Sunday, September 30, 2012
Según uno de los candidatos en las elecciones de Puerto Rico, de cuyo nombre no me quiero acordar, “no es momento de un voto simbólico”. A la soltá voy a decir que es precisamente el momento de un voto simbólico, aunque en el intento nos quedemos sin-bólicos. Que si eso puede ayudar a que el PNP revalide, el partido con mayor record de corrupción, criminalidad, abusos y atentos contra la democracia, los estudiantes, la clase media y los grupos disidentes, seguro. Puede que eso pase, de hecho, creo que es lo que va a pasar. Sin embargo, eso no debe doblarle las rodillas a nadie. Quizás hace falta la extensión de este desastre y que nos lleve tan bajo que finalmente la gente despierte y se tire a la calle a demandar sus derechos y la pronta solución de sus necesidades, como pasa en casi todos lados. No que en Puerto Rico no pase, pero siempre es pro el grupo X y Y para luego salir la Comay’ a insultarlos y desacreditarlos en TV y se acabó el problema, no importa cuánta sangre se derrame entre medio.
Me parece que hace tiempo que llegó el tiempo de acabar con el cambia-cambia. Ninguno de los dos partido tradicionales han logrado un avance, muy por el contrario, cada nueva administración pareciera ser peor que la anterior, aunque la incumbente ha botado la bola y por mucho. Pero no importa, los rojos no van a hacer nada diferente, mucho menos con un candidato tan pendejo e incompetente como Alejandro (¡carajo me acordé!), que, tratando de complacer al voto disgustado del PNP, ha dejado atrás al voto independiente, al voto melón, y al ala izquierdista de su partido (enter the MUS). El tipo parece un mono resbalando en las cáscaras de guineo que él mismo tira al suelo. ¿Líder? Ese tipo no tiene los cojones para asumir posición alguna, así que ese nombre le quedaría más grande que la cabeza del gobernador.
El PPD dejó de funcionar como partido y hace mucho. Willie lo dijo antes de morir (no olvidemos a Willie…para más buscar en este blog ensayo titulado “Willie…¿al olvido?”). En un momento, ese partido intentó hacer cambios sociales radicales y a eso debían volver. La respuesta del presidente del partido en ese entonces fue que el “Partido Popular fue hecho para ganar elecciones”. O sea, no viene a cambiar nada sino a ganar, como si se tratara de un deporte… ¡Ah verdad! ¡Que la política en la isla es un deporte! Y luego se quejan. El mismo presidente (tú mismo Ferrer) luego vino a llorarle en el sepelio a Willie aun cuando estaba listo para pasarle su plancha. Y bueno, ahora tienen a lindín “para ganar elecciones”, ninguna sustancia, solo un PAQUETE (de la mentira que es y la masacote que nos espera) con la promesa de cambio. ¿No fue así que Fortuño se mudó a Fortaleza y nos lo metió mongo? Por mí, que exploten al PPD y su retrasado ELA, al PNP con su estadidad de welfare, y de paso al PIP que, si bien han cantado la verdad por décadas, han impedido que nuevas voces entren en el panorama y ellos han querido ser los dueños y señores de la cancha, mientras sus legisladores se comieron dietas enteras en aquellas sillas rojas y verdes de capitolio.
Es hora de pasar la página. Es hora de partidos nuevos y finalmente los tenemos, y como nunca antes. Tenemos seis partidos inscritos. Mi gente, eso es historia. Seis partidos, lo que nunca antes había ocurrido en las pasadas décadas, demostrando el descontento y la desconfianza con los tres partidos tradicionales. O sea, tenemos varias opciones para pasar la página.
Lo peor de votar por el cambio “seguro” una vez más: decir que todo está bien, que este cambia-cambia funciona y ha funcionado, que no hay algo más a cambiar. Si de algo estamos seguros es de que hay que cambiar algo, y no solo administraciones, sino la forma de hacer política. Y el candidato del Partido Popular lo sabe, por eso urge a no dar un voto simbólico, por eso dice que “no es tiempo de un voto simbólico”. Para él, hay que dar “el voto útil”, el del partido que tiene los medios para sacar al PNP del gobierno, o sea, otro parcho en una goma llena de rotos. Mire Alejandro, váyase al carajo usted también. Si no tiene los cojones para asumir una postura diferente, una postura digna de estos tiempos, no pida el voto de una isla que ya no puede seguir con la misma mierda.
Así que yo digo que es precisamente el tiempo del voto simbólico. ¿Por qué el voto simbólico? Porque obvio que ninguno de los partidos nuevos tienen posibilidades reales de ganar las elecciones. Los dos partidos de siempre tienen el poder, el dinero (y la gente con dinero que mueve cosas tras bastidores), y los medios para ganar, sea uno o el otro. Pero esto no es un juego de nuestro deporte favorito, se trata de las elecciones, se trata de expresar con el voto qué propuestas uno defiende, cuál plan de gobierno uno cree va a funcionar para nuestra gente. No se trata de chijí-chijá y ganamos. En ese sentido Alejandro, todo voto es simbólico.
