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

quarta-feira, julho 31, 2002

I've got an article due for tomorrow, so my writing will be occupied there. But I'm still bewildered--and a bit sad. Am I ever happy nowadays? Not really.

terça-feira, julho 30, 2002

So I want to write a bit more...

Had lunch with JC of JC Fandango fame. Afterwards, went to said club and hung out with him, GG of the Fabulous G sisters, and another guy who's last name I've yet to learn but is cool. He had a Spanish book (as in the country, not the idiom) from 1817 featuring different poets. It was pretty great.

Afterwards got home for a bit then went to coffee with JR, who I haven't seen in ages. Fun gal, very honest. That's why I hang out with her. We filled each other in on our lives, but I talked much more. Perhaps it was the fact that my gut was about to bust and I had to burn some calories. Or perhaps it's the fact that I'm an inconsiderate loudmouth.
It's too hot to write right now. But I can say that I'm not miserable anymore. Bewildered is the correct word now.
Here's a letter sent via snail mail to the Weekly regarding my Samantha Runnion/M article...

Give me a break. The Lindbergh, Klass, and Smart kidnappings were all home invasions. In the Runnion case there was a trail of personal connection to the alleged kidnapper. Rarely are these cases as simple as a reandom snatch out of a public play area.

Predators stalk their prey, or a dreawn to them for personal reasons. That's what you should be exploring, even though it's the more difficult subject to tackle.

No response on my behalf other than the personal observation that the Runnion case was in fact what the writers says it wasn't. Not clear enough? Too bad; I'm working

segunda-feira, julho 29, 2002

I'm really not sure anymore what to think about anything. I am miserable. Tune in tomorrow and I might be ecstatic--or more miserable.
Here's a letter posted in the Weekly about my Reventon Super Estrella article of last week...

Finally someone speaks against the crap that the supposedly "Super" Estrella (KSSE-FM 97.5) plays over the air waves (Gustavo Arellano’s "Five-Year Flop," July 19). Five years ago, I, too, believed there would finally be a station dedicated to the rock en español phenomenon. Wrong! Their "Reventón" is the Hispanic equivalent of Wango Tango. With so many great bands out there, why, oh, why does this station think Paulina Rubio is a singer? Why, oh, why do they play Mana songs from 10 years ago? Why, oh, why are they even still on the air? I’m really thirsty for some real music en mi idioma in the largest Hispanic market in the country.

Ivonne Camacho
via e-mail

My response in the paper...

Gustavo Arellano responds: Why, oh, why didn’t I get to see the concert? See next week’s Lowballasschatter.

Read all of my articles, damnit!

Met up with NGF for a while at Libreria Martinez in Santa Ana. He was waiting for a friend so called me at the Weekly. We shot the breeze, talked a bit about my usual insecurities. Remember, people, I'm a Mexican Woody Allen (at least the neurotic angle). All this talk of my overconfidence-ha! No me miran cuando estoy llorando en mi sueño.

domingo, julho 28, 2002

Here is a comment from NGF regarding my Ron Jeremy and M/Samantha Runnion articles. No response will be given on my behalf since we already spoke in person...

loved your stories on Jeremy and the Avila case. I think they were both fantastic. Your words gave me a good visual to the movie and your experience with Jeremy. Oh, one more thing. Thanks for washing your hands.

What can I say?
LIFE LESSON #9

If you don't want to get singed, then don't play with fire. Or wear asbestos clothing.

sábado, julho 27, 2002

Yes, I am considered in some circles to be a evening with Ron Jeremy might give the impression that I'm completely cool with a sordid sex environment. And my interest in reading about sex (check this book out; might have to order it from Britain) would make it appear that I'm wild and crazy with amour.

But I'm not. I'm Catholic, for chrissakes. Throw the allegations of hypocrisy at me. Come on, do it.
One of the great songs of the past 20 years. For some reason, I just thought about it...

Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day

Just waking up in the morning, gotta thank God
I don't know, but today seems kinda odd
No barking from the dog, no smog
And mama cooked the breakfast wit no hog
I got my grub on, but didn't pig out
Finally got a call from a girl I wanna dig out
Hooked it up for later as I hit the do'
Thinkin' will I live, another 24
I gotta go, cause I got me a drop-top
And if I hit the switch, I can make the ass drop
Had to stop at a red light
Lookin' in my mirror, not a jacker in sight
And everything is alright
I got a beep from Kim, and she can fuck all night
Called up the homies and I'm askin' y'all
Which park, are y'all playing basketball
Get me on the court and I'm trouble
Last week fucked around and got a triple-double
Freakin' niggas every way like MJ
I can't believe, today was a good day
Shit

Drove to the pad and hit the showers
Didn't even get no static from the cowards
Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me
Saw the police and they rolled right past me
No flexin'
Didn't even look in a nigga's direction as I ran the intersection
Went to Short Dogg's house
They was watchin' YO! MTV Raps
What's the haps on the craps
Shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em
Roll 'em in a circle of niggas and watch me break 'em
With the 7, 7, 11, 7, 11, 7 even back do' Lil' Joe
I picked up the cash flow
Then we played bones, and I'm yellin' Domino
Plus nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A.
Today was a good day
Shit

Left my nigga's house paid
Picked up a girl been tryna fuck since the 12th grade
It's ironic, I had the booze, she had the chronic
The Lakers beat the Supersonics
I felt on the big fat fanny, pulled out the jammy
And killed the poonany
And my dick runs deep, so deep
So deep put her ass to sleep
Woke her up around 1
She didn't hesitate, to call Ice Cube the Top Gun
Drove her to the pad and I'm coastin'
Took another sip of the potion, hit the three wheel motion
I was glad everything had worked out
Dropped her ass off and then chirped out
Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn't even see a berry flashin' those high beams
No helipcopter lookin' for a murder
2 in the mornin', got the Fat Burger
Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read "Ice Cube's a Pimp"
Drunk as hell but no throwin' up
Half way home and my pager's still blowin' up
Today I didn't even have to use my AK
I gotta say it was a good day
Shit

Hey wait, wait a minute Pooh, stop this shit
What the fuck I'm thinkin' about?
Here's our freedom-loving nation in all its glory.

You just think you know what's up.
For some reason, all I could think about as I drove to JC Fandango was Gershwin.

sexta-feira, julho 26, 2002

Here are some words of encouragement from one of my countless mentors, Sam Quinones...

i may not get a chance soon to read these pieces, however i want to say that i think you're doing just the right thing. ron jeremy, fritz lang, hip-hop. that's great. don't let them pigeon-hole you as the minority writer. the world's too big.

My response...

Thanks for the encouragement; it really means a lot for me. The world is indeed a big place, even if you live in Orange County. I’m discovering this every day I write something on a new subject.
---
LAST NIGHT...

I went to the Vinyl in Hollywood with the Fabulous G sisters to go see the Battle of the Bands concert held by the fine magazine La Banda Elastica. It was pretty cool because each band played only two songs. This limit also proved to be a gift from God because most bands were God-awful. But it was fun because we got to make fun about how bad some of them were.

TODAY...

I worked at the Weekly as always on a couple of stories. I'm working on one that I want to tell in one way but is turning into something much more complex that I gave it credit for. Good for me; shows that I'm learning and willing to change my perspective on things.

I have now become a snob and suscribed to the New Yorker. Since I'm a writer, I figured I should start reading other writers and the New Yorkers supposedly has some of the best articles in the country. We'll see about that.

TONIGHT...

I'll probably do absolutely nothing at all. JAM is in Mexico, as is VM. PM has his girlfriend to occupy his energies, as does AG with the boyfriend. That leaves me alone at home with absolutely nothing to do except sharpen my sword of knowledge. It's mighty sharp about now.
I'll have something to report when there's something worth to report. Actually, there are many things to report but I still need to process them in my mind. Then I'll report.

quarta-feira, julho 24, 2002

It is true: dreams are a precursor of what may come.

I've had a couple of interesting ones over the past few days, dreaming that a dirty bomb was exploded at San Francisco's St. Jude Hospital (I'm not even sure if there is a St. Jude's Hospital in San Francisco), I was witness to a mass execution at a school, and other horrible REM's. But the worst was today's.

I shall not divulge: it's too personal. But I woke myself out of it because I was so upset. People who know me are aware I rarely do such a thing. But I did.

The rest of the day went downhill. I did get work done at the Weekly, but upon arriving home, I found out that some of it was for naught. Then a friend backed out on me when I needed him. Ingrate. Then some nice health problems. A couple of lectures from the parents, some realizations on my behalf--and I still have about three hours of waking time remaining!

I've been good for these past couple of weeks and I expect to be good. But sometimes I forget the world I live in, the realities of my life, and the many obstacles I face daily just to survive.

I'm not sure what else to say except to repeat the oft-said mantra: I'm a good guy. I just hope God and others realize that.

terça-feira, julho 23, 2002

Here's an amusing AOL IM conversation...

