A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

terça-feira, abril 30, 2002

There is another Bruin in the Arellano Miranda family: my sister. She was accepted to UCLA yesterday and is thrilled like crazy. We are the first brother/sister combo out of our entire family of 250+ to go to a university. The American Dream (for better or for worse) is happening. My parents are obviously proud, but I am also proud of them for being able to give us this life. Gracias, papi y mami.

segunda-feira, abril 29, 2002

What can I say except Oaxacan mole is delicious? A bit sweet, but nevertheless delicious. Shout out goes to Josue Noriega of the Hip Hop Hoodios for the delicious meal at Guelaguetza Restaurant in Koreatown. We talked for a very long time--longer than I thought we would. He's a really cool guy and I believe a have yet another industry friend in the works.

Nothing else to report on in the meanwhile, except that if you know of any Latin alternative CD's I should review, let me know.
Writing about yourself is difficult; writing about yourself when the last thing you want to think about is yourself is murder.

Going to eat Oaxacan food for the first time tonight in Koreatown with JN of the Hip Hop Hoodios. But when I think of Koreatown, I only think of the Bus Riders Union and someone else.

domingo, abril 28, 2002

The huarache

Did a review of a Mexican restaurant in Anaheim for the Weekly that serves food from Mexico City. One of the dishes is named a huarache and is pretty good.

The strippers

Went to report on a workout that incorporates elements of striptease into the usual gyrations. No one actually stripped, although showcasing body parts was in vogue. Once again, for the Weekly

The rockeros

Took a picture of a band whose demo I reviewed for the Weekly. Good bunch of kids. You see? I don't live a crazy a life as I like people to believe. But it's always fun.

sexta-feira, abril 26, 2002

I think I might finally make the jump and start www.gustavoarellano.com. As faithful readers will note, I've been toying around with the site for a while and it's still pretty cheap. I want a site that reflects the quality of my work--i.e., it must somehow burn bridges and injure all around me except me.
Before I left to visit !, it was cloudly and drizzly. During my time in Portland with !, it rained and was chilly. In the two weeks since I visited her, it's been cloudy and drizzly. My stereotypical Southern Californian sensibilities cannot take this anymore; I need sunshine!

Songs about sunshine, or that have the sun as an important ingredient...
My Girl-The Temptations ("I've got sunshine/On a cloudy day")
Good Morning, Sunshine-Don't know, but was from the musical "Hair"
Sunshine of Your Love-Cream
Good Day, Sunshine, Here Comes the Sun, Sun King, I'll Follow the Sun-The Beatles
Sunshine Supeman-Donovan

There's a ton more than I'm sure I can think of, but I need to do other things
My weekend will consist of strippers, rockeros, and huaraches. I am living the sporting life!
For some reason, my last entry was not published. If it's not one thing, it's another.

quinta-feira, abril 25, 2002

I used to be an activist and I like to think that I still am. But I have to admit that once I turned to the dork side of journalism, most of my activist mentality was left behind.

Case in point: went to the group that evolved out of the Taco Bell protest. They are now preparing for May Day and was wondering if I would be covering the story. I said that merely having a protest isn't enough, that there must be a noteworthy angle to it. When they said it was May Day and that was enough, I replied that I needed something more substantial.

It was a horrible response and if I was still an activist, I'd be angry at a reporter who said that. But now that I am a journalist, I can see why I am correct. Of course, I'll still tell someone to go just in case something interesting will happen. But I kind of feel bad.

And I also feel good. NH has always had it in for me because I once co-wrote an article with NS regarding NH's group that was protesting Disney. I, in turn, thought NH to be racist. Well, NH today complimented me on my Tazumal piece and has grown to respect me over time (as have I). I'm glad to see that my writing has such an effect on people and I'm also glad to see that I can grow as an individual.


The road in life is filled with curves, potholes, and steep hills and valley. Learn how to drive stick to get a better feel for the road
Lots of work to do in every aspect of my life.

quarta-feira, abril 24, 2002

Now, for a serious moment...

Today is the official worldwide remembrance of the Armenian genocide that happened at the hands of the Ottoman Turks after WWI. Turkey denies anything ever happened and the United States--fearful of losing one of its few allies in the Middle East--also refuses to recognize the memory of millions.

I first found out about the Holocaust in my Confirmation class. I believe that our teacher was talking about the importance to never lie (as opposed to always tell the truth; he gave a crazy anecdote regarding Peter (I believe), who went in hiding and was asked by unknowing Romans if he knew where Peter was. "He is nearby", said Peter-in-disguise, and the Romans went off. I still say that is duplicity, but oh well) when he mentioned the Holocaust. All of the students knew about the Jewish Holocaust but then he asked us if we knew anything about what happened to the Armenians.

Most of us didn't even know what Armenians were (I only knew that their last names always end in "ian" or "yan").

He then told us about what happened, how Turkey still denies it, and how Armenians are still trying to get the truth out. Then he told me about the Armenian genocide memorial in the city of Montebello (right next to East Los Angeles) in its cemetary.

Montebello remains the only city in the world that Turkey does not acknowledge its existence. If you try to send a letter from Turkey to Montebello and vice-versa, it will not go through.

