Friday, May 08, 2009

UPDATE: Frederick Aldama's New Book with UT Press! Your Brain on Latino Comics!

original post: 1/16/09

More soon on this ultra cool new volume from the University of Texas Press (yes, I am utterly and unapologetically biased!) by the one and only Frederick Luis Aldama! The EC-comics style cover, circa 1953, is amazing--however, as I told Aldama, I would have preferred Gilbert Hernandez's Tonantzín (right) or Luba (!) on the front cover.

Here's the blurb I wrote for the back cover after sneaking a long, longing read of its pages:

“‘Holy funny pages, Batman!’ Fred Aldama’s Your Brain on Latino Comics tears open new tierra as its savvy x-ray vision parses Latino visual culture. With voracious eyes attuned to word-image conspiracies, grandmaster Aldama’s ink-stained hands reveal the legacy and destiny of ‘American’ comics. This is a go-to book for profs in ethnic/cultural studies and communications. Jump into a phone booth and reach for your hot spandex tights—Aldama’s lush, semiotic alchemy will have you leaping buildings in a single bound!”
—William A. Nericcio, Chair, English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University; Visiting Professor, Media and Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside

Here's a scan of the back cover:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


If you are going to study the history of race and film in America, you are going to have to get up close and personal with Mandingo--I taught it in a seminar a couple of years ago and will return to it again in Spring 2010. Onion's AV Club riff on the film is worth re-reading.

This particular scene, wherein a plantation wife, Susan George as Blanche Maxwell, metes out punishment to a slave, Ellen (Brenda Sykes) who has consorted with her white husband, Perry King as Hammond Maxwell, is excruciating to watch but essential to ponder!

Smithfield Foods, Corporate Mother of Butterball, Armour, etc and the Scourge of Factory Forming: Mexican Swine Flu and the Smithfield Flu

A listener of Gustavo Arellano's KPFK radio show sends in this message and this link as a follow-up to our discussion of the origins of our present might-be-pandemic swine flu:

>Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 16:58:09 -0700
>From: "________" <>
>Subject: Back to Pork's Dirty Secret: The nation's top hog producer is also one of America's worst polluters
> Professor Nericcio and Gustavo,
> I'm listening to you via the internet stream off of KPCC. The
> Smithfield Foods industrial pork production lines are also in the
> United States. Hope the FCC doesn't catch up with you about the four letters
> words from todays show. best,
> A listener

> Attached is an article from Rolling Stone on Smithfield's hog
> productions in the US.

Arellano and Nericcio on at 4:20pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009, on KPFK!

update, May 6, 2009

Just a quick note to let you know that Gustavo Arellano's "Dobbs Flu"/Cinco de Mayo show on KPFK is now archived for the next 89 days; you can either stream it here or download the mp3 here.

Original posting, Cinco de Mayo, 2009

Holy Cinco de Mayo!!! Tune in at 4pm for the whole Arellano-enchilada; I will be on at 4:20pm speaking on the rabid anti-Mexican racism roiling the U.S. right now owing to the flu-fear pandemic! Hit the link below to listen live; or, return later Tuesday and show will be archived as a podcast.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

As if the Stereotype of the Latin Lover Needed Any Assistance, Now our Priests are in on the Scandal!

"Now," as in "now" heterosexually, the priest as lascivious rogue being part of our mental landscape for at least the last decade. Ay Caramba! Ay dios en el cielo... Papacito takes on Derridean depths of meaning! Guanabee's got the goods, with TMZ-style luridicity! Click the cube to your left for all the priestly semiotic droppings!

Cinco de Mayo Latina/o Film Festival on Turner Classic Movies All Day, and All Month

Hit the image to visit Ted Turner's priceless cable invention {more below the image}

In honor Cinco de Mayo, the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog is proud to host a streaming trailer of Paul Muni channeling Benito Juarez in MGM's riveting Juarez. Muni, of Bordertown fame, was Hollywood's go-to "Mexican" non-Mexican* in the 1930s:

Here's UCLA Chicano kingpin Chon Noriega on Muni--the connection to Lon Cheney, the man of a 1000 faces (only Anthony Quinn played more types/monsters is dead-on):

Guillén: Our of sheer curiosity then, let’s say that—out of the many performances where white actors play Latino characters—is there one you feel to be most accomplished?

