Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Identity in LA

Mario Vargas LLosa on Latin Americaness.

1 comment:

Rafael said...

This article was dense and pedantic. There are a couple lucid thoughts here. One being that Latin Americans are defined not by their collective identity but there lack of collective identity. Also his jab at nationalism's desire to appropriate domestic culture's for the sake of pornographic posturing is valid.

However, isn't most of this article obvious in the history of colonialism, to one degree or another?? Cultures mix, they carry legacies that conflate with, destroy, dethrone each other, mutilate, degrade culturally, [whatever juicy action verb here works really]. There is an eerie assumption of self-determination on the part of Latin Americans culturally and politically that disheartens the reader.

Why such high praise for mestizaje?? Is he scared of being the color of mud too?? The same apt logic he uses to attack those in the West that are "disillusioned with their cultures" and seek to glorify and appropriate the "exotic" in the Other, he should use when rubbing one out at the prospect of more Malinches within these indigenous tribes. Which is to say, Octavio Paz, Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Cortazar, Benedetti and others are much more lucid on these issues tragic effects of colonialism on the psyche of a region and the erratic politics that come with these highly oppressive ideas.

I strongly miss the Vargas Llosa of La fiesta del chivo. His concern with paradoxes in Latin America perhaps reflect his personal paradox of thoughts. How it must be for him to reread Chivo???? He could have explored this issue of harmony of inequalities, which is to say, why some indigenous peoples and groups, have gone the violent route, sendero luminoso, and others the nonviolent route. Or discuss the effects of actual indigenous movements and their effects on local identity--perhaps issues of plurinational states. There are much better ways to deconstruct nationalism and for him it comes in the form of intimate character-modelling in novels and not in opining from London on the issues of Latin American identity.