Here is a strange word, charged with meanings and yet meaningless until you know which here is being referenced. Here in this case is 2000 meters above sea level.
Yesterday evening at the Casa Vecina, I saw a movie of the same name: 2000 mil metros (sobre el nivel del mar). A psychodrama in which a wealthy owner of a beautiful Roma-esque apartment in Mexico City subtly manipulates and degrades a cast of three lost characters, as he provides them with a free place to live. The film's writer and director and producer, Marcelo Tobar, who self-financed the whole project, said he was interested in unlikeable characters.
Peña Nieto is an unlikeable character. Calderón too.
We'd planned this trip to Mexico City long in advance. Long before I realized we would be here at the same moment as the elections. The idea was to bring my partner's mother and grandmother to Mexico City.
I have an urge to post a picture of all three of them in front of the Basilica de Guadalupe or maybe (less iconically) just sitting on a small wall next to a sidewalk on Reforma. But honestly, I don't even want to post their pictures here. It would feel like an invasion of their privacy. Or an appropriation of their experiences here. Somehow posting photos on the blog feels that way. But on Facebook no. Odd.
When is it ethical to appropriate? When it is ugly? When does appropriation cross the line? When is it a good idea to cross the line?
Today a friend informed me that the French often refer to erasure in writing (like Jen Bervin's Nets or Hugo García Manriquez's Anti-Humboldt) as détournement. I wanted to Like the air around her head at that moment.
It seems like several times a day here (and at least that many times in the US), I get asked a variant of what feels to me like the same question: "Where are you from?" and then "So you are Mexican?" and then "No, but one of your parents or grandparents was Mexican?" And then, once I've laid out that yes, yes I am a gringo, gabacho, estadounidense anglo de antepasados alemanes, the question is "Why do you speak Spanish?" This makes me feel tired.
Obama called Peña Nieto on Monday to congratulate him on his fraudulent victory. This was long long before the Mexican federal voting institution had even released the vote count! This was a serious mistake. How can Obama claim to support democracy if he is making congratulatory calls before the official results are even announced?
On Sunday, I marched down Reforma with the Mega-Marcha called nationwide against the fraud, the vote-buying, the return of the PRI. Here are two photos:
I don't have any ethical issues about posting these photos. I do think a lot about how to speak about what is happening around me and how to think about what my involvement in it is.
If you are looking for writing in English about the situation right now in Mexico, I recommend Rubén Martínez and Daniel Hernández. Both on the ground here in Mexico City now. Both Latinos from SoCal. Analysis. Explanation. Contextualization.