Un suficiente número de votantes o de “votos simbólicos” para alguno de los nuevos partidos demostraría que se levanta el suficiente número de gente para esperar un cambio de rumbo. De igual forma, daría a ese partido, de quedar inscrito, un poder de fiscalización y de reorganización para las próximas elecciones. Suena a imposible que el MUS, el PPT, o el PPR ganen las elecciones, pero tenemos que recordar que cuando Ferré fundó al PNP era imposible ganarle al PPD y ahora son el partido mayoritario (en votos y casos de corrupción). Lo mismo cuando Muñoz Marín fundó al PPD. En algún momento los electores escucharon las nuevas propuestas y se lanzaron a votar mayoritariamente por ese partido. Lo mismo puede pasar nuevamente. Es otro siglo. Somos otra generación con otras necesidades. Estamos cansados de lo mismo. Atrevámonos a apostar por otra forma de hacer las cosas. Hagamos ese voto simbólico y abracemos lo que significa. Solo así podremos cambiar el rumbo de nuestra historia y pasar la página.
Monday, September 24, 2012
I forgot about one film I did see, “Savages”. Box office was not that good for this Oliver Stone film, and critiques were so-so. The film was good, considering is a Stone joint. And SPECIALLY that ending! Stone controlled his usual overdose of montage and kept it realistic until the last sequence. And then BOOM!
But what carried the film was Benicio del Toro. His character was so intimidating, so scary, so nauseating, that became the unforgettable thing of the film. There’s more than one waiting for another nomination to Mr. Del Toro for this role, but let’s see if the low box office and the timing of the film (summer) does not affect his chances. It would be savage indeed not to consider him for those two reasons.
Overall the film delivers, both for the action flick lovers as well as the drama lovers. It’s clever, witty, well-shot, and, did I mentioned Benicio kicked ass? Savage style!
Monday, September 17, 2012
I am going to continue talking about the summer. You know? There is something to distract us when everything else goes wrong and it’s called entertainment. Hollywood is the master of doing that. In fact, your life can be a huge mess, a big disappointment, you could be facing death, divorce, heartaches or whatever, there’s nothing that a bin-bam-pow-kiss-kiss-puff-sexy-sex and pop-corn won’t do to make you forget for whatever the shitty film lasts. Adorno used to call it the “Culture Industry”, a little machine to brain-wash you and make you complacent about your life, consume, and forget about political struggle and the injustices of “the system”, whatever that is; just sit back and relax, enjoy.
It’s tradition for Hollywood to leave their big films for the summer, and with big I mean the ones that are supposed to be seen by a lot of people, leaving millions and millions of dollars in revenue. Hey, films cost a lot of money and the producers need their investment to be rewarded, you know? It’s a business and all that bang-bang means a lot of bling-bling. So they save the big guns for the summer, when kids and specially teens are out of school and all of that. Normally, there is one or maybe two of this films that I will enjoy per summer. The rest of them? A bunch of SFX with no substance. Summers are famous for those. Some examples? The “Star Wars” prequels (we can exclude episode 3 if you like), The “Transformers” series, “GI-JOE”, the previous “Spider-Man” trilogy, and a lot of comic book films.
This summer was different though, entertaining wise. All the films I went to see did the job, meaning, I could enjoy them on a basic level and, sometimes, even further (thematic, cinematography, direction, and so on). It all started with “The Avengers”, well, if we don’t take the pre-cum of “The Hunger Games” into account. That one started on the spring but its success made it last until the early summer in many theaters. And wow what a movie that was. Granted, I didn’t know shit about the books, I didn’t know shit about the plot, but the movie grabbed me in its first ten minutes and didn’t let go. The plot was really good though we’ve heard the story before, some post-apocalyptic dystopia where the big spectacle (the big Hollywood) is letting real children fight for their lives in a brutal sport. However, the shots, the edits, and the takes, were all so successfully made (with maybe excluding the hallucination sequence which was a little bit cliché), that it amplified the level of tension and exhaustion for the viewer. Nicely done. Now, going back to “The Avengers”, there was nothing fancy about it, just a summer roller coaster driven by Downey Jr. and his mastery of the Starks character. It was too bad that I decided to see the previous summer flicks for the rest of the big comic superheroes, because, man! I mean, what was the deal with “Captain America” and “Thor”? Those two are some major league examples of the summer crap I was talking before. However, mix them with Starks, let Thor free, put a pussy-god as the villain, and finally get Hulk right, and it’s a feast for the little child in us.
