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

segunda-feira, novembro 03, 2003

On the Road Again...

Just finished seeing an episode of Saved by the Bell, the early 1990s NBC show that made pseudo-stars out of everyone--Mario Lopez went on to play Greg Louganis in a TV biopic, Tiffany Amber-Thiessen became a babe for about three seasons of Beverly Hills 90210, Elizabeth Berkeley threw it all away for the reprehensible Showgirls, Mark Paul-however-you-spell-that last name dyed his hair black, Dustin Diamond commodified his character much like Urkel (quick aside--wasn't the last couple of season of Family Matters hilariously bad? When Urkel would morph into Stephan Urquelle and his big-busted beau Laura--was that her name?--would immediately flutter for him? I vaguely recall an episode where she made Urkel turn into Urquelle despite there being some health issues involved. And, at the Jump the Shark section of the show, Urkel would even appear as a Southern female cousin who lusted for Eddie!).

Cut to the chase--the Saved by the Bell episode today was when they all had summer jobs at a country club and the chefs went on strike. They spoke Spanish and aired their grievances through Slater, who spoke rather-good Spanish.

Which leads to the following observation--kids don't give a fuck about race and ethnicity, college students do.

When I was young, I never thought of others by race, class, or gender--well, scratch that last one since I was lusting after something. But when I'd see Slater on Saved by the Bell, I didn't think of what his ethnicity was even if his skin was darker than his fellow classmates. When he spoke in Spanish to the workers (from my first viewing of the episode nearly a decade ago), I didn't even blink.

But just this year, when Lopez finally addressed his Latino heritage, I immediately began thinking why his Latino ethnicity was never an issue on the show. Then, I began getting rather annoyed that he didn't. Seeing the show today didn't make me relieved, it made me disgusted--at myself.

When I was young, I had Chinese friends, Jewish friends, Indian friends, Muslim friends, Pakistani--from all over the world. And we never gave it any thought. It wasn't until college that I began seeing the world through racial and classist glasses. And while some people (myself included) might attribute that to the development of my social conscious, I also must say that college played some role in it, although I still cannot point out exactly what it is. Any thoughts, Petty Bourgeois or Pinochet Apologist? Is the university system really such a bastion of PC madness that destroys rather than opens opportunities?

I'm all ears for this, people. But I'm still an unrepentant leftist. But I'm also not an idealogue--I'm a human, foibles and all.