I remembered being very disturbed by the denial of the Turks, not only of the Armenian genocide but also of Montebello's existence simply because it acknowledges the genocide. But I also remembered thinking how holy and right it is to pursue the truth, to battle evil in all of its manifestations, and--most importantly--to never forget.

I try to live up to those ideals every waking minute of my life in every part of my life. I pray to God that I'm doing well.
I pitched a story for the Weekly regarding a newspaper that is about to expand into OC. But I found out that they had a better qualified candidate, so I acquiesed.

I talked to the guy about the story, trying to help out in any way I can. He was a bitter old man who patronized me like I was some idiot. At one point, I was about to tell him to cut the disrespect and shut the fuck up but my polite nature (I really am polite!) prohibited me.

Then came the kicker: he asked me where I'm from.

"Anaheim", I replied.

:"No, what country are you from?" he asked.

I was shocked. No one in my life has ever asked me what country I am from. Of course, they've asked me what ethnicity I am or what country are my parents from, but it has never been assumed that I was from another country.

Through my teeth, I replied that part of my family has been in Anaheim for nearly a century but that my parents are originally from Mexico. He was shocked that Mexicans have been here this long (of course he didn't say it, but you can tell by the tone of his voice). I haven't felt this insulted in ages. The question now is...why?

I've never considered myself an "American" in the loaded sense of the term. I also know I'm not Mexican. I doubt I'll ever consider myself Chicano and I'm trying to become Latino. So who am I and where am I from?

My name is Gustavo Arellano Miranda. I was born in Anaheim California, USA, but grew up in the El Cargadero/Jomulquillo community of Anaheim. I migrated to the United States 18 years later.

terça-feira, abril 23, 2002

I am bored out of my box. I want to write full-time!

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep
Just came back from giving a lecture on the politics of Latin alternative music at Cal State Long Beach. The professor (Dr. Victor Rodriguez, fearless fighter for the liberation of Vieques) said I did a great job. I hope I did.

There's always a routine that happenes before I speak to strangers: first, I go to the bathroom. Then I go again. Then I start walking around trying to calm my heartbeat. When I begin, my body starts convulsing as I am visisbly nervous. But it's this nervousness that fuels my fire, and from there I start saying coherent intellectual goodies. By the end of my speech/talk, people are impressed, they applaud because they feel it, and my stomach is hurting me. It's hurting me right now. I'm off to eat.

BTW, I've received only pointless email's these past couple of days. I am sad.

segunda-feira, abril 22, 2002

Some very funny words from my editor PSS of OC Latino to a Los Angeles Times staff writer. They wanted the contact information on Rigo Maldonado, an artist that AAS wrote a great article about for our tiny publication. Anyways, here's the extortion...

Ms. Mena,

OC Latino does not currently give out information that would compromise the privacy of a person mentioned in our publication. However, I have contacted Adriana Alba-Sanchez and we are discussing this with Mr. Maldonado. However, if he does content to release his contact information we would require that OC Latino be mentioned in the whatever is published on him.

We are a new publication, and we will over the next few months be releasing all manner of interesting articles and we will introduce many interesting topics you may like to write on for the Times.

We could establish a working relationship through which you can find a number of unique, and relevant stories to Hispanic communities of the Southland in general and Orange County's Latino in particular.

We hope this can be the start of long, productive relationship.
We've barely published an issue, and already we are messing around with the journalism establishment. How funny is that?
One of the things that has always maddened everyone in my life is my bluntness. PSS once called it "Gustavian arrogance theory", this unconscious belief within me that I am better than everyone else and that if people cannot hang with me, then too bad.

It's not that I'm a bad person (I don't think)--I listen to everyone and try to help as many people as possible in the best way that I can. But I have no patience for people who say one thing and don't do it. Word is bond, but many people don't see it as such anymore.

People are always amused when I show up on time for everything--as if no one is expected to show up on time anymore. It has different names: "Chicano time", "Asian time", "Queer time"--I've heard it all (as if our cultures are somehow culpable for tardiness). I get annoyed. If I tell you something, I will comply with it. And if I do not, I will apologize profusely. People don't apologize anymore.

There. I got my rant off my chest. Now for something more political: the Palestinians deserve their state, but blowing up kids in a disco ain't gonna score any points with me. Israel must survive, but Israelis must get rid of that butcher Sharon. Resurrect Yitzak Rabin, God. Please.

domingo, abril 21, 2002

I have become addicted to the PC game Freedom Force. It is really cheesy, taking the tone of early '60's comic books with its cheap stereotypes, cheaper storylines (I've fought clones, commies, and dinosaurs) and way-too-melodramatic voice-overs. But it is fun.

I also finished an article today. I have committed myself to myself to write at least 600 words a week. And though it might seem like a little, it means that I have to put in the effort to do at least one story a week and quite possibly three. Long live journalism!
First, some more plaudits courtesy of OC Latino's founder, P. Sergio Serrato...