Noriega: That’s an interesting question. Lou Diamond Phillips is often incorporated into the Latino character category and he’s a multi-ethnic multi-racial actor. He’s had several roles where he’s played a Latino character. There are some performances that are notable precisely for not being that believable. It’s interesting when you see the mainstream press say, “Well, this is not believable. We love the actor but no way is it convincing.” Historically, the performance I find most fascinating—not necessarily believable per se, but believable in the context of Lon Chaney—is Paul Muni in Bordertown. And also in Juarez, where he plays the Mexican president Benito Juarez. It’s a great performance though I don’t know how authentic it is in essence. But that’s not the question. It’s a fascinating example of somebody who—like Lon Chaney—made a career out of playing and trying effectively to play just about every type he could. {source}

*Paul Muni was born Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund on September 22, 1895) in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now known as Lviv, Ukraine). His parents were Jewish actors that immigrated to the United States in 1902. He started working on the stage at 12 years of age, when he was known by a Yiddish nickname Moonie, but didn’t make it to Broadway until he was nearly thirty.... {source}

Monday, May 04, 2009

Gawker on Mexican-fearing Glenn Beck!

So many people are hitting this post that the video is delayed! Good news for all the sane folks in this country that this mad, ethnic-body, fearing hypocrite is getting outed for the ass he is! Cheers!

The Rolling Stones, the Middle Passage, and Racist Misogyny

follow-up posting here.

Rasquache Humor in a Jugular Vein...

BordertownBlues Musings on South Texas Beer Runs

As I prepare to revise for publication (finally) my own photographic laced musings on Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, I have been perusing the contemporary Barthes-style writings of borderland flaneurs and semioticians--Bordertown Blues's thoughtful notes on South Texas beer runs, drive-in, drive-thru "ice houses," common in Laredo, are first rate:

La Sanbe, to your left and below, probably, in my "ilk" section, another worthy Laredense son of Roland Barthes, I have written about here before.

Chapter 2,765,002 of the Odd, Semiotic, Catholic Fetishism of Mexican Catholics

I was going to make a joke about what I think the griddle stain below looks like but on the off chance the ghosts of the nuns that raised me are lurking about (Sister Corinne, I see you there; Sister Veronica, I swear you won't smell sin oozing out of me), I will keep my lascivious symbolic speculations to myself. Hit the image below for the scoop off the LA Times servers.

Lalo Alcaraz has his own take on this...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Guanabee on Jay Severin, aka Jay Severino or Generational Immigrant Cannibalism!

As an Italian-Mexican-American, Nericcio ain't that common en Mexico, the following story brought horrors to my brain and my genes!

The Latest from Mexico City and Daniel Hernandez: Flu Recession in Mexico

Mexican Scapegoating Op-Ed in the NY Times

...a quick follow-up to my post on Jay Severin's (the Goebbels-cloned cousin of Limbaugh, Beck, Dobbs, & Coulter) anti-immigrant rantings from the May 2, 2009 NY Times:

May 3, 2009
American Epidemics, a Brief History
permalink to original source

ALL epidemics are different in their own way, and the current swine flu outbreak — which by Friday had sickened 141 people in 19 states, and caused deaths and illness in Mexico and 13 other countries — is no exception. Yet, as you can see from the chart below, which provides details on a selected handful of epidemics in American history, all outbreaks share certain themes. While some of these events killed many thousands and others affected only a few, in each case public health officials felt a grave threat was imminent and did what they could using the science of the day.

History also shows us, unfortunately, that epidemics lead to reflexive scapegoating of those thought to have caused the problem. Just as European immigrants were blamed for importing cholera in the late 19th century, we are now seeing reports of American politicians saying that Mexican migrant workers should be turned away from hospitals and a rash of scurrilous posts on the Internet attributing the outbreak to their “dirty” ways of life. Another common feature is misinformation. There are now boycotts around the world of Mexican pork, despite well-established science that humans do not contract swine flu from eating pork. And then there was Vice President Joe Biden’s premature suggestion that we all avoid airplanes and the subway.

Confusion and blame games aside, we can take heart that our public health professionals are working around the clock to prevent this crisis from getting out of control. One thing the history of epidemics teaches us is that given our remarkable arsenal of treatments, public health measures and rapid surveillance and communications ability, there’s never been a better time to have a pandemic than today — except, that is, tomorrow.

Howard Markel, a doctor and professor of medical history at the University of Michigan, is the author of “Quarantine” and “When Germs Travel.” Sam Potts is a graphic designer.

And this, just in from Boston:

Get your hands on one of my books ...