Monthly Archives: March 2007

Caetano Veloso

Here is Caetano with Toni Costa on Trem das Cores. This celestial song invokes, among other things, “the blue silk of the paper in which the apple is wrapped” and “that blue which is a pure memory of a place.”



Filed under Songs

El archipiélago de la vanguardia

This post is going to be in Spanish, so if you do not read that exalted language, you are invited instead to read It’s Not You, It’s Your Apartment, on the horrors of dating poor housekeepers. Do not overlook the comments thread.

More serious English language entertainment can be found in the abstracts of two articles I would love to read, but must not at this time as they are too far afield to cite: Breckman on “The Subject of the Imaginary” and Majluf on “Racial Ambiguity in Peruvian Visual Culture.” Nobody should miss the amazing images of racial ambiguity which accompany Majluf’s abstract.

Meanwhile, Ulises Juan Zevallos-Aguilar has useful information and makes some key points which will, nevertheless, be esoteric to most readers. Qui potest capere capiat.

Las razones teóricas de la publicación de estas revistas vanguardistas en el presente son que en los estudios literarios y culturales un tema de moda es la globalización concebida como un fenomeno cultural, económico y social inédito. La publicación de ediciones facsimilares y críticas de estas revistas demostraría que durante los años veinte se inició la globalización actual o fue una primera globalización emprendida por los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica que fue desafiada y resistida en ámbitos locales.

A esta globalización Nelson Osorio, en un importante artículo que resume la renovación de los estudios vanguardistas en los ochenta, la llama internacionalización. Pero en vez de enfatizar el carácter homogenizador, uniformizador de la internacionalización Osorio se preocupa en reflexionar sobre la respuesta, reacción a este fenómeno a partir de coordenadas locales. Así Osorio critica a la historiografía tradicional que consideraba a la vanguardia latinoamericana una copia, un epifenómeno de la vanguardia europea y mas bien señala que ambas vanguardias afrontan las mismas condiciones históricas internacionales. […]

Las vanguardias latinoamericanas otra vez están siendo estudiadas desde las perspectivas relacionadas a teorias de la globalización, tales como las de la hibridez, sistema mundial o planetarismo de E. Dussel. Estos estudios están elaborando otra vez topografías, cartografías y mapas de las vanguardias latinoamericanas. A diferencia de la geografía, arqueología y geología que tratan inductivamente con la mayor cantidad de estudios de caso para darle mayor validez a sus teorías, los estudios literarios siguen operando de manera deductiva. Creo que una de las principales razones para operar de esta manera es la carencia de las ediciones de esa otra vanguardia que muy pocos la han estudiado.

Z-A, J. U. “Balance y exploración de la base material de la vanguardia y de los estudios vanguardistas peruanos (1980-2000).” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana XXVII: 53 (2001): 185-198.



Filed under Poetry

Jirón Camaná

The Archbishop of Lima and his conservative wing of the Church are attempting to intervene in academic affairs at the Catholic University of Peru, which maintains the Riva-Agüero archives.

Casa Riva Aguero

Casa Riva-Agüero | Jirón Camaná 459 | Lima – PERU
Photo Daniel Duguay

Peru21 has an editorial about this. There are elements of the backstory, which involves in part the ownership of the archives, in El Comercio, Caretas, and 24 Horas Libre. The University has issued a statement on the matter, in which it defends its right to autonomy and to its property, namely, the papers willed to it by Riva-Agüero.

Salomón Lerner, Rector of the PUC-P until his recent retirement, was also President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which investigated the atrocities committed in the country’s dirty war against the Shining Path. Juan Luis Cipriani, then Archbishop of Ayacucho, now Archbishop of Lima, and always an Opus Dei member, said famously that “human rights [were] bollocks.”

As a graduate student I did some research at the Riva-Agüero Institute, a lovely old house with a beautiful library. The first article I ever published was written there, and I came up with my dissertation concept there. I really liked the faculty of the Catholic University of Peru, and of the UNMSM. I have so many notes from that research trip that I have not yet used them all – although I will, in the end.

I am using some of them for the writing project I started today. I am having a good time. Life is very easy if you claim your true nature, I always notice. In honor of this we will now contemplate the balcony of the Casa del Oidor, on the Plaza de Armas in Lima, in another beautiful photograph by Daniel Duguay.

