focus lies on the illegality of things.

One seldom sees an article explaining the phenomena or the causes of immigration in the nordic press but rather one hears through the Swedish language the ailing and wailing of the American conservative outcry (a phenomena that started out in the middle of the 80’s) that mexicans are running over the USA. Perhaps that is to change?

The present article brings the aforementioned forth adding that to its merit that is precisely what Ask a Mexican! does: pin point the absurd in gringo mentality by declaring some aspects of an equation in immigration as illegal [mexicans crossing illegal into the US] but never what other aspects contribute to the equation, in this case, that employers that hire illegal immigrants don’t get the notion of illegal either since it is illegal to hire illegal immigrants.

Source: Image in blog comes from a photo taken on Monday the 30th of April and the article thereby presented appears in the printed Sunday edition of the Swedish newspaper Svd on page 21 in the International section.

thou sayeth I ain’th a Xicano

in every stop in your language

thou ain’t

sayeth thou

What is then one to do

with the language wiring

which spreadeth itself like a posin ivy

down

my spiral spine.

Thou aren’th born in Califas but in Tijuas.

’tis true sayeth I.

That Tijuas saw to it fit to mother the I’eth

which constitueth

the I in me.

I then am an illegal alien in a spiritual body

which can not see beyond

its carnal knowledge.

None feeleth the goose bumps

as

they arise

e my

brown skin

as I

hear

the tunes

cheer

for America the blessed one

whilst

mi

head

gets stoned

for questioneing

the status quo

I have always had trouble believing am a Xicano. No matter that the evidence points to the fact that I am just that.

This has become even more apparent for me here in Europe. the Nordic corner, isolated from Aztlán. Being away from the motherland has proven a sky that raineth a manna of ideas. I started out by declaring myself a prop. 187 exile. The first Xicano in exile driven away by Pete Wilson and his conservative tirade of this and that of the likes of me. Then I wrote. I wrote and I discovered the real Xicano in me through the written word. I did this both in Spanish and English.

This has proven quite productive because xicanismo is closely tied to language. I am fortunate to love language so in the process of peeling the core that I had in proper Aztlán, using language as a peeler, I discovered layers of myself that I figure I would not have otherwise managed to put in evidence to the naked eye of the I.
Through my language [read: English, Spanish, Spanglish, Espanglish, the southwest dialect] I learned who I really am. I found my roots. Being away from the American psycho identity dominatrix that usually sadomasochistic fellows like me tend to bed with gave airs of freedom unbeknownst. It was a breath of fresh air away from the stars and stripes which hangeth upon the xicano ens like a Democles sword.

We xicanos tend to prefer the gringo in us because it is just the gringo in us which makes us. And because some of us only understand that side, and use our mexican heritage like a mourning gown we never take of, we react defensively to anything that threatens this ‘identity’. Though this theory is hardly embraced because it means that Aztlán lieth not in one nation but precisely in the being of two de facto lands. So don’t expect people to nick away in approval at the latter exposed idea.

Little is known about the degree of gringoness in each and one of us. We discuss this not because doing so would mean too much differentiation rendering atoms a mere metaphorical image. So while we spouse in all glory all México we seldom do so our American side. Yuck say some. Too pocho, too gabacho. Yet it is this very aspect that we tend to let radiate most in us.

We don mexican heritage like a perennial día de los muertos affair, in all earnest, we live a past and live the gringo present. Although some xicanos drape themselves in their mexicanness like a fashion gown, alas! their appearance or self image, shallow like a dead river bed. This gringo alienates us from one another because as gringo nature is we feel different. The kind of different that says am better than you. An am and you world which builds canyons the like of the Grand one. It is a fact which cannot be denied. Tis easy to lay claim to Aztec culture and ignore the rest. Tis easy to lay ink to flesh temples of the Maya when Geronimo, so close yet so far away from Quetzalcoátl, remains in the sands of the Sonora Desert surrounded by the silence of time.

I, for example, have been excluded from my so-called brethren from both sides. My brethren xicano infected by Manifest Destiny from Los, desperately trying to integrate to US society after more than 150 years of ‘integration’ and by my xicano brethren infected by over 70 years of mexican nationalism who are yet to realize how xicanos they are because one tends to cease to be mexican once one ceases to be present in México or adopts strange customs. Never mind those customs have nothing to do with, say, Tijuana.

I feel the difference like a slight scent of garlic because am not fully Mexican and because am not fully American, that is, I lack the papers on the one side and I lack presence on the other. That is my most natural state. A state that perhaps ensued in me a quest for learning to command the whip which castigated me the most, language. So I learned to command what the land gave me as a birthright. And this difference became even more apparent. I went below the shallow.

I was born in Tijuana, raised in Southwestern traditions from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego County. Of recent I have reached a sort of compromise with myself. I say am a xicano tijuanense. Un xicano de este lado. That is, a Xicano which is not born in the US.
By adhering to this formula I allowed myself to become closer to my own surroundings. That is, I saw that which nurtured me whilst I breathed Geronimo’s sand through nostrils filled with muck from other lands. Santa Ana winds cleared the way and I now spouse the indigenous in me and do not let myself be fooled by common Chicano semiotics.

Off course it still irritates me to be xicano in the vicinity of my gringo cousins because though I speak english I am not a US citizen. Here in Sweden they a saying about Germans: there is a little Hitler in every German. I can say this about my gringo Xicano cousins: there is a little migra in every US born Xicano.

Híjole, we must be the only race in the world that is consumed by itself.

By Frank Jack Daniel

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A moth with a big appetite that once chomped its way through huge swaths of cacti in Australia has landed in Mexico, where the spiky plant is a favorite food stuff and major agricultural product.

Officials said on Friday a moth trapped close to the beach resort of Cancun this week could be the same species that destroyed some 50 million acres of cacti in Australia, opening the possibility the moth will spread to Mexico’s cactus farming regions.

The Cactoblastis cactorum moth landed on Mexico’s Caribbean island Isla Mujeres last year, sparking a major government pest control operation.

Pest control agents have set up hundreds of traps along the coastline and are searching hotels and private homes for further signs of the moth.

“This is war,” said Enrique Sanchez, head of plant and animal health in Mexico. “If lots of them arrive we will try to destroy the largest number possible with pesticides.”

The edible cactus, or nopal, industry in Mexico is worth about $150 million each year. About 10,000 farmers cultivate the plant.

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