Saturday, July 19, 2008

I wanted to put this cartoon on my department's website and thought twice about it....

I wanted to put this cartoon on my department's website and thought twice about it.... here, i don't have to think twice; it's brilliant. Sent in by the one and only Michael Wyatt Harper, aka, "Coke can:

Harper also sends in this link to a new series of ads that "speak" through phenotype-manipulation; here's one:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just When You Thought You Had Seen it All, the History of Stereotyping Takes a Bold Step Forward!

More on the "monkey" here; click the image for more than you may be ready for.

Thanks to regular Ace Internet detective Michael Wyatt Harper, Vancouver ex-pat, and resident of Thousand Oaks, for the headsup. No, really, thank you...... What a post!


Efforts on the part of the medical community ought to chill me out, but they don't!

Chihuahuas, Burros, T-Shirts, and "Mexicans": A Micro-Rant

There is nothing explicitly or implicitly demeaning or debilitating with associating particular animals with particular countries--poodles with France, say, or camels with Saudi Arabia, bulldogs with England, and chihuahuas with Mexico; animals, humans included, have a history, and because of the vagaries of evolution and climate, various preponderances of animals can be found in any number of nations. No big deal.

And it was no big deal years back, at least to this critic, when Taco Bell started its series of yo quiero Taco Bell commercials featuring an infamous and widely debated chihuahuahueño:

If anything, the star of this commercial, "Dinky" or "Gidget," (depending on your take on a controversy) is like the "Mexican," Miguel "Mike" Vargas (Charlton Heston) from Touch of Evil (tirelessly documented in the first chapter* of Tex[t]-Mex); but where Vargas eschews pre-Psycho hot gringa Janet Leigh for the affections of Orson Welles in a fat suit, Gidget/Dinky ignores the allures of amor for food--the culinary wins out over the erotic, as, coincidentally enough, with Welles!

Both "Mike Vargas" and the yo quiero Taco Bell pooch play against 'type, against stereotype, given that the history of "Mexicans" in the cine/cultural space of America was always decidedly sexual--a dastardly sexuality, a swarthy eroticism accelerated to the point where "Mexicans" as synecdoche for sexuality isn't much of a stretch.

But other efforts are less "innocent." So it is that I have taken the time to out the Tex[t]-Mextian "normalcy" of Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua coming soon to a theater and blu-ray disk near you. And now I take the time to note the "humor" of "Mexican" T-shirts:

Drunk frat boys do need to wear t-shirts in TJ, I'll grant you that--the spectacle of melanoma soliciting pale skin the last thing one needs to see while cruising the sights and sounds of Avenida Revolución. But this out sized, be-testicled beast, semiotically fused with it's semantic equivalent, "Mexico," cries out for further scrutiny. Already a synecdoche-rich term (testicles or "balls," as shorthand for moxie, chutzpah, fortitude, drive, etc. with virulently masculine overtones), here its symbolic equivalent looming there in green between the silhouetted burro's back legs, screams out with force, --this is the power of images they silently scream, they stealthily infuse the psyche through the eyes with the veritable force of an orchestrated cacophony: balls, testicles [texticles?], huevos, force, strength, machismo. ¡ay caramba!

More on this to follow.

* "Hallucinations of Miscegenation and Murder: Dancing along the Mestiza/o Borders of Proto-Chicana/o Cinema with Orson Welles's Touch of Evil"

Monday, July 14, 2008

I happened across these new BBC ads on adbox... of which focuses on the US/EUM border:

Leave it to the BBC to 'see' something other media engines work to obscure.

On another note, the Che ad here freaks me out!

The OC Weekly on Monica Palacios: She Don't Need No Stinking Wetsuit!

Xicanosmosis, 1992: Oscar de la Hoya at the Olympics

Just a quick clipping from the August 2008 issue of Latina Magazine--proof positive that the cultural dynamics of xicanosmosis--the syncretic melding of Mexican and Unitedstatesian cultural miasmas and elixirs--is always on the march; some key semiotic interactions to note in the unattributed photo: the adidas logo, the "American" flag, the Mexican flag, and the Xicano boxer, who made 20th century boxing history.

ps: Is someone at Latina Magazine reading this blog?


Though I have yet to totally forgive John Lasseter and Pixar for the Mexican Sombrero/Cantina scene in A Bug's Life, I am not blind to the magic of he and his wizards animation--here's the new short, "Presto" now playing with Wall-E:

Tex[t]-Mextian Eyegienics

Also, placed here as a research placeholder, a reference for future exploration forwarded here via the magic of the internets by Michael Wyatt Harper--the Ouroboros, click the beast for more info!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Of War and "War": 'Low Rider' and Black/Mexican Tensions

The Memín Pinguin blow-up shows that African American and Latino community tensions are on the rise nationally--all the more reason to remember this Raza anthem and the band, ironically called "War," that made it possible:

Animation: "9" by Shane Acker and An Eye for Annai by Jon Klassen and Dan Rodrigues

Eyegiene and Synecdoche, New York: The Eyes of Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze

When people ask me "what is eyegiene all about," I seem to always flail about with cinematic/literary/art references: "imagine Borges translated through Buñuel's camera; Pynchon as filmed by the Coen Brothers; Kieslowski painted by Remedios Varo," and so on.

Two artist who get it and live it in their projects are Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze--in films like Being John Malkovich, and soon, Synecdoche, New York, Kaufman and Jonze weave cinematic canvases masked as mirrors; or better, filmed mirrors that double as novels. Here's a taste from the new film--below the snippet is some footage from the film's Cannes debut earlier this year:

For those wrestling with the title of the film, it's named after the rhetorical part of speech, synecdoche (si NECK doe kee) that means "part for whole" as in "all 'hands' on deck" where 'hands' shorthands for sailors' hands or labor in general. It is the coolest of metonymies, even cooler than catachresis and the foundation of all poetry and art. Here's the OED, the Oxford English Dictionary, on "synecdoche."

More on this after the movie opens here stateside. As a quick aside, I love that Kaufman has named his film using a pun, where Synecdoche, NY proxies for the anticipated Schenectady, NY. At Cornell, back in the day, back in the high renaissance of critical theory, I used to make a joke in seminar, a horrible pun, really, where I would say Chaka Khan in lieu of French psychoanalytic hero Jacques Lacan. Kaufman's done me one better!

Chaka Khan fans will dig this flashback to her days with Rufus--1974 at a Bob Hope hosted [!] event, no less!

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