LitLover69: although the best way Ive been able to describe you was that you look like the verizon wireless guy but slightly darker
LitLover69: sorry
LitLover69: for that
LitLover69: but im being maybe too honest
ronmaydon: that guy who keeps saying "can you here me now?"
LitLover69: hear. but basically yeah
ronmaydon: hmm...i think he's nerdy
ronmaydon: then again, i'm one to talk
LitLover69: dont focus on looks please
ronmaydon: hey, i embrace my geekness
LitLover69: if anything i wouldnt say a thing either
ronmaydon: those glasses i wear...I wanted them way before they were considered cool
LitLover69: true
ronmaydon: I wanted them in 8th grade, when they were still the mark of death
ronmaydon: i am geek to the core
ronmaydon: though my cousin said I look like an emo kid
LitLover69: glad i dont wear them but i may have to if i keep up this lifestyle ive been leading
LitLover69: you do sort of remind me of that but i dont think you listen to bands like Dashboard Confessionals
ronmaydon: nope, I listen to pinche banda
I had comments but technology erased them. Damn you, blog?
Just came back from seeing Cuauhtemoc at some dive in Newport Beach.The place reminded me of San Diego's Casbah, which I went to once with a special person.

The boys played great and I did something I do almost never: mosh. I moshed hard too, because there were some morons making disparaging remakrs about the band, saying "What the fuck is that" when lead singer Coyolt played a beautiful flute solo. After the first song, those guys were gone, too scared to mosh into our scene.

Cuauhtemoc played at a Battle of the Bands and of course they lost. When it comes to things like these, talent never wins. The two bands that won blew but also brought in the most fans. Such is the philosophy of the music industry. When the winners were announced, us Cuauhtemoc fans started booing and shouting "Culeros!" to no one in particular. One guy right next to me said, "Those people always do that when they lose." I shot him a dirty look and his girlfriend said, "He didn't mean that." The guy then said, "Fuck yeah, I did" but didn't act on his bravado after I stared him down.

I'm not a violent man at all, but those who know me are aware that I do have a dark side to me. We all do, but mine is particularly vicious. Don't provoke it.

I'll end now with an email from my Portuguese professor regarding my pinche Reventon article...

Reventon? Que diabo é isso?

It seems that they didn't choose a MUSICIAN to choose the MUSICIANS. In Brazil we say "CACETE ARMADO" for this kind of stuff. Weel, I trust in your taste more than in the "organizadores"!!! I'm glad I didn't go to Reventon!!!

segunda-feira, julho 22, 2002

Some more comments for my Reventon article. The first is actually a reply from my cousin SD to my response to his comments...

Primo, your response to my critique told me that you have complete confidence in your writing.

Perhaps your plea to understand the rational for your bannishment was more retorical than anything else. Your writing style is straight forward honest. I like that. What I like most of all is that you stand behind your work. Your responses to my critique were well contructed and supported your rational. Many writers concerned with a "what will other people think" mentality would do well in trying not to offend anyone and not get themselved banned from anything. Bravo Gustavo, bravo!

I'll say again, I don't blame them for banning you. I don't agree with them, but none the less, for their self-interest their decision was a smart one. You see Gustavo, you are a threat. "The pen is mightier than the sword". In the overall scheme of things we must ask ourselved what is worth the risk and consequences and what is not. I seems to me that you have done precisely that. I'm proud of you.

Gracias, primo. The following is a response from JT, exiled in Missoura...

You asked what was so offensive.

I don't know, Gus. Maybe it was this line:

"It’s a miracle that the explicitly conformist station plays their stuff, though, considering that underneath Enanitos’ poppy sound is seething
working-class lyrical sentiment."

Or maybe this one:

"Too bad that their songs of protest will be lost on most of Reventón’s materialistic audience, who wouldn’t know a political subtext if it rifle-butted them across their dancing-fool kneecaps." (funny)

Or maybe this one:

"the boys’ party tunes can either evolve into Enanitos-status consciousness or stupid Super Estrella silliness."

Or maybe this one:

"I’ll give him credit for writing, playing and producing his material, an anomaly in Super Estrella’s roster."

Or maybe this one:

"The rest of the Reventón slate is more suited toward Super Estrella’s
no-brains-required format:"

Or maybe this one:

" Maybe Super Estrella will start playing better music. Or maybe I should
hope that there is a God so that He can smite this pestilence from musicdom forever." (Truth is not always what people like to hear.)

But it was a fun article. ("...showing your great ass does not a feminist
make"...ha!) Good stuff, man. Keep it up.

My response...

To paraphrase the great sage Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinker?
--
I have accidentally bruised myself in what is the most sensitive part of my body. Needless to say, I'll be walking funny until it heals.

domingo, julho 21, 2002

I love being stood up! All the time!

Here is another response to my Reventon Super Estrella demolition. This one's from my cousin in Oregon...

Your article on the upcoming concert was nothing less than an incitement to overthrow the producers of "Reventon Super Estrella 2002 through a general boycott. All you had to do was include the word "boycott" anywhere in the article to have accomplished this task. I loved it!

But as much as enjoyed it, let alone gained a critical perspective of the concert I must say, I don't blame them for their reaction and action in response to your article and you. *You used profanity *You insulted the public (not all of them) by referring to them as a "material audience, who wouldn't know a political subtext if it...." This is a grave assumption on your part. We cannot and must not make the mistake of generalizing the political literacy of the public.
*You insulted the audience by referring their dancing style as "dancing-fool kneecaps". (who are you critiquing, them or the event?) *Your comment "or maybe there is a God so that he can smite....." demonstrated a preconceived judgment which indicated a given bias on you part. The producers of Reventon were probably not wrong in thinking that your presence at the concert was just a formality and that the article ripping them apart was already written.

Maybe you could have elaborated more on the benefit of such concerts. How the general media in the U.S. continues to tokenize Latin music. You did all this at the beginning, but could have gone back to it therefore positively paving a way for them to return and fulfill their original objectives.

You see Primo, it's not about destroying and insulting, it's about exposing the truth (through critique) and then offering alternatives and in some case allowing your enemy to retreat with dignity.

Primo, gracias por permitirme darle critica a tu articulo. Estos son los pensamientos que se vinieron a la mente. Te los comparto no como un periodista o critico a artículos sino como un leedor de ellos. Como ya mencione en una forma me encanto pero como todo, hay que medir él "como y cuando" de todas la cosas. Te felicito. Tu carta al concilio de la cuidad de Garden Grove fue fabulosa. Sigue adelante

My response...

Perdóname por the lateness in my reply. I've been exceedingly busy with work and wanted to respond thoughtfully to your comments.

First off, glad you liked my Garden Grove article. What they're doing there is simply insane. But if you read that article, you will have noticed that I constantly use bombast in my writing style, calling the mayor "Bulldozer" and even making fun of Hardy Boy novels.

Such is the style of the Weekly; such is mine. I try to refrain from profanity but felt that its solitary use in my Reventón article was proper to make the overzealous explanation I was going for. My assumptions on behalf of the crowd emanates from their apparent lack of critical thought in spending more than $50 for a concert of this magnitude. While the Reventón was going on, I was at a hip-hop show that had much better music from local artists--plus cost $5. The politics of the public will guide them to their brand of politics. In the Reventón-going crowd, I assume it’s the politics of materialism and non-involvement.

In regards to my God comment...bias is also a main part of my writing style. I go in with my opinion and my opinion only. I only seek to obliterate that which I think is poisonous. The Reventón has been poisonous to the Latin alternative scene because the general American public thinks the artists they're the best. Meanwhile, the true visionaries languish with no publicity department to put them in commercials (like Shakira) or television (like Paulina Rubio). And I wrote just as critical an article last year on the Reventón yet they didn't ban me then. I feel that this time it was because I called it for what it was.

Interesting note: the Latin alternative community has spread my article around the Internet and people have been giving great responses to it.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh in some of my statements, but I also feel that they were necessary for Super Estrella to get a reality check and perhaps rethink the intentions of their concert. I think that my banishment from the event was a positive step in that direction. Gracias por tu adviso y espero más correspondencia entre nosostros dos.
--
Loved your article on the reventon, I hate that this station only plays the poppy hits of the moment bands or singers, neglecting the rest on the great artists who are really hitting big in other countries...i really hate how this station as well as the latin grammy's work....since when do we in our latino culture forget the musicians of the past as well as the great talent of the future?? and forget to help the up and coming artists struggling........although my favorita singer in the entire world was the headlining act last year "alejandra guzman", and she personally gave me a pair of tickets to go since it sold out in minutes...i did not want to support that type of show

adelante gustavo and always speak your mind

My response...

Thank you for your response. That is my biggest problem with the Reventon, that it does absolutely nothing to foster much better artistis in its obession with bringing the "hottest" starts to their little party. And, like you noted, that's exactly how the Latin Grammys are constructed.

If only I got all these caring words in real rather than digital life...
I was supposed to play tennis with the Fabulous G sisters, JAM/MM, and MS. Got stood up. No surprise there.

What was surprising is that I ended up playing tennis with a lady who appeared to be in her late 40s (although she looked older; "white" people age so much faster than Mexicasn). We had a good workout and she commended me on my stroke. I thanked her for the compliment and for playing tennis with me at the expense of coaching her three children who were busy acting goofy.

