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Creative License

22 October 2007

SOMEBODY’S not quite telling the truth here:

There’s a whole sub-genre of Mexican literature, the fictive biography. Carlos Casteñada (ok, he was Peruvian, but his subject was Mexican) inspired a whole generation of gringos to come looking for Don Juan (or at least hallucinate about him; Diego Rivera entertained himself (and the rest of us) making up his life story for his official biographer, Bertram Wolfe; Princess Salm-Salm milked her brief Mexican experience for all it was worth in her untrustworthy (but eminently readable) biography of Prince Felix; Martin Guzmán’s “Eagle and the Serpent” is sometimes listed as a biolgraphy of Pancho Villa, and sometimes as a novel about Pancho. It’s both. Elena Poniatowska and Carlos Fuentes have both written fictional biographies, which may or may not be true.

I don’t know that it’s a “Latin thing” — after all Emily Dickinson (about as un-Latin as you can get) once wrote “Tell the truth, but tell it slant.” Burro Hall — who like Miss Dickinson — is from Massachucetts (which must mean something, I’m sure), is delighted with the latest contribution to Mexican fictography, Vicente Fox’s Revolution of Hope: The Life, Faith, and Dreams of a Mexican President (Viking, 2007. Listed at 27.95, but already marked down to $16.65 at Amazon).

Delighted, but not completely sold on it:

Ex-presidente Vicente “Fat Tony” Fox, the American-educated former executive for the American Coca-Cola Company, has written his life’s story (co-authored with his American political consultant Rob Allyn) about how, when he was president, he kept it real by wearing cowboy boots. He’s currently on a book tour in America. Why not Mexico? Because the book is written in American, not Mexican. After six years of Fox’s rule, the adult literacy numbers apparently aren’t high enough to justify publishing a book here.

Very odd to have the book that claims George W. Bush speaks “grade school Spanish” co-authored by a guy who sells the idea that George W. can speak coherently in English or Spanish:

“One of the first phone calls George W. Bush made after the inauguration was to Mexican president Vicente Fox. The men chatted amiably in Spanish. Perhaps President Bush ought to keep Rob Allyn’s phone number nearby, too—Allyn helped put Fox in power.

Burro has great fun in looking at Don Chente’s own reality-challenged claims, but he’s a politician and, we’d expect his autobiography to be at least half-bullshit, and 100 percent self-serving. Rob Alyn is only the co-author, but given Fox’s well-known aversion to reading, one suspects Alyn contributed something more than fifty percent of the total project.

Alyn is a professional sleaze-bag political media consultant. As Sourcewatch notes about his affairs in the U.S.:

Allyn was a key player in the George W. Bush campaign to discredit his rival for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination Senator John McCain. Millionaire Bush supporter Sam Wyly funded Republicans for Clean Air to attack McCain in key states during the 2000 primary campaign. Rob Allyn was paid $46,000 to help create the ads.

His pimping consulting for Fox’s 2000 campaign (suspected of being paid for the the U.S. Republican Party) was more controversial. Narco News has been on Alyn’s back for years. As they point out, Alyn set up a front group called “Democracy Watch” and engaged in all kinds of illegal activities in Mexico before and after Fox’s 2000 campaign, in his attempt to sell the candidate from a former fascist party as a “democratic alternative” to the PRI.

Don’t get me wrong… I like Mexican fiction, and I’m just twisted enough to enjoy Mexican politics. But, I want to wait until either Vicente Fox reads “his” book and gives a cogent report on it, or it’s marked down by Amazon to a buck.

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