Monday, September 19, 2011

A 90’s boy

I’m a 90’s boy…or at least that is something I repeat a lot. Why? Because I hate the 80’s and the whole fascination with what it’s just a myth. It’s all fashion, I know, and thank God we are about to turn the page and start remembering the 90’s, because the 80’s were pure crap! Politically, it meant propaganda, a USA President who used to be an actor and it was going to be the first in line of a succession of morons, a lot of invasions to Latin America, the support to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein (seeds for pain to pay later), the end of counter-culture and the beginning of enslavement with a tie. In music it meant a lot of rock stars who looked like women and the excess of music as an industry. In fashion, a bunch of…well, bad taste, there’s no other word for it, (well, those were actually two words). Period. And of course there were some cool shit going on, but I was too little to even care. I had toys and old cartoons. That was about it. It was in the 90’s where I began to be more aware of it all and I became a fan of music, saw the CD’s and Internet becoming popular (remember ICQ? And chat rooms?) and affordable, saw an American President who played Sax (while he got his d*ck sucked) and saw a bunch of artists that were all about the attempt to recover a shock long gone in the industry. Movies went a little shittier as well as pop music, and there was Vainilla Ice but hey! I never said it was perfect! Those were my teenager years (as if I have escaped them).

It is funny however how some people have called me a bluff just because I don’t know some music or some Anglo reference of that decade. “And you call yourself a 90’s boy??”. Fucking idiots seem to forget that there is a whole world out there who doesn’t speak English and that have their own culture, their own events. As a 90’s boy in the Caribbean I saw other things besides the things I just mentioned; I saw 440, the rise and fall of merengue music, Chevy, El general, Vico-C on the top, Soda Stereo, the good times (were they any?) of Maná, The cup of life, Draco Rosa, Bunbury, Bersuit, Manjar de los dioses, oh and there was Daddy Yankee with a mustache…I mean, a hole of other shit going besides the Anglo world. But of course, to be a 90’s boy means to fit under the limited definition of the people who dared to say that I don’t have a fucking clue of the 90’s …and God forbids I don’t know any reference that didn’t make it to the island, even though they know shit about the 90’s in other parts of the world. It is the same arrogant ignorance (an oxymoron I know) of thinking that the whole world needs to know and follow your culture while you know shit about the other cultures. Or is it just plain old-fashioned colonialism? The mentality of the colonizer but without assuming any responsibility in the world of fake happiness?

So I am sorry, beyond your limited expectations I am a 90’s guy….I was too little in the 80’s and it was in the 90’s when I developed my tastes and personality….just a different 90’s from the one you know…just a bit. So, I’m glad we are about to forget about the 80’s and celebrate the 90’s…which means different things along the different latitudes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Puppets of Identification

Motherfucking media….If there is a thing that characterizes us as human beings –if we are indeed–it’s our capacity to connect with others, to empathize. There are many ways we connect with the pain of another person, from a tear to a story, but there is a click (a thing) that appeals to us, to our sensitivity. Media, however, has learned to use this human trait in their advantage. It has become a technological machine that builds ideas for us, images, words and their definitions. It is the complex used to invalidate us from any action, to try to makes us feel comfortable at home and be entertained, and repeat what they say. Of course, media is a broad word right now. It is also used to manipulate people to think that “media is all bad”. It’s not. But take film for instance. You do want the good guy to get the girl at the end. That is Film 101, unless you think you are more sophisticated than that and that it’s just bull-shit, life is not like that, and that it’s just Hollywood crap (we teenagers). Fine, then he won’t get it and it will appeal to you, the snob who thinks is beyond all of that or the guy who doesn’t get the girl at the end. You choose. And I don’t know about you, but back when I was a kid, most of the games were “I am Luke and you are Darth Vader”, or you wanted to be the Raphael Ninja Turtle, or Leono, or even Ryu in a game. It was all about role playing because we all want to be something else, don’t we? As long as we are the heroes (or villains, not secondary characters, in other words, we want to be special).

We still play those role playing games. Why do we want to escape our reality? I don’t know, maybe just to underline our own sense of identity. However, we do play those games, and media uses that to build us heroes like Elvis or JFK, villains like Chávez and Gaddafi, or why we like this or that candidate instead of another. We will vote for the one we like at the end and make out a villain out of the other. Of course it is more complicated than that but media wants to keep it simple, to keep our brains at the same level of a kid, thinking in Manichean terms of good versus evil, either/or.

Hollywood is a product of the media construction of fantasies. I mean, Hollywood was meant to be the “blue blood” of America for fuck’s sake! Hell, not only America, most of the world has incorporated this model and has their own brand of celebrities to serve as our heroes and villains. We see in them our new frustrated gods to play “I am”, the ones we envy, the ones we imitate, the one were we see our own frustrated desires, the ones we like to see fall and condemn. It isn’t by chance that we treat them as if we knew them. We get happy when they marry, we cry their deaths. Don’t believe me? Remember the crying multitudes mourning for Michael, that’s all, I’m not even going to challenge that with previous examples like Lennon, Elvis or Monroe, but go and watch “Madmen” to see a representation of what happened when she died (season 2). Of course, it is not only them who die, but the icon on where we rested our own fantasies. Every single tear were a symbolic death of us.

The sad thing about it is that sometimes they cried more the life of these models more than their own friends or relatives. I mean, Winehouse is more important that your neighbor? MJ? Really? What about the real people who die from OD, from crime, from diseases? Are they just statistics? The ones with names in CDS and DVDS end up having their own films, museums, statues, improve sales and hall of fames, the everyday Joe ends in the long archive of numbers. STORED.

I know, I know, I do sound above all this shit. I’m not. I’m also a junkie of the fake gods (aren’t they all?) and like to play the role plays too. On the contraire, I have a lot of fallen heroes thanks to the ready-made models for the eye, ear and mouth. Lennon, Morrison, Cobain (I which I died at 27!), I was surprised by Whinehouse’s death, remember where I was when I learned about Brando’s death, and I know that I will see others fall, which I will mourn (heroes) or could care less (villains). My point is that it shouldn’t be like that. I should care more about my motherfucking neighbor (which I have just saw….but I don’t know), the one that I see in the street without food to eat, the person that gets shot in the street, the junkie…all of these people should have faces, should have names, and don’t just be mere numbers. They aren’t numbers, they aren’t statistics; they are human beings, each one with their own stories to tell but without the fame, all of them building the face of the human race. I hope that one day we get to see all of them and that we price them as much as those strangers sold by the media. Life should not just be a thing to buy, life is more than that.

Monday, September 05, 2011

La condena

“Para nadie es un misterio que los escritores tenemos el alma condenada al infierno de la angustia incesante: en el centro de ese hervidero, nuevas dudas responden a cada certeza y nuevas preguntas responden a cada pregunta.”
-Eduardo Galeano

(Ser como ellos, siglo XXI, 42)