I know I have seen this woman before at the CCIR meetings but I'm sure she didn't recognize me. In our normal masks of life, we would have easily dismissed each other as singular characteristics but when we dropped them, we were fellow tennis practitioners. I know some people--if one or the other had recognized each other--wouldn't have even acknowledged each other. But I did. I think I'm nice that way.
Things to write tomorrow...which is to say today.

sábado, julho 20, 2002

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: God is such the prankster. Of course, I'm the butt of many of His jokes. God damn you, God. Give me a break sometimes, no?

sexta-feira, julho 19, 2002

And the letters keep pouring in for my Reventon Super Estrella article. This one is a collection of emails passed along to me from JN...

I got a lot of immediate responses when i sent this one out

-Great. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of Gustavo's writing in bigger publications in the future. He's probably the sharpest young writer covering the music right now.
-This article was a fun read. Keep your eyes on the writer Gustavo Arellano. He's only 23 and writing for like 5 publications. And he
just got his ass banned from even entering Reventon.....

This one is from major promotor Tomas Cookman of the Latin Alternative Music Conference...

Must say that I LOVED your article in the OC Register on the Super Reventon. You were so on the money!

My response...

Thank you for your nice words, although I must correct you. I write for the OC Weekly, not the Orange County Register. Their column on the Reventon is more typical of the soft press that the Super Estrella people crave. And if you have any other comments from other people regarding my article, just send them along to me!

So much fun, so little time. Or rather too much.

quinta-feira, julho 18, 2002

I have no idea where the virus went. Whoever sent it to me, a blight on you! Here's another supporting email from my friend who runs the fine Rockero3000 website...

props on the super estrella piece. Back in the day I use to write shit like that about them too. I even made a mock sticker that read, SuperEstupid which looked like there real sticker....anyways. Keep it real and keep up the good work.

My response...

Thanks for the nice words. That's so funny! I was just telling JN that we should start organizing a "Boycott Super Estrella" campaign for their mischaracterization and suppression of true Latin alternative music. Do you have any more of those stickers? Wouldn't mind posting a few around town...

This is turning out to be a blast. If only it were always like this. You know what? It is.

More nice words. I will refrain from answering, though, as they are merely comments, not observations...

Been enjoying your writing, in fact your review of Kronos Quartet's Mexico album piqued my interested much more than the NPR segment on Kronos' latest effort.
--
Now for some gossip, I will switch out of italics for normal text.

In this week's Weekly, I have written an article on the Reventon Super Estrella. Needless to say, I didn't like it and tried to be as funny as I could about it (althought I did point out that Enanitos Verdes is worth going to see). While I was at the office, I received a call from the publicist for the Reventon who shared with me some news: the Super Estrella folks were so incensed with the article that they asked her to revoke my press pass.

I am livid and amused as hell. All the people at the office had a good laugh over it, and I will write a scathing response to the radio station for next week. For my online diary, let me just say that to revoke a press pass is unprofessional beyond belief. Yes, I bashed their concert good but it's my job to. It's my job to call it as it is and not mince words. I liked last year's Super Estrella; why didn't they revoke my press pass then? Because they liked my words. Super Estrella's act is tantamount to censorship and rather contumely on their behalf towards me. Me vale madre. I'm a good Catholic boy, but I might have to call upon St. Thoma Aquinas' Just War Doctrine in this battle. No me dejo.

Back to the italics. Here are some letters of support. Once again, no response on my behalf...

Great Article on the Reventon, stick it to em', stick it to em'. I just hope they are taught a lesson with your ever so kind words...

LOVED IT!!!!!!...

Right on! When stuff like that happens, either you were a complete jerk or you were being completely righteous. In this case, it was pretty righteous. Now would you turn down a date from Paulina Rubio?

Yes, I would...or would I? My anti-virus program just told me I have a virus, so I must get off now. If it's not one thing, it's another...

Here's a letter from the community affairs specialist for Los Angeles' Israeli consulate...

My name is Ryan Mendoza, Community Affairs Specialist with the Consulate General of Israel here in Los Angeles. I read with interest your article, "Selling Israel to Progressive Latinos." Given that one of my aims here at the Consulate is to conduct outreach to the Latino community throughout the Southwestern United States, I appreciate your prescription for resurrecting the "historical Jewish-Latino relationship.

I would like to get together with you so we can discuss your ideas in greater detail and explore opportunities for putting these ideas into action.

My response...

Thank you for the kind words regarding my article. I would be delighted to meet with you, although I'm not sure what exactly I can add outside of my words. Let me know how your schedule looks like and let's talk.
I spent an evening with Ron Jeremy. Enough said.

quarta-feira, julho 17, 2002

I wonder sometimes as I progress as a writer what kind of writer will I end up. Will I be an essayist? an investigative superstar? a hack? muckraker? columnist? food? music? die with the bottle?

I'm not sure. Only time will tell. Time, and the type of writing I concentrate on. Right now, it's everything you can possibly imagine. I like that.

terça-feira, julho 16, 2002

More nice words about me. This one's a personal correspondence between PSS of OC Latino and an aspiring writer...

Have faith. Writing makes you a better writer. Gustavo is a great guy for advice, his writing is as sharp, incisive, witty and erudite as he is. Reading good writers also helps yor own writing. I recommend a few of Gustavo's articles to start, with my personal favorite of his writings "Polka Politics The evolution of Los Tigres del Norte", this was in the April 2001 issue of the OC Weekly, in it he gives a history of Mexican pop music, Migrant Workers and the current state of the Mexican family. It also ends with one of the most beautiful formed sentences I've ever read: "In their songs is the struggle of a people and two nations, la querida patria of México and the rich yet corrupt Estados Unidos—all sung in their infectious polka politics, which makes couples move
like gyroscopes to their own plight"

Then, I recommend: Diary of a Day Laborer: A human drama in 5 parts". The title is self explanatory, and it is a powerful, moving story of the immigrant experience. In it he humanizes those people we simply drive by, and pretend not to notice. Good writers illumanate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Gus accomplished that.

The next piece is fun, light and chatty. "Salvadoran Slugfest: Food as a tool of peace". In it
Gustavo does an appreciation of Salvadorian food (treason) and is funny. However, I must tell you that his use of a Salvadorian friend, who was originally supposed to be simply an unnamed Salvadorian, got his name "Sal" from me. You see, while he wrote this, Gustavo and I were at work together and he was sitting at the front desk, covering for the very pregnant receptionist, writing on company time, and I coached Mr. Arellano a bit. Told him to add the Sal bit. Never has he publically acknowledged that, bastardo, well, not really, I don't mind much. I amalways glad to help friend out... In fact, I will go out on a limb here, and say I taught the boy everything he
knows. I am just kidding, of course. Of course.

Gustavo, if you have never met him in person, is a very intelligent man too. It comes off a lot in his writing, to read Gustavo and appreciate it for all its nuances, subtle nods and poignance one must read carefully and be well somewhat well cultured themselves. But, if one isn't so,one can simply enjoy it. Thats what made H.L. Mencken great, that is what made Mark Twain great.

The "El Cargadero Social Club: How a Mexican ghost town lives on in Anaheim", this is by NIck
Schou, but ustavo can rewrite it so much better than that guy. But its worth a read, it gives one a little insight on Gustavo's background, since Gus was the source
and all. I appreciate this story too, because Gustavo's grandmother is in it. And Shou paint a pretty picture of Gustavo's family around, drinking Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce, I can see it. Maybe this is way too desconstructionist of me, but I think reading this sort of quasi-biographical albeit incredibly indirect, sort of thing helps one appreciate Gustavo's writing. That and Gustavo has immortalized his grandmother. What a good grandson.

But then compare that knowledge of Gustavo's past, with this: "Gaza Strip Mall Meating the paste in northwest Anaheim".

Its an amazing array, and we got this in house. But if this punk can do it, so can you.

Couldn't have said it better myself. The following is a letter from my Portuguese teacher. Although he wrote it in English, I responded in Portuguese to practice. If you want to know what I said, get a dictionary...

I read your article on Jews/Latinos. I agree with what you said, for the most part. You have a good point. However, it's still a fact that Israel has more power than the Palestinians and THOSE WHO HAVE MORE POWER HAVE ALSO MORE POWER TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM, to stop the war, to negociate (alghough it's necessary
that the other part commit itself too). There's only one way to the world not associate Israel with opression: if they manage to create peace. If Israel keeps opressing Palestinians, Latinos will tend to not agree with that them (Israelis) don't you think? I love both Jews and Arabs but it's time for both countries to follow Muhamed and Cristo's path, which is the path of Peace.

Minha resposta...

Em respuesta a seus observaçoes, eu concordo com voc quando diz que o Israel tem mais poder em fazer a paz. Mas porque o Israel tem esse poder, o país deve tentar falar com os Latinos nas universidades e explicar porque a paz é nessesário. Os palestinos hão feito isso e por isso, muitos estudantes Latinos identificem com a causa palestina. Ninguém deve de quer um grup mais que o outro; tudos devem quer A PAZ. Se os judios quer a paz, fazeram o que eu falei sobe no meu artigo.

I should have played tennis today but I didn't. Apology accepted.
People actually read this blog. JN challenged me to a game of tennis after learning of my tennis exploits with the Fabulous G sisters. I told him to wait a few weeks before we make asses of ourselves. I want to be less of an ass.