Casa del oidor

Also today I told one of my older colleagues, a Minnesotan, that I had just been in The Cities. “How marvelous, a symposium on Bob Dylan! When I was an undergraduate my friend had a coffeehouse called the Ten O’Clock Scholar. He always insisted I come when Bob Zimmerman was playing!”

On the street I saw many billboards and bumper stickers. If it is “a child, not a choice” then why is the denial of support for said child justified with “it was your choice to have this child?”


1 Comment

Filed under News

Free Gary Tyler


The Nation, a publication the assiduous reader knows I follow with some regularity, has sent me this mail:

Gary Tyler, black, now aged 48, is serving a life prison sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary. He was convicted in 1975 for the murder of 13-year-old Timothy Weber, a white schoolboy who was shot during an attack by a white mob on a school bus filled with black students. Tyler, who was 16 at the time of the incident, has consistently denied involvement in the crime. Since his trial, serious doubts have been raised about the evidence on which he was convicted, according to Amnesty International.

As Bob Hébert wrote in the first of a series of three New York Times‘ columns on Tyler, “That single shot in this rural town about 25 miles up the Mississippi River from New Orleans set in motion a tale of appalling injustice that has lasted to the present day.” Hébert’s reporting has helped revive interest in the case and and given the miscarriage of justice new visibility.

Building on this momentum, Nation sportswriter Dave Zirin recently contacted people from the world of sports to ask if they would stand with Tyler at this critical time. And they have responded.


This is the text of the athletes’ letter to Governor Kathleen Blanco:

We, the undersigned members of the sports community, call upon you, in the name of justice and racial reconciliation, to pardon Gary Tyler and free him from Angola prison. Gary is an innocent man who has spent 32 of his 48 years on earth behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Gary’s life has been destroyed because of racial hysteria and that peculiar brand of police work known internationally as “Southern Justice.”

As you are undoubtedly aware, New York Times columnist Bob Hébert has spent the last month exposing the terrifying truth behind Gary’s conviction. In 1975, Gary Tyler, an African-American teenager, was convicted by an all-white jury for the murder of Timothy Weber, a thirteen-year-old white youth. Weber was shot and killed during a busing riot where 200 whites attacked Gary’s school bus. Weber’s death quite understandably sent shock waves across the state. The police needed a killer. They chose Gary and his nightmare officially began. Gary’s mother detailed to Hébert the sounds of listening to deputies at the police station savagely whipping her son, while they blocked her from entering the room. “They beat Gary so bad,” she said. “My poor child. I couldn’t do nothing.” Every witness who identified Gary as the shooter has since recanted and alleged police intimidation. The gun supposedly used on that day has disappeared.

In the mid-1970s, Gary’s case mobilized thousands across the country for his freedom and led Amnesty International to declare him a “political prisoner.” Denied a fair trial 32 years ago, imprisoned for life for a crime he did not commit–we call upon you to free Gary Tyler now.


You, too, can write Governor Kathleen Blanco, asking for Gary Tyler’s immediate release.

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Governor
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

Telephone Numbers:
225-342-0991 or 225-342-7015


The letters will help, although Blanco is apparently not empowered to act alone upon this matter.



Filed under Movement

On ‘Intersectionality’

Here are two sentences from Lakshmi Chaudhry: The problem isn’t that we are more sexist than racist as a society. It’s that race and gender are far too often pitted against each other, and one can be used to justify sins against the other. A sentence from me is that the point of understanding ‘intersectionality’, multiple oppression, and so on is not to enter into a sterile competition about who is the most oppressed.

When the invocation of ‘intersectionality’ in fact serves to pit categories like race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and class against each other, as opposed to show how they work together, or when it is used as a mechanism through which to assert power over the next person, it becomes a tool of the Right.



Filed under Theories

Country Joe and the Fish

This is Country Joe McDonald on the I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag, at Woodstock 1969. We should be singing along now.



Filed under Songs

Terça Insana – Vovó Arlinda

My youngest brother insists once again that we contemplate standup comedy from Brazil – in drag! This character is called Granny Arlinda. If you like her, or even if you do not, you should get wilder yet and meet Miss Edith.

