Saturday, September 08, 2007

¡bienvenidos and welcome!

Our Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog is seeing a 50% spike in its daily traffic owing to the generosity of Gustavo Arellano. For our new visitors, here's the skinny: this blog is a sort of cyberwarehouse of materials for the second edition of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America, a 2007 book published by the University of Texas Press. More information on that volume is available here, from UTPRESS, here, courtesy of Amazon, and here, an archive of materials related to the book--a blow up of the cover designed by UTPRESS's semiotic whiz/diva, Lisa Tremaine, is clickable here to your right.

The book includes pieces on Rita Hayworth, Speedy Gonzales, the Border (through the eyes of Orson Welles), Frida Kahlo (through the eyes of Chicano "Picasso," Gilbert Hernandez), Richard "Self-Loathing-but-improving" Rodriguez, Salma Hayek, Lupe Vélez, systemic sadism and the Mexican immigrant body, Latina bombshells, Mexican Lotharios, and a host of other treats--the book features a full-color section and over 250 illustrations.

The premise of this quirky opus is quite simple: stereotypes are serious and stereotypes are funny--in the book's nosy, prolix, meandering investigation of the dialectic between cultural history and laughter emerges surprising and defining revelations about the culture and, if I am right, the destiny of Americans, estadounidenses, of all colors, sexes, faiths, and biases.

I hope you find the book and this blog useful.

Peace, Ink, and Love,

Bill Nericcio

ps to lit & cultural studies profs, lecturers, grad studs, and undergrads presently using the book--write in and let me know what works and what's coming up short!

Here's a cool short sequence from Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai:

Friday, September 07, 2007

1983, Wall of Voodoo, and Mexican Radio

In 1983, Wall of Voodoo came out with an early MTV video classic directed by Francis Delia that helped define a generation of music video. Seen through the lens of Tex[t]-Mex, however, this incipient contribution to what became the dominant form of music marketing plays the same role Griffith's Birth of a Nation played for cinema last century. Just a thought.

See it and judge for yourself!

Nothing to Do With Stereotypes, Everything to Do With the Politics of Visual Technologies

Dora the Explorer, Unchained! Unleashed!

A former genius undergraduate in my Obscene Machine/Ethnic Mannequins undergraduate class at SDSU writes in to the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog with a cool, next-wave Dora the Explorer mutation viral youtube video! Here's the scoop:

Subject: Re: Speedy G Siting!!
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2007 12:58:04 -0400
From: Barbara

Here goes:

Hello Professor!

It seems that the use of our amigo Speedy Gonzales as a recognizable symbol for all things Mexican is still in full force. "Dora the Explorachola" looks like the perfect cartoon music video for our discussions of obscene and fascinating perceptions of race. In this case, the crude song even adds an uncanny element to innocent Dora and her little monkey friend. I could not help but think of our class as I watched Speedy G on the screen, displayed so matter-of-factly in this orgy of Mexican stereotypes.

Barbara Tolbert / Former e493 student

Here is the video:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gracias con un abrazo fuerte...

Thank you with a huge, strong hug (translation of our header above for our beloved Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog™ reading gabachos) to Gustavo Arellano, 'Merica's favorite controversial, wordsmith, Scribner-loved Mesican for his links, love, and sassy insults appearing now in New York's Village Voice (who know how to hotlink a weblink) and Orange County's OCWeekly (who I love, but don't).


The Village Voice
's link is broken--varmints! LAWeekly's link works, but you have to squint like Mr. Magoo to find it after the word "Bill" in the first response. Look for the tiny blue underscore mark.

Following up on Barthes, Borges et al or Mexican Semiotic Richness

Right on the heels of our September 1, 2007 dispatch, a loyal reader sends in a tip on another formidable photographic archive on the net wherein rest a myriad treasure trove of Mexican figuration:

Hola Memo,

Here's another site that has a good collection of photos of Mexicans, including Dorothea Lange, at the Library of Congress. It's called the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection and there are lots of interesting images of Mexicans. Same criteria, do a search for Mexicans and you will come up with many hits, mostly in Tejas and El Paso. Here's the link,


David O. García

García's own semiotic site is here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tex[t]-Mex Now an Amazon Bestseller!!!

Perusing the rankings of is a dangerous thing for a sensitive author! This morning I was floored to see that Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America was #8 in the category" they call "Hispanic" and 20th in the "Hispanic-American" category.

I was floored. Thrilled!

Floored and thrilled, that is, that I saw my bestselling title was one click BEHIND the Bless Me Ultima Cliffs Notes on the "Hispanic" list, and that Julia Kristeva, noted Chicana (not!), was hanging out there as well. At Cornell in the 80s, just 5 years after I was tooling around Laredo streets in my Mama's green Pacer, I thrilled to the French riffs of Kristeva, speculum-wielding Luce Irigaray, and others, make no mistake about that. That said, Chicanadom can't claim her as its own and though the Nixon-administration-spawned term "Hispanic" is inclusive, I think tossing in Frenchy-pomo-Freudians is taking it a bit far.

The Bless Me Ultima Cliffs Notes trumping TextMex are punishment, no doubt, for my infamous review of talented seer Anaya's peculiar Jalamanta.

However, the Cliffs Notes prove the thesis of that review: when Chicana/o fiction has Cliffs Notes, we've reached the moment when essentialist cheerleading is over and true criticism can begin.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

¿Lalo Alcaraz, Waltero Disneyzia de la futura?

It just HAD to happen! If African-Americans had their Fat Albert back in the day, it was only a matter of time before Chicanos would have their own Warner Brothersesque visionaries tracing out and inking our future tomorrows! OK, maybe it's more Hanna Barbara meets Dick Tracy meets Deputy Dawg than Foghorn Leghorn and Speedy Gonzales, but it's still a hoot--and that "Chivo" character will either endear or scare the shit out of you!

Without further ado, it's time to prepare your eyes for Lalo Alcaraz et al's rock'n rollin', low-riding, semiotically delicious mini-epic The Chuco Brothers!

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Phoenix Airport Censors the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog

Gustavo Arellano, rising literary star of American letters and infamous columnist with ¡Ask a Mexican!, recently wrote in to let me know that he was blocked in his efforts at reading the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog in Phoenix, Arizona. Here's his dispatch:
>On an unrelated note, I tried to visit your blog while at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport, through their public WiFi, and I received this message:
>Your organization's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time.
>The Websense category "Sex" is filtered.
>Sexy Mexi!

No doubt Arellano's censorship had more to do with Gustavo's incessant porn trawling than any untoward content on our Virgen de Guadalupe®-approved site, but we leave that to the historians of the future to determine.

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