When I finally achieve mediocrity in the game, I will dress in all-white. Gotta look classy somehow in defeat. Actually, I'm going to use my innocuous dress for subversive purposes. You wait and see...
I am waiting on a couple of responses, but the punks don't bother. What to do?

Have an even worse respect for them. Yes, I have respect even for fascists.

Outside of that, absolutely nothing to report. I write, I think, I read. I use my brain too much. I might apply for a radio show. I know everything and nothing.

segunda-feira, julho 15, 2002

Should I write? No, my pockets hurt.
The following are comments to some of my articles that were not directly written to me but nevertheless say some funky stuff about me. I did not respond to any of these comments as it would have been out of my league. Let's start with my article exposing La Voz de Aztlan as idiots...

enjoyed your article exposing La Voz de Aztlan! If you didn't know, it's been posted on the LA Indymedia, where La Voz de Aztlan used to post all sorts of hateful stuff a while back. Several people have commented against La Voz de Aztlan, but one person called you a "race traitor" and claims the OC Weekly is run by Jews!

And here are the offending words...

Free the media of Jews
by Not a traitor • Monday July 15, 2002 Mont 02:11 AM

OC weekly is owned by Zionist Leonard Stern and pro Israeli Goldman, Sachs & Co. It is part of the Jew propaganda mill of parent company Village Voice Media. The Cleveland Free Times is owned by VVM, which in addition to The Village Voice, also owns the Nashville Scene, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Seattle Weekly.

VVM New Times owns the Cleveland Scene, New Times Los Angeles and other weeklies from coast to coast. All of these rags are Zionist propaganda machines.

VVM attaks Aztlan because Aztlan refuses to support Israeli genocide. By being a pawn of these Jews Gustavo Arellano is is a race traitor.

For the record, Village Voice Media was sold off by Stern Publishing about two years ago. And the New Times has never been affiliated with VVM; in fact, they're our mortal enemies. But try to give facts to people like these, and they'll choke in their own self-indignation. Here's some nice comments from a fellow blogger...

This is way too creepy. Just as I commented on Cienfuegos diatribe against Arellano being paid in "schekles", the very next day, Arellano writes a piece about La Voz de Aztlan. I had no idea. It's just a coincidence, really. I swear. Arellano has me on his "shameless self-promotion list" which is an invaluable source of information, which is how I learned about this article 15 minutes ago. I only wish I had access to the documents that Arellano is privy to as a journalist. The newsroom here at Res Ipsa Loquitur is ecstatic because we know that more people read the Weekly than Voz de Aztlan. Way to go Gustavo! I am buying you a round of banderas (one shot of lime juice, one shot of anejo and one shot of sangrita, representing the colors of the Mexican flag, for my "Anglo" readers) next time I am down there, you lovable, righteous knucklehead. We love you, Gustavo.

Thanks for the love. Now, on to my Jewish Journal piece arguing why Jews must sell Israel to progressive Latinos...

Mr. Arellano is so full of himself in his opinion that he's most likely totally clueless about the arrogance and ignorance he reveals about himself in the article, in which he rambles on and on, and finally winds it up with a threat. How original!

His ignorance: one cannot separate Israel and Judaism. To make a poor, but valid analogy, one would have to separate the pope from Catholicism. Mr. Arrellano obviously has chosen to be ignorant. Here he is, trying to intelligently write about Israel and Latinos, and simly cannot because he doesn't know or desire to know anything about Israel, yet the 'progressive Latinos,' whom he writes about so dispassionately, have "championed the Palestinian cause." He rambles on and on about how we Jews better explain to him the reasons he should prefer Israel to the Palestinians. I ask, "Why?"
Mr. Arellano should at least know that Jewish people never left Israel, he should at least know that the plo Arabs were murdering Jewish children in 1926 in Hebron.

About arrogance: According to Mr. Arellano, most Latinos identify with Palestinians because "they are a people of color." What would he say to the thousands and thousands of Jewish Latinos living in Israel? Mr. Arellano is a racist who talks about, "Invading 'white' conquerors," his point, if he has one, is the implication that people of color do good deeds, white people do bad things. Haven't we heard this nonsense before? Perhaps Mr Arellano will someday understand what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said, "Judge a person by his character, not the color of his skin."

And last but not least: Mr. Arellano and his 'progressives' should at least know that two of the worst horrors in global history came at the hands of movements which began on the far left, communism, which murdered over twenty million people and nazism. If Mr. Arellano and his friends choose to identify with baby-killing, genocidal bombers, what can I say to him?

She so mischaracterized my observations I nearly feel compelled to respond. Everything she accuses me of I speak against in my article. So does the following, more positive response to the same article...

Judaism is color blind..just ask me a jew from Ethiopia..and proud of my skin and my heritage. Praying in the same synagogue are white ashkenazim and dark skinned Jews from yemin.

Those latins you speak of are mostly Indians any how, whose lineage is derived from rapes committed by the Spanish conquerers.. and inquistionors..that is where they get their heritage and hate of Judaism.

This one's also a bit misguided. It's very easy to attribute a perceived inherent anti-Semitic streak amongst Latinos to our rapist Spanish forefathers. But if that were true, it would follow that we'd hate Muslims just as much (if not more so; Ferdinand and Isabella defeated the Moors, after all) and therefore not support the Palestinians either. So I don't buy that argument. Frankly, it's a bit theocentric.

Finally, a comment written to the Weekly regarding my Katy Jurado piece...


To generalize somewhat on Mr. Arellano’s comments, the face-off between Helen Ramirez and Mrs. Will Kane (Grace Kelly) bespeaks of a vast cultural schism. Ramirez commits above all to family loyalty when she asserts that she would defend Will Kane by force of arms if he were her man. But alas, he is no longer her man. For the Latin person, man or woman, the value of family loyalty tends to predominate, if at times to an impractical degree. Which is what makes Latin folks so sexy.

Meanwhile, the Quaker in Grace Kelly’s character asserts an Anglo commitment to broader social consciousness that could ultimately compel the sacrifice of her own husband. Her mind is divided. This clash between the most irreconcilable aspects of the cultures of northern vs. southern Europe, as dramatized so personally, elevates the scene to immortal status. Rarely has the big screen been “graced” by such riveting dialogue between two women.

"Makes Latin folks so sexy"!? Where do I begin with this? As a film nerd myself, I think that this writer is reading too much into the text. I wouldn't argue that the Jurado-Kelly scene (which is one of the great scenes between women in American cinema) bespeaks of a cultural divide but rather one of duty vs. desire. Kelly did not want to join her husband in killing because of her moral convictions but she helped in the end because it was her duty. This isn't specified to a clash between Northern and Southern Europe but rather one of the great thems in American Western literature: the hesitant but ultimately successful killer.

Enough for now. Time to eat...
Gustavo's Journal of the Subconscious, Section XVII

I got a girl pregnant and the girl was ecstatic; I wasnae. It was yet another disconcerting dream not only because of who the woman carrying my seed was but also because of me. I seriously doubt said female would like carrying my progeny in her womb for nine months. Or kissing me at all, for that matter.

domingo, julho 14, 2002

And the fan mail keeps coming in...

I know the mayoral campaign is long gone. Yet, regarding Andres Bermudez, were you personally for or against him?

My response...

I was absolutely for Bermudez. I think migrants are what have saved Mexico and will ultimately make it better. For Mexican politicians--who have done absolutely nothing for the country they claim to love dearly--to deny themselves of individuals like Bermudez is national suicide.
--
This one's from a complete stranger. Honest...

I was building my own geocities page and checking out others in the multiculturalism section, and found You. Bravo for posting something useful and intelligent! I appreciate your arts article on the Latin Lover stereotype; I'll check out your other stuff later. What are your thoughts on the newish film, Road Dogz? or Tortilla Soup? Some directors are trying to come up with new views on Latin life, it seems. They won't be big money makers, but then neither was Cesar Chavez, MLK, Bertolt Brecht et al. with the important work that they did. Whether we enlighten and help to save the world through art, commentary/critique, personal responsibility/growth, or political change, I have faith it will bear good fruit in the end...if not popularity or big bucks!

I'm raising my Latina daughter alone - her dad was from El Salvador - up here in homogeneous, milk-white Maine. So heritage, identity, and - unfortunately - racism issues come up frequently. That's my current connection to multiculturalism. But In 1990 my studies at SFSU led me into my own Indian heritage, and I researched some popular images of Native Americans. The La Raza Studies and American Indian Studies folk at SFSU are great, if you get a chance to meet them! Prof. Roberto Rivera of La Raza helped me understand the power that institutions like media and universities have as gate-keepers of knowledge, and the "textualization" of destructive dogma, like prejudices, which are based in diaries, maps, and other sacred "scientific" studies we take for granted, as gospel. Then there's REAL life, such as my daughter and I live up here in the snowdrifts, and you live out there acerca los barrios...the gospel according to me and you! Keep telling it like it is - the truth must be told - 'cause only the truth will set us free!

My response...

Thank you for the kind words regarding my article. I once wrote an article on Tortilla Soup that criticized the movie for glamorizing the assimilated aspects of Latino culture but ridiculing the more "pure" parts of it. Unfortunately, I can no longer seem to find it so am unable to forward it to you.

