Saturday, October 03, 2015

Demi Lovato, Mexican-American, Latina Celebrity, Nude, in Vanity Fair Magazine or "Who says Latinas/os in Hollywood don't get enough exposure?"

Some of the images are striking, star Demi Lovato fierce, sans makeup...

...others are provocative, still strong, but also very 21st century edgy, "meta"

...the whole premise of the shoot is Lovato's rawness, strength, spontaneity, but there is something else working there as well, the reincarnation of a trope documented throughout Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America. There, illustrated ad nauseum, is revealed the birth of the sexualized, cinematic "Mexican"--an organism whose sexuality comes before the psyche, in fact, a sexuality that is always already writ large, in the genes and on the forehead.

Patrick Ecclesine's photographic collaboration with Lovato reveals a star in metamorphosis and while we cannot look away (nor should we), we should also understand the dynamics of that glance.

See the backstory, with video, here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More Latin American Stereotypes Than You Can Shake a Stick At... #mextasy #textmex @eyegiene

I love Pappy's comics blog--one of the best in the biz!  And I love the treasure trove of stuff he unearths and shares; with or without knowing it, he has curated one of the best short histories of Latina/o representation available on the net!  A grand tip of the sombrero to Pappy!

Here's his latest find!  Click the image for the entire story:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rita Moreno, Latina Bombshell, Spitfire, {Fill in the blank}-another Sordid Tale of Tex[t]-Mex and Mextasy

As I feverishly lurk the broad galaxies of the internet, I run across textmextian treasures and mextasy-laden artifacts that boggle the imagination; such was the case this morning when Internet chum Carolina Gonzalez tagged my name onto a picture posted by Latina/o studies fellow profe-in-crime, Ricky Rodriguez.

I had never seen this particular photo of Rita Moreno, of West Side Story/Hollywood fame and infamy--I write "infamy" as a quick perusal of the internets led me to this Daily Mail story focused on the sordid, tawdry elements of the gifted actress's life.  Here's an extract with the bulk of the article linked below--spoiler alert!  Brando was great in the sack! Elvis Presley a dud!!!  Every stereotype documented in my book Tex[t]-Mex gets a cameo in this sweaty piece of yellow journalism!

Few women can say they dated Elvis Presley just to make Marlon Brando jealous, but then few Hollywood stars had the voluptuous sex appeal of Rita Moreno. 

Men couldn’t take their eyes off the New York girl who as a child got off a boat from Puerto Rico and went on to win an Oscar playing that  émigré role — fiery Anita in West Side Story. 
And while Presley left her cold, Brando almost forced her suicide, when a botched abortion and his serial infidelity during a turbulent eight-year affair drove her to overdose on sleeping pills. 
‘We were locked in the ultimate folie a deux, a crazy love that lasted for years, until one day I quite literally was forced out of a coma and had to choose life over him,’ she says of Brando in a revealing new autobiography, Rita Moreno — A Memoir. 
Now 81, she lays bare Hollywood’s ‘golden age’ as a tawdry and misogynistic era, while her description of her relationship with Brando is something he would hardly want on his epitaph.  
Her lovers not only included two of the biggest sex symbols of their age but also actors Anthony Quinn and Dennis Hopper, and the celebrated British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan.  
The latter, she reveals, frightened her off with his fetish for sado-masochism, sitting her on his lap and making her look through a photo album of men smacking women’s bottoms. 
Dubbed the ‘hot Latin spitfire’ — which the hard-working actress hated — Moreno spent her career fighting a Hollywood that cast Hispanic actors in any role that required a non-white.  
Moreno starred as the graceful royal Thai wife Tuptim opposite Yul Brynner in The King And I, but also played innumerable Red Indian squaws and Mexican dancers. 
But her dark complexion also attracted Brando, who had never got over his first object of desire — a Danish-Indonesian nanny — and craved exotic, darker-skinned women for the rest of his life.  
Born Ruby Dolores Alverio, Moreno was five when her mother took her from poverty in Puerto Rico to a new life in the U.S.

Pick your poison!  Each image links to a slightly different story:

Lastly, a higher res version of the image that started this posting:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Robotic Erotic Electric Meets Tex[t]-Mex Meets Mextasy! The Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine! #mextasy

As readers of this blog know, my interests in the world of film and literature are not limited to domains Textmextian--side interests in Man Ray, Surrealism, Pop Culture, Deconstruction, Comics, and Robots being but a shortlist of my addled brain's obsessions. So it always with great joy that I meet with imagebombs from friends and colleagues who are in sync with my nefarious semiotic fetishes--special thanks to my Digital Humanities @ SDSU partner-in-crime Noah Arceneaux for zapping me these odd fusions of Robotic Erotic Electric and Tex[t]-Mex!!!.

