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Bullfighters and bullshitters — the news from Lake Texcocobegone

6 November 2004

Today (7-Nov-04) was opening day for the bullfighting season (a quadruple header… final score: Matadores 4, Toros 0). The day is marked here in Mexico City with a more modern sport – the running of the animal rights activists. I haven’t got the final score of that spectacle yet, and will have to wait for tomorrow Jornada: bullfighting reporters are the only sports writers in the world who can talk about esthetics and use words like grace and elegance without sounding like… sissies. Right-on, lefty intellectuals though the Jornada folks are (and, de facto on the side of right-on lefty types like animal rights folks), they’re Mexicans first… and recognize the toros for what they are. Pampered, well-bred, spirited, folklorico taco fillers. So what if bullfighting is a decadent, brutal and cruel remnant of the barbaric past… it’s OUR decadent, brutal and cruel remnant of the barbaric past. Besides, it annoys the gringos, and Mexican lefties have to love that! I expect, as usual, a few bull-headed (literally!) foreigners were tossed from the game… and the country, as usual.

Ah tradition… also this week, the Teotehuacán WalMart opened (within sight of the pyramids). Another Mexican tradition… big, bad foreigner company throws their weight around, bribes everyone in sight, and then we are shocked – shocked I tell you – to discover there are vendepatria going on. WalMart… as expected … offered some sort of official statement to the effect that the protesters were representing local economic interests (duh… like local shopkeepers that are going to lose their livelihoods, going from middle-class business owners and entrepreneurs to barely unionized workers) and “outsiders”. Besides the “usual suspects” (artists, writers, Indian leaders, the Zapatistas…) Tezcatlipoca himself weighed in at the last minute. . Teza, as he’s known to his friends and admirers, has always been one of my favorites… Lord of the Night, the Smoking Mirror, Ruler of Reality and Unreality… and – HE WHO FUCKS WITH YOUR HEAD.

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Wally World stocked the shelves, ringed the premises with coppers, bussed in the stockboys and the cashiers, opened the doors and… the cash registers crashed. It’s not nice to dis the Gods — especially on Day of the Dead. Días de los Muertos was particularly spooky this year, since it was also Election Day in the U.S. While I can’t fathom what happened, and can’t possible explain it logically, this might. Tezacatlipoca himself — I have it on good authority — is appalled. So reportedly are Santa Muerta, Santo Judeo Tadeo and la Virgen de Guadelupe. Their respective spokespersons have all said so. As are the 90% of Mexicans (and most of the rest of the human race) with common sense. As am I.

One hears the word fascismo in the air. A specialist in that particular political philosophy, Dr. Lawrence Britt, compared Bush with folks like Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini, Augustin Pinochet and … guess what? He makes a pretty good argument.

Fox (the President, not the Television network) is putting a “happy face” on it, saying maybe now we’ll get back to dealing with the border issues. Yeah, right. Part and parcel of our war on abstract nouns (“terrorism”) is our war on brown people. Never mind that the only terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been domestic ones (like Oklahoma City) or people flying in from Britain and Canada… to have a good fascist state you need a few less abstract enemies. Fear of gays – especially married ones – might get you elected (if Bush was elected — Carlos Salinas may have pioneered creative voting software, but he was a rank amateur compared to Diebolt), but there’s nothing like good old-fashioned racism to keep things bubbling along.

Just this week, the Bushistas have decided that civil servants who don’t turn in illegal aliens can be jailed and/or fined. Nothing like turning us into an army of informers… a la Joseph Stalin. Geeze, if “illegal aliens” really were a threat, you might want to stop giving tax breaks for farmers and subsidizing agriculture, like the NAFTA treaty specified (you, too, you Canucks). The people going north are not abstract nouns, or even potential abstract nouns (Pancho Villa has been dead a long, long time) but some of those 600 farm families that find every day that they’re going to starve if they stay at home. But, then too, what would you do without peons? I suppose for the good of the U.S. (and the greater glory of Archer-Daniels-Midland), it’s better that free Mexican workers and property owners lose everything and become underpaid, exploited labor. Your tax dollars at work.

I still don’t know how they did it, but the price of Mexican oil FELL three dollars for U.S. oil companies. And it’s hard to see it as coincidence that now the U.S. Air Force is overflying Mexican oil installations. Mexico is a much more important oil supplier than Iraq – and it’s a lot closer. And has an even crappier army. There’s no way anybody’s going to buy the idea that Mexicans have weapons of mass destruction (well, certain taco stands aside), but the new, improved threat is … the Latin American left. Even before yet another Latin American country (Uruguay) joined the trend of electing a president from the left, General James T. Hill of the Southern Command has been … oh, showing a lot of interest in things down here: “These developments represent an increasing threat to U.S. interests,” said Hill, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, with headquarters in Miami.

Apparently ELECTING folks who actually do something for poor folks is a threat to democracy. Especially if the poor folks are selling oil or narcotics to the world’s largest consumer of those two items. Nobody’s too upset that Uruguay elects a socialist, since we don’t buy either of those essentials from there. But Venezuela or Mexico or Bolivia — now that’s a different story. And that’s another post… that’s all the news from Lake Tezcoco be gone… etc. etc. etc.

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