As you were able to tell, I loved Crazy/Beautiful even though it still employed the Latin Lover stereotype. The film did the most subversive thing imaginable--it turned the stereotype over-end (while still employing some other ones) and made the character human. This is what excites me most in films and what I try to highlight in my articles. Let me know what you think of my other articles if you get the chance to read them and thank you once again for the nice words.
--
Yo! La Voz is freaky. Surely, that hate group displays the darker side of human nature for all to see. Are there no safeguards? It makes me sad.

My response...

It's the civil libertarian in me, but there shouldn't be any safeguards when it comes to morons like these. It's up to conscious individuals such as me and you to shine a light on this darkness so that the world knows their evil.
--
Played tennis in the morning with the Fabulous G sisters (plus their brother in tow), JAM and MM, and MS. It was fun, and AG and I were the champions in our doubles tourney. The only problem was that I forgot to bring my hat. End result: tomorrow, I should be molting like a snake.

Afterwards, went to Santa Ana's Memorial Park to hang out with friends and decide what the hell do we want to do. Talked to some musicians about an article I'm doing. Afterwards, have been doing nothing except writing. Such is life with me.

sábado, julho 13, 2002

Went to Venice to go see my mentor Ruben Martinez perform songs with his Border Balladeers. Folk isn't really my thing, but Ruben has a strong command of lyrics (he always has, being a poet) and the proper raspy voice. Too bad there wasn't that many people tonight.

I talked to him for a bit and he expressed amazement at how much I am published. He also introduced me to other people (strangers, actually) as a young writer "who's making a name for himself." His words, not mine.
Let's be a bit more concrete in our observations...

The kids at the youth conference yesterday were just charming, paying attention and being rightfully indignent at certain moments of my presentation. What inspired me the most was when I told a group of middle-school girls that there was only one girl writing for the Weekly and they were shocked, angry, and motivated to do something about it. The boys, on the other hand, were bored out of their boxes.

What does this mean? Why is it that the brilliance of young women frequently becomes lost in a sea of paternalism? I'm not sure, but I'm starting to think that perhaps sexism is a more serious problem than racism in this country. Racism can only exist when two groups that see themselves as distinct from other groups form negative opinions about those who are not like them. To eradicate racism, the common bonds must be showed. Sexism, meanwhile, is virtually impossible to eradicate fully. Not only is one faced with millenia of oppression, but then there are the obvious differences in the sexes.

All I can do is be more conscious of my own sexism. And I will do that. But class is still the ultimate societal problem for me.

The Fabulous G sisters are an absolute joy to hang around with. All are big-hearted individuals with quirky wit and strong convictions. Along with MS, JAM, and MM, they are my new tennis partners.

At the Enjambre show, I caught up with JC Fandango owner Javier Castellanos, who manages Enjambre. I feigned anger at him for talking to the Register but then he told me an interesting story. It turns out that the person interview Javier mentioned that the Register really liked my writing (I did an review of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Fito Paez for them), but that they were especially offended by my mock editorial slamming the Show section. That's why they never contacted me again.

I laughed. It was nothing personal against the writer or the editor that I worked under with the Reg (who was--contrary to what I had heard earlier--a complete gentleman). But as a journalist who despises unoriginal content and has been subscribing to the damn paper for almost a decade, I was angry. And everyone knows what happens when I get really angry: I get hilariously vicious.

So I might adhere to principle too much. Too bad. God has rewarded me for my following of His word and does so every day. But not enough.
Came back from the cheap Westchester Sports Bar with the Fabulous G sisters. We went to see Enjambre. Hear it first here: Enjambre is a great band worth watching. Will have some other things first as soon as I bore myself to sleep.

sexta-feira, julho 12, 2002

Came back from a youth conference at UCI telling kids why they only see beautiful people on the media. Kids are much smarter than given credit for. Too bad they are not treated as such by adults.

Now, for a quick interruption...

GUSTAVO'S JOURNAL OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS, BOOK XVI?

This one was horrible; the first nightmare in a long time. It was so bad that I had to wake myself up from the dream--and I never do that. I'm not going to reveal its contents only because it's too personal, but here are the code words: mariachi de madrugada. Birthday. Relative. Fainting. Walking in a rustic urban area. Heavy emotions. Dread. Sadness. Doctor. Phone call. Not my parents.

Try to make a story out of it. It'll be fun.
Some emails from loyal readers rather than strangers...

If there is no connection at all between playing violent video games and violence, as I think you have recently claimed in OC Weekly, then how do you explain the advertising industry?

The whole ad business is about influencing consumer behavior through images, sounds, and actions. If there were no connection between media and behavior, then billions are being wasted on a phenomenally useless activity that has no effect on a corporation's bottom line.

I think there is a connection. The question is, how strong is it and how can we measure it?

My response...

I don't buy the concrete connection between video game violence and real violence. Advertising, of course, is a phenomenon that is very successful (though not perfect). Sure, violence in the media might make people more agressive or at least have them in an atmosphere of violence, but is that what we're surrounded by the ultimate cause of our actions or does it merely influence it? I'd argue the latter, which means that the connection between the violences is not causal but rather influential. I hope this makes sense. Thanks for the response.
--
In one of your recent blogs you said the Gore Vidal interview in the LA Weekly was "brilliant". Sure, Vidal's critique of interventionist American foreign policy is generally pretty good. But "brilliant"? Most of what Vidal says is pretty embarrassing stuff. Such as his accusation that "right-wingers" hate blacks and other minorities. That's rich coming from a man who once wrote an essay ("The Last Empire" in "The Last Empire: Essays, 1992-2000," Doubleday, 2001) advocating that the United States, Canada, Europe, and Russia form a "northern confederacy" of white nations as a defence against the non-white hordes. A textbook case of the pot calling the
kettle African-American.

My response...

I'd say the LA Weekly piece was brilliantly disturbing. What I really liked about the article was that it provoked thinking in me, which is the hallmark of any brilliant journalism. I have my own problems with Vidal (as you pointed out, he's arrogant to the point of jingoism) and Cooper, but that piece provoked me.
--
Here's an email sent to my Chapman account, which I never check anymore. Thankfully, this email was sent only this past Tuesday, which means that my response (which was sent today) isn't too tardy. It's from blogger extraordinare Ken Layne, who also finagles with the fine LAexaminer site...

Found you off a referral link from LAexaminer, one of my side projects.

You're an OC Weekly guy. I've known some people there. Good people.

So who are you? A young journalist, I gather. A smart guy. Troubled by the mid-east shit like all of us. Working for the evil "alt weeklies."

You even quote Neruda. My wife is a Neruda nut.

Don't fall for the "progressive" crap. It's a lie run by middle-aged guilty white yuppies. Be a journalist. Like Orwell.

And don't listen to me. I'm drunk and typing bullshit when I should be either sleeping or writing for money.

My response...

Thank you for your inebriated response. It's bizarre; I never check this email account anymore but I checked it today to get rid of some things and found your email. So excuse the tardiness of my reply.

Yes, I am a young man trying to learn how to become a journalist. Since you know I write for the Weekly, I gather that you are familiar with some of my work (or am I being too journalistically arrogant?).

Orwell is a hero of mine. As is Mencken. And Neruda. Men who did their own things and followed their own convictions rather than those dictated by their political ideology.

Yes, I consider myself progressive--whatever that means. Thanks for the email and keep in touch.

A more personal entry when I have the time. I make the time for self-serving tripe.

quinta-feira, julho 11, 2002

Nothing of much interest today, just more writing and pitching. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to corrupt some youth in Irvine.

The only good thing today was finding out that Argentina's ex-dictator was arrested. The man ordered the disastrous Falkland Island War and even worse, was in charge of the country during the Dirty War. I hope God takes care of him good.
I'm at the Weekly right now, but I've been meaning to post the following song for a long time. It's by the great Mexican singer/songwriter Cuco Sánchez, who unfortunately isn't as well remembered as his contemporaries like Jose Alfredo Jimenez and Chucho Monge. It's really a shame, because he wrote some amazing songs that are now standards1 in the Mexican songbook. But this particular song I feel best captures my obstinancy and arrogance. Please keep in mind, though, that I really am a nice guy...

NO SOY MONEDITA DE ORO
Cuco Sánchez

NACI NORTEÑO HASTA EL TOPE
ME GUSTA DECIR VERDADES
SOY PIEDRA QUE NO SE ALISA
POR MAS QUE TALLES Y TALLES
SOY TERCO COMO UNA MULA
A DONDE VAS QUE NO TE HALLE

EN TU CASA NO ME QUIEREN
POR QUE ME VIVO CANTANDO
ME DICEN QUE SOY MARIACHI
Y QUE NO TENGO PA'CUANDO
MERCARTE EL TRAJE DE NOVIA
QUE EL TIEMPO TE ESTOY QUITANDO

NO SOY MONEDITA DE ORO
PA'CAERLE BIEN A TODOS
ASI NACÍ Y ASÍ SOY
SI NO ME QUIEREN, NI MODO.

EL CIELO TENGO POR TECHO
NOMÁS EL SOL POR COBIJA
DOS BRAZOS PA' MANTENERTE
Y UN CORAZÓN PARA TU VIDA
VE Y CÓRRELE Y DILE A TUS PADRES
A VER QUIEN DA MÁS POR SU HIJA.

