Friday, September 11, 2009

The U.S. Occupation of Northern Mexico: Of Pancho Villa and Pershing's "Exploratory" Expedition

Here's another cover from the same site; needless to say, a Tex[t]-Mextian nightmare shot!

and, for the kicker, check out cinema Diva-critic Pauline Kael, on Alfredo Bedoya from The Treasure the Sierra Madre:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

US (1948): Adventure
124 min, No rating, Black & White, Available on videocassette and laserdisc
One of the strongest of all American movies. Three Americans stranded in Mexico dig for gold and strike it rich--and the writer-director, John Huston, "looks on," as he says, and "lets them stew in their own juice." Bogart is the paranoid tough guy, Fred C. Dobbs; Walter Huston is the toothless, shrewd old prospector; Tim Holt is a blunt, honest young man. With Alfonso Bedoya as a primitive bandit who makes one appreciate civilization, Robert Blake as a Mexican boy, and Bruce Bennett, and the director himself as the victim of Bogart's cadging. From the B. Traven novel; Ted McCord was the cinematographer; Max Steiner wrote the terrible score. The first section (about 20 minutes), set in Tampico, with Bogart getting a haircut and fighting Barton MacLane in a bar, is so sure and lucid it's as good as anything John Huston ever did--maybe even better than THE MALTESE FALCON. But there he sustained the hard, economic style; here, he doesn't. And an episode involving the reading of a letter written by Bruce Bennett's wife is so false and virtuous that it's hard to believe that it's in the same movie as those scenes in Tampico. The picture is emotionally memorable, though--it has a powerful cumulative effect; when it's over you know you've seen something. (It was a box-office failure in 1948; apparently audiences resented Bogart's departure from the immensely popular CASABLANCA stereotype.) Warners.

Comic Books and Race at Racialicious!

Migrant Workers Image Archive from LIFE MAGAZINE @ Google Images

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hating "Illegal Immigrants" Can Make You Say the Damnedest Things: Congressman Joe Wilson's YOU LIE Moment at Obama's Health Care Speech

Lately, the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog has been railing against the rise of fascism in the United States, an insidious blend of patriotism, ignorance, and Mexican-hating that has made it open season on Latinos and Latinas from New York to Texas, from Pennsylvania to Utah. The rise in hate-based crimes, fueled by the fetid kerosene spewing out the mouthes of Limbaugh, Dobbs, Beck, Coulter, Hannity, and their ilk is making it more and more likely that race and race-hatred will continue to typify the American dasesin far into the 21st century. Hit the image above for NPR's coverage of the Joe Wilson shoutout to the President at last night's health care speech to the joint houses in Washington.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 @ 5pm, KPFK 90.7 FM, TEXTMEX Radio Pilot Debuts! Bring Your Ears!!!


If you missed the two hour September 8, 2009 radio show desmadre with Gustavo Arellano, Federico Luis Aldama and the one and only Myriam Gurba, tune in here for the podcast, here to stream, and here to download! ¡órale!


Not since the days that I anchored the "What's Bothering Bill" lefty radio commentary show on the East Coast at WHUS, Storrs, Connecticut, have I been as excited as I am now. Working with Gustavo Arellano and KPFK, that indy shining tower of radio power in LA, I am going to be breaking out on the air this coming Tuesday with a radio version of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America.

We are still working with the determination of day-laborers, sweating the details over the segments, but I can guarantee one of the pieces will go by the name BROWN IVORY TOWER, set interviews where I talk to some chingon or chingona Latina/o academic, wreaking intellectual havoc across the winsome, gringo laced plains of academe. UPDATE! I will be interviewing the Chicano King of Ohio State University's English Department, the one and only loco-genius Frederick Luis Aldama--Aldama's the author of YOUR BRAIN ON LATINO COMICS (UT PRESS, 2009)

Be sure to tune in on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 @ 5pm, KPFK 90.7 FM--just hit the nifty tote bag to your left and be instantly transported to the online version of KPFK where you can listen via streaming media; if you live in San Diego county, KPFK comes through for some folks via the magic of their radio dial!

Immigrant Workers Update!

La Guerra en la Frontera: Ciudad Juarez and El Paso in Newseek

Gracias to regular contributor David O. García for the link! Hit the image to your right for the story.

Lupe Velez Movie Poster Auction

Heritage is at it again with an amazing Lupe Velez movie poster auction. Click here for the details and click the image for Hollywood at its graphic deliciousness best!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Damned [Neurosurgeon and Law Professor] Illegal Aliens!

A tip of the Tex[t]-Mex sombrero to Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa y profe Kevin R. Johnson! Here's a NYTIMES interview from last year:

May 13, 2008
A Conversation With Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

A Surgeon’s Path From Migrant Fields to Operating Room

Correction Appended

At the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa has four positions. He is a neurosurgeon who teaches oncology and neurosurgery, directs a neurosurgery clinic and heads a laboratory studying brain tumors. He also performs nearly 250 brain operations a year. Twenty years ago, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa, now 40, was an illegal immigrant working in the vegetable fields of the Central Valley in California. He became a citizen in 1997 while at Harvard.