The São Paulo press is talking about Terça Insana, which has created over 500 original characters to satirize life in the city and its environs, its inhabitants and their quirks.

It is difficult to live in Brazil, but more difficult, perhaps, to live in Bangladesh. Our featured post for today is Tasneem Khalil’s, on events in Modhupur. It is very important. Read it.



Filed under Arts, News

Sofia Barbosa

Here are Sofia Barbosa and Joana Melo, contemporary fado singers, on “Povo que lavas no rio.” I am a great admirer of Barbosa, and of her dress – I could use one just like that.

The song is by the immortal Amália Rodrigues. It is addressed to the “Countryfolk who wash clothes in the river / And cut with your axes / The boards for my casket.”

Povo que lavas no rio
E talhas com o teu machado
As tábuas do meu caixão.
Pode haver quem te defenda
Quem compre o teu chão sagrado
Mas a tua vida não.

Fui ter à mesa redonda
Bebi em malga que me esconde
O beijo de mão em mão.
Era o vinho que me deste
A água pura, puro agreste
Mas a tua vida não.

Aromas de luz e de lama
Dormi com eles na cama
Tive a mesma condição.
Povo, povo, eu te pertenço
Deste-me alturas de incenso,
Mas a tua vida não.

Povo que lavas no rio
E talhas com o teu machado
As tábuas do meu caixão.
Pode haver quem te defenda
Quem compre o teu chão sagrado
Mas a tua vida não.



Filed under Songs

Local Color

This video presents a good deal of the scenery in which I participate during my commutes. It will have to stand in for me over the next few days, as I am abandoning my usual orbits to attend this conference. I will return by the end of the month if not before.

Here to keep you company are the Pinko Feminist Hellcat’s excellent suggestions on how to combat global feudalism, Geoffrey Philp on the preservation of digital memory and access to reading material for one and all, Derek Walcott on NPR, which I know about from Philp, and Lorca’s “Sorpresa,” from Poema del cante jondo (1921).

Muerto se quedó en la calle
con un puñal en el pecho.
No lo conocía nadie.
¡Cómo temblaba el farol!
¡Cómo temblaba el farolito
de la calle!
Era madrugada. Nadie
pudo asomarse a sus ojos
abierto al duro aire.
Que muerto se quedó en la calle
que con un puñal en el pecho
y que no lo conocía nadie.

[He lay dead in the street with a dagger in his chest. Nobody knew him. How the lantern trembled! Mother. How the little street lamp trembled! It was before dawn. No one was able to lean out over his eyes, open to the hard air. For he died in the street with a dagger in his chest, and nobody knew him.]



Filed under Songs

St. Lucy and St. Lazarus II

Saint Lucy was a beautiful young girl from Syracuse.

She is painted with two magnificent ox eyes on a tray.

She suffered martyrdom under the consul Pascasian, who had a silver mustache and howled like a mastiff.

As do all saints she posed and resolved delicious theorems, before those whose plate glass windows the apparatuses of Physics break.

In the public square she demonstrated, to the surprise of the populace, that a thousand men and fifty pairs of oxen are powerless to move the luminous dove of the Holy Spirit. Her body, her great body, turned to compressed lead. Our Lord, with His crown and scepter, was surely seated in her womb.

St. Lucy was a tall young woman with small breasts and opulent hips. Like all fierce women, she had overlarge, masculine eyes, with a dark and disagreeable light. She expired in a bed of flames.

The market was at its zenith, and the beach of the day was full of conch shells and ripe tomatoes. Before the miraculous cathedral façade I understood perfectly how Saint Raymond Nonnato, mounted on his cape, could cross the sea from the Balearic Islands to Barcelona, and how the ancient Chinese Sun grows furious and jumps, rooster-like, on the musical towers of dragon’s meat.

People were drinking beer in the bars and multiplying accounts in the offices, while the + and x signs of the Jewish bank sustained an obscure battle with the sign of the Cross, full of brine and extinguished candles. Pouring over the city from the cathedral’s fat bell was a rain of little copper chimes, which attached themselves to the stupefied streetcars, and to the horses’ nervous necks. I had forgotten my Baedeker and my field glasses, and I began to look at the city as one looks at the sea from the sand.



Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry