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

sábado, janeiro 24, 2004

Didn't I Blow your Mind This Time?...

This story is funny.

Got home on Thursday from a meeting somewhere. Earlier in the day, I was enraged at something that shall remain mysterious. I was so angry that when I got home, I felt a vile substance in the back of my throat and started gasping for air. You know the cliche "choking on your own bile" in anger. Yep, that's exactly what happened to me. There's a reason why one of my many nicknames is Demon Gus.

In other slurs...

Here's a snide remark from Petty Burger after reading my blog....

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to one of my Mexican friends, Gustavo. This is in response to this post:

Hey Gustavo! You don't need to join the Board of the Centro Cultural de Mexico! I gotta place that's perfect for the expression of Mexican culture! It's called Mexico!

You are in America now Gustavo, time to assimilate! Now go get an apple pie at McDonald's and sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for me, wouldya?

First off, Petty--I ain't Mexican. I'm a dork.

(quick aside: when I recently went out with my friend to L'Hirondelle, she reminded me that when I was younger, I also eschewed nationality. If people asked me if I was Mexican, I'd quote Socrates by replying "I'm neither a citizen of Athens or of Greece; I'm a citizen of the world." And my Mexican friends would harrass me. I didn't give a damn. Of course, now my race is genus dorkus malorkus)

Secondly--I'm damn right assimilated. I speak English (the ultimate multicultural language) and Spanish (a language that combines elements of Gaelic, Arabic, Latin, and whatever the hell Iberians spoke). I eat Thai food while driving my Japanese car with my Salvadoran friend and blasting Cambodian psychadelic rock. We're going to visit another friend, a Filipino married to a "white" woman--they're both volunteering for a Republican aspirant for higher office whose parents fled Saigon about 25 years ago. This is America, all right--and it always has been.

Ah, but before I excoriate Petty too hard, here comes some praise from another post:

Speaking of American Patrol and Gustavo Arellano, I noticed this morning that the bespectacled cultural tonto has been linked to by Glenn Spencer today, his arch enemy. Two people could not be more at complete opposite ends of the political spectrum, and yet they meet somewhere over this great article:


It's the largest source of income for the country, even more than Pemex revenues. I too want to see a violent, bloody revolution in Mexico. It's been almost a hundred years, and they are long overdue. Her government is so corrupt, that nothing will change as long as the mordida greases the wheels of government, and her former corrupt presidents live in asylum in Ireland, never being brought to justice. Indeed, a country so rife with corruption, yet also so openly hostile to US interests over the long course of history, will not change anytime in the near future, sadly enough.

Congratulations to Gustavo. You know you have hit the big time when American Patrol and NPR link to you in the same week.

Thanks for the commendation, Petty. See? My contrasting views do somehow reconcile themselves. I can liken it to a dialectic, but then I'd just further the flames.

And this has just made me happier. I'm posting the entire article in its entirety because it deserves it. Article from Wired.com:

When the American Family Association posted an online poll last month asking its constituents their position on gay marriage, it thought it was engaging in a straightforward exercise.

The conservative organization supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, and it planned to forward to Congress the results of the poll, which it expected would support its position, as evidence of Americans' opposition to gay marriage.

But the AFA never counted on the power of the Internet. And once the URL to the poll escaped its intended audience, everything went haywire. As of Jan. 19, 60 percent of respondents -- more than 508,000 voters -- said, "I favor legalization of homosexual marriage." With an additional 7.89 percent -- or 66,732 voters -- replying, "I favor a 'civil union' with the full benefits of marriage except for the name," the AFA's chosen position, "I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and 'civil unions,'" was being defeated by a 2-1 ratio.

"We're very concerned that the traditional state of marriage is under threat in our country by homosexual activists," said AFA representative Buddy Smith. "It just so happens that homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll -- it was forwarded to them -- and they decided to have a little fun, and turn their organizations around the country (onto) the poll to try to cause it to represent something other than what we wanted it to. And so far, they succeeded with that."

Of course, no such poll can be said to represent an accurate picture of popular opinion. But, clearly, the AFA had hoped Congress would take the numbers it planned to produce as exactly that kind of evidence.

Now, Smith says, his organization has had to abandon its goal of taking the poll to Capitol Hill.

"We made the decision early on not to do that," Smith admitted, "because of how, as I say, the homosexual activists around the country have done their number on it."

So what happened?

Against the wishes of the AFA and its members, the poll leaked to the outside. And soon, people like Gabe Anderson began posting it to blogs, social-networking sites such as Friendster and sundry e-mail lists. When Anderson posted it to his blog on Dec. 18, 2003, the anti-gay-marriage position was leading, with 51.45 percent of respondents opposing gay marriage or civil unions.

But with his posting, in which he alerted his readers to the poll, Anderson -- and many like him -- began to unleash the democratic power that the Internet promises, and which organizations like the AFA must have forgotten: the ability to bring people together to fight for, or against, a cause.

"I definitely think that if an organization like the AFA wants to conduct a poll like this, they open up themselves to more than they expected," said Anderson. "I think it's a great example that the Internet can effect change and have an influence if there is a cause."

Surely, by now, with the rise of organizations like MoveOn.org and Internet-fueled political campaigns like Howard Dean's, such results should surprise no one.

But the AFA seems to have been caught by surprise, and is now trying to gain new currency from the outcome.

"Hopefully the results of the poll will be a wake-up call," said Smith, "to realize the need for us to get more focused and organized and to do what we need to do."

But in the meantime, the AFA and organizations like it will have to get used to the idea that if they want to use the Internet as a tool, they had better understand how it works.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Anderson. "It's empowering that the Internet can have this kind of effect. As an individual, your first reaction is, 'I don't know if I can make a difference.' This is a good example of helping people who are historically apathetic (to say), 'Maybe my vote will matter, too.'"

This reminds me of the effort a couple of years ago by Friends of the Show to make Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf the most beautiful person in the world on People's inane list. Thanks to the anarchic spirit of the Internet, this was able to happen. And that's what my America is about--the power to upend for moral good--and great Thai.