Case in point, the Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine album by Richard Hatman!

Here's electronica historian Bjorn Werkmann on the album!
Even in hindsight, it is crystal clear what the fuzz in terms of this album is all about. A title as vivid and bold as Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine better worships a histrionic concupiscence, relies on antipodes as well as antidotes and genuflects before the gigantomachy that is called Moog versus the world. It is not necessary to hail the crap out of Richard Hayman’s album, this is neither the time nor the place. Besides, Exotica fans will distill much more value and fun out of Voodoo! (1959) and possibly Havana In Hi-Fi (1957), two of Hayman’s glorious string-infested albums. And yet there is something wonderful about Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine, and no, it is not necessarily the Moog organ in the epicenter. It is true that once the listener grows tired of the Moog craze of yesteryear, there is absolutely no need for him or her to check out this opalescent gem. But there is majesty found in them sparklers: the much more conventional and convenient Hammond organ revs up the apocryphal antra with its ebullient warmth, a few harmonica tidbits make the bystander ponder the source – i.e. whether it is really a harmonica or a cleverly tweaked Moog preset – and last but not least, the real-world percussion sp(l)ices the bleepy and farting keyboard prongs. Even though the effects, swooshes and stereo effects become a tad gaudy, it is the melodies which know to enthrall. Even in this malfunctioning state, the classics breathe and exude verve. If you favor Moog albums, Richard Hayman’s Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine is a no-brainer and strong album overall, an artifact of an exciting time. It is, alas, no Exotica album as played by a quartet, but Space-Age fans shall triple-check its glaring red complexion. Available on vinyl and digitally.
Before diving into the images below, give it a listen:


I should have known it and done my research, but my colleague up the street at USC, music/cultural studies maven, Josh Kun, was onto this in back in 2008--hit the image below to be instantly teleported to Kun's cunning site!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Strange Sightings! Apparitions of Chicanos/Mexicanos in Classic Underground Comics #1--Robert Crumb's ZAP cover | ZAP COMICS #8 1975

One of the peculiarities of my tendencies when it comes to semiotic hoardings, as you well know, are cameos by Latinas/os in mainstream American media artifacts. Now ZAP Comics were anything but the mainstream back in the day, but they have, over time, entered the effluvial, miasmic flow of pop culture leavings that typify a certain moment, a certain groovy time in American cultural history.  So it is that I chanced upon this cover below, at the REMARKABLE site, The Golden Age Site.  It is classic Crumb fare, a cover for Zap #8, 1975, featuring a psychologically befuddled protagonist (he appears to have auto-trepanned his brain in order to ferret out some sort of existential conundrum), and some top shelf Crumb lines and colors. But what caught my eye in this issue, which I don't own--one of the few--is the Mexican kid in the window looking to make a dime.

It's not offensive, really, though the affected "Mexicanized" pidgin English might move one to think so at first--I was actually moved by it.  

Click to enlarge {*source}

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mextasy: Donald Trump's Nativist, Neo-Fascist, Hate-filled ...

Mextasy: Donald Trump's Nativist, Neo-Fascist, Hate-filled ...: My Mexican-American father took bullets and shapnel from Nazis in France, whilst my Mexican/Mexican-American mother repaired fighter pla...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Special Star Guest Posting on the Textmex Galleryblog: Brian D. Behnken and Gregory D. Smithers on "Racism in American Popular Media: From Aunt Jemima to the Frito Bandito" (from Praeger's Racism in American Institutions)

Having dipped their eyes into the radically charged history of American stereotypes, Brian D. Behnken and Gregory D. Smithers have just published a record of their findings.  Their dynamic tome, Racism in American Popular Media: From Aunt Jemima to the Frito Bandito (from Praeger's Racism in American Institutions) is well worth a careful perusal by visitors, lurkers, stalkers, and scholars (!) of the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog.

Funny things happen to writers on popular culture, however, on the way to fame, fortune, and print--sometimes publishers are leery of publishing illustrations.

We, however, as you know, harbor none of those fears, so it gives us great pride to host here postings from the redoubtable Doctors Behnken and Smithers (I love their last names, as they sound like a distinguisted Manchester law firm out of the pages of a Dickens' novel!).