If you notice, I've kept as far from content judgments as possible. Because to be honest, the mission of OC Latino as described by you Gustavo was much too direct, and blunt with that acid touch of pure Gustavianism. Not my style, but it works. I have allowed the mission of OC Latino to be altered greatly from what I originally wanted, I have allowed all of this because this is what Gustavo has set forth as the mission of this organization. I laid out a mandate of sorts, I chose the name, I then chose Gustavo because I trust and respect him for his great intellect, and stunning ability of creating provocative, and cutting edge pieces on any number of topics. Gustavo is a great writer and truly is the captain of the ship at OC Latino. He is the Mexican-American HL Mencken. I am incredibly proud and excited that I have such a talent at the helm of this ship. I can rest easy as long as Gustavo is here. He knows what to do, how to do and can get it down very well.

The April issue of OC Latino is a testament to all those things I just wrote about Gustavo. He is strong leader and all around brilliant guy. Gustavo, thank you.

No, thank you Pablo. Of course, there goes my reputation as a nice guy...
Went to a benefit concert today for the Cultural Center of Anahuac. I'm not too much into the indigenous thing, but I do want to help them out. About 200 people (probably more) showed for kick ass bands like Tazumal (of which I profiled this week for OC Weekly) and Over the Counter Intelligence. Not too much consciousness-building, though. I think most people would prefer to mosh than learn, but I don't fault them for it because most of the time, they're moshing to songs that penetrate their brains with the massive beats and political lyrics. Good time had by all.

Funniest moment of the night: some people were talking about Aztlan, and a older Mexican man asked the youth what they were talking about; he had never heard of it. After they explained, the man laughed and said who came up con esas pendejadas. Don't necessarily agree with what he said, but it was funny

sexta-feira, abril 19, 2002

Ever since I came back from Portland, I've eaten only enchiladas and fajitas. Yes, the meal is delicious, but I'm feeling especially stogey right now. Thing is, I have to eat more Mexican food because I'm thinking of doing a review on a Mexican joint for the Weekly. It's a matter of deciding which one, though...
Sometime in the past week, my homepage received its 1,000 visitor. At least 500 of them had to be by me alone.

Weekend approaches, as does the work, fun, and loneliness. But mostly the work.
About last night...

One thing I did forget to mention was that I was with some Guatemalan who was plastered beyond belief. He kept saying that the U.S. overthrew Hugo Chavez. Of course that's true, but you don't have to tell me that you have irrefutable proof and that you can only show it to me at a secret meeting place.
Some more plaudits...

All that arduous work you do that makes all of us think you are insane pays off! Insanity sometimes equals creativity!

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Talked to AC, who told me some amazing news: she's getting married! Won't be for another year, but nevertheless, she is engaged and all that good stuff. She was amongst the last of her cousins to make plans for marriage. I wish her the best, although she does not need my prayers.

Came back from seeing Bersuit Vergarabat at JC Fandango. They kicked some monster ass, one of the best live acts I've ever seen. You know a band is good if one section of the audience is moshing, another is salsa-ing, another is jumping up and down, and all are singing together. Simply amazing.

I am currently drunk since JC of JC Fandango fame gave me drinks to drink. I usually drink just one (always a Cuba Libre) just to placate him but for some reason he insisted I drink 3 today. I'm not much different when I'm drunk from when I'm sober. If anything, I pay more attention because I know that I'm drunk. For example, during my ride back home down La Palma Avenue, I made sure I stayed below the speed limit while if I were sober, I'd be driving home with no regard to the law. Of course, this doesn't mean that I'm going to start getting drunk every day--that would be moronic. Then again, no less a genius than Mark Twain once said that writers should write drunk and edit sober. Perhaps I'll do it one day--wait a minute, I'm doing it right now!

quinta-feira, abril 18, 2002

A couple of responses from people regarding my grant. I will not identify them by person, instead just lumping them into one big thing...

Your editor is right, your style is set apart by your wicked sense
of humor, don't lose that as you "learn how to write" (seems like you know
pretty well already, if you ask me...)...

Felicidades! As I said before, you've accomplished a lot at a very young age...

Your going to learn to be a better writer? How is that possible? Are they going to pump in more sarcasm in your system. I am excited to see what will develop out of this summer program...

does this mean you are staying in school because you have the entire summer to let out all of your built-up steamy ideas?...

your more than a winner, your Chingon!...

You totally deserve these props, man. And more than that, a staff position with all the benefits. It'll be yours soon enough-- if not at OC, then somewhere that really does recognize all your talent and potential..(this one was from Ruben Martinez, the eminent writer)

And finally, one bad thing someone told me (I'm paraphrasing here)...

If we were in another time, I would be so enraptured with you...

But we're not, so you're not.

quarta-feira, abril 17, 2002

I have won the Association of Alternative Newspaper's (AAN) Diversity Grant, given to people from minority communities. Am I a bad-ass? Not really. Only two papers applied for the grant and the Weekly was one of them. But if such a pitiful number of papers applied, then I am glad that I won. Jeez, tan poquitos mojados como yo estamos en esta carrera, no?

Anyways, here is the official write-up courtesy of AAN's website, followed by various platitudes. I include the platitudes only because I have not received some in ages...