A. Mexicali. My father had a small gas station. The family’s stability vanished when there was a devaluation of the Mexican peso in the 1980s. My father lost the gas station, and we had no money for food. For a while, I sold hot dogs on the corner to help.

As the economic crisis deepened, there seemed no possibility for any future in Mexico. I had big dreams and I wanted more education. So in 1987, when I was 19, I went up to the border between Mexicali and the United States and hopped the fence.

Some years later, I was sitting at a lunch table with colleagues at Harvard Medical School. Someone asked how I’d come to Harvard. “I hopped the fence,” I said. Everyone laughed. They thought I was joking.


A. I was a farm laborer in the San Joaquin Valley, seven days a week, sunup to sundown. I lived in this little trailer I paid $300 a month for. It didn’t take long to see that farm work was a dead end.

After a year of it, I moved to Stockton, where I found a job loading sulfur and fish lard onto railroad freight cars. My eyes burned from the sulfur, and my clothes smelled from fish lard, but it paid me enough so that I was able to go to night classes at San Joaquin Delta Community College. There, I met this wonderful human being, Norm Nichols, the speech and debate coach. He took me into his family and mentored me. Norm helped me apply for and get accepted to the University of California, Berkeley.

Once at Berkeley, I took a lot of math and science classes to up my G.P.A. Science and math are their own language. You didn’t need to write in perfect English to do well in them. I pulled straight A’s in science. In my senior year, someone told me to go see this guy, Hugo Mora, who helped Hispanics with science talent. I brought him my transcript and he said: “Wow! With grades like these, you should be at Harvard Medical School.” That’s how I got to Harvard. All along, I had much luck with mentors.


A. Not really. Compared to working in the fields, it was easy. The question was what kind of doctor should I become? For a while, I thought I’d be a pediatric oncologist, because I wanted to help children. But then I thought, I’m good with my hands. Maybe I should do surgery.

One day, I was walking through Brigham and Women’s Hospital and I saw Dr. Peter Black, the chairman of neurosurgery. I introduced myself, and he invited me that day to come to watch him do an operation. As it happened, he was doing an “awake” surgery, where the patient’s brain is exposed and the patient is awake so that the surgeon can ask questions. As I watched that, I fell in love with brain surgery.


A. Imagine, the most beautiful organ of our body, the one that we know least about, the one that makes us who we are, and it was in Dr. Black’s hand. It was in front of me. It was pulsating! I realized I could work with my hands and touch this incredible organ, which is what I do now. I cannot conceive of a much more intimate relationship than that. A patient grants you the gift of trusting you with their lives, and there is no room for mistakes.

Dr. Peter Black, he was a very humble person. And he took me under his wing. So here again, I was very fortunate with mentorship.


A. I meet them several times, and their families. They don’t know if they are going to wake up after the operation. Not all the time am I successful. I do about 230 to 240 brain tumor operations a year. The majority make it. Some have complications. And some — 2 to 3 percent — it takes awhile for the patients to wake up. I need to meet everyone so that they know the risks. But getting to know these patients, it’s the most painful part.

I was at a funeral yesterday. This was a 21-year-old man with a young wife, pregnant. Three surgeries, and the tumor kept growing and growing. And he told me, “There’s no possible way I’ll give up.” He fought so hard. He trusted me with his life. Not once, several times. I owed him my presence.


A. One of the ways I work it out is through research, the laboratory. I’m trying to learn about the causes of these recurring tumors. The patients, they can donate tissue, which we will examine.

My hypothesis is — and there are quite a few scientists who believe this — there are within these brain tumors a small subset of cells that can keep growing, even when you think you’ve taken them all out. We call them brain stem cells. They can keep making themselves, and they can make “daughter cells” that can become anything else in the brain. They have the ability to go to sleep for a little bit and then wake up and do it again. So we’re trying to identify this small subset of cells we may be leaving behind when we make these beautiful surgeries.


A. Yes, but only in the laboratory. When we’ve found them, they may be a product of the experimental conditions of the laboratory. We haven’t found them yet in live patients. The next challenge is to see if they truly exist in the human brain while the patient is alive.


A. It bothers me. Because I know what it was that drove me to jump the fence. It was poverty and frustration with a system that would have never allowed me to be who I am today.

As long as there is poverty in the rest of the world and we export our culture through movies and television, people who are hungry are going to come here. There’s no way to stop it.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 14, 2008
An article on Tuesday about a neurosurgeon who came to the United States as an illegal immigrant 21 years ago misstated the doctor’s given name in some copies. He is Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, not Alberto.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Eyegiene Update or Ojos del 6 Million Dollar Man

Click the image above for a cool eye-based/technology tale off of

The more I think about Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race, my follow-up volume to Tex[t]-Mex, the more I realize how much it is endebted to my old school training in literary criticism. I sometimes lament the fact that I stopped publishing pieces of literary criticism, leaving the world of tomes and old libraries (cue Borges cameo) for the glitzier domain of film, photography, and visual culture. But it really is all the same at heart. What dazzles my curiosity is a story--it can be written, narrated aloud, projected on a wall, whispered in a corner, painted on a billboard, or flash to me in a dream; it can appear to me in any form. Chronicling the dynamics of this seduction, this "being led astray" via the magic of narrative, visual or textual, semiotic or semantic, is the real aim of Eyegiene.