Without further ado, I give you their dispatch {all the images get bigger if you give them a click!}

In Racism in American Popular Media, we explored how race and racism have been critical organizing principles in the popular media. Racism punctuated virtually every facet of American life during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and was woven into the very fabric of the American entertainment industry, which became both larger and increasingly specialized over the two centuries discussed in this book. In other words, popular forms of media – from books to advertisements – became institutionally embedded in American cultural life. In the constantly changing entertainment and advertising industries that our book introduces readers to, the representation of racist and sexist beliefs and behaviors was re-inscribed in American culture with each new book, film, advertisement, and/or cartoon. Through these mediums, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Americans were exposed to visual and aural cues that naturalized white supremacy at the expense of African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans and other Latinos, and people of Asian ancestry.            
Race and racism became such a central part of popular media during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that the presence of discriminatory stories or visual representations became naturalized and ubiquitous. A number of the most common stereotypical character types had their genesis in popular literature, only to morph on film or in cartoons. These include African Americans as indolent, unintelligent, comical; as Sambos or Mammies; as oddly speaking or dressing. They also include portrayals of Latinos as thieves, bandits, or urban thugs; as lazy; Latinas as sexually “hot”; as law breaking border crossers who solely dress in sombreros or serapes. American Indians were either doomed to extinction, bound to an impoverished reservation – or both. They were either a drunk, or a noble savage; assimilated (and hence, not an “authentic full-blood” Indian), or a fierce warrior. Asians were shown as unhygienic people who spread disease or as individuals who were perpetually foreign (the same could be said of Indians and Latinos). Asians were depicted as being evil or demonic; as wily or sinister; as possessing mystical powers that they used for evil, and occasionally for good.            
Many of these archetypes found expression in numerous depictions in advertising, in books, in movies, and cartoons. The Mammy character is a good example, appearing in countless forms from Hattie McDaniel’s “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind to the unnamed “Mammy Two Shoes” in Tom and Jerry cartoons. The Latino/a stereotypical characters could be seen in popular forms such as the Cuban fireball, the Mexican border bandit, or in characters such as Zorro or Speedy Gonzales. Asian archetypes found popular expression in books and films focusing on Dr. Fu Manchu – the evil, sinister Asian – or Charlie Chan – the good Asian who uses his mystical powers of deduction to solve crimes. These character types also have their female equivalent in the sinister “dragon lady” and demure “China doll” archetypes. While real life native peoples, such as Geronimo or Sitting Bull, often were the fodder of writers and movie makers, the fierce warrior or noble savage also came to light in hundreds of stories and films, especially “cowboys and Indians” movies and books. So often could Americans see such characters, so ubiquitous were they, that these types of characters and the racist baggage that accompanied them became normative for many Americans. Moreover, their ubiquity shows how racist depictions could become institutionalized in the popular media. 
It is one thing to read a stereotypical racist description of blacks or Latinos or Asians; it is another thing entirely to see such depictions. Racism in American Popular Media includes many of the words written about nonwhite people. Take for example a few short lines from Charles Carroll’s famous The Negro, A Beast: “the Negro a beast, but created with articulate speech and hands, that he may be of service to his master – the White man.” Carroll also helped originate the black-as-monkey stereotype, writing that “the negro, in common with the rest of the animals, made his appearance upon the earth prior to the creation of man.” Or perhaps George Lippard’s description of Mexicans/Mexican Americans in his book Legends of Mexico merits some attention: “As the Aztec people, crumbled before the Spaniard, so will the mongrel race, moulded [sic] of Indian and Spanish blood, melt into, and be ruled by, the Iron Race of the North….You cannot deny it….God speaks it.” 

He further referred to Mexicans as “a semi-barbarous horde of slaves.” Finally, Sax Rohmer famously described his fictional creation Dr. Fu Manchu thusly, “Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government - which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.” 
Reading those words communicates a great deal. But seeing the depictions of blacks or Asian or Indian or Latinos in popular advertisements or films or cartoons is another thing entirely. We were able to include only a handful of illustrations in our book. What we offer to our Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog readers is an expose of those images. They show in a way the written word cannot a visual clarity that exemplifies institutional racism in the American popular media.

More images that should have been included with the book:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog, Eyegiene, and Mextasy are all now on Instagram!

A photo posted by bill nericcio (@memosdsu) on

More Stereotypes than you can Shake a Stick at... Spicy Western Stories Covers via The Golden Age Blog

The curator at the Golden Age blog is a tireless servant to our compulsive appetite for garish stereotypes.  The latest entry, jump here, with tawdry Spicy Western Stories samples, has almost every flavor of ethnic criminality and swarthy viciousness that one might imagine--see sample above. 1937 was a particularly good year for scary "Mexican" covers with two, by H. J. Ward, that belong in the Tex[t]-Mex Stereotypes Hall of Fame.

Here are a couple more, from the Spicy-Adventure Stories line:

The Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog on FACEBOOK!