Third Round of Diversity Grants Awarded

OC Weekly, Gambit Weekly are recipients

By AAN Staff

OC Weekly and Gambit Weekly are the recipients of the third round of AAN Diversity Internship grants for the summer and fall semesters.

The program, which awards two $2,500 grants twice annually, was instituted by the association in 2001 to help alternative weeklies hire and train top-quality minority journalists

The two summer/fall recipients are Tomarra Campbell in New Orleans and Gustavo Arellano in Orange County. Grants were awarded for winter interns to Eugene Weekly and the San Antonio Current.

Campbell, a New Orleans native, is entering her junior year this fall at Wells College in New York. She is a regular columnist for the Wells College student newspaper and a contributor to the campus literary magazine.

“Her work shows she possesses a unique voice and considerable talent as a writer,�EGambit Editor Michael Tisserand and Intern Coordinator Eileen Loh-Harrist say in the letter accompanying Gambit’s application. “We look forward to working with her in developing skills in reporting and interviewing to enhance her narrative talent.�E

Arellano is the son of Mexican immigrants and the first person in his family to graduate from high school and attend college. He is now a graduate student in Chicano Studies at UCLA. He has contributed to OC Weekly since his senior year at Chapman University, writing cover stories and investigative pieces, as well as music, film and even food reviews.

“He is a multi-talent, an increasingly sharp writer with a wicked sense of humor and boundless curiosity,�Esays Matt Coker, OC Weekly’s managing editor.

This is OC Weekly’s second AAN diversity grant. Vu Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American journalism student at Cal State Fullerton, received a grant for a summer 2001 intership.

Only two papers applied in this round, and the grants were automatically awarded to the two applying papers. Three member papers applied in the first round and five in the second.

So that's what the people who give the award have to say about me, along with Matt's good words. Here is Guillermo Swaim's mass email to the folks at the Weekly...


subject: we win!


The Association of Alternative Newspapers announced today that it's awarding
Gustavo Arellano and OC Weekly its annual AAN Diversity Grant.

Awarded annually to two member papers, the grant is aimed at bringing new
voices into alternative journalism. It will allow us to boost Gustavo's pay
from nothing to slave wages, whilst he hones his devil's craft in the Weekly

Last year, AAN awarded us the same grant for Vu Nguyen--and look where it
took him! (Has anybody seen Vu lately?).

Please join me in congratulating Gustavo--and ourselves--for this good


It's true: Vu won the award and promptly took a job with the Orange County Register. And it's also true that I'm receiving absolutely nothing at the moment and will now begin to earn slave wages. You know what? I don't care. Here is a brief nicety from the Weekly's publicity lady SM, a Puerto Rican crypto-Basque, and fellow haughty-Cuban hater...


Look at you!

I am so proud. Congratulations.

Brief, but to the point.

And finally, the words of my mentor (one out of many, but the guy who brought me into this entire mess) Nick Schou...



Acabo de leer (I just read?) el email de Will sobre tu beca. Buen trabajo, Gus!

Tu amigo gringo


Thanks Nick, but I've told you before: Only gringos call gringos "gringo". And for those of you who don't believe me, ask any Mexican. There's a whole lot more I can write, but suffice to say this is enough for the moment. And only the Weekly people and ! know about my win (and that's if she has checked her messages), so the fun is just beginning. Thank you, God y virgencita.


To finish, my last post ("Read Neruda") was a command, not a comment. Read Neruda and you'll know where I'm at.
Read Neruda.

segunda-feira, abril 15, 2002

I had some notes that I took on the airplane on my flight to visit !. Unfortunately, those notes are not with me at the moment so I am unable to post them. Once I get them, I shall post.

! is !, as usual. She's been presenting me to a couple of her friends, all of which seem to really like me. They are all very nice friends. And yesterday, I visited my cousin SD, who I have talked to exactly twice in the past 7 years. He has made quite a life for himself, fighting for the rights of farmworkers in Oregon. Spent the entire day with him and his partner X. I think all four of us had a great time and I promised to visit them again when I come back to visit ! (God willing) in May.

It's so strange; many of my friends have moved away from Orange County and I have never bothered to visit them. Meanwhile, I've known ! for less than a year, and here I am typing close to her in a state I had never really thought of until her. What can I say, we grow older and amazing things and feelings happen to us non-stop.

quinta-feira, abril 11, 2002

I was supposed to give a lecture today about the politics in Latin alternative music, but it was cancelled at the last minute. All that prepping for...a much better performance whenever it is rescheduled.

Hung out at the Weekly for a while then went to eat some delicious Indian food with NS. He is such a cool guy--maybe because we're both similar in many ways. Our bizarre courting habits, for instance--but I've said too much.

And so I leave tomorrow to visit ! in her home-away-from-home-or-is-it-her-home? up North. Will spend all minutes with her. And I will also visit my cousin SD, who I've seen exactly twice in the past 7 years. Needless to say, my life has taken interesting turns in the past year, and I thank God that they have all been good.

quarta-feira, abril 10, 2002

Need to rest, but for some reason I don't feel tired...
By accident, I deleted a response to my illegal immigrant's should get driver's licenses articles. The lady agreed with me and was bringing up some fascinating points about why illegal immigrants should be able to get driver's licenses even though she's against illegal immigrants being here! Alas, I deleted the article by accident and didn't read it well enough to bring it up to further discussion here.

