Friday, November 30, 2007

La Virgen y El Che Rifan y Que?!

For some time I've been meaning to respond to the snotty superiority of Tijuana writer-cum intellectual Heriberto Yepez who penned an essay on how Chicano artists are fixated on la virgen de Guadalupe, Frida Kahlo, Che Guevara and that we are reactionary neo-cristero nationalists in an attempt to make himself appear literary while dismissing the cultural integrity and value of the remedial, almost childish spanish of Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street. His rant against the dominant paradigms posit him as a frustrated and envious climber who goes on to rail about how most Chicano poetry sucks and how there is no formal innovation in the Chicano novel. He obviously hasn't read Salvador Plascencia. And he continues by complaining that a prominent Chicano intellectual was above criticism and that he himself has been attacked as a burgues when the Chicano academics who make three times what he makes should look at themselves before making these types of accusations. All in all, pretty vicious if hackneyed approach derivative of Octavio Paz albeit with much less finesse and style. The article ran in a supplement to El Milenio, an important nacional daily that publishes regional editions throughout Mexico. His tack, clearly, is an attempt to create noise and generate a little polemical juice for himself, since he's virtually unknown in the U.S. I responded in a couple emails. But Ruben Martinez, a writer I respect and admire, had him here for a charla a while back and I missed my opportunity to respond in person. If not for the fact that he gets most of it all wrong, there even seemed to be a bit of anti-pocho racism that lumps Chicanos in with the hegemonic white culture. All that being said, I link the article and leave it for you to judge. I might take it upon myself to translate it as the poor bastard is much less fluent in English as a great many of us on this side, who on principal, make it a point to speak as naturally and comfortably in the tongue that has been virtually denied us in the U.S. No love or respect from Heriberto about the Mexica Tiahui recovery movement. Maybe he isn't even familiar and should spend a little time El Sereno.

I'm actually quite proud that I'll be participating in a poetry event in honor of Guadalupe-Tonantzin at Self-Help Graphics on Dec. 12th and I'm nostalgic aobut the Che Guevara t-shirt I was given at nine by my older brother, then a 17 year old Brown Beret in Austin, Texas. And so tonight I'll head to the Cactus Gallery in Eagle Rock to hear my friend Ricardo Acuña, who rights in English, Spanish and French, read from his self-published book, Under the Influence. And then maybe, just maybe, I'll crash the Christmas art sale at Romero Studios in Frogtown... perhaps a small celebration and the crush of holiday love will be an antidote to my own mispanthropic mini-rant about Yepez.

4 comments:

Peter E Carrillo said...

Abel
Much respect and admiration on your quest in documenting the Chican@ Art and Music movement in Los Angeles. You have filled a big gap that has not been adequately covered with the exception of Harry Gamboa, Fidel Rodriguez, Claudia Huiza, Daniel Hernandez and others.. Keep up the good work and hoping your path will bring much success..
Peter Carrillo (Zocaloc Prod)

Peter E Carrillo said...

Abel
Much respect and admiration on your quest in documenting the Chican@ Art and Music movement in Los Angeles. You have filled a big gap that has not been adequately covered with the exception of Harry Gamboa, Fidel Rodriguez, Claudia Huiza, Daniel Hernandez and others.. Keep up the good work and hoping your path will bring much success..
Peter Carrillo (Zocaloc Prod)

cindylu said...

I read the essay. I don't get it. Maybe I don't understand as much because of my pocha Spanish. Critics are supposed to be polemical, no? Seems like he's doing a good job of it.

ELI said...

your use of words...so poetic........such passion.... very rare where I am.....M Ramirez always says "get mad" with passion...which you have ...how wonderful