Tag: Mexico

In Moby Dick, Herman Melville famously wrote of the “fast-fish and loose-fish” doctrine. A dead whale connected to an occupied boat or marked with a distinctive symbol – “waifed” – was a recognized possession, a fast-fish. Any other whale found floating was a loose-fish. His narrator Ishmael uses these two principles of the whaling community as the basis for an inquiry into the relationship between freedom and power. (More…)

Of the many malign effects that the Trump regime has had on modern civilization (a term one uses advisedly at the best of times), one of the most alarming has been the degradation of epistemology. For the average person, the question of how one knows what one knows is, quite literally, an academic matter. (More…)

For the last couple of days, the Mexican government been playing host to the redoubtable duo of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly. They have been, it will come as no surprise, trying to pour oil on the turbulent waters of the current relationship between the United States and Mexico. (More…)

Even now, long after Donald Trump has ascended to Republican frontrunner for the presidency, people are still talking about him the way they did a year ago, when his candidacy seemed more of a sideshow than a serious threat to politics-as-usual. It’s a state of affairs the man himself seems eager to perpetuate, promoting his brand at the expense of traditional propriety. (More…)

Alfonso Cuarón is one of Hollywood’s most important filmmakers. With the release of Gravity, it’s not hard to understand why. Cuarón’s direction, and Emmanuel Lubezki‘s cinematography, are stunning. Indeed, Gravity is as much its own cultural moment as Cuarón’s past features, including Y Tu Mamá También, and Children of Men. (More…)

Teaching English abroad is a billion dollar business. With English being the language of commerce, it’s an imperative skill. For persons from less developed countries, learning it can be a way to facilitate a move to a more economically viable place, or at least the chance to study in western schools. In wealthy countries, English is necessary for many of the same reasons. It’s the lingua franca of the upper class. (More…)

It had been a long time since I’d visited such an unfamiliar country. I came to learn Spanish, but quit halfway through. I spent a day holed up in my apartment reading Fire and Blood and Teaching Rebellion, the book about the 2006 protests that I picked up at La Jicara. I didn’t know whether I was a tourist, a bad student or just a curious visitor. (More…)

Besides mole and embroidery, Oaxaca is known for the Guelaguetza, an annual dance festival sponsored by the state and federal governments. The festival takes place in an enormous glaring white pavilion on the green hillside overlooking the city. The odd structure looks like a giant nun’s wimple fluttering in an updraft. It’s strangely menacing, as if just descended from the heavens, waiting to conquer the city. (More…)

Spending time in the center of town, it’s easy to believe that Oaxaca de Juarez is a thriving, middle class city. However, if you pay attention to the details, even the most ignorant visitor can notice signs of discontent. Besides the street art, there’s the political banners hung in the zocalo, and the posters pasted on public phones and the ancient stone walls of the city. Street vendors are often as young as six-years-old. (More…)

Antonio tells me that after the 2006 uprising, street art flourished. There are still signs of it flowering all over the city. I was fascinated by the fact that the street art in Oaxaca could pass muster in San Francisco. Clearly, the street art in both places flow from the same urban aesthetic. However, Oaxaqueño artists have developed their own local flavor. (More…)

I came to Oaxaca on a whim. A friend announced that she was taking a trip south (I live in northern California,) so I decided to tag along. I hadn’t been to the country since I was a kid, when my family took a cruise to Acapulco.

My knowledge of Mexico was spotty. Besides a smattering of Zapatista lore and typically tabloid news fare (maquiladoras, illegal migrants, narco-violence, etc,) my ideas about the country came from a book by Oliver Sacks, about Oaxaca’s biodiversity. He has a thing for ferns. (More…)

“Green & Dumb,” any one of a dozen songs that could rightly serve as a calling card for Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, came late in the band’s 2011 Circus Mexicus set and as their fans have come to do, I joined my friends arm-in-arm, all of us swaying in time with the ballad. (More…)