In my Portuguese class there is a lady who looks exactly like my fellow cargaderense MFS. Same freaking everything: white-than-white skin, slightly permed hair, gawky, same goofy sense of humor. But the lady's from Spain. If I put them side by side, maybe more people would then believe me when I say that there is almost no indigenous blood in El Cargadero; they're all in Jomulquillo.

terça-feira, abril 09, 2002

The Fito Paez concert was good, although I'm not too much of a fan of pop music.

I forgot to mention a funny moment that happened yesterday: JAM and me got to the restaurant where we were supposed to meat VM, PM, and MS but we couldn't find them. We were going to call them on MS's cell phone but didn't have any change. I had a dollar but was too embarrassed to ask for change so I asked JAM to do it. He refused, saying he was too embarrassed. We went on like this for almost 15 minutes. Finally, God--in an act of annoyance--made the boys appear. Are me and JAM dorks or what? Oh well, at least we're nice dorks.
Now let's write a whole lot...


Went to a protest in Placentia regarding the police department's horrible treatment of its minority residents. I was happy to see that over 50 people went and even happier to see it was made up of mostly Placentia residents. Best moment: a black guy passed by, asked what we were doing. When I told him about it, he let out a huge laugh, said "It's about time!", got a sign himself and began making contact with the other people. Surprisingly, many people honked in approval, with only one man saying anything particularly vulgar. God bless dissension.

Got home, ready to start writing but then I checked my messages. It seemed the Boys were going to take out VM for another round of birthday salutations--and MS would be there! MS, my guanaco friend who I almost never see. We all agreed it had been WAY too long since all of us got together--July 4, to be exact. That was also the last time I truly acted like a jerk (too long of a story to bear worth repeating here).

Everyone got pretty drunk except me. Although JAM picked me up, I had to drive him back home. It was a great time and I managed to lose respect for one of my friends. Reason: said friend cheated on their significant other yet tries to pass themselves off as a faithful person. Hypocrite.


Got the writing assignment from my jefe to do a write-up on Maria Felix, recently deceased Mexican goddess. Will be in early Thursday. Took out my aunt AM for lunch because it was her birthday. Took her to Persian food. I'm not too much of a fan of the restaurant because it's pretty expensive. But the food is great and she was ever grateful. We talked a lot and its so interesting to see a middle-aged woman be so enthusiatic about things. Talking to her also made me sad in that she was suppressed so long by her husbands, strict adherents to the Mexican code of machismo that stifles a great deal of my mami.

Her son (my cousin) lives in Portland, so I will visit him during my trip to visit !. I've seen him twice in the past 7 years. He was a favorite cousin of mine and is now a hard-core activist. Can't wait.
Going to go see Fito Paez tonight at the House of Blues for a review--at least I'm supposed to. Haven't received confirmation from my editor so I'll just go anyways. Should be fun. Most everything nowadays is fun.
A couple of things to report, but will have to wait. In the meanwhile...

"Acuérdate de Acapulco, de aquellas noches, María bonita, María de alma...."

Rest in peace, devourer of men.

segunda-feira, abril 08, 2002

One of the things I don't like about my current Blogger address is that I don't know how many people read it anymore. Not that I ever really did; Geocities was notoriously unreliable in documenting how many people visited my blog and when. But I'd like to know once in a while. Now, all I can do is rely on how many people visit my main page, but I know my more loyal fans type my blog's URL directly.

Having a crisis of profession right now. I don't know what my next story is going to be. But I have an easy save: food reviews.

domingo, abril 07, 2002

Sometimes Blogger posts my thoughts, other times it doesn't. I thought it hadn't inputted my last comment but now I see it did. Just some of the wonders of technology. So nothing to say at the moment except I think I'm a pretty good writer.
I've started to write for the Register. Here is a reaction from one of my fellow brave freelancers...

Eww. Talk about sleeping with the enemy...

My response

I wouldn’t talk, Mr. Daily Pilot (insult applicable only if you still write for them)!

Am I sleeping with the enemy? Well, when your lover isn't giving you the adoration you deserve, you start looking for love from other people (and NO, you cannot apply this to !; ! and me are great). It is my primary journalistic lover who isn't giving me some good lovin'. My Register gig is an attempt to make her jealous.
Spent yesterday with my boys: VM (whose birthday it was), PM, EV, and JAM. Sang Beatles songs, quoted Simpsons, generally acted like a bunch of dorks. I couldn't imagine a better time spent with friends.

sexta-feira, abril 05, 2002

Turned in my Los Fabulosos Cadillacs review to the Reg; they liked it a lot. Supposedly, they're going to make only one revision (it involves the Daffy Duck favorite pronouns). And they gave me another gig, this Tuesday reviewin yet another artist I have never heard in my life. I have such a way of writing good about things I have no clue about. Yes, homens e mulheres, eu sou the world's greatest writing fraud.

