Friday, March 6, 2009

Little bit from Mexico



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend even though we had to read like two hundred pages, I enjoyed reading the first article, it is very complete. Mexican Muralism is a movement that started since 1930 with three great artists: David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. I have the fortune of seeing plenty of their murals and I have to be honest with you I didn’t like many of them, and through the reading I discover that all those facts that the author was explaining to us are the reasons why I don’t like murals. 

Murals in Mexico are famous for their political undertones and projection of the social reality of the country. On the mid twenty century Mexico was passing through a post-conflict reconstruction situation and despite the fact that the muralism is an art movement, in Mexico was used as a political movement in order to make knowledge available to everyone, regardless the race or the social status. Murals would show historical moments such as Independence, Revolution, or colonization, and must of the time showed the power of the union of the Mexican country. There some states that have more murals than others for example the state of Guanajuato considered the cradle of the Mexican Revolution. Almost all the murals with political suggestions are located in public buildings.

Later in the 70’s another art movement arise in the poorest areas of Mexico City an artist Daniel Manrique a man who wanted to promote the artistic culture that really reflects the social reality of the country. He started to paint his murals on kitchen and vencidades, and he painted exactly the opposite of what the government wanted to indicate to the people. He showed the truth about politicians, unions, and bureaucracy. 

So now you can see how murals always have something to say and it is always related to the political situation in Mexico and let me tell one thing the political situation in Mexico since 1928 have not been good at all. That is the reason I don’t like murals I’m pretty sure they are big and elaborated but common art you don’t want a huge wall in your school telling you how awful is your country and I’m telling you almost all the murals are huge and have people with ugly faces screaming discontent and indigenous people dying under the hand of the Spanish and peasants screaming all the injustices from the government. For me is just depressing but I’m pretty sure many of you like them.

I’m really sorry I didn’t finish the second reading the English used in there just confused me a lot I’m pretty sure the author try to compare the popular culture with the queen on the mountains but maybe I’ll have to read the complete book to understand Micahel Taussig.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Popular Culture

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great brake, my midterms are driving me insane, I’m not used to this amount of study. In my school back in Monterrey, Mexico we have monthly exams so that helps to reduce the amount of information in the exams.

The purpose of this post is to talk about what I have learned from the class, and it is amazing how much I have learned over these two months about what is popular culture?
My parents and siblings came to Vancouver during the brake and I spent all the brake with them right, trying to find some truly Mexican culture in my family. Sadly I realized we don’t represent Mexican culture at all. What we represent I believe is a ‘’new’’ Latin American Popular Culture. We have all the generally well-liked customs from the Mexican society customs that now are really influenced by the US citizens, mass media, and religion among other factors, but in some time were from the Mexican Culture.

At the beginning I had some troubles regarding the word popular, because I associated this word with ‘’low’’ or ‘’vulgar’’ and we actually mentioned in class some concepts like ‘’low culture’’ or ‘’high culture’’, but the truth is that popular is not linked to these words it more correlated to ‘‘extensive’’, ‘’spread’’, ‘’common’’ among others.

I’m very proud of being Mexican, I loved my fatherhood, and I’m very nationalistic. Those are ideas that always wandered in my head. After two months of taking this course I realized that I live in a very nice bubble and the only Mexican Culture aspects that I have are those who are easy to practice or really fancy and fun to do. And that makes me a Light Mexican and that is sad in so many levels. After one class I felt like I was like some of those Mexican art crafts in the airports ‘’Mexican’’.

But then I tried to find someone who is a truly Mexican, and I realized that this light Mexican culture that I aforementioned really is popular culture. A new culture for everyone, not only for intellectuals, elite or indigenous people, I have the luck of belong to a family that tried to preserve all the aspects of our culture: cooking, clothing, consumption, sports, music, literature and then adjusted to the needs of the society in order to fit and fulfill the sense of belonging.
Pretty much those are my thoughts, and I also have a great time listening the Canadian, French or American point of view about the Latin American culture. How sometimes someone refers the folklore as hillbillies activities and in Mexico to practice folklore activities is for the elite or high society who bother in buying the expensive outfits, pay the expensive lessons etc.
I will also like to show and example of how Mexican folklore is influenced by the States. I prefer the American version.

Mexico's Flag Day

The Independence Movement
The purity of the Catholic faith.
The Spaniards that joined in the quest for Independence.
The blood of the National Heroes

The emblem-shield symbolizes the Aztec heritage.
According to the legend, the gods had advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was to be identified when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, devouring a serpent. They saw this mythical eagle on a marshy lake that is now the zócalo or main plaza in Mexico City.

This flag was created in 1821, when the Independence movement had ended victoriously.
El Día de la Bandera or the Fiesta of the Mexican Flag is celebrated on February 24.

Pledge of Alliance:

¡Bandera de México!
Legado de nuestros héroes,
símbolo de la unidad
de nuestros padres y nuestros hermanos.
Te prometemos ser siempre fieles
a los principios de libertad y de justicia
que hacen de nuestra patria
la nación independiente, humana y generosa
a la que entregamos nuestra existencia.