“The Dictator” was a financial mess that I didn’t have the time to see, and I was not going waste a minute with a movie based on a board-game like “Battleship”. Sorry Mr. Neeson. Then “Men in Black 3” was released. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to watch this one because the second one was so bad, but then people were saying the third one was way better, and it was. I mean, the first one is the first one, but after “Men in Black 2”, a decent movie was possible. And they did manage to make a film entertaining enough, with a double plot that made kind of sense, I mean, in a universe where dogs are aliens in disguise and Woody Allen is a MIB agent. However, the best thing of the film was Josh Brolin’s performance. Of course, is Brolin, who is superb at the acting part, so no wonder he did a great interpretation of Tommy Lee Jones…well, I mean, a younger version of Jones. His acting, plus the whole “going back in time” thing (with a little hint of flavor of the 60’s and the ongoing “Madmen” series), made it worth the almost two hours.
I skipped some of the major blockbusters because lack of interest or time. So I let films that did well like “Prometheus” and some summer flicks like “Brave”, “Madagascar 3”, “Rock of Ages”, some naked men singing and, of course, President Lincoln chasing vampires. Hey, I’m into postmodernism and all but these historical blends with no sense at all scares off any intention I would have to read or watch them. Life is too short. I also let “Ted” get away. I wanted to watch that one, but time is a tricky thing when you are trying to finish stuff.
And then the way-too-soon Spider-Man reboot came. I didn’t want to see it, especially because I hated the past trilogy which, say what you will about the director and the SFXs, lacked substance and it was a bunch of CGI with a good director and actors, a bad script, and a bunch of nonsense like villains with no motive. Yet someone mentioned that it was better than that, and some friends wanted to watch it, so what the heck. The indie director of “500 Days of Summer” didn’t disappointed. Granted, CGI is way more perfected now that when Sam Raimi did his thing (which at some points seemed like a videogame), but this movie was about a little nerd trying to be cool with a down-to-earth SFXs and a decent Hollywood structure. It’s a high school film about someone getting cocky (and beaten up over and over again) because of a spider. At the end, wasn’t that what the comic was all about?
Finally, the summer ended for me with “The Dark Knight Rises”. Yes, there was “Total Recall” and “yet a new Bourne is out there and we have to kill him (before he makes it to Ecuador?)”, but it you want to end it with a bang you know the Nolan film is the way to go. It was not as complete as “The Dark Knight”, it lacked certain shots and musical elements to raise the tension. The film also depended on some copy/paste shots of the previous films (Godfather III, anyone?...not that it was as bad as that one), and it lacked Mr. Heath Ledger, better known as the step-aside-Jack Joker. It also had some campy jabs which one can’t stop but wonder if they were intentional or they were just oopsies on an overall great script. Plus, there was a huge breather in the middle of the film, while “The Dark Knight” never offered that venue. However, it was the film to watch. First of all, Mr. Nolan is awesome at the moment of mixing audiences and giving some bin-boom-bow for the SFX while adding some content for the others who also like to make parallels between cinema and our political existence. Say what you will about this one, but it had many people talking about it, and not just because of the Arizona shootings. There were a bunch of critics saying it was a political dismiss of the OWS movement, a “this is what it will look if the 99% take over”. Rolling Stones said the movie was about a douche who was not happy even when getting laid, and he was such a snob that he wanted to perpetuate for “his city” the miserable reality of his life, something like that. Nolan said it was all a coincidence and he intended to present was the corruption from all angles and the ethical dilemmas of the whole saga. In other words, what are the final consequences of the themes explored since the first movie. Mr. Zizek said it was about class struggle but in fancier words. The thing is, we got a bunch of people talking brainy stuff about a blockbuster, you can call it from art to propaganda, but it remains to be a lot about a summer blockbuster. All external readings aside, “The Dark Knight Rises” was the perfect ending for a perfect trilogy, Hollywood-wise. No other trilogy has become so close to make people satisfied on different levels, while still being a blockbuster. Nope, not even the original Star Wars, remember the Ewoks.
So, in terms of bin-bang-booms, Hollywood made a great offer this summer. There was something for everybody, even when originality was not part of the equation (again). It was a rare summer then, when we are used to a lot of shit and maybe one or two good enough. Now that it is all over, the Hollywood frenzy of the summer has my permission to die.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
“When you conquer somebody and suppress them, you have to have a reason. You can’t just say, “I’m a son of a bitch and I want to rob them.” You have to say it’s for their good, they deserve it, or they actually benefit from it.”
(What we say Goes, Metropolitan, 124)
(What we say Goes, Metropolitan, 124)
Sunday, September 02, 2012
We are at the verge of ending one of the worst summers I seem to remember. Granted, in my life, summer seems to be the moment of bad things to happen, but this one tops the bill. Why? Because there were a lot of people cashing their final check during this summer. Of course, I know that this summer was also great for many people that I know, and many people that I don’t, and that’s how life is, but the number of grievances let me to call this summer as the, well, you know the title.