In better news, my stomach is finally getting better after a long time of doing strange things. But now I have a weird rash on my neck. If it's not one thing, it's another.
I forgot to take earplugs to the Los Fabulosos Cadillacs concert (read my review for the Reg soon). End result: my head hurts. Ow.

quinta-feira, abril 04, 2002

A little plug about my journalistic abilities from the Hip Hop Hoodios' newsletter...
...Thus far, the Spanish media and Latinos at English-language publications have been the only ones helping to spread the word about Hip Hop Hoodios
on radio and in the newspapers. In fact, when we were finally written up in a Jewish publication (LA Jewish Journal), it took a Catholic Mexican-American (Gustavo's note: that would be me) to write the story and convince them we were worth giving some ink to.
Made the reservatons to go to Portland next weekend. It's going to be somewhat scary since I've never been on a plane in my life (for that matter, I've never travelled in my life). But it will be great. I'll be in a beautiful city escorted by a beautiful lady. All I ask for is good Mexican food because I haven't had some in a while.

Going to Los Fabulosos soon with PM. I hope I can write good. Something new and extraordinary happens every day to me.

quarta-feira, abril 03, 2002


I can finally write a bit about myself, even if things usually are the same day-to-day. I'm the only graduate student in my Chicano Studies class, which means I'm with a bunch of undergrads who still ask annoying questions like if the final will be multiple choice. The world is small: the lady teaching the class is the girlfriend (ex?) of one of my mentors, RM. It should be fun but ridiculously easy.

Got an A- for Portuguese, an A for Chicano historiography. Good for me.

! is fine in Portland. I might visit her sooner rather than later, but we still have to work out a couple of details--like buying tickets. I've been on a plane exactly twice during my life, and both of the times my father bought the tickets for me. Now I have to do it on my own--with !'s help, of course. I feel so young in this aspect.

More articles are being written as I write, and going to the Los Fabulosos Cadillacs concert tomorrow at the Universal Amphitheatre with PM. That's going to be my first article for the Orange County Register--and maybe my last. If it happens, I'll tell all soon.

Have to go back to work here at UCLA, but I'll finish with another observation:

Life Lesson #6: Just because you speak the same language and have the same culture as someone doesn't mean you belong to it. Ethnicity is the most fluid trait a human possesses. And generalizations are essential in stating opinions. Without making generalizations, one would never be able to live life.
More asbestos! More asbestos!
---Original Message----

Reading your article made me very upset for several reasons. First of all, as a Salvadorena born in El Salvador who immigrated to the US, I am proud to identify myself as a CHICANA!! I am not the only one, there are many non-Mexicans who feel the same way. Were all here fighting the same struggle. Second of all, I do not agree with your idea that "Chicano Leftist" are "hijacking" the Cesar Chavez legacy, if anything we're making sure it lives on and motivating other raza to stand up for what they believe in and fight. If it weren't for "Chicano Leftist" we probably wouldn't have such a day, and you probably wouldn't have written this article, you would have been sweating, breaking your back, instead of sitting in front of a computer at such a prestigious school. My suggestion to you, before you go on writing ignorant articles such as this one, is to try to understand really what CHICANISMO means. Let me give you a hint, it doesn't = MEXICAN-AMERICANS. It goes deeper than nationality. Also if there are non-Mexican raza who feel excluded from Chavez's legacy, then its our job as "intellectuals" to make sure that everyone, not only Mexican-Americans understand the significance of this man, and the significance of CHICANISMO to this country. Doing this requires us to be active and join the movement, rather than sitting back and criticizing those that are actually fighting for what really matters.

USC 2001
My response
Thank you for your comments. I'm glad to see that as a non-Mexican, you identify yourself as Chicana. However, I think you are the exception rather than the rule. I have many Salvadoran friends who would rather eat dirt than be associated with anything remotely Mexican. And nearly every Mexican immigrant I know does not identify themselves as Chicano. Perhaps it is due to not being conscious of their situation but that is what I have personally encountered.

I wholeheartedly agree with you: it is Chicanos who are making sure Chavez's legacy lives on. That said, they are also the ones who are preventing the Chavez legacy from truly blooming. And I also agree with you that it is up to us to make sure everyone understands what a great man Chavez was. However, we must also be able to criticize what we perceive to be errors in his legacy keeping rather than sit back and do nothing about it. I feel that my critique is my contribution to Chavez's legacy keeping and I hope that it can inspire some much-needed dialogue so we can ensure not just Chicanos identify with the man. I appreciate your comments and thank you for writing.

terça-feira, abril 02, 2002

More mail...
---Original Message----

I read your article on Chicanos hijacking Cesar Chavez' memory for their own political gain. I do not agree with you. I am a Mexican-American woman who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, and whose family members worked the fields throughout the state. As a child, I took part in migrant worker marches. I am proud that Cesar Chavez was Mexican, like me. I do not identify with him for political gain. I don't think he would have minded being a role model for Mexican-Americans, especially since we have so few that are as well known as Cesar Chavez. Just as the African-American community identifies with Martin Luther King, Jr., the Mexican-American community identifies with Cesar Chavez.