HAY CORAZÓN BANDOLERO
RELINCHA YA CUANTO QUIERAS
POR ESA POTRANCA FINA
TE AMANZARÁS CUANDO QUIERAS
TU Y YO NO TENEMOS PRISA
HAY NOS QUERRAN CUANDO QUIERAN

NO SOY MONEDITA DE ORO
PA'CAERLE BIEN A TODOS
ASI NACÍ Y ASÍ SOY
SI NO ME QUIEREN, NI MODO.

quarta-feira, julho 10, 2002

A whole lot of things to comment on, so let's comment...

I took the day off from the Weekly because I had to meet JN of the Hip Hop Hoodios up in West LA. No business settled; just some great Yemeni food amongst friends. We talked about the usual stuff: Latin alternative music, issues of solidarity, and Howard Stern. We've made it a habit of trying a different type of food each time we meet so next time, I'm going to buy us some Uzbekh food in North Hollywood.

Afterwards, I pitched a story to GS from home and he approved it. I'm never on vacation, which is a good thing for me since I hate to be in a static state.

After writing for a bit, I met up with the Fabulous G sisters (I will refer to them in the capital since the quartet is the most fab four since the Beatles) and MS to play tennis at Pearson Park. MS and AG are the best players, but by some miracle of God, I won our little tournament. I have no serve and am erratic in my forehands, but somehow I managed to win four games in a row. Woo hoo, four day weekend!

Afterwards, I had a serious conversation with MS. He's one of the Boys, but also the one we love to hate since he's always been a lagger. But today, MS confessed to me in an apologetic manner that he had erred and now had realized it. Therefore, he's now changing his ways in order to be both a better human and a friend. Good for him. Goes to show all of us can change for the better--even me.

We're all supposed to play tennis continually, which suits me fine. Tennis is a great sport to get in shape and ever since my last physical activity was stopped, I've started to become out of shape again. Not fat, mind you (I'm too high strung to ever get to such a level), but out of shape enough to where I get out of breath very easily. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to get out of the prison that is my room.

Another busy day of writing awaits me tomorrow, plus the chance to effect social justice. In the meanwhile, check out this article about the United States' plan to invade Iraq soon. Join me in praying to la Virgen Maria for our collective souls.
Garden Grove has passed an obscene amount of regulations on cyber cafes in order to put children back on the streets. Which brings up the question: if you believe there is a causal link between media violence and real-life violence, does this make you a liberal or a conservative. How about a moron?

The Orange County Register has been frightened into submission by my expose on their shoddy journalism (rather, my Counterstrike one). In their article on the regulations today, their reporter finally mentioned another game besides Counterstrike (but still had to put in the Counterstrike reference). In fact, she mentioned two more! Yes, I take full responsibility for this change in reporting. Now give me a cookie.
Sometimes, my life amuses even myself.

terça-feira, julho 09, 2002

I was about to sign off, but then I read this interesting article arguing why Osama Bin Laden is dead.

I'm not sure what to think. Although the man makes some interesting points, he's also a bit off in some of his characterizations such as depicting the American efforts to combat Al-Qaeda to be multilateral and not addressing at all the dissension towards the "war" that is in full effect in the States. Oh well. At least he didn't compare Bin Laden to Pancho Villa.
Seems the folks at the Orange County Register read my poorly-written documentation of their Counterstrike obsession and decided to write their own poorly written rebuttal. They should have at least mentioned the dramatic arias that make the game a work of death.

Although I have no emails of comments regarding my Counterstrike article in print, the few people that responded said it was well-written but felt truncuated. In my defense (I can never be in the wrong), I said that it was originally about 800 words and had much more detail. But I'll stand by whatever I write.

More articles and more articles and more articles. Such is the day life. The rest of the time is a boring hell.

segunda-feira, julho 08, 2002

I have finally found tennis partners: AG. She used to play tennis for two years at Katella High School, which means she will destroy me come Wednesday.

The week is shaping up to be a busy one. As always, the days are occuppied with writing, but tomorrow evening I'm going to a protest as an observer. Wednesday, I'm having an early lunch with JN and possibly dinner with RM. Thursday, I'm going to the OCRC meeting both to learn and to ask interview questions. Friday, I supposed to be part of a panel discussion about God-knows-what. Only thing I know is that I'm getting paid over $200 for it. My first honorarium. Hey, I didn't ask for it; the people holding the event insisted.
Yet another technological try trounced. Disregard the past post. Please.
It never ends, it never ends...

Read this article on the posted by Gustavo @ 5:41:00 PM   0 comments

domingo, julho 07, 2002

Life is nothing but heartbreaks. Those who live are those who harden themselves best to them. This has been the week of heartbreaks for me. Keep in mind, though, that nearly all have been for such trivial things as missing a Simpsons episode or losing in FIFA. But I'm really not that petty.

Went to PM's house for his birthday party. A lot of people went that usually aren't seen together: EV, JAM and MM, AG, GC, two of the G sisters, and others. Interesting conversations about the nature of romance and relationships. Needless to say, we're all Mexicans so relatively think alike.

AG gave me a present that she bought for me 5 years ago when she went to Mexico. 5 years ago! I didn't know what to say, so I told her that I felt perplexed.

I have found out that when I get drunk, my feet hurt.
A whole lot of things to comment on, so I'll break it up into parts...

PERSONAL

Yesterday was my cousin's FR's wedding. He got married to his girlfriend of forever, SS, who I've never really liked but is a nice person nevertheless. I impressed almost everyone (their words, not mine) with my choice of a brown pinstriped 3-piece suit complete with fedora and Stacy Adams shoes. Who says I don't have good fashion taste?

I didn't go to the Mass (I was outside, but what can I say God, I find Mass boring) so instead stayed outside with my Oregon cousin SD and his brother (my cousin) D, who had just come in from Arizona. He has changed so much. I always remembered D as a little kid but now he drinks his beers, chases his ladies, and travels a lot. I stuck with them at the reception in Santa Ana, where S quizzed me about the El Cargadero social life. He was amazed at how it had stayed so strong, if not more so, since he left for Oregon. We also talked about the importance of having BS conversations to gauge true friendships. We'll see if I visit him someday...

Did I dance? Of course not.

E-MAILS

This one is from my brother, JT, the pompous asshole. It's a bit long and overly wrought, which is why I love the man so...

So I sit down, prepped for an evening of thought and entertainment, thinking highly of myself as I know that I'm finally going to sit down and do what I've been meaning to for so long.

No, I did not write a novel.

No, I did not masturbate during Conan O'Brien whenever the latino guitarist smiled at the camera while looking at pictures of Janet Reno and listening to Zydecko.

No, I did not read one of the myriad of books that I've been meaning to read.

And, finally, no, I did not pray.

Though, in a sense, I did all these things--or, I planned to when I sat down. For I planned to sit down and observe some of the myriad articles that are provided for my pleasure/edification by a certain friend of mine.

I sat down--excited to be the one who lives up to his promises.

And lo....a subtle note at the bottom of the webpage gives me a start...

"don't even try it with netscape..."

Alas! I have no internet explorer! Ah, curses! The fates be damned! Why must this tragedy befall me on this particular day in this particular province in this particular land in this particular style in this particular idiom in this particular way?!?!?!?!?!

No! No no no no no no no no NO! No, I did not go quietly into the night, pretending as if I had never intended such a thing--I did not put it off until I was at a computer with ye olde internet explorer!

I raged, RAGED against the dying of the light...........and clicked anyway.


And I read of Kronos Quartet and the president of Mexico. I read of Cesar Chavez and the burying of a _latino_, if not bigger, voice.

I read, and I enjoyed. I desired that CD. (No surprise there, however--I'm a fan of the quartet---but, now I'm even more excited.) I learned more about Chavez--and I felt the pangs of a universal man...a cosmpolitan man...a world-historical individual kept ensnared by the blackness of an ideology. I also felt the cool relief of the awareness of a
man on the left not afraid to acknowledge the errors thereof. I smiled.

Most importantly, however: I realized Cesar Chavez, a man whom I am ashamed to admit I know too little about (especially when one notices my political opinions--perhaps that makes me all the healthier though: i don't know all that i "should"), had something universal to say. And it came from an undereducated voice. But what he had to say can speak to whomever will listen.

And they don't have to understand certain dialects of Spanish.

My response...

What can I say except ABOUT FUCKING TIME! Haha, in all reality, thank you for the kind words regarding my article and the philosophy that creates them. I received a lot of flak for my César Chávez piece from Chicanos who accused me of "selling out" to some indefinable movement. That's such bull, of course. Chávez was a great man, but because he is, Chicanos must make him appealing to the world in order to pay truly respects for the man.

Kronos, of course, is Kronos. Most of the other reviews for the CD have been positive. However, let the jingoism in me surface and say that those people did not get the significance of the songs selected because they didn't know their Mexican culture. For example, "El Sinaloense" is one of the most famous songs in Mexico, the genre-defining sound of banda (the music of the Mexican region where my parents are from). To hear it played by classical musicians is especially significant, though. Banda is the music of poor people, sneered at by the Mexican elite (and the more assimilated Mexicans here); Kronos in its vast knowledge knew what they were doing and did a magnificent rendition of a song that's so ubiquitous it's hard to put a new twist on it. But what do other critics call the song? "Bawdy barroom ballad." Hell no! It is the music of dance, the music of a community gathered to raise their spirits and dance the night away.

