Monday, May 05, 2008

Cinco de mayo (pues)

More images here.

Please understand, I'm not putting these photographs out here as examples of great photography or anything so grand. It should be clear that I'm fucking around with some experimental shit. Glowing white shit is all I care about.

But no matter how hard I try to be nouveau, old habits stalk me like a serial killer in a bad horror movie, or if you prefer, a bad metaphor in a pointless essay . Still, I can't help but turn a series of photos into some kind of coherent photo essay. I try, I really do, but I just can't. I am. unfortunately, a hack.

Of course it would be triply wrong if I were to tell you what any particular essay were about, especially if I knew.

Even if I wanted to use words to explicate a narrative, no words would be adequate. A photo essay is quite plainly, and this is obvious when you think about it, a photo essay. Words are pretty much limited to the title, though a few may appear as content.

But since what I'm about to tell you is just an observation on a finished product, not an explication of purpose, I think it's okay.

One interesting way to look at this photographic essay is as evidence of pre-Columbian culture in New York.

My experience has been that most people in the U.S. have little idea of what Mexico is actually like. One of the many things they do not consider is the extent of the Indian population. Unlike we Americans, the Mexican government never officially discriminated against Indians. In all official correspondence, everyone in Mexico is a Mexican. Here, if you are small and dark and from Mexico, you are a Mexican. And if you are fat kinda dark in Tucson, Arizona, you are Tohono O'ohdam, or a Navajo, or an maybe an Apache. We simply have a different approach to apartheid. The castes, we do not name.

But once you're clued in, it's as plain as a nose on a face. It's as plain as the print in an history book. It's as plain as fucking day.

Yet somehow the south of the border American Indians are as invisible as the guy bringing the fruit up from a New York City cellar. They are as invisible as the guy who picks your toe-mate-oes and your toe-maa-toes.

Ya Pues. I know.

So anyway, the photos show a bit of that, I think and I find that aspect interesting.

That and the facts associated with the fact that no alcohol was allowed at the festivities.

I spent eight years traveling extensively around southern Arizona and northern Sonora and I can tell you this: It is simply unnatural for Mexicans to get together for a party in the park without there being a lot of beer. Bizarrely unnatural. Banning Mexicans from drinking beer at a family get together in the park is like shoving a fist up the ass of a culture and ripping out a vital organ. It's just not right.

And there's no question that the beer ban on Mexican festivals is purely culturist (if not racist). To get into the park we passed through a phalanx of police who searched our bags and baby carriages and patted us down if we looked suspicious. Then to get into the stage area required an even more rigorous inspection. They were doing body cavity searches and pulling out fillings. The line to get in snaked about a quarter mile.

Now you know that chuckling is not a cultural elitist. But sometimes I mingle with the cultural elite. I live in New York. What can I do? I have to get out. And I am not prejudiced. It would be just as wrong of me to snub the rich elitist crowd as it would be for me to stay away from Cinco de Mayo festivities.

So I go to the BMA and the BAM. I go to the Met and the Guggenheim. I know how to get to Carnegie Hall. F train to 57th street motherfucker.

And I note that I'm free to get smashed out of my mind at those places. They'll sell me all the beer wine and liquor I can drink as long as I don't puke on anybody's tuxedo. Children are welcome, as long as they are well-bred.

Ya motherfucker. Chinga tu madere,pues. Cerveza es para mi, ese. Ya no es para ti. How do you say that in Nahuatal?