Regarding other Latin people who live in this state, if they repect what
Cesar Chavez did for the Mexican community, that's fine. We can all respect the ideals that Martin Luther King,Jr. taught. But just because those of us who are not African American respect what Martin Luther King stood for does not mean that we should take away his significance from those people who are African-American. Their adulation, respect, and identification with him does not hijack his significance for others. Neither does the Mexican-American Californian's adulation, respect and identification of Cesar Chavez hijack his significance for others.

My response

Thank you for your well-taken comments. I would like to correct one of your points, though. In your letter, you seem to indicate that my article states that people should not be proud of Chavez's heritage. That was not my intention. My article points out that Chavez should be a hero to many more people other than Chicanos but this cannot happen unless people begin to regard him as much more than a mere Chicano. While people should not forget his origins or heritage, they should nevertheless know that Chavez was much, much more. It is my opinion that the current representation of Chavez still focuses too much on his Chicano heritage and that many people will be turned off by that because (for better or for worse) they believe Chicanos want him all for themselves. We cannot allow this to happen.


Gustavo Arellano
Blogger has been down for the past couple of days. In the meanwhile, emails regarding my Chavez piece have been coming in--insulting ones. Here are two of them, alont with my responses...---
Ok, I am now positive that after 6 years of Prop 209 we are producing a large batch of Contras in our colleges! Your article only concretizes that point!

I remember a review you did of "Tortilla Soup" you called it "Tortilla Goup"? In that piece (remember you gave the movie the finger rather than
a thumbs down?) you didn't seem to be to worried about "Latinos" representation there did you? In fact you were quite opposed to the possibility of Sur Americanos, Caribeno, and Centro Americanos interacting with Mexicans in L.A.... you infact seen them as being a pariah of sorts... almost like you seen it in terms of the mere fact of
them being included in such a flick was "diluting" Mexican L.A. Now you are on the ramparts screaming that Chavez excludes "Latinos"? And that it is "Leftist" Chicanos doing this? Well excuse us for creating a movement! Excuse our community for fostering a Cesar Chavez to fight for the rights of Farm workers.. Pilipinos, Arab, and Raza! Excuse us for our resistance!

Dressing your Orange County conservatism in the guise of liberal rhetoric is blatantly visible... you appear to be seeking to create an atmosphere of destructive critiques rather than being productive... why?

I do not think it is because Chavez and the UFW are seen as being a "Chicana/os" thing as being the reason why recent immigrants do not recognize him or identify with him, it is because recent immigrants do not know the history of the movements in the U.S.- Civli Rights, Chicana/o, and Americna Indian that transpired from the 50's to the70's- Mexico and Central American countries don't not teach this in their grade schools, many recent immigrants don't even know they existed! This
is why we need a PROGRESSIVE Chicana/o Studies.

Chale! I will not back off or run in shame if you call me a "Leftist"; I will not apologize for Chavez or the Farm workers movement, or for our Progressive political nature (in my opinion after Regan got elected the country went to the right by 2002 what is considered "moderate" is really the right-wing of 1975!) So your a moderate contra college
student... there I said it! Oh yeah... there is no way in hell that I will back down from asserting my Chicano identity!

Chicano y que!


p.s. yeah, so you got a rise out of people... yourself being a contra I know this is all you wanted. but please don't waste a seat in grad school...the COMMUNITY fougt for YOU, "Chicano Leftists", fought for you to have a seat- prios to 1967 Chicanos were not allowed at UCLA! I've read your other articles on how you "pulled yourself up by your boot straps" to get ot UCLA and I think your full of shit... you are standing on the shoulders of giants... remember that!

My response
Fellow Bruin,

First off, you must realize that any article I write expresses a different opinion of mine. So if I'm writing about "Tortilla Soup" as not representing Mexican LA, that is one opinion . This does not mean that my analysis of the film carries over for the rest of my writing career. It is my opinion in my Chavez piece that Chavez's legacy keepers (not Chavez--I never said that) are keeping him away from other Latinos and others by promoting his Chicano identity above all else. Is there something so insiduous about stating what I believe to be the truth? I know about the fight for all farmworkers that you mention (and I stated that in my article--never once said that he fought only for Chicanos)...but how about the rest of California? Few non-Chicanos know about this because Chicanos haven't bothered to say these things. As a result, all that non-Chicanos can see in Chavez's legacy maintenance is Chicano this, Si se puede! that and so forth. Too limiting.

Secondly, I seek to destroy nothing, as you assert. The aim in my articles is to make people think, whether they agree with me or not. If they get angry, hey, that's their thing. But I don't destroy anything. And your attempt to stereotype me as an Orange County conservative is laughable. What do you know about my experience with OC? Little, if anything, so you have no right to make assumptions about my political ideologies based solely on a stereotype that barely exists anymore.

And I'm not standing on the shoulders of any giants or any community in my grad school experience. The Chicano community is not mine and I am not going to graduate school for its benefit. I am going to benefit solely my parents, who worked their asses off to get me where I am without the help of any movement. If I should be grateful or work for anyone, it is my parents. And I am and do.