There has been a series of murders overall and while that’s not new, nor some psycho taking many guns and start shooting randomly at whoever was at the wrong place (God bless the second amendment, right?), on the wrong time and the wrong day, it seems as if it became a fashion during the past month or so. Aurora, Wisconsin, New York and others send a series of anonymous to their graves. As well as there where a great number of people with no face dying because the war on drugs, or the war at wherever they are. They are “anonymous” for me and the media, but not for each and every friend and family of each and every victim. Their pain is no spectacular flashy news, but is a departure and trauma that will take a long time to heal.
There were so many deaths during these past months that it’s absurd. I even heard a friend talking to her friend about the passing of her friend’s uncle. It was a distant death to me, but at that point it was the beginning of August and I was just fed up with the hint of death. It was past the…
The most recent famous death was that of Neil Amstrong. Yeah, the “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” guy. He was 82, and he did something that I bet I’ll never do, fucking walk in the moon! Oh, and for those who love the conspiracy theories and believe that it was all a lie from Uncle Sam to distract people from the Vietnam fiasco? Really?! As if even the veterans of that bullshit war didn’t and doesn’t know that it was a disaster. Stop smoking of that one dudes.
There were also many deaths concerning artists and the entertainment business. Among the toll there were writers, musicians, editors, singers, and so on. I guess that for Latin America the biggest depart was that of Chavela Vargas. Of course, she had a long and joyful life, as well as a huge work to leave behind. A year after Cabral left us (another summer), “la llorona” followed him leaving us with a desire to hear her music and drink mescal forever. For North Americans the biggest lost was that of writer Gore Vidal, though many idiots thought it was Al Gore who died. Vidal was the last of his generation.
On August 11 Von Freeman, the jazz legend, also said the eternal farewell. Not to panic, he was almost 90 years old so he was long past due, plus he was a jazz legend and all. Two days later Helen Gurley Brown joined him, the editor of “Cosmopolitan”, the fashion magazine. Helen was also 90 by the time death came knocking at her door.
Carlo Rambaldi was 86, and he also received the bill to check out. Rambalbi was the superb creator of ET (the actual alien or what you see as such), which was an ugly motherfucker, but Carlo managed to make it cute enough to have a lot of people crying in the middle of the film’s climax. And talking about ugly motherfuckers, he was also responsible for the monster on the original “Alien”.
However, it was not all about famous people. In fact, I can’t care less about them. But the summer of death brought the surprise on a personal level, for me, and for people that are part of my life. Right to the last days of summer, there were people dying. Even the mother-in-law of the Department Chair of where I work now died last week. On May 26, death took Jessica’s father, marking the beginning of a long summer for her. Who is Jessica? Well, for those who don’t know about her, she is the one behind the curtain in the graduate program I am part of at Notre Dame. She is the one who runs the show with little credits. And with little credits, she mentioned that she was going to be out for some weeks, while she said good-bye to her father. Losing a father…very close to the lost of a god.
Mara Negrón: a relatively young professor back at the UPR, who also checked out as a result of leukemia. I never took classes with her, but most of my friends did and they cared for her, respected her. I also respected her. She had brilliant things to say and write, she was a mentor of many of my friends, she was a dear friend of my old master’s advisor, and, even when I never took a course with her, she always greeted me with a kiss and a big smile. She respected me as I respected her, and apparently, in both cases, thanks to references. Her death was way too familiar for me (and it brought unpleasant memories). She died of the same disease as my mother, at the same age. Granted, my mother was not a teacher nor an intellectual, so she didn’t touch as many lives, but it was a familiar script for me. I was only happy that so many people had so many caring and respectful words for her. She had the promise to say many other brilliant things, but she said enough to create a wave of respect, words-works and love for her once it was her sudden time.
I was thinking about Mara until I could not care anymore, until death knocked into my own door.
My sister. The biggest lost for me during this summer was that of my sister. July 11, 2012, two weeks or less after Mara passed away, like it was a preview of things to come. My sister…who was released from a hell of a life with a lot of diseases, but, as I wrote before, was more than a sister, was a friend. She respected me, she gave me hope with my nephews, she always missed me every time I got to leave, and loved me. She was my heroine, as she did I could have never done on her circumstances. My sister, who I still can’t believe that I can’t just pick up the phone and call her and complaint about not understanding a thing she would say because she didn’t articulate. My sister who I still can’t believe is a bunch of ashes (oh man, why did I open that box?). My sister, whose departure defined new meanings for pain, new meanings of hell, new depths for darkness that I can even comprehend, that words fail me to describe.
Summer 2012. A brutal summer. A long summer. A painful summer. The summer of death.