Saturday, September 30, 2006

understanding the wall

There is a lot of questioning as to WHY the united states invaded Iraq. Why did they lie about it, why did they push so much bad information and force acts through congress in spite of knowing that there was no threat to the US. I see these questions asked all over the internet. It is irrefutable now that the present administration was dishonest with its intent and motivations and plans and with what it wanted from their dirty war. But still people want to know "why then?"

I am writing this post to my many Mexican friends so that they can understand why this is happening. Boeing, L-3 Communications and Unisys Corp will earn 2.1 Billion tax dollars putting together a project that will not work, is designed not to work, and which could not possibly be affective but which seems aggressive and which will cause pain and misery for some unlucky travelers . Cost overruns will probably put the earnings of these 3 corporations at 2 or 3 times the amount of the contract.

The 9/11 attacks on the US happened because the present administration was concentrating all of its attention on a different boon-doggle. Some kind of space umbrella that could not and would never work, but which would funnel untold billions into the hands of otherwise un-profitable corporations, and which would appear aggressive.

The invasion of Iraq was planned and carried out for these same organizations. These are Soviet style organizations, Bechtel, Halliburton(KBR), and IAP, which have no incentive to perform better or compete with anyone at offering a service. The use of racial aggression, they've found, is the best public relations they can muster, and in an atmosphere of open hostility, terror and government chaos, they needn't perform to any standard at all, or even complete the contracts. They've lost the war now, and as with their exploding toilet pipes and feeding garbage to soldiers, and murdering 10's of thousands of civilians, they simply do not care. Like Soviet organizations, their sole aim is to funnel money.

The building of some 30 radar towers and whatever else, TV cameras, all along a 7,500 mile border is a pathetic ruse. It is aggressive and violent, but it is not designed to stop anyone from getting in, except perhaps for few unlucky people crossing when the TV networks are visiting.

I've read a a great deal in my life-time of the suffering and miserey that remained in Europe for years after world war 2, the shame that rained down on the people of Germany. Those who were lucky enough to survive were left mad, bereft of their senses, lunatics often wandering the streets picking through garbage. It is a dark period about which little is ever spoken, when literally hundreds of thousands of people slept in barns and outbuildings because so many cities were still smoldering. Great caravans of vagabonds wandered Germany's modern highways. I am writing this because, of course, most of these people were not Nazis. Most americans do not support this administration. But god help all of them.

Monday, September 25, 2006


In her quite astute and pointed post, Art Powerlineschose not to write more directly about this guy in the picture. Maybe he was a little off target to what she was talking about. He sits at the cafe near my house and pesters people to buy his sort of stylized illustration board ink drawings for 50 or 100 pesos. When this picture was taken he'd already asked us about ten times what we thought of the drawings that were arranged over some of the tables and he seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of selling some more of them. We tried to be polite and excited too, but mostly we just wanted to order some coffees and sit back watching. Finally an older guy, sort of an upper-management of a scrappy company type, came back over and talked to the artist. He'd been sitting in a corner reading a newspaper. They negotiated and the guy gave the artist 50 pesos for one of the drawings. I imagined the drawing would spend a week or so in the guys back seat and then find its way to some closet.

But AP and I watched the artist, clutching the 50 peso note and hurrying back down the street, leaving us at the cafe with the rest of his drawings. With our cynical gringo wit, we laughed, sure he was rushing off to buy booze or cigarettes with his hard earned cash.

He showed up 5 minutes later, just as anxious, with one thing clutched in his hand, an illustration board. And he sat right down and happily started another drawing.

I think we have a choice to look at people the way we do. One of the things that signals the end of the American way of doing things is our inability see or foresee the goodness of other people. We've made a concious decision to stop trying, to stop choosing and now have most of our choices made for us and by people who have an interest in oppressing not only us, but democracies everywhere. Hence the violence and panic and depression of life in the US. Opting out of this twisted hateful system is not an easy thing to do, but luckily, there are artists, like the guy above, who can teach us a personal detail about ourselves, that, though painful, is an essential step in the process of creation.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Art and Talking

One of the things that I struggle with here is this idea from friends and colleagues that I don't really need to communicate well in Spanish because all of the "Art People" in Mexico speak English already. The problem I perceive is not that they speak English but that they speak "Art." And speaking in English about Art, I am fairly certain that their are very distinct limits to what we can communicate if we are talking about Art with Art People, (usually these conversations are of the "what will the market bear" variety) and literally there are no limits when we are talking to people who put pictures of dead relatives and Santa Muerte and Guadalupe in every corner inside and outside of their houses.

I've been thinking a lot about Octavio Paz's comment that the US can't see Mexico because we are a version, the Counter-Reformation version, of the same western civilization. It occurred to me that Post-Cartesian movements in Northern Euro-American thinking about art mirror some of the movements that Counter-Reformation cultures take for granted. Painting and sculpture are perceived as traditional, auxilliary forces that shore up a cultures' view of itself, rather than as intellectual avant-gard laboratories. That's not to say that plenty of people still under the Counter Reformation wouldn't like to smash the dirty Roman Catholic church. We'll keep the buildings. But the problems in replacing it with a bodiless intellect are evident too.

So many "Art People" remain reformation zombies, convinced that Art is an intellectual game of market chess, where we can trick people (mostly English-speaking people) into paying for a pawn here, a bishop there. And so everyday I try to speak in Spanish, about how we feel so small before an omnipresent and eternal art, maybe not a universal catholic art but certainly one that stirs unspeakable emotion from within.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Partido ? PARTAY-DO !!!

Alright, so they ruled the country for 70 years, then lost 2 elections.

But please, with Flash fully enabled, and your volume turned WAY UP, check out the new Partido Revolucinario Institucional. Guys you may want to take your shirts off, ladies, ...

Monday, September 04, 2006

plain truth

Doug Bowers has an exceptionally good piece in his column this week.

There are no Mexicans screeching in grocery stores, couples fighting in shopping centers, fistfights on the street, cursing (and I purposely learned all the Spanish naughty words and do not hear them being used publicly here!), or anything else that in America causes you to wonder when the knives and guns will come out and the blood will be shed.
Oddly I spent part of the weekend being screamed at by a very drunk person about how the Mayan calendar not only predicts a major shift in global power after 2012, but also this predicts some sort of Mexican domination. I guess we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.