So glad to have seen you. Perhaps when all the grad school madness is over for me, I will make the trek to Missouri. But I know that regardless of location, our friendship will remain.
---
Congratulations on the recent letters. You are becoming a voice. I think that is great. The review of the Kronos Quartet is pretty slick, and your growing it seems.

My response...

It seems I'm growing? I grow every day.

ARTICLES

There a lot of things I want to discuss, but I'll mostly put up the links.

If you want to get angry and scared, read Marc Cooper's great interview with Gore Vidal in this week's LA Weekly. I've read a couple of Vidal's essays, but this interview is brilliant...and scary as hell. Hope people get angry, which of course, is Vidal's intention.

In today's LA Times, here's two articles that only further muddle for me which side should I support in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Should I support the racist Israelis who want to erect a fence between them and the Palestinians ala our own or the Palestinian leader who flat out says Israel shouldn't exist? Both sides are holy and profane; neither is better or worse. Only God will know for sure.

Here's another frightening article on mankind's utter depletion of this planet. Especially the Americans. Woo hoo! Compare that with that nutcase Norah Vincent's insistence that the entire world loves Americans.

To conclude, all I've put up is depressing, thoughtful links, so here is something for the moron section in you (which must be cultivated in order to be healthy): just another story from our wild wacky world of sports. Kudos to the folks at Daily Rotten for creating the anti-thesis to the Drudge Report.

Enough for now. Many things to do...

sábado, julho 06, 2002

Here's some nice stuff from those morons at American Patrol...

I was saying yesterday that everyone is bending over backwards to make it seem as if this was "just a coincidence". Endless Muslim buttkissing again - "please Mr. 7-11, we love you, we love diversity, we love the Koran, we loved 9/11, don't hate us, please, please".

Finally someone on the Net reports it as it is (click above headline) and it will make the rounds on all the conservative Net sites and maybe even Fox News Channel, but you'll never see it in the major media. If anything, it'll wind up to be our fault (I'm so sorry my eye got in the way of your fist) and they'll have to delve into the "root causes", blah, blah...

The media, universities and the judicial system (all products of public indoctrination) will kill this country...

Whether Hesham Mohamed Hadayet was a terrorist is besides the point here. What sickens me is how this American Patrol reader immediately racializes the situation to fit the American "white" paradigm. The man was not "white"; therefore, he must be disparaged by using his non-"whiteness" against him. Mr. 7-11?! What the fuck (excuse my language) is that all about?!

I'm not sure who to hate more (and yes, I do hate): American Patrol or the solitary lunatic running La Voz de Aztlan. Do you want your hate delved out by a "white" guy or a "brown" guy. However you see it, it's still hate. Smash hate in all its forms, not just that of American imperialism.
Blogger did one of their periodic house-cleanings yesterday, so I was unable to post--but I just did. Many things, emails, and thoughts to post. But until then, two comments:

1. "Never a Dull Moment" is the title of Tommy Lee's latest CD. Damn you, Tommy, for taking my idea!
2. Always be yourself; never change for others. As SD told my father about me, "Gustavo's the type of person whose like a huge light bulb, always radiating something. He'll either attract or repel people, but he's something. He's a good kid."

I guess.

sexta-feira, julho 05, 2002

Some words from one of my more constant responders to my articles, RG...

You are so hard on yourself. "No one actually reads the site." So
melodramatic.

Liked the counterstrike article, though I feel you failed to sufficiently
state your own opinion. Instead, trying to insinuate it, which can be fine,
but nonetheless I must ask: do you honestly feel there is no connection?

Keep up the good work. As ever I am mightily imnpressed by your ability to
be productive, prolific, as well as maintaining a high level of quality in
your writing at the same time...all this despite going to school full time.
Well done.

My response...

Thanks for the nice words and the criticism. My original Counterstrike piece was about 800 words where I delved more deeply into the actual game and compared it to other violent games. I also opined on the connection between imagined/virtual violence and the real deal. Needless to say, it didn't make the final cut. But I'll stand by the article.

I honestly feel that the connection between violence and the arts is random and not universal. Art can provoke violence, but I'm of the opinion that the violence already existed within the person beforehand and the art merely provoked it. But this alone isn't sufficient to assume that video games are intrinsically creators of violence. If games in fact do inspire violence, then why isn't everyone who plays Counterstrike shooting people? It follows, then, that the individual creates the violence, not the game itself.

For the Register to assume a causal link between the cyber café shootings and Counterstrike is both shoddy journalism and the latest campaign to demonize teenagers. I hope that much came through in my article. What do you think?

Thanks for the stimulating discussion. At least I know one person reads my articles! I know I was a wee bit melodramatic, but, hey, I want people to read my articles! You as a writer know the rush one gets from causing people to think.

quinta-feira, julho 04, 2002

Interesting 4th of July. Will start with the personal, then extend to the macro...

My family hosted SD and his partner X, who are down here from Oregon for my cousin FR's wedding this Saturday. Both are in good spirits. We ate some delicious mole cooked by my mom and spent most of the time talking about music. Or rather, everyone but SD and X did. I think they were bored.

Afterwards, went to PM's girlfriend's house, where she was having a barbecue of sorts. Played Taboo with the people, which proved to be more fun than I imagined. Left after the insults started raining in. That's what friends are for. Honestly. Don't give me any of this "Oh, I'm always going to be here for you" crap. Friends should be vicious. To prepare you for the rest of the world.

Now, for the macro analysis...

Anyone who says today's shooting at LAX was not terror-related is Polyanna-ish to the point of putridness. Let's see...gunman with knife and gun, shooting at Jews waiting to board a flight to Israel on the 4th, what else do you want?! Forgive me for my rush to judgement, but if it yet another attack on innocent Jews, then I might have to ratchet up my conservatism a bit. I'm getting sick to my stomach over this.

Yes, Sharon is a monster and the West Bank settlers for the most part are fanatics worse than our own millenium doomsayers, but violence is NOT the answer to solving the problem. This is why I've had such a hard time supporting the Palestinian cause during this past year even though I am adamently opposed to the Israeli government's handling of the situation. Killing is wrong, and you do not win points from me for killing innocents, especially when you're trying to convince me that you are the innocent victims.

A recent Nation article by Desmond Tutu tries to equate the Palestinian cause with the South African struggle to end apartheid but I'm afraid that he's stretching it, at least in terms of his supposition that the Palestinian cause will be considered in the same context. One of the reasons why the anti-apartheid movement was so successful to such a wide breadth of people (in The Simpsons, Lisa used to have a "Stop Apartheid Now" poster in her room until it was ended--I'm not sure what's hanging in her room now) was because of its non-violent nature. Nelson Mandela became an icon because he was wrongly imprisoned for doing nothing except being a black in South Africa. Steven Biko became a real martyr by dying justly for his cause, not strapping on some bombs and killing innocents along the way.

Perhaps its the Christian in me that loves to suffer and refuses to fight even though I might have just cause to. The Palestinians have been living in horrible conditions for a while now and are understandably upset. But target soldiers then. Target government officials, those who actively work against you. Don't target kids. Don't target people at a Passover seder. That's unconsciouble.

Even if this doesn't turn out to be a terrorist attack, such is my stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Peace is the way, not violence. But neither side will listen.

So to end this rant, let me say that the prank call to CNN was sheer genius! God bless Howard Stern. Just in case CNN or the Los Angeles Times takes it off the air, let me run the excerpt in whole here. F Jackie!
---
From the Associated Press report...

Josef Bootski had just checked their bags and said he was about 20 feet away from the gunman, who he described as a white man with a ponytail who was a little overweight.

"He just kept yelling. 'Artie took my job, Artie took my job.' I had no idea what he was talking about. And he just started shooting everybody and then he just started telling bad jokes," Bootski said.

quarta-feira, julho 03, 2002

Another response to my Jewish Journal article...

As for me, I couldn't agree with you more that folks in organizations like Hillel need to do more reaching out. To be honest, I never really liked Hillel much when I was in college - the kids seemed pretty sheltered and clannish, and weren't big into mixing with others (not different from just about any campus ethnic organization, I suppose). Unfortunately, the Jews who tend to mix or interact with other groups
tend to be unaffiliated people like myself who rather do things on an individual basis, on a personal level. I suppose more does need to be done to get Hillel out of their shell.....

No response on my part as I will see the person who made those comments soon...

I had a lot of magnificent, thoughtful things to say, but I've been busy redesigning my website and am tired of typing. I will leave with just a tiny snippet of one of the billions of ideas that cross my mind daily...

God put us on this Earth for various reasons. One is to live a moral life. What's a moral life? Everyone knows what it is but few bother to follow it. Put it this way: if you feel guilty about doing something, chances are you shouldn't do it because it is wrong.
General fan mail. This one was sent to the OC Latino account...

I am trying to reach the same Gustavo Arellano who wrote the pieces "The Hate Crime That Wasn't" (about students wearing t-shirts portraying the German Iron Cross) and "It's a Battlefield" (about a recent talk by Pat Buchanan) in recent editions of Orange County Weekly.