Gustavo Arellano

BTW, Thank you for sending the exact same message to the azteca list-serve, although you didn't put in the piece where you say I'm full of shit. But you did compare me to Richard Rodriguez. Good for you!
Email the second
---Original Message----
Gustavo Arellano,

I had the unfortunate experience of reading your article regarding the hijaking of Cesar Chavez's holiday by Chicanos.

Your article is sooo comical. What brilliant epiphany did you receive to come up with this theory?

What problem do you have with a community taking ownership of a hero from their own community? It is better that the appropriate community take ownership in interpreting the principles of one of their own than those principles being bastardized by political opportunists. Take Martin Luther King Jr. for example. Have you paid attention to how his image, messages and philosophy have been bastardized by conservative politicians who call for a "color blind society." When what they are really calling for is a
veil to racism and inequality. We won't allow this to happen to one of our own.

And your claim that Chavez will not be embrased by the majority of society because of Chicanos is ridiculous. If society does not embrace this magnificent individual it is not because of his connection to Chicanos. Rather it is because the majority of society is ignorant to an encompassing history. The history of non-whites. Another reason might be that they are straight out racist individuals that would never validate the contributions of non-whites, especially a Chicano/Mexicano. If people are as reactionary
as yourself, than that is their fault for being so fickle. Now really, who is the one being narrow minded. Chicanos have fought for Chavez to be embraced by the large society. Do you think we would waste our efforts in putting someone up on such a pedastal for only Chicanos to admire. You must think we're idiots.

Personally, I think you have identity issues. You need to get over your identity insecurities and look at the positive things that the Chicano Movement has done for society. It is so easy to focus on the bad things, but what credit have you give to the very people that have struggled to put your ass in college. Don't think that you did not benefit from such a movement, because prior to 1965 there were less than 100 African and Chicano students at UCLA. Now there are much more, but if they are half as tapados
as you are, what a waste.

It is you, Gustavo, that is being divisive. What's your agenda?

La Chicanada vive!

Que te importa.
My response

I agree with you 100% that a community should take care of its leaders' legacy. However, it is also up to the community to maintain that legacy. My parents--both former farmworkers--don't identify with Chavez one bit because they identify him as a Chicano leader. Perhaps it's because of how the media constructs him but the point is they don't even though they full well should. It is up to Chicanos to reach out to people like my parents but it is my opinion that they have not done a good job at it and are further keeping Chavez away from non-Chicanos.

I have no agenda nor am I being divisive? How am I being divisive? By daring to say that I THINK that Chicanos are retarding the Chavez legacy? Its called an opinion piece, not reporting. They're done to spark discussion. La Prensa of San Diego ran my piece right below a piece by Chavez's son Paul, as did the San Francisco Chronicle. To spark discussion, nothing more nothing less.

As to my identity issues...I guess once a tapado, always a tapado, eh?

Gustavo Arellano
And finally, a bit of vindication by someone (my article is the subject of raging debate on a Chicano list-serve...how about that?)

The UFW was the culmination of strikes by Mexican workers which one time paralyzed 90% of U.S. agriculture.This was during the late Twenties and during the Thirties and it was principally a Mexican movement. After WW II, the movement was taken up again, this time led by.. . Larry Dulay Itliong, a Pilipino farmworker and his Pilipino union who led the Delano Grape Strike in 1965 and convinced Cesar Chavez to join him in forming the United Farmworkers Union in 1967. ...

The Pilipinos started the Delano Grape Strike. Later, the Pilipinos separated from the UFWOC because, according to them, they were treated with no respect by the Mexicans and shoved aside in matters of strategy and policy.

Thus, there is an element of truth in what Arrellano said, about hyjacking because the Chicanos/Mexicans/Latinos all during this year, and especially now with the proclamation of the day, have never once mentioned the pioneer Pilipinos and their leader, Larry Dulay Itliong who started the Delano Grape Strike in the first place, and were the original heroes.

Octavio Romano TQS Publications

More to come...my personal life later.

segunda-feira, abril 01, 2002

Went to see Hip Hop Hoodios yesterday at the Conga Room in LA. It's so bizarre to go to a club like the Conga Room, where there's all these private rooms with windows inside to see the fabulously pseudo-rich and their latest catch (whether man or woman). I don't like it.

The Hoodios had great songs, but you can tell they're a new band because their live act needs some polishing. But as a concept band, I think they're great. Went alone since PM (my usual Latin alternative buddy) was out with his girlfriend and no one else was available. No hard feelings, especially since he'll be joining me for Los Fabulosos Cadillacs at the Universal Amphitheatre this Thursday.

Talked to ! for a bit this morning, who came back from Vancouver yesterday. It went well, she's well. We talked while we were both covered in blankets. So comforting. Made plans for a visit to Portland (God willing) later this month. It will be the first time I've ever been on a plane and the third time ever. Not only that, it will be my first real trip out of Southern California. I have lived such a sheltered life but it's time to start growing up.

Finally, my Chavez piece is spreading like wildfire. So far, I know of 4 publications that have picked it up. But I won't know for a while because PNS told me that its news-clips service is slow. My name is getting out there. Let's just hope it gets a permanent address in a good place.