Flag of Mexico!
Legacy of our heroes,
symbol of the unity
of our parents and our brothers.
We promise to always be loyal
to the principles of liberty and justice
that make our fatherland
the independent, human and generous nation
to which we give our existence.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Faces of the Popular Culture

Hi everyone, I had some troubles finishing this reading, but I succeed at the end. I found this article really interesting and really complete, it described many aspects of the Latin America’s popular culture. Although it was very long with plenty of information, there are many aspects that weren’t covered because Latin America is huge. I come from Mexico and I consider that there many aspects that were missing for this article, but I do agree with the syncretism of traditional culture with the modern culture,. Really can’t talk about Brazil, Peru or Argentina but I definitely can talk about Mexico my beloved country that I miss to much so let start.

It’s a true fact that even though I’m Mexican born and bred I don’t have any of the indigenous culture, I’ve only read about it and I found it really interesting, all their gods, pyramids, calendars, beliefs, royalty, etc. I think that the only tradition from indigenous people that is conserved in my house is to eat with pepper lots of pepper and tortilla every single lunch.

Then the Spaniards came to Mexico and colonized and leave behind them a complete new bunch of traditions that came to be part of our culture first the religion I consider myself as an active catholic. I go to church every Sunday, and respect the catholic calendar. With the mestizaje new traditions were raised like the charreria considered the Mexican national sport for many years even before the soccer came with the English people. In my family horse and bull raids are considered normal activities on special weekends when the whole family go to the ranch. 

Then the English people arrived to Pachuca, Hidalgo for mining and in their free time they played soccer and ate pastries, now the the Pachuca football team the ‘’Tuzos’’ is the oldest club and one of the traditional food in Pachuca is the Pastes that are the pastries that the English used to eat.

Now with time the Americans arrived and they’re still in Mexico helping to shape this new culture, oddly the sport played in my family even though I’m Mexican isn’t soccer is American Football, my grandpa played, my dad played and all my brothers played as well.
Well now I think that my family is a living example of the popular culture in Latin America, a complete syncretism between indigenous, Spanish, American and Lebanese culture that shaped this new popular culture and it can be in our every day activities, food, and the way we treat each other in the family.

I’ll see you all in class!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Believing in fanaticism.

Hi again, I would like to start this post by saying that I found amazing Eva Peron’s “My Message” It’s amazing how with her deeply sincere words she can transfer all the emotion and sentiment that she is feeling when she is writing. The purpose of these two readings is to define the word people, but I think that the real purpose of these articles is learning to differ between people and masses. In the dictionary you can find these two concepts and find similar definitions that’s why getting confused is really easy. During my education in Mexico I was being taught that the masses are multiple singularities that can’t be represented, but the people is a legitimated entity that represents a wholesome a culture, a country, a tradition indispensable for the development of the state. When Eva Peron mentions “her people” she is talking about certain kind of people, those who represent a fraction of a wholesome of a nation, although the other people are envious, mediocre, and not worthy they will always be part of the people of the Argentinean Nation. Throughout my reading I realized that even though this happened more than fifty years ago, things in many countries are still the same. The good thing is that while we still have this kind of spectacular people willing to speak up loud and scream the necessities of the society in order to achieve the common good, we will have hope of changing and reaching this idealistic but not impossible dream of Evita;  that the government this people, invested with so much power really be in service of the people this legitimated entity that represents the whole country. So in order to achieve this we have to believe in what she said: “One cannot accomplish anything without fanaticism”, be fanatic of yourself, your dreams and ideas, and I'm very sure this idealistic dream may come true.
See you guys in class,

Monday, January 12, 2009


What is culture?

After reading the articles for several times, I concluded that the authors were trying to define culture. I used to have my own definition of culture, then I arrived to this class and everything changed. For me, culture was a systematic group of activities and ideas that reflected the achievement of an entire country in a collective way. Now I realized that culture is a very open concept. In the first reading the author said that culture is ordinary; what I understood from this concept is that culture it not only learned in museums or elite teashops, culture is learned everywhere, streets, schools or even in our own houses. Culture right now is changing, the author describes himself from the old society and he mentioned a commercial culture. I think there is no such thing as commercial culture, I don't even think they're different types of cultures because now I think that culture is everything that represents you as a part of a country, civilization or society and that gives you a sense of belonging. Moreover I think it is really important to never confuse this new changing modern culture that represent a whole modern society with stereotypes this wrong conception of a nationality or country. I think that the author describes these wrong full conceptions as false equations. Furthermore after being in Canada for one week I have a proof that these boundaries described in the second article that define culture of people are dissolving, It's impressive how Canada is a collage of different cultures and that's Canadian culture including of course all the first nations which I found amazing, all the art craft and paintings. I do get a i little confused when the author mentioned the dominant culture and the sub dominant culture, I really think this sub dominant culture will over take the this so call dominant culture and after that it will be only one changing modern culture.

These are my thoughts of the first two readings I have to say that I found the first article really difficult to follow.
I'm looking foward to see you all tomorrow.

Have a great day.