If so, I want to say: Bravo! And thank you! Rarely have I see such fair-minded treatments of these subjects in the media, especially in the alternative press. Honestly, it was a real surprise.

I am a native of OC although I have lived most of my life in the Northeast and abroad. I am shortly moving back to OC (Corona del Mar). I look forward to reading more of Mr. Arellano's articles.

My response...

I am the same Gustavo Arellano that writes for the OC Weekly. Thank you for your kind words; they really mean a lot to a young journalist that's learning every day. Your words show me that I'm on the right track.

terça-feira, julho 02, 2002

A couple of responses to my Jewish Journal piece. So far, only one person has disagreed with it; you know who you are. This following response was relayed to me by JN...

good stuff. i think the only place where he falters is when he demands that jews teach latinos about the "real" israel. it's certainly also about the latino community teaching its kids better......and young, educated, politically active latinos recognizing the reality of israelis living in a state of terror--along the lines of what you were saying about the parallels between Mexico and Israel.

My response...

Thank you for your response. I agree with you wholeheartedly that Latinos should take the initiative and learn about the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than just rely on the Palestinian side of things. However, I am a bit frustrated with the Jewish community (especially Hillel) because I have not seen any outreach on their part towards Latinos. They rely on their moral conviction and feel that others should follow suit. But the reality of the propaganda war is not as simple so Jews should take it upon themselves to reach out to Latinos--and Latinos should be receptive to the message. Thank you once again for your comments.
--
I read your article in the Jewish Journal with interest.

I was unable to attend Fiesta Shalom 2002 as me and my family are out of town. I agree that we need to open the dialogue between our communities and I would like to become involved in that effort.

Is there an organization which currently serves both of these communities? Where is there an opportunity for the dialogue you suggest? Thank you for your time.

My response...

Thank you for your response. I would suggest that you contact the Jewish Federation or the Anti-Defamation League as they would have better information than myself. I live in Orange County and here, we have a quarterly Jewish-Latino roundtable sponsored by the ADL and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) that has drawn our communities together for seven years. I am glad to see that people like you and me exist that want to both better our respective communities and strengthen the ties between both. Thank you once again for your response.
--
I read your article "Selling Israel to Progressive Latinos" that appeared in the June 28 issue of The Jewish Journal. I agree with your observations. The overwhelming number of Hispanics whose opinions we received align their sympathy with the Palestinians. Not because they discriminate against Jews (with some notable exceptions such as you outlined) but, rather, because they see Israel as a 'heavy' terrorizing and exploiting the underdog, with our help. They fail to understand that the majority of Israelis, in fact, are against the policies of the Sharon government, albeit, like the rest of the world, they are opposed to acts of terrorism.

At your convenience you may want to look up www.hispanicvista.com and review
the extensive coverage we dedicated to this issue. Incidentally, would you like HVC to publish your article? If so please contact my brother Pat who is the Editor of HVC.

My response...

Thank you for your response. I also think that one of the reasons Latinos side with the Palestinians is the racial aspect; i.e., somehow, Jews have turned "white" while the Palestinians are the colored oppressed. As you would no doubt agree, this isn't anti-Semitism but does speak volumes about our state of education that would allow such a distortion of historical legacy.

I would be honored if Hispanic Vista would reprint my article. I will email your brother and let him know that you suggested that your fine publication reprint my article. Thank you for the opportunity.
--
This one's a continuation of the response I received asking if I would like to volunteer in improving Jewish-Latino relations in the San Fernando Valley...

Thank you for your immediate and honest response. I believe that your qualifications, insights, field of study and more, make you a uniquely qualified person for what I am looking for (this without having met you, I guess you're a good writer). The Orange County part is a little tricky. I was wondering if maybe, through your various endeavors, if you were aware of anyone else (classmate, friend) who might be interested in working with us. I am looking for someone bright and articulate who cares about our communities and can really "get into it". If you can think of someone, please let me know, I would love to meet them.

My response...

Thank you once again for your kind words. I do not know anyone personally that would fit your requirements. I would suggest that you get in contact with local Latino rights groups such as MALDEF or LULAC. The ADL or Jewish Federation should also be able to help you in your efforts. Thank you once again for your consideration and wish you the best of luck.
--
I'm still mad at God for that Simpsons tease. But then again, I'm always mad at something. This is what makes me great; this is what will kill be before I'm 30.
God loves to fuck with me.

Example: I was awaiting my weekday 6PM treat of The Simpsons today. I was especially looking forward to it today because the only episode I've never seen of the greatest show of all time was to show. Eagerly awaiting the completion of one of my goals in life, I remember thinking for a fleeting moment that my luck was such that some special report would pre-empt the broadcast.

Guess what? It did.

As Bart labored on the chalkboard of Ms. Krabapell's 4th grade classroom for the umpteenth time, KTTV Fox 11 broke for a special report: a car chase. A FUCKING CAR CHASE DENIED ME MY SIMPSONS. Guess how long it lasted? Yep, exactly half an hour. The car chase began with the opening credits of The Simpsons and ended with the opening credits of the show immediately following, King of the Hill.

I am livid. The Simpsons has been the constant cure for my depression. It kept my will to live alive back in high school. It brings me up no matter how many other problems I am dealing with at the moment. I keep saying that since I've seen every episode (except this one that was pre-empted by a car chase. A car chase!), I don't have to see it all the time. But I see the first minute of it, and I have to see it over.

If I were ever to be denied my Simpsons, I would be a very depressed person (right now, I'm furious at God). Am I the perfect example of TV Nation? No. This is the only show I watch on television (and old cartoons) since almost everything else nowadays is garbage. All I ask for from God in terms of placating me in the face of all other crap is my Simpsons and I'm a happy boy regardless of what else is going on in my life.

And God had to pre-empt it. Talk about kicking a man when he's down. Such is the terror of existence.

segunda-feira, julho 01, 2002

Another response to my Jewish Journal article. This one's a bit unorthodox for me, to say the least...

I read with great interest your article in the Jewish Journal. Your points are very accurate. As a former Hillel Director at CSUN, all this has been very clear for a long time. I no longer work in the Jewish world and I am not officially involved in Latino-Jewish dialogue, but as the executive director of North Valley Caring Services, a small non profit which works with a population of 20,000 Latino immigrants in the Sepulveda area, I unofficially dialogue every day. And again, you are correct, this is where the positive contact needs to take place

Why am I writing you? North Valley Caring Services is a small struggling grass roots organization that works with the local population on a number of levels. We provide after school programs, educational programs, computer training, food programs, advocacy, self help, dance, sports and more. We work with the local population on a day to day basis but, we have no Latinos on our board of directors. I do not have mentors and role models.

I would love to meet you. I need people like you (not necessarily you) to get involved. I want strong Latino-Jews to help me strengthen this community

You write an article and I'm trying to get you to volunteer. I'm sure that you are overly involved as it is. But this community needs people like you to help them help themselves and the Jewish community needs people like you to start talking to this community. And I need people like you for support and strength

My response...

Thank you for your response. I am both humbled and honored that you would consider me to help you in your worthy endeavors. However, I feel that it would be out of place for me to volunteer since I am from Orange County. I urge you to look for someone who knows the Sepulveda area and can better relate to its unique needs. I hope you understand; if it were in an area I know, I would be delighted to help out. Thank you once again for your consideration.
Now, some stories...

Check out this article on the Welsh and follow my comments...

OK, now you read the article. I've always been fascinated by the Basques, who apparently have no living relatives on Earth and is the oldest language in existence. The article says that Welsh and Basque are similar...I've never heard that before. However, I do know that both cultures put heavy emphasis on the preservation of their language in order to keep their culture alive in the face of millenium-long suppression by various groups. Note how both of these cultures have only wanted to stay in their land and nothing else. For a good history of the Basques, read Mark Kurlansky's The Basque History of the World.

They also break the myth of the Spanish Conquest or that us Latin Americans should despise all of what now makes up Spain. Spain is not a homogenous country. It's made up of Castilians, Catalans, Galicians (who descend from the Gaelics), Basques and heavily influenced by Moorish and Jewish traditions. All of these people came over to colonize the New World. Just look at the last names: Castellanos, Gallegos, Etcheberry, Rubalcava, or any last name ending with the suffix -uez (which signifies Sephardic Jewish heritage). This is our heritage: everything.

Did I make sense? Probably not. So here's a great article on the political significance of the World Cup submitted by my Cato Institute-interning friend PSS. Do they compare to my soccer articles? Read Patrick Basham's piece here, then read my own pieces here, here, and here, and let me know.
I've done something unprecedented in my life: I removed the bitterness from me regarding a failed opportunity.

That opportunity was my relationship with !. I was tending my mother's bouganvilla garden when I had a revelation: I was not doing myself any good by remaining bitter towards her. So (as if it was God-mandated) ! called me, we talked and everything was laid out. We'll definitely keep in contact but nothing else is given.

Part of me is sad that I didn't do more to try to win her back or that I didn't do what I always use to with ex's: just never talk to them again. But when I told her that I would continue talking to her and be there for her, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. This depression of the past two months has now turned into a melancholy state of being. But that's all right. Seja o que seja, life will turn out OK.