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Border Patrol Body Slam

3 July 2013

Back in 2006, when Jack Black made a travesty of the moving story of Father Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, the Tepito-born ex-junkie philosophy professor turned orphanage administrator … and professional lucha libre performer, I wrote:

What fascinates people about Lucha Libre is not so much that the great stars go on forever and ever, nor that it’s just a weird pop culture entertainment, but that :

“There are so many ties to mythology, to people in the news, to politicians, to stars, to science-fiction characters,” said Lourdes Grobet, a photographer who has documented lucha libre for 26 years and who advised producers on “Nacho Libre.”

“In Lucha Libre, I found the true Mexico,” she added. “I discovered a marvelous world.”

That “marvelous world” is in no way a simplified world. Luchadores like El Ecologista bring environmentalism to the ring. Two that I’ve previously written about struggle for the human worth of gays and transvestites (with good humor and panache).  Superbario “made his name leading marches demanding better public housing for the poor” ([Julie Watson wrote in an AP article at the time]).

El Demonio Azul, Jr. has a less exhaulted view, calling it merely “The cheapest therapy in the world,” but whether as therapy, political statement, a morality play a reinterpretation of cultural traditions, or all of the above, luche libre is here — and there — a living embodiment of our hopes and fears

(Sombrero tip to Latino Rebels)

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